For many dog owners a trip to Crufts is much more than a day out at ‘the world’s most famous dog show’; aside from the main show ring, Discover Dogs and various other attractions throughout the day, it is also an opportunity to do some serious shopping. There are over 500 trade stands where you can find everything from the latest innovative dog toys to fully-fitted mobile grooming vans for sale!
The trade stands are spread across five halls so our first tip is to pick up a Show Guide when you arrive. The momentum of the crowds and various dogs wandering around can be very distracting (who can resist a Cavalier cuddle?), it’s very easy to miss a stand even if you are looking for it all day.
Getting from one end of the arena to the other can take a while and the last thing that you want to do is realise that the stall you really wanted to visit is in hall 1 when you get to hall 5! Browsing and deciding what to buy can also take a tremendous amount of time. Lots of people tend to have an idea of which stalls they want to visit and what they want to find before they arrive and will put together a specific list with the hall and stall numbers on it - this is a very good idea! You can also find this information on the Crufts website prior to your visit.
Paws across Britain’s Guide to Shopping at Crufts | Our Top Picks for 2018
I love shopping and can’t resist the opportunity to spoil Elsa...The retailers pull out all the stops at Crufts, so you can often find special offers on big brands or exclusive sneak peaks of new items. Certain things like professional grooming products are hard for us to find in regular pet shops or dog boutiques so I take the opportunity to stock up on a few things, but always like to throw a few luxuries into my shopping bag for Elsa too!
Here’s what we bought this year (grouped by hall number and stand):
Transgroom | Hall 1- Stand 114
Professional grooming products including the Pet Silk Range which smells absolutely gorgeous! We’ve been using this range for a couple of years now and it always gives Elsa’s coat an extra boost, especially in winter. (Read our full Pet Silk review here.)
Lily’s Kitchen | 1-116
Amazing range of high-quality treats and makers of Elsa’s ultimate favourite- the Crispy Pork Bites, essentially pork scratchings for dogs! They have recently released a new range of puppy treats which are similar to the venison sausages, but cut up into little pieces. These are great to use as a high-reward treat when training. We also got some Beef Gnaws which last long time, Elsa really savours them!
Guide Dogs | 1-126
We are huge supporters of Guide Dogs so we couldn’t pass this stand without stopping to say hello. They have a range of plush toys and accessories for sale so we picked up a cute little puppy for Elsa. It actually looks like Lexi, the Guide Dog puppy we have been sponsoring for over a year now. The team have lots of information available if you are interested in sponsoring your own puppy or taking part in any of their fundraising campaigns. There is also a sensory tunnel available for you to experience the obstacles faced by the visually impaired.
Skipper’s | 1-154
Fish based food and treats for dogs. They have large bags of Elsa’s favourite fish cubes and fish skin chews on this stall. We prefer the wolf fish flatties because they don’t have scales like the other fish skin chews so there is less mess! Really good value, highly nutritional and low in fat so these treats are ideal if you want to keep your dog occupied without the extra calories.
Ditsy Pet | 1-184
I have a slight obsession with dog leads, harnesses, collars and accessories in general... Ditsy Pet is definitely one of my favourite brands; they have the prettiest fabric patterns and colour combinations! We already have several of their accessories for Elsa. My attention was drawn to the new range of tweed and fabric combination collars and leads, so I got a mix and matched set for Elsa with a floral spring-like fabric harness and a bright pink fabric/tweed combination lead.
Gentle | 2-8
These dental bones caught my attention because they seem like they would be a good idea for when we are travelling and need to feed Elsa/ keep her occupied at the same time, so I thought we’d give one of these a try...
Travelling with Pets | 2-30
We bought a backpack style carrier from this stand, which they delivered today (amazing service!) but sadly we’ll have to return it...although Elsa fits in the carrier, she is SO heavy that it would be absolutely impossible to walk anywhere with her in it! It’s such a shame because the carrier is very well-designed and it was great value for money with the 20% show discount! They have lots of innovative products on this stall so if you are looking for good quality, practical and useful travel carriers, crates or strollers then this is the place to find them!
Rabart Pro-Choice Canine | 3-44
Another grooming stall that sells professional products including the Chris Christensen brand. I bought a travel set of Spectrum Ten Shampoo & Conditioner and a few other samples to try, along with a new slicker brush which works wonders on Elsa’s fur, this type of soft, flexible slicker is gentle on her skin but it removes so much more of her loose undercoat, I’m very pleased with it! The service on this stall was really good, everyone was extremely helpful and made sure that I was advised of the best deals on all the products - great customer service!
Orijen | 3 - 52
Elsa has been eating Orijen food for approximately 10 months now. We made the switch because her weight started to gradually increase while she was eating the previous brand, so I started looking for another dry food brand that offered a lighter alternative. After doing extensive research into the composition and nutritional values of all the leading products that were available, I was delighted to find that Orijen was exactly what we were looking for! Fortunately Elsa took to it with no issues and she’s been happily eating it ever since. The best part is that her weight has stabilised too. A small pack of the freeze dried treats goes a long way and they are great for sprinkling over food for added meatiness!
Ziwi Peak | 4-64
A quick stop at this stall to buy a deer shank bone for Elsa. We gave her this when we got home and she absolutely loves it. The outer part didn’t last very long (which was quite fortunate because it was also very pungent!) Elsa seemed quite content with gnawing away at the shank for most of the evening.
Dorwest | 4-72
We stopped to stock up on essentials including our favourites: Tree Barks Powder and Roast Dinner Toothpaste, all on sale at discounted prices. I also picked up some Kelp Seaweed Powder and Elderberry & Nettle Extract, both of which are useful for restoring pigmentation - I want to see if they will be any good to bring out the colours in her coat and also to help keep her nose black because it’s lost a lot of colour over the winter due to the lack of time spent out in the sunlight.
Mutneys | 4-125
More grooming products! This time tear stain removing wipes, natural scent sprays (which were on offer) and a very useful hand-held, battery operated clipper. I only use a clipper to trim the fur on Elsa’s paw pads, her ‘armpits’ and for hygiene trimming - trying to use a corded clipper to do these areas can be quite a challenge when she is wriggling...This clipper is much easier to hold and will be perfect for what I need it for - it’s also small and portable so I can pop it in the travel bag for emergency trimming too! (Read our review of Mutneys products here.)
Equafleece | 4-136
We are obsessed with the amazing Equafleece (read our review here) so we stopped at their stand to pick up a ‘Summer Suit’ which is made from a thinner material, perfect for when the weather warms up and we want to keep Elsa dry, but cool. The summer suit is not made from the same material so they don’t claim that it’s 100% waterproof but the reviews that I have read on their website and social media have been quite reassuring - it’s definitely worth a try!
For all Dogkind | 5-62
The 2 in 1 Conditioning Shampoo has a really lovely scent and is useful for when we travel and we don’t want to take large bottles of professional products with us that need to be diluted. A little bottle goes a long way and if you ask nicely they will also throw in a car air-freshener with your purchase too, so no more wet dog smell in the car either!