New Pet Trend: Puppy Parties
An article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal covered a new pet trend, puppy parties. It appears there’s a wide range of audiences for this service, from children’s birthday parties to bachelorette parties.
Puppy parties are becoming a lucrative business. A dog breeder in California charges $200 for an hour with up to 10 puppies. Party puppies are small breeds with playful temperaments, such as Yorkies, Poodles, and Shih Tzus. The breeder estimates more than 800 puppy parties for this year, with the biggest audience being children’s parties.
The puppies chosen for parties are typically between 2-6 months old. Handlers set up a tarp and playpen area. Partygoers are shown proper petting technique before being allowed to play with the puppies. Puppies and partygoers remain in the playpen for the duration of the party.
In the New York City area, the largest puppy party provider is Puppy Paradise. They’ve offered the puppy party service for 10 years, but it didn’t really take off until about 2 years ago.
Prices for Puppy Paradise parties have a range from $175 (4 dogs for 1 hour) in Brooklyn to $250 in Manhattan. If additional puppies are requested, the charge is $35 per puppy. Puppies are usually 2-4 months old and include small breeds such as Pomeranians, Maltese and Yorkies.
Puppy Paradise usually books 2-3 puppy parties every weekend, with an equal number of adult and children’s parties. There has been a large increase in the number of corporate party bookings. It’s been documented that pets help relieve stress, so corporations are using the puppy parties as a way for employees to destress.
The puppies attending parties come from breeders at eight weeks of age, but are not booked until they’re at least nine weeks old, and have been examined by a veterinarian.
A different take on the puppy party is Puppies For Rent based in Provo, Utah. Puppies For Rent emphasizes puppy adoption. The company was founded in 2012 by a college student. Founder Jenna Miller missed her dog while at college and observed that many other students missed their pets, too. She bought a couple of homeless puppies and made them available to college students for $15 an hour. The business has grown to three locations near colleges in Utah.
Puppies For Rent dogs are found by word of mouth. The dogs are placed into foster homes, and when students book puppy time online, the foster parent takes the dog to the booking location. Statistics show the dogs are usually adopted within two months.
Although the business started with renting one dog hourly, more people began requesting multiple dogs for events. They have also seen an increase in booking by local companies for employees.
A pet shelter here in the Kansas City area, Great Plains SPCA (greatplainsspca.org), schedules Bark Attacks, where puppies swarm a business or event in hopes of helping the puppies find forever homes.
What do you think of puppy parties? Good thing or bad thing? Please leave a comment with your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you!
To see the Wall Street Journal video version of this story, go to wsj.com