The Ethics of Puppy Parties

Who doesn’t love a puppy? They’re universally loved by everyone around the world – and particularly conferencegoers. Puppy pens and petting areas are sometimes requested as an activity or activation at an event or conference, sometimes seen as the perfect way to destress between conference talks and networking, as well as drive social media interaction.  

It is more common in the US but almost unheard of in the UK, which may be why it wasn’t sitting right with me. So what are the ethics behind Puppy Pen Parties?

Is it right for puppies to be handled by so many people? You wouldn’t hand around a newborn baby, and pups are just as young and susceptible to diseases and bugs so that the overexposure can bring them a health risk.

Puppy in grass

Secondly, young puppies are in their all important socialisation period, and any negative experience, such as being tripped over or dropped, could have a long-term impact on their personality and coping mechanisms.

To make it worse, in the US once the pups get too big, they are fired from the party industry and put into shelters. This supports the often cruel puppy mill industry, minimises the likelihood of adoption for older dogs, and is traumatic for all the puppies involved. 

Finally, the ability to essentially rent dogs feeds into the mindset that pets are a short-term commitment.  I also cannot help but think that renting out dogs for parties reduces them to a ‘thing’ rather than a living breathing creature that’s just looking for a loving home.

So next time your client requests a puppy pen, try to find an alternative that doesn’t feed into the puppy commodity trend. Here are some great alternatives:

Plant trees together!

They last a really long time, and it’s a great way to help the environment! We have some really great partners that can help with this!


Go volunteering!

There is no better way to unite the team than to give back to the local community and area.

Get cooking!

A great way to break up the day is to get delegates to make their own lunch using responsibly sourced local ingredients; it’s fun and delicious!