Pets have the power to make their own owners smile, laugh and feel more calm or relaxed. So why wouldn’t you spoil them?

The Phoenix Pet Expo on April 14 and 15 at WestWorld of Scottsdale returns for the 8th year to engage owners and their fur babies with pet products and services, demonstrations, prize giveaways and interactive activities.

Amazing Pet Expos, the organization putting on the event, operates 26 shows in different cities throughout the country.

Ethan Barnett, vice president of events and show production, said each expo has its own distinctive vibe because of the pet communities within the cities, and the event offers a unique space for owners to socialize their pets.

“When well-behaved pets get together, they are able to interact and behave appropriately with other pets. There’s not many places where you can do that,” Barnett said.”

230 vendors

This year, around 230 retail vendors and rescue organizations will take part.

The vendors  will sell and hand out information about unique pet products and services, including dog clothing and accessories; treats; pet sitting and training services; pet food and shampoos; animal-themed artwork and resort and spa services.

Barnett said the expo offers a more hands-on shopping experience than most pet stores.

“People can bring their pets to the event. They can meet face-to-face with these vendors. They can try products to make sure they fit their pets, to make sure they like the treats,” Barnett said. “At the same time, for those pet vendors, it’s a great way for them to do a market test and see what the response is for a new or unique product.”

The expo has expanded throughout the years with the inclusion of a greater diversity of animals.

Attendees will have the chance to interact with exotic birds in a special area hosted by the Arizona Avian Alliance, and a children’s area will have wow-factor animal attractions for young people.

2 stages, with competitions 

Similarly to previous years, the expo will host two stages, one with educational presentations and another with interactive competitions such as dog costume contests, pet and owner musical chairs and a happiest pet and biggest smile contest.

A new addition this year, a dock-diving competition on Friday and Saturday will measures dogs’ prowess in jumping the highest, farthest or quickest into a pool of water.

For the first year, an agility course lets dogs try maneuvering through a series of challenging obstacles with the help of their owners.

The Phoenix Area Disc Dogs returns to put on interactive disc dog demonstrations and provide information on how pet families can get involved in the sport.

Chances to foster, adopt

General and more specialized pet rescues will bring out animals available for fostering and adoption at the expo. In a special pet-adoption area, prospective parents and family pets will have the opportunity to interact with adoptable pets to gauge whether they would be a good fit for their homes and lifestyles.

For the second year, Brittany Rescue AZ, a local rescue organization, will raise funds through the Indy’s Run for Rescue Lure Course, which tests a dog’s ability to chase a lure through an obstacle course with hurdles.

Robin Smith, co-founder and co-director of the organization, said activities such as the lure course help to keep dogs’ minds and bodies active, which can be important for more active breeds such as Brittanys.

The lure course allows Smith and others from her rescue organization to engage with the public on a more personal level.

“It’s fun to see all of the shapes, sizes and breeds that love to do it, talk to the people and hear the stories about their dogs,” Smith said.

Along with hosting the course, the rescue organization will have adoptable pets and will be signing up volunteers.

The lure course costs $6 for one run and $15 for three; money raised will help to provide medical care and food for the Brittanys and other sporting breeds taken in by the rescue.

The organization is also fundraising through a shoe drive, which will dually benefit another non-profit dedicated to creating jobs in third-world countries. Attendees that bring 10 or more gently-used pairs of men’s, women’s or children’s shoes will receive a free run on the lure course for their pets.

Phoenix Pet Expo

When: April 14-15. 3-8 p.m. Friday. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.

Where: WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale.

Admission: Free admission, $5 for parking.  


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