Global Pet Expo

By the time you read this, I will on my second day of a challenging feat of endurance: Attempting to walk every aisle of Global Pet Expo, the country’s largest pet products trade show.


By the time you read this, I will on my second day of a challenging feat of endurance: Attempting to walk every aisle of Global Pet Expo, the country’s largest pet products trade show. This is where pet products companies come to set up elaborate booths to show what they are making and selling these days. All the pet food companies and veterinary pharmaceutical companies will be there with gigantic, elaborate booths. Manufacturers of every type of pet gear imaginable will be there, from mass-producers of leashes, harnesses, collars, toys, beds, and so on, to tiny little mom-and-pop businesses who are there with inventions of their own creation: spill-proof bowls, reflective rain jackets, identification tags, bait bags – you name it. Pet supply store owners and managers come to find unique, useful, and/or profitable products to carry in their stores, and, often, to sign orders for what they will be selling in late 2024 and early 2025.

I’ve been to other large pet products trade shows before. Over a decade ago, I twice attended a now-defunct pet products show, the H. H. Backer show in Chicago. On my first trip there, I was determined to avoid engaging in conversation with any company representatives until I had walked the entire show; I thought I would take notes on that walk about which booths I wanted to return to on the second day to talk to the representatives. When I discovered, late in that first day, that there were two floors, and it had taken me six hours to merely walk up and down the aisles of just one floor, without stopping to pick up literature or ask questions of anyone about anything, I was momentarily defeated. I had to completely revise my tactics, or I wouldn’t have had a chance to to talk to anyone there.

In the last 10 years I’ve gone to Las Vegas a few times to attend SuperZoo, a trade show that is held in the Las Vegas Convention Center, a facility with 3.2 million square feet of available space. That’s where I learned that I can’t make eye contact with even a fraction of the people in the booths that I walk by there, because if I do, they will try to talk to me and promote their products, and I’ve never get through the whole show. And even though I would like to be friendly and encouraging to entrepreneurs who are promoting products that they’ve put their life saving and hearts into creating, after all these years of looking for unique and particularly useful gear for dogs and dog owners, I am a bit of a snob. There aren’t that many truly cool new and innovative products out there for me to recommend to you!

One year at SuperZoo, when I was planning a feature on products for dogs that contained CBD, I started picking up samples and literature from every booth I passed by that was making and selling supplements or treats (or shampoos or essential oils or candles) that contained CBD. After about 40 companies, I gave up and started fixing my attention on only those companies who could show me evidence that they had been around for five years or more. There were so many people jumping into that market that it was obvious that many of them would be out of business in that highly competitive market niche within a year.

And don’t get me started on folks who were selling a line of dog treats from special recipes they developed in order to help their old special-needs dog. Were they aware that there are dozens and dozens of people with nearly identical stories and products? How did they really hope to distinguish themselves from the 50 other super-nice people who were also making dog cookies? Ack!

But I love it when I spot something cool that I’ve never seen before, or have never seen done in that particular way. I’ll never forget my excitement when I first saw the unique mattress in the Snoozer Forgiveness Dog Sofa (which we promoted in our Gear of the Year 2017 edition) or the quick-fastening magnetic buckles on Curli’s Belka Comfort Harness (Gear of the Year 2022).

Global Pet Expo is being held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida – a facility with 7 million square feet of event space. There are 1,100 companies exhibiting their wares at the Expo and I’ve only got two days to hunt among them for the coolest new products for dogs and dog owners; wish me luck!


  1. Omg…I wish you energy and skeechers or the most comfortable walking shoes you can imagine…and a travel tote on wheels so you don’t have to carry all the literature you pick up. Hope you take time to eat and rest….Be sure to check out the Peabody which is now a Hilton maybe…if they still have the B Line Diner it was terrific….above all, try to have fun and save your receipts…for you it is a tax deduction:-) Is this open to the public as well?

  2. It would be soooooo fun to see All The New Things, buuuut I’d have a really hard time passing by booths that sell *ahem* aversive equipment without shooting them a side-eye glance….

    At the Houston Dog Show a few years ago, I saw one booth selling sneaky prong collars with the outside covered in a very lovely brocade material so you couldn’t really see the prongs. I very helpfully turned a bunch inside out so people could see what they were promoting.