Pittsburgh Pet Expo features weiner dog races

November 24, 2018

Rocco Lamanna -- in his 15th year as producer of the Pittsburgh Pet Expo -- has seen the annual animal extravaganza grow by leaps and bounds.

“It’s exponentially bigger than it was in 2004, the first year,” says the event manager. “The show took up 80,000 feet then; and now, at 200,000 square feet, it takes up almost the entire main floor” of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Animal enthusiasts, pet owners and their pets (on leashes) are welcome at the three-day weekend event Nov. 2-4, which features 300 vendors displaying the latest products and services for all sorts of pets.

The cat’s meow

One unique new pet product that’s coming to the show from Japan is the cat’s meow.

Toletta, the “smart cat health litter box” developed under supervision of a Japanese veterinarian, measures output and weight to monitor for possible signs of disease. Owners can check collected data on their smart phone app.

Events for pets and people

This year’s Pet Expo will feature some new fun activities designed for pets and their people, including UpDog Challenge, a competition on Friday and Saturday that combines dogs, their owners and Frisbees in a race to accumulate the most points in a variety of games of 4WayPlay, Frizgility, ThrowNGo and Freestyle, with finals held Sunday.

Dachshunds will get a workout in the Wiener Dog Racing Federation-sanctioned Doxie Downs National Dachshund Races to benefit Dachshund charities, while North American Diving Dogs will return with a demonstration of the performance sport of dock diving. For competitive rabbits and their owners, there’s a new agility competition, Rabbit Hopping, modeled after horse show jumping, in which bunnies must clear jumps of various heights without knocking down the cross bars.

Lamanna says another event, Steel City Weight Pull, is a competition for the big dogs. Sanctioned by the World Wide Weight Pull Organization, the contest is similar to the World’s Strongest Man Competition for human power lifters, in which trained canines pull a weighted cart in single-eliminations until the strongest dog remains.

Bird guy

Kenny Sprouse of Tarentum, known as “That Guy With the Birds,” will be on hand to share his knowledge of parrots and other birds from around the world. He will introduce attendees to Becca, a Hyacinth Macaw; Stoney, an African Grey; Saraphina, a Corella Cocatoo; Beethoven, a Blue and Gold Macaw; and more of his feathered friends.

The Pet Expo also will include “Santa Paws” free photos with Santa, Ask the Vet with local veterinarians answering pet owners’ questions and providing microchipping services for $25 per pet, and City Vets veterinarians offering free five-minute healthy pet check consultations for dogs and cats.

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