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LI expo to unleash weekend of fun for pets

Lindsay Lage of the New York Bully Crew

Lindsay Lage of the New York Bully Crew greets Stax, a pit bull mix up for adoption at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter during the Long Island Pet Expo. Credit: Barry Sloan

You can make your dog’s day with a slow, activity-filled walk through the Long Island Pet Expo, which returns to Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood over the March 7 and 8 weekend.

Up to 1,000 pets (mainly dogs but also cats, rabbits, parrots and the occasional snake) are expected to accompany owners to this year’s expo, says organizer Karen Garetano of Family Pet Shows in Huntington Station. As long as they’re well behaved and leashed, pets can roam about sampling fresh homemade treats and modeling the latest leashes and bandanna looks. Active pups can leap and bound over a Westminster-style agility course.

Here are five ways to spoil your little darlin’ at the expo’s 100-plus vendors.

Attend a Treat-Tasting

Online retailers will be setting up booths selling homemade treats made especially for pets. Among the Long Island companies on hand will be Rocky Point’s My Human ‘N’ Me, which specializes in fruit center Jerkey Bites, and Natural Hounds dog treats of St. James.

Among those offering free samples: online retailer Mika and Sammy’s Gourmet Pet Treats of Philadelphia, which will be setting out bowls of their homemade Jerky Treats and Smoked Beef Marrow Bones.

“Each dog that visits can come up and get a sample,” says proprietor Erik Senders.

Feed Him Italian Pastry

Peanut butter cannolis will be among the delectable treats set out in trays by Me & My Dog Pet Bakery of Jamison, Pennsylvania.

“It looks like a bakery for people,” proprietor Tim Robson says of the array of goodies, which cost from $2 to $16 and range from empanadas to a lobster tail meat cookie.

Samples are free, says Robson, who produces a scrumptious sample whenever a hungry hound shows up at his booth.

Get Her to Jump for Joy

The DogLoversDays Lure Course is such a popular traveling attraction that dog-owners go from show-to-show so their pets can run on it, says course owner Mark Gross.     

The course is a four-lane track. Your dog can chase a motorized mouse made of paper over hurdles, through hoops and tunnels.  

“On the last lane there’s an agility bar they jump over, so you can get a photo of your dog in midair,” Gross says.

Try a Long Island-Made Leash

Want to upgrade from a traditional leash to something comfier? Lead Me Leashes, a Nesconset-based online company, will fit your dog with a double-braided rope harness handmade in small and large sizes and in 20 colors. All of the company’s harnesses and leashes are made at the owners’ home, from raw materials manufactured in the United States, says Lead Me Leashes proprietor Sarah DeRosa.

To ensure human and canine customer satisfaction, “We recommend a test drive” before buying, says DeRosa, so your dog can show off his or her new ensemble on a walk around the floor.

If your pet isn’t feline or canine …

Rabbit owners can bring Fluffy for a training session on the expo’s hopping course. The training is “a way for the owner and rabbit to bond,” says Tammy Steele of Adventure Bunny Rabbit Hopping in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The company also sets up an agility course for Guinea pigs. 

WHAT | 11th annual Long Island Pet Expo

WHERE | Suffolk Federal Credit Union Arena at the Michael J. Grant Campus of Suffolk County Community College, Brentwood

WHEN | 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., March 7, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 8

TICKETS | $15/adults; $6/children 4-12, 3 and under free.

MORE INFO | 631-423-0620, FamilyPetShows.com

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