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Ever thrown a dog party? Ever wished you hadn't?

Just as people parties can implode without the right combination of guests, food, and activities, so can affairs thrown for your four-legged friends. Torn up favors, half-gnashed party cake, urine stains on the crepe paper — a dog party gone wrong isn't pretty.

To save you from the shame of a party gone bad, we've got a few planning tips that should make whatever you want to celebrate — from a Bark Mitzvah to a Puppy Shower— a pack of fun for dogs and humans both.

Invite the right crowd

Here's what you don't want: Your guests growling, circling, and snapping at one another. Your chances of hosting a friendly gathering are much greater if your dogs already know — and get along with — each other. So invite a group you and your dog have buddied up to at the dog park. And don't feel bad about leaving out the rabble rousers; if you don't tell them, they'll never know.

Even non-dog people will like this: Ever wondered what it'd be like if a dog threw a dinner party? The only way to find out is to read The Dinner Party, which we highly recommend if you need a jolt of levity, or other distraction

Send a DogTime Evite invitation

DogTime and Evite have partnered to provide you with lots of fun dog-themed Evite online invitations you can send out instantly. Whatever party you're planning, we've got you covered — birthday parties, puppy showers, cocktail parties, Halloween parties to name just a few. And, psst, they're perfect for human parties too! Click on DogTime Evites to see all your choices. Happy party!

Serve your guests out of separate bowls

Want to ruin your party? Set your liver cake down in the middle of the floor and let your dogs have at it. Even the most civilized guests will lose their heads when faced with a chance to scarf down the biggest piece of the cake.

So buy some sturdy paper plates — choose the dinner rather than dessert size, or bowls, so the cake is less likely to spill over the edge — and serve the cake on those. Make sure you feed all the dogs at the same time and give each enough space so they don't feel crowded when they eat.

Give the dogs something to do

Without some central activity, your guests will grow restless, bored, and ill-behaved — as at any party. So whether it's "toss the ball and see who gets it first," or a best-dressed costume parade, pick one game everyone can participate in. Giving your human guests a chance to show off their pets will ensure it's fun for them, too.

End early

How to kill the fun? Keep guests longer than they want to be there. As with humans, it's a strain for dogs to be on their best behavior. Without a break even the most well-behaved dog will begin to find gnawing on a table leg — or on his neighbor's leg — more inviting than posing for pictures.

So keep it short — anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes is a respectable length of time for an indoor party. If it's outdoors, you've got much more flexibility. Even then, be sure to let everyone know they can go home whenever they feel like it, and they'll leave happy.

Ready to throw a party?

Go ahead and get started. We suggest you start by picking a theme (below).

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