It isn't just the perfectly conformed pooch on a show table that can be a blue-ribbon pet. Offering prizes ranging from simple bragging rights to gift baskets or certificates, a pet contest can liven up everything from a holiday party to a shelter-promotion event. Contest themes can include races on a warm spring day, costumes on a crisp Halloween or even a competition for the cutest rat.
Like Pet, Like Owner
Make your contest one that celebrates the bond between owner and pet with a competition made for teams of two or more, including:
- A costume contest for pets is always cute, but a contest where the pets and owners have to coordinate their costumes kicks it up an amusing notch.
- A pet-and-owner lookalike contest is a versatile option for an in-person or online competition where everyone gets a vote on the stunning similarities.
- A photo contest can capture the pet-human bond, from couch nap time with a cockatoo to dining al fresco with a French bulldog.
Flying through the air with the greatest of ease, pets demonstrate their agility in some of the most cringe-worthy ways around the house. Celebrate the cats who swing from chandeliers and chinchillas who spring 5 feet in the air with a test of physical skills, such as:
- Try a race for pets known for going their own way, such as guinea pigs or rabbits.
- A competition for dog agility can be as simple as the most tennis balls fetched in five minutes or the highest Frisbee catch rate.
- If eating can be considered a sport, pets will be happy to go for the gold. Make sure that an eating contest consists of food that is healthy for the pets involved and offered in manageable quantities.
Keep animal health and safety in mind before mingling animals. For example, putting [rabbits and guinea pigs](http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rabbits/company/rabbitsandguineapigs) on the same racetrack could result in sick or injured animals.
Beauty and the Beasts
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and in the case of a precious fluffball with big eyes and a little pink tongue the beholders will pretty much be in agreement. While it's simple to parade pets and give awards for the cutest, there are some variations on the theme you could try:
- Hold a beauty contest for a species that's more scaly than cuddly, such as the prettiest python or cutest cichlid.
- Play off the human beauty pageants with a beauty contest that includes a talent competition, a "swimsuit" strut through a wading pool and tiaras and bling for the formal wear.
- Groomers can whip out their tools of the trade to put forth the most creative pup hairstyles.
Animals Got Talent
Admit it: Your cat can carry a higher note than you ever will and your dog can howl in perfect sync with the day's top hip-hop track. Just as TV competitions hunt for humans with that certain "it" factor, you can have a pet contest that puts a premium on talent. Examples:
- The most creative pet trick can be a live event or a video contest where the most views or likes takes the prize.
- Crank up the tunes for the dogs and cats who boogie on their hind legs and the parrots that bob on their perches for a dance contest.
- All parrots have the ability to talk, though some have a beak up on the competition. See who can best recite a famous poem or cheer on the local sports team.