What should you demand of your dog’s drying coat?
Are you looking for a drying coat for your dog? It can be quite challenging to find the right one if you don't know what to look for or know what the differences between the various types actually are.
In this article, we will delve into the requirements you should have for your dog's drying coat. We will cover absorption capacity, choice of material, odor-resistant properties, design and freedom of movement, sustainability, and production conditions.
The most important aspect of a drying coat is its absorption capabilities. This refers to how much water the coat can soak up before it needs to be hung to dry and possibly washed. As a dog owner, you're probably familiar with how often your dog gets wet. It happens in rainy weather, at the beach, by the lake, during dog training, during field trials, and after a much-needed bath at home. Some days, your dog might come home soaking wet multiple times.
Therefore, the easiest option for you is, of course, a drying coat that can quickly and effectively absorb all the water from your dog's fur and can be used multiple times before it needs to be washed. This way, you save both time and energy by not having to wash it over and over again.
HOW TO ACHIEVE THE BEST POSSIBLE ABSORPTION
The amount of water a drying coat can absorb depends on the material it's made of.
The absolute winner for efficient absorption is bamboo. The fibers in bamboo viscose are known to be highly effective in absorbing liquids, making the material popular for items like towels.
It has been proven that bamboo fibers can absorb 70% more liquid than cotton or three times their weight. In our drying coats, we use a special viscose blend in our Wet2Dry fabric, allowing it to absorb up to 7 times the weight of the coat itself.
Bamboo is a natural material that also helps transport and wick the liquid away.
Cotton is also a natural material with good absorption capacity, but the fact is that it's not as high as bamboo. It has been shown that bamboo fibers can absorb 70% more liquid than cotton.
Polyester is a popular fabric type, but it is not natural. Polyester is synthetic and made from plastic, often derived from petroleum oil.
Polyester itself is not particularly good at absorbing liquids. In fact, the material is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water. When a drying coat is made of polyester, it may be blended with cotton, for example, or coated to help it absorb water better. However, this coating will not last forever as wear and washing will weaken it over time.
Microfiber is a form of polyester and therefore made of plastic. However, it is a material that is better at absorbing water than polyester. This is because microfiber is made with extremely fine fibers that are so thin, the surface area of the fabric is larger than that of regular polyester, which helps absorb the water better.
Microfiber also dries faster than cotton, making it harder for bacteria to grow. However, it is not naturally antibacterial like bamboo, where you don't need to worry about this at all.
ELIMINATE THE SMELL OF A WET DOG
One of the advantages of our drying coats made with bamboo is that it is naturally antibacterial and odor-reducing. That's why bamboo is often used by athletes and is especially popular for socks to avoid smelly feet.
Other drying coats on the market, such as those made of polyester/microfiber/plastic, are not naturally antibacterial or odor-reducing. If they highlight odor reduction as a quality of their product, it is likely because they use a coating on the fabric. This coating could be silver ions, which do help with odor as they have antibacterial properties, but it easily washes out of the product. The polyester drying coat may withstand 30-50 washes before this coating is completely washed away, and then you're left with a drying coat that suddenly smells terrible, as does your dog.
In addition to the loss of effectiveness, this silver ion coating also ends up in the water and pollutes the environment. Silver is directly toxic to many organisms, including fish and invertebrates that live in our lakes and oceans. Silver ions are also not completely safe for humans, as they can potentially cause skin irritation and other allergic reactions. The long-term consequences of silver ions are still not clear.
Your dog might not notice whether it smells or not, but it definitely notices when you put a coat on it. Therefore, it should be a coat of the highest quality that fits comfortably on the dog, regardless of whether the weather is wet, cold, or hot. A polyester or microfiber drying coat will quickly become damp and cold against the dog's body in cold weather, such as when it's waiting for you in a cold car. Similarly, it will become sticky and hot for the dog in summer weather. Synthetic materials like these are not temperature-regulating. However, our bamboo drying coat is. Bamboo is naturally moisture-wicking, which helps maintain a stable temperature.
FIT, COVERAGE AND FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT
In addition to how well the drying coat absorbs water from the dog's fur, it's also important that the dog enjoys wearing it and that the coat provides adequate coverage.
