Veganuary: Transatlantic Eco Dog Fashion.

Being a dog owner can feel as if you are slinging money into a bottomless pit. Pet insurance, specialised dog food, smart feeders, memory beds and pet trackers and late night online cheer up shopping. After Christmas the clothes still fit my dogs, me not so much.

I’m an online shopper most of the time. My working day is spent grooming the dogs of Braintree Chelmsford Witham and Coggeshall. My free time is spent training and walking my dogs. I don’t spend my outdoor time shopping for my pooches. I’m on doggy play dates and trying to get my dog out to as any different experiences as possible. Note to self drive- through coffee shops are a terrible idea, with a large  lively barking dog in the car. Having a German Shepherd stuffing a curious nose up the window of Starbucks and barking a hello, made the member of staff jump backwards. Not good.

Online shopping however from major retailers seems to bring with it a tidal wave of plastic waste and huge unecessary boxes. I love walking on the beach, so I’m not comfortable with adding to it’s pollution through cheap manufacturing  and unecessary plastic. I don’t turn up to lunch parties with a spare tree for a spot of post- bite guerilla gardening wearing a Save the Whale T shirt and a pair of recyclabe crocs- but I still like to feel that if I am not saving the planet, I am at least not contributing too much to killing it.  Least of all for my dog, an animal that I love.

So that brings us nicely into the world of eco-pet shopping. Yes it is a thing.No you do not have to be vegan to buy eco friendly products. So who are the retailers and what are they doing?

Eco Pup are fab when it comes to funky functional dog wear. Made in Canada ( and let’s face it they deal with a lot colder than last year’s ‘Beast from the East”) This eco savvy company have dog and cat wear made from recycled fleece and use organic printed fabric trim. They sell breathable bamboo hoodies for the pug thug in your life. I love them and at coats from 28 dollars, they are affordable. They aren’t just cute designs at a decent price they are doing the following:

  • we reuse packing boxes for large orders
  • reuse plastic and cellophane bags for packaging
  • all cardboard, paper and plastic packaging that cannot be reused is recycled
  • orders are taken electronically
  • we try to use email and the phone as much as possible instead of printing paper
  • any bottles and cans we use are recycled
  • all of our printer ink cartridges are mailed back to the manufacturer to be recycled
  • all of our business cards and catalogs are printed on eco-friendly recycled paper
  • Our hang tags are printed on eco-friendly cardstock with vegetable based soy inks. They withstand shipments and shelf life.
  • our products are 100% eco-friendly by using certified organic, reclaimed and recycled fabrics
  • we take public transit and carpool whenever possible
  • we use biodegradable poop bags to clean up after our dogs

So for a clean conscience they rank pretty highly as far as mindful shopping goes.


Next up Funny Fur. Funny Fur have a lot more variety but a lot less to say about how they contribute to eco-economy.They do however raise money for animal resuce and shelters and have an eco friendly pet apparel section.

They have everything from cable knit sweaters to polka dot dog scarves. They have party dresses for Yorkshire terriers and are everything you might expect from an American Designer. Their clothes however are eco friendly and this business is based in Houston and proves that everything does indeed seem to be bigger in Texas. Away from the Stars and Stripes tank tops for dogs, they have some effortlessly stylish nautical designs that make me wish I had a Basset Hound called Claude. I am astounded by the choice at this store and what it has to offer. They even have dog strollers ( prams!!!)  for dogs who for whatever reason can’t get around in the tradtional way. This is like the Willy Wonka’s of Dog Fashion. Everything you can imagine is sold at this store which feels like a Vegas Wedding and a beauty pageant went on a three day bender together. It is both sightly car crashy and terribly compelling.  It’s not all bamboo hoodies and herbal ( silent H)  chai, but it is a great balance of eco concious and  outrageous.

Tomorrow we will look at some of the trail blazers in British Dog Fashion and how the eco mindful dog owner spends their hard earned wages.






We’ve got claws nailed.

Hair of the Dog Salon in Braintree pride themselves in turning out dogs with well clipped nails. Nails should not touch the floor or make noise when your best friend is walking inside or outside.

Dog Groomer versus the Vets

Why should I have my dogs nails done at the groomers? Well firstly, Hair of the Dog groomers have more time than the vets. A bad experience with nail clipping can result in a dog that is frightened of the vet or the salon. Both smell pretty similar if they have been cleaned properly. Having a frightened dog at either can result in accidental injury and distress.

