Sunday, August 7, 2016

Highlights of the Sydney Dog's Lover Show 2016 with Dr Liz, Tegan and Dirk

This year was the third time Dirk, Tegan and I went to the Sydney Dog's Lover Show.  We had purchased the tickets online back in March, but we will make a point next year to wait for the Mother's Day sales of tickets (as even though we bought the early bird tickets, we could've got them at an extra discount, and saved even more). 

From back to front - Dirk, Dr Liz and Tegan - We have arrived

The morning started with no Sunday morning sleep in, as we wanted to get there fairly early - for ease of parking, and in the hope of avoiding the big crowds (it was a shoulder to shoulder crush last year).  Our plan worked!

There are two halls packed with stalls and displays.  I wanted to check out GPS trackers, novel protein diets (as Piper is food allergic), as well as find out what was new in the dog lover's world.

Needless to say, my wallet was a little bit lighter, and the car boot filled by the time we left in the afternoon.

We were impressed to see several large maps of Sydney, listing all of the dog friendly places available.  If we were to do a similar list for the Illawarra region, I can guarantee it would be a very very short list. 
"There's a great place near Appin", says Tegan. No 72, Mary Bates Reserve.
Another place to add to our "Dog friendly places to visit"

We stopped by many stands, and spoke to many people, but will share highlights from a few. It is surprising the pet focused technology that is out there, such as GPS trackers, 360 degree interactive web cameras including some which do laser pointing games with the cats, to automatic tennis ball throwers, plus much much more. 

So what do I think about these things?  Technology is great, but I do think that it should be used to improve interactions, rather than to replace them.  I can see that with some people, they will use this to justify not taking the dog for a walk, or spending time with them at home.

 As for the laser pointing for the cats - a great point that was made to me was that the cats need to be rewarded with a successful hunt after such a game (a treat/reward), otherwise it will only increase their frustration/anxiety rather than reduce it.  In these situations, then, watching the cats only gives us enjoyment in flicking the laser out of the cat's way, rather than stimulation for the cat itself. We didn't see anything that would allow remote control release of treats/rewards.

Petrek 3G is a GPS Pet Tracker that caught my eye last year.  It is small, fast charging unit, that you can automate updates to your phone on where your pet is.  It is a "watch this space" as we research GPS trackers (this one as well as  few others).  As many of the lost pets we see are regulars, we do see GPS technology a huge help.

Where is the best doggy daycare? or dog boarding place for your loved baby?  Even for us, it has been trial and error for Piper.  That is always a hard one for us to answer, as each of us have personal preferences on what we like and don't like about places.  And I admit to being a shocker - I cried the one time I had to drop Piper off (I was the same with my human kids too at preschool), so now only Dirk or Tegan drop her off at doggy daycare.

We caught up with  a review site for pet boarding and doggie daycare places, to help pet owners
narrow down their choices, based on other loving pet owners. 

My opinion on review sites are that I will only leave positive ones -  If I have something negative to say, I will say it directly to the business involved. 

Tegan filling out a review on a local Doggy Daycare!  She gave it a high score (positive reviews are the best) 

There were lots of stands that sold pet food, pet treats and pet clothing.  When we visited stands that sold supplements, it surprised me how similar the stories were - "my pet had xyz condition, I researched abc, and came up with the this amazing one of a kind product which my vet claims should not work but it did. It has cured my pet.  " with the suggestion that if we spend $59.95 purchasing the shampoo/multivitamin/lotion it can do to the same thing for our pet.

I have to admit, though, we did purchase some of these as we are the frustrated owners of a very itchy dog, who is under exceptional control when she is on medication, but if she misses a few days, is extremely itchy.  It might well be the thing that forces us to develop something for Piper ourselves.  Sheer frustation of what hasn't worked has been the inspiration for others, Piper is worth our efforts to find the right thing for her.
Tegan choosing the right sized antler to try for Piper - I admit I am not a fan, but will remain open minded on this one.

It was interesting for us to note the number of food stands that had boxes of fresh food in a box - a box filled with carrots, kale, parsley, blueberries (and more) to indicate the freshness of their food. It was interesting to see how many put a claim in for being biologically appropriate, yet few advertised themselves as nutritionally complete (which means that it could be fed exclusively). 

One of the foods though, that we are interested in, is a novel protein one, developed with a veterinary dermatologist. Their BARF diet, however, would not work for Piper as she is allergic to fish, but the novel protein rolls look like they are worth trying out (to give some variety to her currently restricted diet).
Dr Liz and Vet Nurse Tegan with the novel protein rolls of dog food.

On to a more positive note - we visited a book stand, and bought some more books for the animalclinic library, including a signed copy of a recipe book on cupcakes for dogs.  I will go through the book tomorrow, and find out which ones we can do for Piper, and will share some online too (only the ones with the author's permission).
"Stand, Stay" said this dog's Handler.  Very well behaved dog (for a statue) 

Serious faced Tegan with her sunglass wearing military dog (in the safety of Sydney).

The military working dog stand is always a highlight for us, as we in awe of the dedication of all of our animals that have gone to war in the past, and support our soldiers now.  We were introduced to a new (only 5 years old) rescue group that rehabilitates dogs and matches them with diggers and their families, especially those who suffer from PTSD.  

And I cried. I know of many people with PTSD, and know first hand how our animals help them cope through they unswerving, unconditional, love.  Of course we made a donation, and they are now on my radar for future fund raising efforts.

I caught up with the Department of Local Government Stand, and am pleased to announce the official launch of the NSW Pet Registry website.  We have the brochures, and free pet tags at the vets for everyone (whilst stocks last).

 Finally, pet microchip databases in NSW has hit the digital age - its been a long time coming, but hopefully, it will mean that more pets make it back home (and that the errors of the previous system are rectified).
Pet Registration goes digital - all pet owners now have online access to their pet's microchip information!

It is interesting as a veterinarian, to look at things from a pure pet owners point of view.  Alot of the stands sold products that focused on joint pain, digestive health and itchy pets. I agree that these are serious problems, but there were no stands with any focus on dental care, which is consistently in the top 3 of diseases affecting our pets (of all types - dogs, cats, horses, rabbits etc).

We were there for hours.  My wallet was a bit thinner by the end of the day, and the boot of  my car filled with bags of goodies, most for the vet hospital (and some for Piper).  As a person who doesn't actually like shopping, I never mind spending money on my vet hospital and my animals (and yes, my kids too).
Shopping spree, animal lover style.

I am Dr Liz, the mad vet.

I went to the Dog Lovers show with a specific thing in mind - to see what "off the general veterinary radar" products are there, that are targeted towards you (and me) as a pet owner.

 Looking forward to next year's Dog Lover's Show (and wish there was a cat one!).