This weekend Luna, my boyfriend, and I went to the Super Pet Expo in the Dulles Convention Center in Chantilly, VA. We were fortunate enough to win tickets to the expo. This was my very first pet expo both as a pet parent and blogger. It was also Luna’s first experience at an event with many people and dogs since the adoption event where I found her. This is the first in a series of posts about the Super Pet Expo. This post will focus on what I learned by attending the Super Pet Expo. Another post will focus on the all the interesting products, treats, and stores that we found. Reviews for LeashLocket and the Walk Your Dog with Love Harness, both found at the expo, will also be posted soon.


Things I Learned About Pet Expos

Talk to the people behind the booths
No matter why you are attending the pet expo (pet parent, prospective pet parent, vendor, blogger, etc) talk to the people behind the booths. I mean really talk. This may seem more applicable if you are a blogger or part of the media, but really anyone can benefit. Ask them why they are involved in whatever it is they are selling, advertising, or spreading the word about. These people care and are really excited to talk to you. They are also really knowledgeable, so you will learn tons just by listening and asking questions. You may even learn something about your very own pet.

Listen to your dog
If you bring your dog, don’t expect that he or she is going to be thrilled with the situation immediately. It might be very overwhelming for many dogs especially if your dog is not around many people or other dogs regularly. The solution? Start slowly. Let your dog tell you when he or she is comfortable. Also understand that your dog may not feel comfortable in such a situation at all. Listen to your dog and do not add unnecessary stress by putting him or her in an overwhelming situation. When we first arrived at the Super Pet Expo, Luna was very scared. We walked around in the parking lot, so she could sniff her surroundings. The time outside along with some positive praise allowed her to feel more comfortable. When we made it inside, our first stop was Luna’s vet so she could see some familiar faces. After plenty of attention, a new bandanna, and a few treats thanks to the people from Clocktower Animal Hospital, Luna was the happiest dog in the world.


Always ask before you pet or approach someone else’s dog
Just because your dog is comfortable around strangers does not mean that every dog is. It is best to be cautious and always ask first. This is especially important in a situation like the Super Pet Expo when the dog may already be feeling stressed or overwhelmed. I was very impressed that so many people (adults and children) did this at the Super Pet Expo.

Express your pet’s personality
Do not be afraid to express your love for your pet or your pet’s personality. You will see plenty of interesting things (strollers, dyed fur, clothes, etc.), so let your pet express him or herself. It might just be a conversation starter.


Be aware of how many treats your dog eats and what they are made of
Your dog is never going to turn down a free snack, so you may have to be the bad guy and say no once your dog reaches his or her limit. Keep a count of how much your dog has eaten. If someone offers your dog a snack, do not be afraid to kindly decline. Many vendors may even offer you a treat “to go.” If your dog has a any dietary restrictions, you will want to ask about the ingredients in the free treats. If the ingredient list is not available, it is probably better to kindly decline and promise your pet a special treat afterwards or bring your own with you.

Take note of all the different kinds of dogs (and people) you see
Maybe even talk to them. You never know what kind of connections you may make or friends you may find for you or your pet. If you are looking to adopt, this is also a great way to get introduced to different breeds. Pet owners are proud of their pets and would love to tell you about them. So if you have been considering getting a Great Dane, why not ask the pet parent of the two Great Danes about their temperament, what it is like to take care of them, or any other questions you may have?

Visit the booths of rescues and shelters
Stop by rescue and shelter booths even if you are not currently looking to adopt. There are tons of ways to give back to the pet community and they will have a lot of information there. You could help by volunteering, fostering, or even just going to an event that benefits a rescue group. It is also never a bad idea to make a connection with a local rescue.

Watch where you step
Lots of dogs and tons of excitement all in the same room. We all know what that means!

Have you ever learned anything interesting from a pet expo? What other tips can you share?

Jessica Shipman
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