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Planning a Pet-Friendly Happy Hour: The Perfect Paws-and-Pints Party

Last updated: June 14, 2024

A pet-friendly happy hour is a fantastic way to bring together animal lovers and their furry companions in a fun and relaxed setting.

I’ve seen a few readers of my book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, that hosted parties with their fur babies and it definitely brought more delight to the atmosphere. So why not host an exclusive happy hour for owners and their pets?

Planning a successful pet-friendly happy hour is easy when you incorporate key concepts from my book like an RSVP page, reminders, icebreakers, name tags, and a group photo to end the night.

Why you should listen to me: My name is Nick Gray. I’ve hosted hundreds of parties all over the world. After making it a habit, I can easily host a gathering and make new friends with no sweat. New York Magazine once called me a host of “culturally significant” parties.

Planning The Perfect Pet-Friendly Happy Hour

There are three important tasks to do right away if you want the night to be successful.

Choose the Right Venue

Selecting a venue is the first crucial step. Look for outdoor spaces like patios, gardens, or parks where pets can roam freely. Ensure the area is safe, with proper fencing and minimal hazards.

If you’re hosting indoors, make sure the venue is spacious and has a non-slip floor to prevent accidents (no, not that kind).

Big plus if you have your own backyard. This  can alleviate some worry since you’ll have an exclusive space just for you and your guests’ pets.

Set the Date and Time

Pick a date 3 weeks from now. This is enough time to prepare and invite people, but not too far away that people will forget about it.

Opt for a time when both pets and their owners are likely to be available. Early weekday evenings or maybe even weekends work best, as the weather is typically milder and more people are free from work commitments.

If your happy hour is during the peak of summer, avoid scheduling it for the hottest part of the day to ensure the pets remain comfortable.

A 2-hour party length is the best for most situations. It’s long enough for people to create new connections without feeling rushed. And don’t forget to mention your start times and end times, this helps people to arrive on time and more people will RSVP yes.

Send Invitations and Collect RSVPs

Maybe you have neighbors who have pets or you’re living near your local pet stores and vet offices. These are the best people to invite to your happy hour! You’ll get to meet new people and your pets get to socialize too.

If you want people to come, create eye-catching flyers and posters. Emphasize the pet-friendly aspect to attract the right crowd. To collect RSVPs, add a special QR code that they can easily scan to see the invitation page.

I frequently use Partiful for my events lately and I’m loving it. It collect s guest’s emails and social media handles so I can follow-up for future events.

Setting Up the Event

Once the key elements are taken care of, it’s time to focus on the event setup. Creating a welcoming and accommodating environment for both pets and their owners is crucial. Here’s how to ensure the event space you choose is ready for a fantastic pet-friendly happy hour.

Provide Pet-Friendly Amenities

Provide essentials like water bowls, waste bags, and designated potty areas. Consider setting up a small pet relief station with artificial grass if the venue lacks natural greenery.

Make sure there’s plenty of shade and cooling stations, especially in warmer weather!

Serve Treats and Drinks

Offer a range of beverages for your human guests – from craft beers to cocktails – and don’t forget non-alcoholic options like mocktails or soda. Keep it simple by pairing the refreshmentswith a light snack like nuts or chips.

Bonus: Here’s the exact party supplies list that I have.

For the pets, you can partner with a local pet bakery or buy from your local pet stores. Ensure all pet treats are healthy and safe for different breeds. Place in some water bowls too to keep your furry friends hydrated.

Ensure Safety and Comfort

Ensuring the safety and comfort of all attendees — both owners and pets —  is paramount for a successful event.

Ensure all pets are vaccinated and well-behaved. Consider having a pet first aid expert on-site for emergencies.

Clearly communicate any rules regarding leash policies or aggressive behavior to prevent incidents.

Hosting Your Paws-and-Pints Party

A structured event is a successful event. Here’s what to do during your party to keep things lively and fun.

Use Name Tags and Icebreaker Activities

Facilitating social interaction among guests is key to a successful event. Some people might be there alone or want to meet others but be shy. Provide name tags for both humans (and pets!) to encourage mingling.

For icebreakers, I recommend you lead at least three throughout your party. Here are some sample icebreaker questions to get conversations started:

For humans:

  • What’s the funniest thing your pet has ever done?
  • How did you come up with your pet’s name?
  • What’s your favorite activity to do with your pet?

For pets (with owner’s help, of course!)

  • What’s your pet’s favorite treat?
  • Does your pet have any quirky habits?
  • How does your pet like to spend a lazy day?

These icebreakers not only help guests connect but also ensure a lively and interactive atmosphere.

Take a Group Photo

Before you end your party, gather all the attendees for a group photo with their pets. This not only serves as a wonderful keepsake but also promotes a sense of community.

Share the photo on social media and in your follow-up communications.

Wrapping Up

After the event, it’s important to leave a lasting impression on your guests. I recommend you follow up with attendees to not only show appreciation but also to  build community and excitement for future events.

Follow Up Message

After the event, thank your guests for attending through email. Share photos and highlights from the happy hour and ask for feedback to make future events even better.

Encourage guests to share their own photos and experiences, creating a sense of community and anticipation for the next gathering.

Conclusion

Hosting a pet-friendly happy hour is not merely a social event — it’s a heartwarming celebration of the special bond between people and their pets.

By crafting an inviting and enjoyable environment for all attendees, both human and animal, you’re setting the stage for an event that will be remembered fondly.

So, gather your resources, spread the word, and get ready to raise a glass to a truly pawsome experience!

In my book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, I provide helpful guidance on how to host a great party for any event. I wrote this book to support anyone interested in meeting new people.

When is your party? Send me an email and I will give you some bonus tips, including a pre-party checklist that you can print out. Plus, I’ll answer any question you have, free of charge. I love talking about parties, and I’m on a mission to help 500 people host their first party.

Leave a comment on this article here.

About the author

Nick Gray is the author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. He’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and in a popular TEDx talk. He sold his last company Museum Hack in 2019. Today he’s an expert on networking events, small parties, and creating relationships. Read more about Nick Gray here.

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