Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Vizsla Gear

We've gotten a bunch of questions about gear we use, so here's a post on our favorite products. Of course, these aren't Vizsla-specific- most of these items should be great for many different kinds of dogs.

I have a bunch of products we recommend on our Amazon Store- check it out for leashes, bedding, toys, treats, and more. Note: Check that sizes are right for your dog. For treats, make sure to check ingredients in case your dog has allergies.

More specifics below (most of these products are on the Amazon Store, to make it easier to find them)...

Recommended Products for Vizslas and other active dogs: Gear, Beds, Toys and Treats!
  • Ruffwear products are just all-around great. They are durable, affordable, and made with the active outdoorsy dog in mind. We use the Flat Out leash and Hoopie collar; the leash is great for running, with its clip-around-the-waist option and easy clip for quick on/off. The Hoopie collar has a tag hook that is separate from where you connect the leash, so you don't get that annoying jingling of the tag against metal. They have tons of other awesome products, too, including backpacks, mats and beds, harnesses, doggie booties (we have a pair we've never really used bc Captain didn't seem to get used to them- or maybe I got the wrong size...), and more!
Captain in his RuffWear collar.
  • A harness- if you have a Vizsla, chances are you will have to deal with some strong pulling during walks, at least at some point. I highly recommend having a harness on hand. The one we use is an Easy Walk brand harness that is very easy to put on and definitely helps with pulling. We don't usually use it when running with Captain, or for long hikes (bc he is usually off leash when hiking and doesn't pull too much when running), but it's great for walks, especially in new areas. I believe Captain is the medium/large size.
Captain in his Easy Walk harness.
  • Bowsers beds- We have a Bowsers donut bed for Captain (This one- ours measures about 39inches long by 32 wide, which is closest to size medium- not sure if it has stretched or their dimensions have changed, but it's a great size for Captain). It's been pretty durable and easy to clean. He loves the donut style to have something to rest his head on (or over), but they have a bunch of other great options too- we've pulled together a few in our bedding recommendations. Plus, the company seems to only use Vizslas in all their pictures.... so yeah, we're sold ;-) 
Captain enjoying is Bowsers bed.
Captain in his Bowsers bed.

    • Kennels/Dog Crates- We had a Life Stages crate for Captain when he was a puppy, and I highly recommend these, because apparently the dogs are happiest in a kennel that's cozy and not too large (or too small- they should be able to stretch out and stand up in it, but not too much bigger than that), and you can adjust the size as they grow. Eventually, we got rid of ours in favor of the portable one (see the next bullet point), but only because we had limited storage space. I also really recommend covering the crate with something- they like a cozy little cave-like experience for safe sleeping, so you can either buy a cover for the kennel (can be a little expensive, but they make them much more attractive) or simply use a sheet or blanket over the top & side (which is what we did!) These are perfect for crate-training and when puppies need to be kept in a kennel as they are learning not to be destructive (just remember never to leave an active puppy in a kennel for too long, and pay attention to bladder needs! We never left Captain in the kennel for more than 2 hours during the day, and that was after exercise & play.) 
    Captain in his Life Stages Kennel...with toys on top!
    • N2N- This portable crate is awesome. I think we have the large size for Captain (it's 32 inches long, 26 high, and 22 wide, and he's about 60-65lbs). It's sturdy, but also collapses, making it great for both weekend getaways and as an every day bed. A lot of dogs, Vizslas especially, can have trouble with change and being in new places, and we've found it helps him settle & sleep on trips so well to have his kennel with him.We just put a rectangular plush crate mattress in it (I usually find them at PetCo or PetSmart), and he's happy as a clam.  
    The n2n portable crate we use- and a yawn from Captain ;)
    • Coats - some people may think this is silly- isn't a dog's fur his/her coat? Well, Vizslas can get pretty cold in wet and snowy weather, so it is a good idea to have one. A number of different brands make good choices; look for something that can easily be snapped or tied around, not too tight, and with ample coverage. We found the rainjacket below in a local, independent pet store, but Ruff Wear also makes some good options. Another item we got, while canoeing for the first time, was a life jacket- just to be safe, and since Captain isn't the most comfortable of swimmers. We ended up very happy we got one, since our boat ended up flipping over! Life jacket is pictured second below.... we just got it at the boat rental place, but there are similar ones on my online store.
    Captain in his rain jacket.
    Captain in his life vest.
    • Toys- While the plush toys are cute and hard to resist, generally speaking, they just aren't practical. Since Captain was my first puppy, I did indulge (him? myself?) with some cute plush toys, but I don't think any of them lasted more then a week, and then you have to clean up the stuffing & parts. You also have to worry about the pup eating a bunch of junk he/she shouldn't. Instead, opt for durable, strong plastic toys. We recommend a bunch in our toy section - Kong makes great sturdy toys and treat holders/games, and we have a bunch of their products, including the squeaky ball that won't die, the Kong we use to put peanut butter in, the treat dispenser that Captain will push around and entertain himself with, and the squeaky donut and the wubba- both great for tug and chase. The West Paw toys, ChuckIt, and JW Pet Co Ruffians are also all great, and we have some of each. And of course, Captain's favorite toy is a mini soccer ball- which we usually just find at a sports store.

    Captain's favorite toy!

    Plush toys can be cute, but beware! You may end up with this ;)
    • Treats- These days, Captain's treats are most often a homemade Frosty Paws or a peanut-butter Kong. But, especially for a puppy, the Zuke's mini naturals are great, because they are so small they are perfect training treats; we used them all the time, and still sometimes get them. I also recommend, especially for training and puppy classes, a small treat pouch -although a ziplock baggie also works, it can be nice to have something re-useable and durable...Captain did break open a ziplock bag full of treats once...or twice ;-). Captain also likes the Happy Hips brand treats - ok, he really likes any treats, but I try to look for mainly natural, not too processed treats. On occasion, and when I'm not too grossed out by them, sometimes we'll get him a rawhide of some type. More options in the treat section of our Amazon store!
    Enjoying a peanut-butter stuffed Kong

      Also, I stumbled across this awesome Vizsla-product store: The Vizsla Shop. We have a super-cute mug of theirs, but they also have clothing with Vizslas on it, Vizsla stickers, buttons, and more.... very fun.
      Captain with the cutest mug ever.

      *Disclaimer: These are all general recommendations and we can't take any personal responsibility for items that don't work out. Also, we have not received any payments or endorsements from companies and products listed here; just personal opinion!


      1. Bowsers Pet Products (your bed) is definitely Vizsla through & through & based in Canada. The company owner & chief designer is a Vizsla owner & breeder which explains she only features Vizslas on her products (well, except for cat products; she have a cat too.) Some of my Vizslas also appear on her product labels & website since they (V's) are relatives of hers.

      2. I like the Carnival Hill Vizsla coats MUCH better than Ruffwear. They are made by a Vizsla owner to properly fit Vizslas without impacting their ability to be active, and tend to be a little less expensive. They are made in the US instead of imported from China. The CH coats are found on Etsy. Just my opinion...

      3. Do you use your n2n soft crate for traveling in the car? We love it but want to make sure it would be sturdy enough to provide a safe travel environment for our Vizsla in the car. Thank you for all the great information!

        1. We don't use it for the car; bc it's fabric I don't think it'd be ideal as a car kennel

      4. I love the harness that my mom gifted my dog. It's very cool and Joss my dog loves it too. I bought one more from where my mom had shopped for dog accessories. They have some really cool stuff and i not only got another harness but also shopped for bowl and umbrella too.