Every year we love to do a round up of all of the best christmas gifts for you and your dog. This year there is a bumper selection of gorgeous gifts available from a wide range of places.
The best way to see the range of over 100 christmas gifts for you and your dog is to pop over to our PINTEREST board where you will find images of all of the Christmas dog toys we have selected on our annual search of the internet.
You can link through to the site selling the gifts too but a word of warning...the popular ones will sell out fast so if you see something you like then our advice is to snap it up!
It is that time of year again, yes it's time for the biggest dog show in the world. If you are visiting we thought you might like our tips for visiting so here goes.
Wear comfortable shoes, the show takes place over five halls, it's huge, you will do a lot of walking so best to be prepared.
If you arrive early in the morning the halls can be quite cold as the dogs competing will have been arriving from 6am onwards and all the main doors are open...however by about lunchtime they will be very hot so best to wear layers so you can regulate your temperature.
If you are planning on visiting specific retail stands check out their location on the Crufts website using their Search for Retailer Stand page and try to plan your route. Remember the stand numbers have the hall number first then the actual stand number so if you are looking for stand 23 in hall one look for 1-23. Retail stands are located in all of the 5 halls so it is best to try to cover them off one hall at a time.
The halls are arranged in a U shape with Halls 1 and 5 being located on either side of the Main Entrance as shown on the diagram below. So if you are in Hall 1 and want to get to Hall 4 its quicker to walk out of Hall 1 straight across the main Piazza into Hall 5 then up the stairs to Hall 4 instead of walking all the way around the other halls.
In fact it is possible to access all of the halls via the Piazza and sometimes it is easier to walk out and around the Piazza instead of trying to battle your way through the crowds. This Map of the Piazza shows where lots of the food areas are located too.
Consider taking a small trolly style suitcase ( or a larger one of you plan on doing a lot of shopping) you can then take your own supply of water and even a sandwich or snack, although there are lots of outlets selling food, they are expensive and the queues can be off putting.
Most of the retail stands are open from 8.30 until 6.30 but if you want to visit a specific one best to plan your trip early morning or late afternoon, they all get very busy over lunchtime.
If you are mainly going for shopping then the Thursday and Friday are not as busy as the weekend when you will find there are lots more families visiting.
If you are planning to stay over in one of the hotels near the arena then be prepared for hotels full of dogs and doggie people and unfortunately massive queues for everything from the lifts to a drink at the bar. We have found that it is easier to order room service than to wait and wait and wait for service in the restaurants.
It is far better to book into one of the (much cheaper) hotels at the airport, there is a free shuttle link train between the airport and the NEC and there are lots of slightly more reasonably priced eating places at the airport terminal.
At the time of writing there are still some rooms available at the ETAP Hotel which is within walking distance to the airport terminal. But our best advice on this one is to book up for the next year as soon as you get back this year as all the special offers go really really quickly.
Viewing the competitions
If you want to visit the Obedience Competitions then these are held in the Arena in Hall 5
If you are going to see the Young Kennel Club Competitions this is the timetable for 2016.
Watch on TV
If you are not able to attend then you can watch live on the Crufts YouTube Channel.
The highlights from the show will also be available on More 4 and Channel 4 these are the programme times
Thursday 10th March: 18:30-21:00 Friday 11th March: 18:30-19:30
On Channel 4
Friday 11th March: 19:30-21:00 Saturday 12th March: 19:00-21:00 Sunday 13th March: 19:00-21:00
Whatever you do at Crufts we hope you enjoy your visit, we won't be there this year so say hello to all the woofers from us. And if you are not visiting watch out for special offers on our website which will be available from 7th to 13th March.
This week is a busy week at Dougal's Den as it is the annual visit to Spring Fair where we will be hunting down the latest gifts available for dog lovers. We will be at Spring Fair on Wednesday hoping to find some great new gift ideas for all you dog lovers ( and cat lovers out there ). Don't worry the shop is open as usual thanks to the lovely Molly and the dogs' dad who will be holding the fort while I make my way round the gazillions of stands at the NEC. We hope to find some card suppliers who can provide us with some lovely greetings cards both "from the dog" and "to the dog" and we will also be on the look out for some pet inspired stationery items as we know how much you all love to cheer up your desk or study with some pet related stuff. We will also be on hunt for some pet inspired signs as well as some cushions and throws with pawsitive appeal. We have been asked for kitchen items with a pet feel...tea towels, oven gloves so they are all on the list as well. We would love to find some pet inspired games, having seen the dog version of Monopoly hopefully we can track them down at the show. This time I will be taking along my trusty wheeled suitcase and looking a bit like an air hostess! Having been to this type of show before I know only too well how many leaflets, handouts and brochures I tend to come away with and while I am still recovering from the broken toe incident I think I need to make sure the carrying process as easy as possible. Of course even though it is a 'gift' show there are some pet specific suppliers there so we will be hunting them down to see if their products fit with the type of things we stock at Dougal's Den. Finally because we love to support our local businesses we are also on the lookout for our friends next door at Becalmed and Bo Belles opposite, we will no doubt come back with lots of lovely pampering gift product ideas as well as some beautiful baby gift items and kiddie stuff. It will be a long and a busy day, but hopefully a fruitful visit to the NEC. We can't wait to tell you all about the new gifts we find on our visit. Is there a pet inspired product you have been trying to find? Let us know by posting a comment and we will let you know if we find it!
