As you know, we’ve been traveling around to the Amazing Pet Expos in Texas this past year. The events are huge with an average of 10,000-12,000 attendees at the one-day event–plus a LOT of dogs. Have you ever wanted to take your dog to a pet expo? Here are our tips based on many hours of watching the comings and goings of hundreds of dogs:
Be honest about your dog’s temperament. Before you go any further, ask yourself if you really should take your dog to the expo. Would your dog enjoy the event? We know our Irie would hate it; she doesn’t like loud noises and the sound of the loudspeaker would scare her so we don’t take her. (Of course, we’re at our booth for nearly 10 hours so that’s another factor!) Also, if your dog is at all aggressive–including aggression that’s caused by fear around other dogs or in new situations–then expos are not the place to take your pooch. Leave your dog at home to enjoy a good nap, head off to the expo and have a good time without him, and buy him a goodie to surprise him on your return. You’ll both be happier!
Bring your dog’s immunization records and a fixed leash. You’ll need to show proof of immunization when you and your dog arrive at an expo so have those ready. Retractable leashes are not appropriate for expos with crowded aisles! Your dog should be on a fixed leash no longer than six feet long so he can stay beside you as you stroll the aisles.
Arrive early or late. The first and last few hours of an expo are the least crowded in terms of both people and dogs.
Scoop the poop! Bring poop bags and use them; if your dog has an accident, please alert someone so the area can be further sanitized. Expos have cleanup crews patrolling the area to look for messes. If your dog marks an expo stand, please say something to the vendor so he can clean it up. (We always have a cleanup kit at our booth!)
Take a break. The excitement of the expo is going to make your dog thirsty; we recommend bringing your own popup bowl for your dog’s water (especially if your dog is a senior or has any health issues).
Consider a stroller for small dogs. We see a lot of strollers–as well as backpacks and slings–for small dogs. If your dog could easily get underfoot and be injured, consider carrying your dog or using a dog stroller.
Keep walking. If your dog encounters another dog and things seem a little bit tense, don’t stop. Can’t get down a busy aisle? Turn around and go back the other way. You can always come back to check out that row later. Your dog will be a lot less tense if the two of you are moving.