FIT & COVERAGE
You can easily find drying coats for dogs that are shapeless. They function like towels but are quickly stitched together into a "coat." They cover the dog but don't fit closely against the fur, so they have poorer absorption compared to robes designed to follow the dog's body.
However, even among form-fitting coats, there are differences in the designs available on the market.
Some drying coats for dogs cover the entire head, including the ears, while others do not. This is a matter of preference. Some dogs dislike having their ears covered, so it's important that if the cover has a long neck, it can be easily folded down without falling completely down the chest and leaving the neck uncovered.
The legs are also an important area to check, as there is a significant difference in how much coverage different drying coats provide here. Some designs give the dog "pants," which cover both the front and hind legs but may not be very comfortable for the dog, as the snug fabric around the legs can be bothersome.
Other designs focus on covering the essential areas of the thighs and even wrapping around the hind leg, ensuring that the long hairs back there are also covered. With these coats, the emphasis is on allowing the dog to move freely while ensuring that the wettest areas are dried properly.
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND COMFORT
With some thinner fabric types such as microfiber or a thin cotton coat, it's important to be aware that the coat may slide down more easily when the dog runs, plays, or rolls in the grass. Therefore, we have put a lot of effort into the fit of our drying coats and have found the best design and optimal thickness for our bamboo viscose to ensure that the coat always stays snugly and securely on the dog without slipping off or causing irritation.
The choice of fabric can also contribute to the comfort level of the dog while wearing the drying coat.
Bamboo is a natural material that feels soft and comfortable for the dog. It is temperature-regulating and helps the dog maintain a comfortable temperature without getting too hot or too cold. If the dog jumps into a cold car after being out in the rain, for example, our bamboo drying coat will dry the dog and leave it pleasantly warm and protected from the cold, as the water will be retained in the coat and then evaporate, without causing any discomfort to the dog.
Cotton varies greatly in texture and can often feel stiffer than bamboo, but it depends on the type of cotton and weaving used. The softer the cotton, the more expensive it tends to be. This is why there can be significant price differences, for example, in cotton bed linen, where the quality of the fabric determines the price level. Like bamboo, cotton is temperature-regulating, but not quite to the same extent, as cotton is made of shorter fibers compared to bamboo. However, these shorter fibers generally retain heat better, which can be helpful in the cold, but they are not optimal for natural regulation of the dog's fluctuating body temperature.
Microfiber can be softer than certain types of cotton, but it also traps heat very effectively, which can make it uncomfortable for the dog to wear. In hot weather, a microfiber drying coat can stick to the dog and reduce the drying effect, as the wet fabric will cling to the dog's fur again. In cold weather, the same effect will further cool down the dog, as the water is absorbed but doesn't evaporate from the fabric. This is not ideal if the dog, for example, is sitting in a cold car and needs to dry, as it can easily become cold.
PRODUCTION CONDITIONS AND SUSTAINABILITY
Lastly, you should also consider how the production of the drying coats is organized. At Siccaro, we place great emphasis on proper and responsible working conditions and focus on sustainability and durability when designing our products.
Our bamboo drying coats are manufactured in the EU. They are made in a competent sewing workshop in Latvia, where we have a close collaboration and discuss new ideas as well as optimizing material waste to reuse as much as possible. You can see this, for example, in our Special Edition FlexDog drying mats, which have stripes of colours because they are made from leftover materials from other mats.
Many other drying coats on the market, which are cheaper, are so affordable because they are not made in the EU but in other places of the world with less stringent regulations for people and the environment.
BAMBOO VS. COTTON
Both bamboo and cotton are better for the environment than synthetic plastic materials, this is self-evident. However, bamboo actually has several advantages over cotton when it comes to sustainability. Bamboo grows extremely fast and can be harvested more quickly, meaning there is no need for excessive cultivation to achieve a good result. Furthermore, bamboo cultivation requires significantly less water than cotton cultivation. Since bamboo is a grass rather than a tree, it rarely needs to be replanted and it produces a lot of oxygen for the atmosphere, in fact, more than trees!
In addition to the fabric itself, we have also incorporated sustainability into our packaging, which is made from recycled plastic bottles collected from the ocean. The strap to fasten the coat on the Supreme 2.0 drying coat is made of Econyl nylon, which primarily consists of recycled fishing nets also collected from the sea.