For many of you it is now well and truly holiday time and you may be going away for a couple of weeks or maybe just a few days. We will be having a little holiday soon and we have had to get busy getting the holiday clothes out (mostly to see which one's still fit!) as well as some last minute shopping for holiday essentials. When we go away we have the usual list of instructions for the lovely Jacqui who looks after the pooches. The old boy is on lots of medication so we find ourselves writing out lots of instructions on when and how medication can be taken as well as the usual helpful notes to make sure that the dogs have a great time while we are away.
We found these lovely Pet Sitter Note Pads from RiverDogPrints and thought what a great idea! The note pads are available in Dog or Cat versions and have plenty of space to put all of the vital information that your pet sitter might need! They are also printed on 100% recycled paper and each pad has 50 pages. They measure 13.5cm x 21.5cm and are backed with sturdy cardboard. The note pads have space for the following information Dogs/Cats Name, Contact Info, Food & Feedings, Alternate Contact Info, Rooms/Furniture off-limits, Veterinarian Contact Info, Play/Excerise Needed, Permissions, Houses to Avoid on Walks, Medications, Grooming, Household Tasks, Notes. So you can go on holiday safe in the knowledge that all of the vital information your pet sitter will need to make sure your furry friend has a great holiday too. The note pads are available in our shop and have 10% off while stocks last on the complete River Dog Prints range!
Almost Easter and you still have not managed to get all of your easter gifts organised? This year instead of easter eggs why not have a look at our great gift selection for pet lovers. We have some gorgeous knitted dogs and cats from Ann Claire Petit which are suitable not only as gifts for dog lovers but also are totally child safe as they have no bits that can be pulled of by little fingers.Or how about Morris the useful Mule, a cute addition to any desk and is available in three colours, and he will even hold your pencil or pen in his mouth. If you are always forgetting where your keys or mobile phone is how about our Doorganizer, just hang it over a door handle and you will never leave home without your phone or keys again. Or how about some stylish stationery for dog or cat lovers? We have some handy note pads as well as sets of beautiful cards with lined envelopes. Finally if you are heading off for Easter and need to leave a note for the dog or cat sitter why not treat yourself to one of our Pet Sitter Note Pads you can leave all the relevant information your pet sitter will need to make sure your pooch or puss is well looked after while you are away. Our last day for posting out in time for Easter is the 3rd April, we will still process orders received after this date but they may not arrive in time for Easter. We will be closed from on Friday 6th to Tuesday 10th April, although you can still order from the website, we will not be processing orders until the 10th April. Whatever you get up to at Easter we hope you have a lovely time, oh and remember do not give your dog's chocolate and make sure all those Easter Eggs are out of paws reach!
We are always very excited to find a new dog toy to test and when we heard that one of our favourite brands Kyjen had introduced a new concept in dog toys for chewers well we had to get some in stock. They are called seamsters and the concept is simple, combine a rubber dog toy with a rawhide chew for dogs who love to chew. So you have a rubber toy, shaped like a bone or a rugby ball, or American Football depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on. The rubber shapes have strategically placed slots which you then thread thin rawhide strips through. Then give to your pooch to investigate, we choose Ozzy McDougal for this test as he is generally more interested in the chew type toys. He has the small weave bone seamster toy in his paws and as you can see he is kept pretty busy with the toy. He spent quite a while trying to get the rawhide bits off the toy and even after the strip was removed he was still quite interested in the toy. The best thing was that he could only get little bits of the rawhide chew off the toy at any one time making it a much safer option, than just giving him the rawhide chew on is own. We have the full range in stock as well as the replacement rawhide strips designed to complement the toys. The recommendation is to soak the specially designed rawhide strips in water to let them soften, rethread the toy and leave it to harden before letting your dog have the toy again for safety reasons. However we also found that the very thin strips of hide chew available in supermarkets or pet shops will sometimes fit depending on their thickness, but they will not be as easy to thread. An added bonus with the football shaped toy is that the two halves are actually threaded together and there is space inside to place a few smaller treats or pieces of dried kibble, making it an even more interesting toy for your curious pooch. Once again Kyjen have come up with a great toy range which we are sure will prove very popular with all of our doggie customers.
