“ Brand: Countrymun / Type: Clothing „
~~*~~*~~ Country Mun Towelling Dog Rug ~~*~~*~
The Pig (my chocolate Labrador) was diagnosed with Lumbosacral Disease (basically she has ostophytes (bone spurs) compressing the nerve roots in her lower back) a couple of years ago and to help with the pain after exercise, in particular her swimming lessons, I bought her a lovely coat. Her problem was first noticed at agility and some months later she was lame after a decent walk - the prognosis was not good and Pig was told never to chase balls, go off lead or do agility again. I tried this for a fortnight but she was a nightmare to live with and what's the point in being a dog if you can't have fun? Thus the Pig is allowed to have controlled entertainment - I just have to be sensible (though she doesn't).
~~*~~ Doesn't the Pig have fur? ~~*~~
Pig does have fur, in fact she has the breed standard 'double coat' which enables all Labradors to be pretty hardy beasts. The problem is not that she gets cold, it's how long she remains cold and the effect this has on her bones - we all get stiff joints in the cold and it's no difference for pooches. Every day, Pig and Oink (my beautiful black lab) come walking with me and they happily go swimming in the sea without fail no matter the outside temperature. Pig, however, is often unable to get in the van after a very cold swim as things are stiff and sore whereas Oinky could go again and again. As soon as I get the girls home they have a warm hosepipe shower and their coats are popped on whilst they enjoy a bone. Dogs need a coat for other reasons than just being soggy - short-haired and hairless breeds definitely feel the cold a lot easier and dogs that can't move much and thus create their own heat for example, but it is important to remember that by placing clothing on a dog it diminishes the dog's ability to regulate their own temperature so keep an eye on them.
~~*~~ Pig's coat is special (like her) ~~*~~
Oink has a lightweight coat that merely dries her fur but doesn't keep her particularly warm, the Pig's Towelling Rug is a very thick towel material specially designed for gundogs after a day's work. It's made from two layers of 390gms Italian cotton between which is 135gms of polyester hollow fibre wadding (think cosy sleeping bag stuff) and is reversible which is ace when you've two dogs that need drying - just do the quicker drying one first, then stick it on the other dog! It's pretty easy to put on your dog (Pig hates wearing things (maybe I shouldn't dress her as a pumpkin for Halloween but it never fails to amuse me) and freezes conveniently) - you pop the dog's head through the hole in the coat and merely place the Velcro belt over the top of the coat around the dog's belly and tighten to your satisfaction. I wouldn't recommend leaving your dog unattended in it - I went for a bath and could hear Pigsy crying like a stuck pig - the simpleton had managed to detach the belt, turn the coat round and then stand on it with her front paws unable to move (a brighter breed would have backed up but Pigs are not known for their intelligence). The Pig is usually dry in under an hour, my Irish water Spaniel used to take a bit longer but essentially the coat is excellent for drying and keeping the pooch lovely and warm.
~~*~~ Fit for Function ~~*~~
I found mine for sale at the local kennels so I was fortunate enough to try different sizes on Pigsy before purchase. There are many sizes to choose from so it's best to measure your dog from shoulder to butt and shoulder to base of chest - my only point of contention with this is with an increase in length is an increase in chest size so they're not going to fit every dog perfectly (though Country Mun does say it can custom make a coat for you):
All sizes in cms:
Pig's coat fits her fairly well - I went for a slightly larger one so that it went right over her tail since that's where her area of concern is. The top of the coat has an extra piece that goes slightly up the back of the neck and the underneath covers most of her belly but still allows for both kinds of toilet behaviour from a girl doggy (it is not suitable for Zappa (Pig's son) to have a wee wee in as it does get a tad wet).
~*~ Fancy one? ~*~
Country Mun are a British company based in the north of England and have been trading for over 25 years - not a bad record to hold. They will be at Crufts if you're going, if you're not then have a gander at their website www.countrymun .co.uk - they have a wide range of coats available and don't only cater for the gun breeds. At the time of writing this they have an offer on: 10% off if you enter SPECIAL10 in the voucher box - you'll need it as these gorgeous coats start at £35 and Pig's was £40 4 years ago. I think this is a fab coat as for only a tenner a year the Pig is snug as a big fat bug. I've washed it many many times although sometimes I merely stick it in the tumble dryer to get it fresh for the next day. It's still fluffy, absorbent and retained its shape so I am a very happy Pig mummy.
50 Sunniside Lane
Tyne and Wear
They do have a facebook page but there's nowt on it!
Caroline, Pigsy & Oink
Review will probably appear elsewhere