Spring is just around the corner here, and we’ve been looking at pet expos and vendor fairs for booths for our PawZaar gift store. We’ve already signed up for POPCats Austin in May but we’re looking for dog events for the coming months, hopefully ones where we can take Tiki and Barli to hang out in our booth while we’re working.
Have you ever wanted to bring your dog to a pet expo or vendor fair? Here are our tips based on many hours of watching the comings and goings of hundreds of dogs at past events.
Be honest about your dog’s temperament.
Before you go any further, ask yourself if you really should bring your dog to the event. Would your dog enjoy the atmosphere? Shy dogs will not like expos and large events. Also, if your dog is at all reactive–including reactivity 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.
You’ll need to show proof of immunization when you and your dog arrive at an expo so have those ready. Smaller fairs, like one I recently took Barli to, won’t require records but city ordinances may require a current rabies tag on your dog’s collar.
Arrive early or late.
The first and last few hours of an event 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!)
Bring a water bowl.
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). You don’t want to drink after everyone attending the event…your dog doesn’t either.
Bring a fixed leash.
You’ll need your dog at your side during a pet expo or show. In the crowded aisles, a fixed leash is a necessity–and it’s required at most shows. Retractable leashes present a risk to other dogs and people (as well as the many exhibits…just imagine your dog racing beneath a table, getting wrapped around the table leg, and bringing the entire thing down.)
Consider a stroller for small dogs.
We’ve seen a lot of strollers–as well as backpacks and slings–being used at events for the small dogs. If your dog could easily get underfoot and be injured, consider carrying your dog or using a dog stroller at large events.
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.