The facts, nailed.
A lot of vets will cut the nails short in one go, this causes pain by cutting through the quick of the nail. It does produce fast results but is painful for your canine companion. If you have ever ripped your nails half way down then you’ll know how it feels. The quick of the nail recedes each time is is cut. So regualr nail clipping is essential to avoid cutting through the quick. Little and often is best. Your dog groomer would be nicking a little off the ends. With dark nails it is more difficult to see the quick. Your groomer can however get the ends of the nails cut. At Hair of the Dog, we encourage shy dogs to come in just for a pat and a treat between treatments so they have positive associations with the salon.

All dog groomers would love it if your dog stood patiently waiting for his hair cut or nails and there are positive reinforcement ways of training your dog to do this.

Reassure and Support
We know however that sometimes a dog is a jack in the box on the table. So we work slowly to reassure your dog that there is no threat. At Hair of the Dog, Cherry Lane Garden Centre in Braintree we have time to lavish on your dog. We will get there in the dogs time. We are not into jerking dogs around or pulling their joints. Dogs must feel supported physically and emotionally.

Homework for ticklish dogs

At home when your dog is snoozing in front of you, gently take his paw in your hand and get him or her used to being handled, treat him after he allows you to touch his paw and make sure you touch the inside of his pads and nails.
This will help him be more relaxed when handled by your vet or dog groomer. Call 07539605752 to book your dog in for regular nail, clipping. We keep nail clipping deliberately affordable, so that your dog can benefit from regular trims.

New Year-New you- New Dog!

We have started our begrudging list of resolutions. The list is long and the time is limited.

I have show home aspirations with zero motivation. I live in the wilds of the Essex Countryside and basically until February if the footwear isn’t a welly or a muck boot then send help, because I have clearly been abducted. Mud is a key feature in getting in from a walk, either the dog is muddy, or I am muddy and mud seems to leach onto the porch way. This year I am going to try and fight the mud and preserve the hallway.

Winter Woollies
Dogs coats tangle in the mud and salt water itches dogs skin. Salt water needs to come off dogs, as does sand.

Now is a really good time to get a pre- new year clean on the go. With visiting animals, its a good idea to treat carpets, crevices in the floor boards and pet sleeping areas. Your dog will thank you for it. Even the most pampered pooches can pick up a passenger form the dog park, or on those long lazy Winter walks.

Some of your dogs might be the proud recipients of dog coats or jumpers. Dog coats look lovely and are great for smooth coated hounds, ill or elderly dogs. Like harness’ however on a curly coat, they can cause matting under the arm pit areas. So it’s time to pay extra special attention to those areas and brush as often as you can. IF you love your dog fluffy ( who doesn’t?) home maintenance is key. A trip to the dog groomer can either be about style or it can be about welfare. Ask your dog groomer if your coat-care routine is on the right lines for your dog. Some clients have their dogs clipped short in Winter so they can run free without collecting forest floor leaves or sand and they won’t overheat in their latest coat or jumper. Monitor your dog regularly for signs of over heating . If you have a lively jack russell who loves to tear after his dog pals on the beach, a coat might not be the best idea.

Cold hose versus Warm soak
My military friends talk about having a stand- up wash -down when they are on manoeuvres. Sometimes we just have to get the mud off as quickly as possible as it can harbour nasty bacteria.Make sure the pads get washed too. If tethering a dog and hosing it down with cold water is not having a positive effect on your dog- consider booking him in for a bath and de-shed at the Hair of the Dog dog salon in Braintree. We use warm water, inn a secure bath and if your pooch is a wriggler- you may stay with your dog. Many salons do not allow this. At this dog salon we want your dog to be as comfortable as possible. It needs to be a positive experience and if the presence of an owner helps, then we welcome you.

Around rural Essex we have loads of lovely dog walks and at Hair of the Dog we love to see working dogs and active dogs. A pup with sand in his pads or mud up his legs is a happy dog. He has debris from adventures and we are spoiled here for woodland and coastal walks. Your dog is shedding, dogs blow their coat twice a year and they aren’t programmed to stop at Christmas. Book your dog in for a professional de-shed or full groom to remove dead coat. At Hair of the Dog in Braintree we work with natural products as far as possible. We are a gentle dog grooming salon and happy to break shy dogs visits into a few sessions, to build their confidence.

We love your dog like you do.