It’s time to let the cat out of the bag… the National Pet Show, sponsored by Petsurance from The PDSA, is back for its sixth year. It returns to Birmingham’s NEC on the Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 November.
Bigger, better and furrier than ever, The National Pet Show will showcase so much more than just pups and pussycats. Tagging along will be everything from reptiles to rabbits, ponies to parrots and goldfish to guinea pigs, just to start!
It’s fun for all the family as animal lovers great and small can learn about a myriad of species and breeds – as well as getting the chance to stroke them and take selfies with them along the way.
There’ll be enthralling educational talks from experts plus ongoing animal demonstrations while the displays will have visitors clapping, cheering, and even joining in.
Family Fur Tunes
Brand new this year is ‘Family Fur Tunes’. One of the highlights of the show, it will see family teams led by Autumnwatch presenter Michaela Strachan and TV vet Rory Cowlam. Both sides will be invited to ‘pet their wits’ against each other in a hilarious quickfire challenge that tests their animal knowledge. They’ll compete, twice a day, with different families in each slot. Would-be contestants must register in advance online for a chance to win a place.
The SuperVet – Noel Fitzpatrick
On Saturday The SuperVet, AKA Professor Noel Fitzpatrick will give a talk, especially for children, from the incredible Noel’s Ark set. Britain’s Got Talent’s Lucy Heath will show off her training miracles, not just with dogs, but cats this time too. Visitors should keep their eyes peeled for other famous faces – and famous furries – as further names will be announced nearer the date of the show.
Guinness World Records
The Guinness World Records team will be measuring, testing and recording a jaw-dropping parade of pets in a live show where each will attempt to secure a new record. They’ll be bringing along the UK’s tallest dog and the most agile agility pooch, along with other extraordinary critters. The fun continues with a number of current record holders who’ll be demonstrating the amazing feats that secured them a place in Guinness’s hall of fame.
Normally the domain of serious enthusiasts only, the general public can ‘borrow a dog’ to try the frenetic sport of flyball, where lightning-fast, super-experienced four-legged athletes clear hurdles, catch a tennis ball, flip around and hurtle back to the start of the course, all while racing another dog alongside. It’s true high octane Fido fun!
What’s on – Activity Arena
The Activity Arena will once again be a huge draw at the show. Stunt animals will amaze the crowds as they demonstrate the kind of training that’s won them parts in blockbusters of stage and screen. In School4Dogs top trainers will strut their stuff with precision trained charges, while Temptation Alley promises to be a true claw-biter of an event: dogs will run the gauntlet of toys, treats and all manner of tempting titbits, with uproarious consequences!
Animal Rescue Barn
With a focus as always on rehoming unwanted and unloved pets, the show’s very own Animal Rescue Barn, sponsored by Sleepeezee, has partnered with a number of wonderful rescue charities. Together they aim to introduce as many animals as possible over the weekend to new owners – and their ‘furever’ home. Experts and ‘pet matchmakers’ will be on hand to find out more about visitors’ lifestyles, then guide them on their potential choice of pet. Sadly there’s always a need and even former battery hens and rabbits will be up for adoption. This heartwarming feature is not to be missed.
Dogs with Jobs
This year’s National Pet Show welcomes Dogs with Jobs back again. These remarkable dogs carry out vital jobs for their owners and trainers. Their ‘careers’ span police dogs who sniff out criminal evidence, search and rescue dogs who locate those lost, trapped or injured in dangerous situations and assistance dogs who provide life-changing help for people with disabilities. The line-up is completed with super-chilled therapy dogs who work in hospitals and nursing homes to comfort those in need, and in schools, helping children to read.
The Canine Catwalk will delight visitors with stunning dogs of all shapes and sizes. They’ll be walked by their doting owners while the show’s compere grills them on their characteristics and care. More than 70 dog breeds will be present at the show and each has their own personality types and needs.
There’ll be a special focus on seldom-seen ‘vulnerable’ breeds too: those in danger of dying out. It’s all about creating awareness, showing would-be owners how to look after them, and hopefully pulling them back from the brink.
Visitors can get papped (or is it pupped?!) over at the Hound Hangout. There they’ll have the chance to meet some of the UK’s most famous Insta-pooches from social media. Come join the fanbase!
All About . . .
The show’s ‘All About’ Theatres are packed with sessions on responsible ownership and specific care requirements for different pets. With feline facts and canine case studies as standard, visitors can learn about more unusual pets too, including reptiles, spiders, bugs and lizards… who will dare venture close?
Dogs, cats, ‘small furries’ and more will all have their own special ‘villages’. Visitors can get up close and personal with different varieties and find out more about how best to care for them…
Exotic breeds will be on show in the Cat Village, sponsored by Hill’s. This year the National Pet Show once again plays host to The International Cat Show; a championship exhibition of cat royalty where the country’s finest blue-blooded pedigrees battle it out to be crowned best of breed.
Small Furries Village
The Small Furries Village, sponsored by Burgess Pet Care, stars rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, chinchillas, degus (small, sociable rodents from Chile) and more. The enchanting Secret Rabbit Garden is the ‘must-see’ central feature here. This specially built environment reveals endless ‘enriching’ activities that keep rabbits mentally and physically happy and healthy. Mounds, multiple tunnels and entrances, hollow logs, peepholes and more… it’s bunny heaven.
The Animal Village, sponsored by Fluval and Exo Terra, is home to the bigger beasties, including alpacas, donkeys, Shetland ponies and miniature horses. Smaller creatures there include ferrets and little-known pouch rats from the Gambia, a species so intelligent they’ve been trained to sniff out landmines.
All about the birds
There’s also a magical bird section, from endearing budgies to stunning parrots, some with truly remarkable vocabularies; one can say “chocolate”, mimic a chicken and even blow raspberries!
From the birds to the bees… there’s an interactive beekeeping display to highlight the importance of these vital pet pollinators – and our fragile environment. And visitors mustn’t forget to explore the watery wonderland of the fish and aquatics section!
For little ones there’s even more fun: the Kids Zone offers animal talks, story sessions, book signings, arts and crafts and much more besides.
For the pet – or the owner – who has everything, there’s some serious Christmas shopping on offer. Amazing gift ideas will be on display, from ‘stuff you need, to stuff you didn’t even know existed’. The Marketplace area will be stocking filler heaven, with opportunities to pick up personalised treats for animals or animal lovers alike.
What you need to know
More on the National Pet Show can be found at www.thenationalpetshow.com and on social media at:
Location and opening hours:
- Hall 4, The National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham
- Saturday 2nd November – 9:30am – 5:00pm
- Sunday 3rd November – 9:30am to 5:00pm
- Tickets are available from https://thenationalpetshow.seetickets.com/tour/national-pet-show or by calling 08712 200260
o Ticket prices:
- Adults – £19.90
- Family: 2 adults & 2 children – £16.00 (total £64.00)
- Child aged 6 to 16 – £15.50
- Senior citizen 60+ – £ 17.80
- Student – £17.50
o Please note booking fees apply
o Carers and personal assistants for visitors with mental or physical health conditions go free