With Halloween and Bon Fire night just around the corner we have been on the look out for ways to calm and relax the dogs. We came across Relax My Dog which is calming music mixed with high pitched frequencies to capture the dog's attention. The guys at Relax My Dog believe that the music and frequencies used can help dogs overcome phobias, reduce stress and generally lower anxiety levels. They also have blended some environmental sounds into the tracks so that you dog will become more comfortable when they hear these sounds outside your home. We have started playing the free track which is available on youtube to the pooches when they have their quiet time after the morning walk, and again in the evening when Mr Ozzy McDougal usually wants to go for a crazy run around. The results are quite amazing, they both just stare at the speaker for a while and then they sit down, closely followed by lying down, and then some gentle snoring takes over. We have even played it at bed time and find the classical music quite relaxing for humans as well. So if you have a dog who you know is going to be anxious this halloween then why not give the freebies available from Relax My Dog a try over the next week and who knows you might have a more relaxing Halloween.
Given the state of health in the Dougal's Den office at the moment I though it was apt to show you some fun products that we found via one of our twitter followers. Most of this week has been spent within 5 meters of a toilet for us as the flu I have seems to have upset my tum as well! Whilst not in the smallest room I have had the mop bucket close by as poor Dougal has has a poorly bot too. So in between sneezing and mopping up and bathing Dougal after a very bad episode on the bed finding these amusing Dogs on Bogs brought a smile to cheer us up. Dogs on Bogs supply novelty toilet seats something that would bring a smile to anyone visiting the smallest room in the house!
We hope they make you smile!
What a great start to the weekend with all of this lovely sunshine, birds singing, flowers blooming, and bees buzzing. So how about a Buzzy Bee Puzzle toy competition?If you have not seen these great plush puzzle toys from Kyjen, let me explain how they work... basically they are a hide and seek type of toy where your pooch has to find the squeaky bees hidden inside the funky yellow hive. If your dog has not encountered this type of toy before then here are some hot tips to get the fun started. 1. Your dog will be most attracted to the Hide a Bee if your scent is on the toy ( this is true of all toys). So our top tip for transferring your scent to the toy is to place the toy in your wash basket of already worn dry clothes for a minimum of 12 hours before introducing it to your pooch. 2. Let your dog see the squeaking bees first by removing them from the hive let your pooch have a good old play with the bees, maybe throw a bee and get them to fetch it a few times. Ok with me so far? 3. Once your dog is engaged and interested in the bees, place them back inside the hive. Squeak them a few times after they have been placed inside and then you can let the fun begin. We always say "find it" to our furry pals at this point! 4. After your dog has successfully removed the bees from the hive replace them repeatedly for maximum, fun entertainment and skill development. 5. If your pooch needs a little encouragement to play with the toy or is very food driven then why not place a few small treats inside the toy for them to find. These toys are a really great way to have some interactive play with your dog which is different from the usual fetch or tug games you may play so why not check out the full range. Ok back to the competition! All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning a Hide a Bee toy is to finish this sentence You know summer has arrived when........ Enter by posting a comment on this blog post. Competition ends at midnight on the 10th of April so get cracking. Winner will be selected at random and this competition is open to everyone not just UK residents. Whatever you are up to this weekend have a fun.
What a great way to start the week! National Pet Month runs from 2nd April until 2nd May and all over the country there are events where people will be celebrating life with their pets. There is lots of information on events taking place and how you can join in on the their Website. For Our Customers As part of our celebration of all things furry and fluffy we are giving all of our online customers 10% off all of the products in out store until midnight on the 2nd May. All you have to do to get the discount on your order is to input the code NATIONALPET on the checkout page and your 10% discount will be applied. Medical Detection Dogs We are also supporting a very worthy cause during National Pet Month who are Medical Detection Dogs a great charity who train detection dogs so that they can detect the odour of cancer in humans. The charity also provide Medical Alert Dogs who live alongside their human companions helping them manage day to day life threatening conditions by detecting minute changes in body odour. These include Diabetes blood sugar alert dogs trained for individuals coping with unstable Type 1 Diabetes. They also train dogs for other life threatening conditions such as severe pain seizures and Addison`s Disease. Alert dogs warn their owners and bring vital medical supplies and get assistance if required. We are supporting this great charity through a partnership with @Wildpaw and we have both pledged to get fit, healthy and shed some flab in time for summer as part of the SkinnyPaws challange. You can check out the Skinny Paws weekly challenges and if you want to support us you can donate here. So I think it is going to be a very busy April for all of us!
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