AUSTIN (KXAN) - Four-legged friends and their owners, along with celebrities of the animal world, will gather on Saturday for the 2012 Austin Pet Expo.
Shorty Rossi, star of "Pit Boss" on Animal Planet will attend, along with his popular canine sidekick, Hercules. Rossi will be available to sign autographs throughout the day. The official spokesman for Amazing Pet Expos, he also works with Shorty's Pit Bull Rescue, a charity he formed that rescues, rehabilitates and places neglected and abused pit bulls into loving, nurturing homes.
More than 125 local exhibitors, all-day entertainment and adoptable pets will participate in the free event. Veterinarians, groomers, trainers, retailers and organizations will show their products and services.
The Pet Expo runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Palmer Events Center, located at 900 Barton Springs Road.
Tips for attending with pets
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 many people at the event. Pets will be exposed to dogs barking, people speaking loudly on microphones, crowds clapping and attendees cheering. You know your pet best -- please use your best judgment to ensure your pet will enjoy the expo just as much as you will.
2. Review safe dog greeting behavior with children before attending the show. Staff members will carefully watch the crowds and pets to ensure everyone stays safe, but it only takes a second for a dog bite to occur. Remind children 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. All pets must be current on all shots or owners should plan to have their pet's immunizations updated at the event; low-cost vaccinations and microchipping are offered on-site. The immunization requirement only applies to dogs, cats and ferrets. A rabies tag is acceptable as proof of immunization, as are blood titer results for those pet owners who don't immunize annually.
4, 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. Attendees wil be required to sign a pet waiver at the entrance, or pet owners can avoid waiting in line by visiting the Austin Pet Expo website to fill a pet waiver form out in advance.
5. 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!
6. 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.
7. Take note of the pet-potty areas located indoors. 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.
8. Pet water stations will be scattered throughout the expo 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.
9. 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.
10. 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 expo for a few moments of quiet -- if you plan to stay all day.
11. 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 vomit a few hours later.
12. If you have a small or tiny dog, you may want to be prepared to either carry it or have a stroller available. There will be large and super large dogs at the event that some small pet owners feel overwhelmed and small pets may unintentionally get stepped on.
13. Those attending the expo with the intent of adopting new animals are advised to bring a crate or car restraint, or be prepared to purchase something at the show. Staff on hand will not have boxes or crates for borrowing. Cage/pet carriers may sell out. Bring one with you or plan to arrive early so you can be sure a pet restraint is available for purchase.
14. The asphalt throughout the parking lot can be extremely hot. It could easily burn pets' feet if they have to walk across it. Please consider putting booties or some sort of protective footwear on your four-legged friend.
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