Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Wag-Worthy Dog Benefit Ideas

By Tamara McRill

Who doesn’t love a rollicking good time that ends with a huge doggie smile – all to benefit a good cause? As dog lovers, we are often a part of charitable canine organizations or wish we could help raise funds for specific doggy needs. Yet it can be hard to come up with fun ways to get people to participate.

Here is a list of dog benefit ideas that you can whip out the next time your favorite shelter, pet charity or dog in need deserves a little organized help. Each of these has activities that are dog-themed and/or allows dogs to participate. Otherwise, how could we call them wag-worthy?

Dog Walks/5k Run Events 

Many cities across the country have these events, and a 5k walk or run might work in your town, too. One way to raise money through this event is to get your participants to take pledges for distance increments or if they finish the race. You could even have a box for people to donate needed items. One way to spice up this event is to have runners come in costume – and their dogs, too! You can either pick a theme or let it be anything goes.

Make sure you train your dog for the event, just like you wouldn't go run a marathon without being an experienced runner. Although dogs may seem ready-made to tackle a long run, they can also get hurt or become ill if they don’t build up their endurance. Also, be sure you train by actually running with your dog, so they are used to your rhythm.

Mini Pet Fairs 

What better way to spark up a fun atmosphere of charitable giving than with a fair? You can have games for the dogs, like “find the stuffed animal” or agility contests. Have supporting companies set up booths as vendors. Pet fairs can also feature adoptions.

Doggie Olympics 

Winning a gold medal can be fun even in non-Olympic years. Challenge dogs (and their owners) to safe games based off of Olympic events. You can have the dogs “lone wolf” it, or choose events in which their owners can join them. You can raise money through entrance fees and vendor sales.

Here are some event ideas:

- Doggie Dash
- Frisbee Throw
- Toy Basketball Dunking
- Swimming
- Peanut Butter Lick

Dogs Allowed Parties

Have you ever been to a charity dinner or happy hour where dogs weren't allowed? Sure, sometimes it’s necessary and it’s nice to socialize with like-minded folks, but imagine the fun of having one where your furry best friend can come too! You can throw the party with a pet theme or even make it black tie, where the canine guests have the option to dress up too. Raise money by selling tickets for each plate – and food bowl.

Pet Photography Sessions

Okay, raise your hand if you’re guilty of snapping way too many pictures of your pet. Wouldn't it be great to actually have a professional portrait of your pet done? Maybe even with you and the family?

For this dog benefit idea, you’ll want to enlist the help of some pet-loving photographers willing to donate their time, equipment and skills. By charging for each sitting, you’ll be able to raise some funds for your cause.

Pet and Owner Spa Day

What better way to relax and donate to a worthy cause, than to get a massage while your favorite furry friend gets one, too! This idea also involves talking to some sympathetic professionals, namely dog groomers and spa workers. Check any local and state licensing and health requirement before deciding to set up without professionals.

You can charge a fee for each treatment to raise funds. Some dog-and-owner combo treatment ideas include shampoos, manicures and massages.

Take Safety Precautions

As with anything that involves fundraising and our much loved dogs, be sure to investigate for any guidelines or laws that might apply. Check with the charity you are raising funds or collecting other donations for, to ensure you are compliant and actually donating what is needed. Be sure to follow any law and permit requirements.

Any dog that participates in one of these events should be well socialized and behave well in public. They also need to be non-aggressive to other dogs.

Consult with a veterinarian before finalizing any event plans that dogs need to actively participate in. Try to have a vet on hand for these events, to deal with any emergencies. Also make sure any participating pets have water and food available, in case they need them – and some CANIDAE Pure Heaven dog treats as a tasty reward for being good!

Which dog benefit event do you think your pet would most enjoy? Can you think of some more ideas?

Read more articles by Tamara McRill

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