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Top 8 Highlights From America’s Family Pet Expo

Surf’s up: Dogs showed off their surfing skills with Lucy Pet Products’ Gnarly Crankin’ K-9 Wave Maker.

America’s Family Pet Expo, held April 22-24 at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., and organized by the World Pet Association, offered the perfect opportunity to take in Southern California’s exciting pet-loving community. Here are my favorite highlights from the show:

1. Wiener Dog Racing: Some dachshunds took the sport more seriously than others and could hardly wait to get out of the starting gate, while others made a slow lap to the finish line or even managed to get turned around and traipse back to the starting gate. Regardless, it was a joy to watch these four-legged competitors and their antics. For those who didn’t get enough weenie dog racing at America’s Family Pet Expo, the Old World Beer Garden in Huntington Beach holds these races once a month and every Sunday during Oktoberfest.

2. Great American Petting Zoo: With its awesome variety of animals, both children and adults were reluctant to leave this petting zoo. There were goats—including several adorable kids—chickens, wallabies, llamas, ducks, potbellied pigs, deer, sheep, a cow and a donkey.

3. Gnarly Crankin’ K-9 Wave Maker: Lucy Pet Products’ wave maker is touring the U.S. in search of the best surfing dogs, with the winners to appear on the 2017 Lucy Pets Tournament of Roses parade float. The canines at the surf dog tryouts took to it like pros, with crowds cheering as they rode the waves.

4. Repticon: The reptile show and sale was the perfect opportunity to take home a new herp, or just learn about the various species. Vendors were on hand to offer education, and many allowed visitors to hold or touch the animals.

Ringo, a corgi from the neighboring Sturdi Products booth, hijacked The International Cat Association’s cat kissing booth.

5. Purr Pourri of Kats: The International Cat Association show featured more than 60 breeds competing for top honors, in addition to educational seminars and a cat agility course. I had the most fun strolling the aisles and viewing the competitors at rest in their shelters—most of the owners were more than happy to show off their cats and tell me why they had fallen in love with a particular breed.

6. Aquatic Experience: This mini version of the annual show in Chicago featured vendor booths, a touch tank, large freshwater and saltwater display tanks that made it easy to imagine adding an aquarium to the home, and a kids’ aquarium contest.

Los Angeles-based Bow Wow Dog Houses showcased eco-friendly doghouses that rival some of the best real estate on the human market.

7. Pet adoptions: America’s Family Pet Expo featured hundreds of animals looking for a new home, and I’m betting there were several hundred families that just couldn’t leave that weekend without taking home a new furry family member.

8. Splash Dogs: The dogs weren’t the only ones getting wet at the Splash Dogs competition. Those of us watching from the end of the pool were met by a refreshing spray of water when these impressive dogs jumped into the pool—with some making it more than 20 feet before they hit the water.

Carrie ​Brenner is senior editor for Pet Product News International. She has spent several years researching new products with the help of her cat, Amelia.

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