‘Tis the season for holiday parties, and many
pet lovers jump at the opportunity to include their four-legged friends in the
festivities. Pet holiday parties may range from the simply elegant to the
simply silly, but they all have one thing in common – a doggone good time.  I celebrated our love of pets in my book, DogParties: Entertaining Your Party Animals (Gibbs-Smith, $19.95) but to help you
get started in your holiday pet party planning, I teamed up with PetSmart to
bring you these tips:
Attire
One of the best
ways to set the stage for a party is to ask guests to sport a festive look, and
pets are no exception. For a classy party, use your invitation to ask your
guests to dress up and remind them to bring their furry friends on their favorite
fancy leash. You can find an array of dressy options at PetSmart, including
bowties, sparkle dresses and the Santa Cat Cape, all will surely dress up the occasion.
Or
go the other direction with a fun ugly sweater party. Invite your friends to
dress the part and bring their pets in their silliest attire. The Bret Michaels PetsRock line of ugly sweaters – some even light up – are the perfect
complement to your own gaudy attire.
Mealtime
Consider
setting up a treat buffet for your four-legged friends. Fill large clear glass
containers with different varieties of colorful treats.
Manners
Don’t expect
your four-legged friends to share. Purchase a festive dog bowl for each guest,
such as the Martha Stewart Pets Santa ceramic bowl from PetSmart, and fill each
with water. Then keep them for next year’s holiday party, or give them away as
party favors at the end of the event.
Music
Set the tone with holiday tunes, or go
one step further with a little bit of research into the names and breeds of the
pets loved by the composers or singers. Make a playlist of your favorites and
type it up for your guests. 
Decor
Snap a Polaroid photo of each of your
guests in their festive attire as they arrive. Hang a clothesline made of
ribbons near the entrance and clip the photos up with clothespins as they print
for instant personalized decor that your guests will love.
Gifts
Don’t forget the party favors. Consider a
small gift for each family to take home with a bone-shaped card attached that
reads “Happy Howlidays!” Another option is a small faux tree decorated with
bright dog toys and bones. (Be sure to use a faux tree; four-legged guests may
be tempted to leave their mark on the real thing.) At the end of the event, you
can ask your guests to choose a treat as their take-home favor.

For
more holiday ideas and tips, visit your local PetSmart or www.PetSmart.com/holiday.
Photography by Stephen Karlisch

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