SOURCE: Cesar

October 25, 2006 12:05 ET

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Doggie Dinner Parties Emerge as the Hot New Pet Trend

NASHVILLE, TN -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 25, 2006 -- America's small dogs are living the good life as never before. Extravagances once reserved for people -- spa visits, weekend getaways, designer bags and gourmet meals -- are now readily available to America's small dogs. So, what's next for these beloved best friends and their devoted owners? Spectacular, invitation-only doggie dinner parties, for two-legged and four-legged guests, alike.

According to celebrated caterer, Alan Dunn, owner of Los Angeles-based Tres L.A. Catering, throwing doggie dinner parties for good friends, and their dogs, is one of the hippest, fastest-growing trends in entertaining. And why not? A survey conducted by Cesar® Canine Cuisine, a line of gourmet dog food catering to small dogs, revealed that 60 percent of the owners prefer to dine at the same time as their dogs. And, 68 percent of the owners surveyed reveal they would rather treat their dog to something special before pampering themselves. The doggie dinner party trend combines both these desires -- sharing meal time with canine companions while pampering them -- in a fun, fabulous way.

"Like any party, the success of your doggie dinner party is in the planning," said Dunn. "Just because the party is for your dogs, doesn't mean you should let it go to the dogs."

"How to Throw A Divine Doggie Dinner Party"

For tips on planning and throwing a successful party, Dunn recommends consulting the "Cesar® How to Throw a Divine Doggie Dinner Party" online guide, which can be found at www.cesar.com. Subtitled, "Everything You Need to Know to Create an Evening of Fun for Your Pals and Their Pooches," the online guide is downloadable and is full of practical advice, creative tips and fun ideas for the ultimate canine celebration. In fact, much of the how-to information offered in the guide served as the inspiration for a recent star-studded doggie dinner party in Beverly Hills that was hosted by Cesar for celebrities and their small dogs.

The Cesar online guide suggests first creating a theme -- anything from a national holiday, to your favorite time of year or your dog's birthday can serve as inspiration. Once a theme is chosen, it's time to make a great first impression with a high-impact invitation that brings your theme to life. In addition to the typical "who, what, where and when," the guide recommends all other must-have invitation elements, including requests for food allergies or dietary restrictions -- both for dogs and their owners, as well as any dress code requirements: formal, casual or in costume.

With the invitations underway, it is time to plan the menu, which is "the heart of any dinner party" according to Dunn. The "Cesar® How to Throw a Divine Doggie Dinner Party" online guide recommends putting an interesting spin on the menu by choosing complementary main courses for the dogs and their owners. Cesar Canine Cuisine offers 15 gourmet flavors like filet mignon, pork tenderloin, braised chicken with garden vegetables and porterhouse steak, providing many menu options for the creative and novice chef alike. In addition, special seating arrangements should be made, such as low tables and comfortable ottomans for seating, so dogs and their owners eat together.

"Everyone should sit down and enjoy the dining experience together, and matching the main meals of people with those of their pets is a completely new way to enhance the bond amongst guests and the intimacy of the party," said Dunn.

While eating may be the main event at a dinner party, it's important to keep guests and their small dogs occupied from the time they walk in the door to the time they leave. The "Cesar® How to Throw a Divine Doggie Dinner Party" online guide offers great entertainment ideas, from ice breakers to party favors, for making the party memorable. Consider some of these top suggestions to be shared by best friends: palm and "paw" readings, pedicures and "pet'icures", a do-it-yourself dessert table and more.

Spotting the Trend

American's love their small dogs; in fact six out of ten of the most popular breeds today are small dogs. Because of their size, small dogs can go anywhere and everywhere with their owners, and frequently do, thus elevating their status from pet to companion.

Cesar Canine Cuisine has long recognized the unique relationship between small dogs and their owners and spotted the dog dinner party trend early. The "Cesar® How to Throw a Divine Doggie Dinner Party" online guide is just one example of the brand's vision and commitment to helping small dog devotees give their dogs different experiences.

"At Cesar, we're dedicated to creating opportunities for dog owners to celebrate their small dogs in big ways," said Anne Herrington, brand manager for Cesar. "We're looking forward to hearing about divine doggie dinner parties from coast to coast. These get-togethers are all about bringing good food and best friends together for a good time."

To view and download the complete "Cesar® How to Throw a Divine Doggie Dinner Party" guide, visit www.cesar.com/events and click on the "Take Your Dog to Dinner" section.

About Cesar® Canine Cuisine

Cesar® Canine Cuisine helps you show your small dog how much you love and adore him/her. It is an indulgent, highly palatable and premium-priced gourmet food for small dogs. CESAR® Canine Cuisine is available in a variety gourmet flavors and caters to the special nutritional needs and sophisticated tastes of smaller dog breeds.

About MASTERFOODS USA

Masterfoods USA, the United States food, snack and pet care operations of Mars, Incorporated, is one of the world's leading food manufacturers. The combined food, snack and pet care segments are a symbol of excellence for quality brands with more than $5 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Hackettstown, NJ, Masterfoods USA employs more than 7,000 associates in the United States, with 14 manufacturing facilities nationwide. The company owns some of the world's favorite brands, including M&M'S® Brand, SNICKERS® Brand, UNCLE BEN'S® Brand, PEDIGREE® Brand Food For Dogs, Cesar® Canine Cuisine and WHISKAS® Brand Food For Cats.