5 Tips For Attending The OC Pet Expo 2016

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Puppy Pet Expo
Puppy In Training at OC Pet Expo

Guess what event is right around the corner?  OC Pet Expo at the Orange County Fairgrounds is only a couple weeks weeks away!  Touted as the world’s largest pet and pet products expo I can tell you that it is the largest pet expo I’ve ever attended.

Lets get to the details of the upcoming Orange County Pet Expo:

WHAT: America’s Family Pet Expo
WHEN: April 22nd – 24th, 2016
WHERE: OC Fair and Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa 92626
DETAILS: World’s largest pet and pet product expo returns to Orange County. Over 1,000 animals including dogs, cats, birds, fish, llamas, pot-bellied pigs, goats, rats, reptiles, rabbits, miniature horses and more are on display in stage shows, competitions & demonstrations. Thousands of pet products for sale at special show prices. Plenty of animal experts, pet adoptions, hands-on petting and learning opportunities.

Cost of Admission:

  • General Admission: $13
  • Seniors 60 & Over: $11
  • Children 6-12: $8
  • 5 Years & Under: Free
  • Active & Retired Military Members: Free
  • Vehicle Parking: $8

We’ve attended the America’s Family Pet Expo for the past 10+ years!  In fact it was at the 2006 Pet Expo that we first got the inkling to start fostering rescues and raising guide dog puppies (the inspiration for this blog)!

5 Tips For Attending The OC Pet Expo

  1. Don’t bring your pet to the Pet Expo.  In past years the OC Pet Expo has allowed pets.  However, this year they have mandated that “Pets are NOT allowed into the Pet Expo.”  I’m an advocate of a no pets policy for several reasons.  First, it’s a very stressful event with many different sights, sounds, smells, and animals.  Second, while you may be a responsible pet parent many others are not.  We’ve had aggressive dogs neglected by their owners growl, bark, etc at the dogs in our guide dog booth.  Finally, it’s much better to just enjoy the Pet Expo rather than have to keep your full concentration on the behavior of your pet and on those around him.
  2. If you’re a volunteer and you bring a dog then keep a close eye on him.  We’ve never brought our “pet” dog to the expo, but we have volunteered and brought our guide dog pups.  If you are bringing a dog as a volunteer make sure the situation is not too stressful for your dog, be sure your dog is well-behaved, and keep your eye out for other dogs as some people won’t be as vigilant as you when it comes to controlling their dog.
  3. Don’t buy your tickets online through Ticketmaster.  You probably would have figured this one out on your own, but buying online through Ticketmaster will cost you an extra $5.10.  I’ve never had to wait in a long line nor have I ever witnessed the Pet Expo sell out.  As far as I can tell there is no reason to buy your ticket online unless you want to give Ticketmaster a few extra bucks.
  4. Research before you buy.  There are tons of great products at the OC Pet Expo.  Some are good deals and some are not.  Now that we all have smartphones it’s time to put them to good use.  Before buying that new doggy treadmill, cat training wheel, or hamster habitat why not do a quick search on Google or Amazon to find out if you really are getting the “best price”
  5. Bring your camera.  I know, everyone has smartphone with built in camera, but I’m talking about bringing your super, cool DSLR Camera.  Get some quality pics of the hundreds of adorable, adoptable puppies, kittens, cats, and dogs.  And please feel free to share your pics on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media accounts.  Every little bit helps and you may be the reason why that senior shepherd mix finds a new home.

Here’s a video we did with Dublin when we volunteered at the Guide Dogs of America booth at the OC Pet Expo a few years back.

That’s all I got for you today.  Anyone out there planning on going to America’s Family Pet Expo?  Do you have any tips for attending?  Tell us about it in the comment section below.

By the way, if you are going you might find me hanging around the Guide Dogs of America (GDA) booth.  I usually hop on over to relieve GDA volunteers to walk around and enjoy the expo.   My other two hotspots are the rescue and shelter dogs area especially Cuddly Canines (we volunteered as fosters for them many moons ago) and of course the Splash Dogs are a must see!

Hopefully see you all at the OC Pet Expo 2016!

Top Picks For Our Puppies

    We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
    We Like: Mighty Paw Naturals Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
    We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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  1. Hi Colby,
    We are planning to go to the Pet Expo. When will you be hanging around the Guide Dog booth? We’d like to meet up with you.

  2. Great points. I will have a booth at the Seattle Pet Expo; second year in a row. The “no pets” policy is a great idea. Although many people are great with their pets, it’s still a stressful day and I wouldn’t want to subject my dogs to all the activity.

    Our Pet Expo is still free, but the venue has grown so I wonder if they’ll start charging in upcoming years.

    And your tip about researching costs is so smart. These are still small businesses that need to make money to pay bills. Having a booth at the expo isn’t cheap and many of the visitors aren’t going to turn into loyal customers, so there’s no incentive to discount their costs for the Expo. For the best deals, stay until the end; vendors may offer discounts to save on packing time.

    1. That’s cool that you have a booth at the Seattle Pet Expo! Do you get a lot of interaction at your booth? There’s a free Pet Expo in our area called the SoCal Pet Expo. It’s not as big as America’s Family Pet Expo, but we try to go every year.

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