Our indoor events attract thousands of pet lovers looking to enjoy a day out with their furry, feathered or reptilian pals!
From 10 AM to 6 PM Saturday, the event will be packed with an abundance of local and nationally-recognized veterinarians, groomers, trainers, retailers and organizations primarily geared towards pet lovers. Whether you’d like to learn, shop, play, or adopt, this is an event you won’t want to miss!
No doubt about it, these events are CROWDED. As with any event that attracts large crowds, we’ve found that people who prepare for it tend to have a much better experience. With that being said, here are some tips that we’ve come up with to help ensure that our guests have the best day possible at the show:
1. Only bring your pet along if it is well-behaved, non-aggressive and doesn’t get stressed out in crowded, stimulating and noisy situations. There are all kinds of other animals, small children, wheelchairs and lots of people at the event. Your pet will be exposed to dogs barking, people speaking loudly on microphones, crowds clapping and attendees cheering. You know your pet best, so please use your best judgment to make sure that your pet will enjoy the event just as much as you will.
2. While we have a number of staff members who are always carefully watching the crowds and pets to ensure everyone stays safe, it only takes a second for a dog bite to occur. Please review safe dog (and all pets, for that matter) greeting behaviors with your children before attending the show. Remind your child to always ask the owner’s permission to pet an animal, allow the calm pet to sniff their hands and then they should gently pet the animal’s chest, chin or back (not the top of its head), speaking calmly and quietly to the pet. Children should never “stare down” a dog, jump on it, grab it from behind or scream at it. If a dog is hyper and won’t sit for the owner, walk away and don’t allow your child to pet the dog. Sometimes the most well behaved pets can be startled, especially if they’re already keyed up being at such an exciting event.
3. We only have a few rules for bringing pets: your pet must be current on all age-appropriate shots or you should plan to have your pet’s immunizations updated at the event; low-cost vaccinations and microchipping are offered on-site. Please note: the abbreviated medical exam that your pet will have at the event (if you plan to get low-cost vaccinations) should not take the place of an annual complete wellness exam done by your own veterinarian.
These immunization requirements only apply to dogs and cats. A rabies tag with the year stamped is acceptable as proof of vaccinations, as are blood titer results for those pet parents who don’t immunize annually. Dogs must be on a fixed lead or a locked retractable lead, no longer than 6 feet, at all times. No female pets in heat can attend. You’ll be required to sign a pet waiver at the entrance, but you can avoid waiting in line by visiting the South Florida Pet Expo website to fill out your pet waiver form in advance.
4. Once inside, stop by the prize entry table to register for awesome giveaways and prizes from an abundance of exhibitors. Does your pet have an amazing talent or enjoy being the center of attention? Make sure to enter them in the pet talent and costume contests. These popular events (and the great winning prize packages) draw a large crowd!
5. Bring cash. There are many opportunities for shopping and donations here and some rescue groups may not accept credit cards. There is an ATM on site as well.
6. The Pet Expo program includes all the vendor names and locations, a map of the show floor, as well as the full schedule of events and activities at the event. You’ll be able to download a copy from the event website starting the Friday before the event.
7. If you are interested in adopting a pet, the Mega-Adoption area could be just what you’re looking for, plus the majority of rescue groups have pets in their booths too. Hundreds of pets will be available for adoption or application (for those groups that don’t do on-site adoptions).
8. High traffic events for the day will be the agility and activity courses, as well as the entertainment stage. You may want to take a moment, either before the event by looking online, or once you arrive, to review the show program so that you have a general idea of how you want to spend your time at the event. Plus you don’t want to miss anything!
9. Take note of the pet-potty areas located outdoors. While we do have pet clean-up teams at the event, you’ll also be given bags for your pet’s waste pick-up when you enter. Please be kind and pick up after your pet.
10. Pet water stations will be scattered throughout the event so that your excited companion doesn’t get dehydrated. These are communal bowls, so if you have a puppy or elderly pet, please keep it safe and bring a travel or disposable bowl for their use.
11. This a large event. If you have a pet breed with you that can’t tolerate this kind of exertion, (for example, English Bulldogs), please plan to bring a stroller or wagon for them. While the event is indoors and air-conditioned, it’s a lot of exercise for breeds that don’t handle heat or exercise well.
12. Pace yourself! It’s a long day and there are many things to see. Make sure you take periodic breaks and give your pet a chance to rest – or step out of the event for a few moments of quiet – if you plan to stay all day.
13. Many exhibitors offer some sort of treat for pets. If your pet has a sensitive stomach or is super excited, you may want to consider allowing your pet one or two treats and then allowing her/him to enjoy the rest at home. We see a lot of dogs gobble up as many treats as possible only to – ahem – urp them up a few hours later.
14. If you have a small or tiny dog, you may want to be prepared to either carry it or have a stroller available. There are so many large and super large dogs at the event that some small pet owners feel overwhelmed and their little fur-babies may unintentionally get stepped on.
15. If you are attending the event with the intent of adopting a new family member, you may want to either bring a crate or some sort of car restraint with you or be prepared to purchase something along those lines at the show. We often have people ask us at the show if we have any boxes or crates that they can have/borrow. We don’t and cage/pet carriers may sell out. So either bring one with you or plan to arrive extra early so that you can make sure that a pet restraint is available for purchase.
16. The asphalt throughout the parking lot may be extremely hot. It could easily burn your pets’ feet if your pet has to walk across it. Please consider putting booties or some sort of protective footwear on your four-legged friend.