The special viscose: MaxAbsorb13

During our research into absorbent fibres, textiles and woven material, we explored a large number of different products, and ended up committing to a very special viscose. As well as being extremely absorbent, it can also retain moisture, and the fibres are long and elastic. It is actually very different from ordinary viscose. It is also quite delicate, but earlier on in our research we discovered another natural fibre which, though not absorbent, was very robust. We decided to blend the two to create the ultimate material for drying dogs.

What took the most time was figuring out the precise combination for the optimal weave to achieve the aims of the product, but we managed it and, today, this forms the technology behind the WetDog. A material with unlimited possibilities.

The viscose could easily stand alone, but we discovered yet another natural fibre that had a property we could not ignore. Like viscose, bamboo has absorbent properties, but what’s exceptional with bamboo is the enzymes it contains which give it antibacterial properties. This means that bacteria can not survive or develop. Following extensive testing, we discovered that the same enzyme reduces the smell of a wet dog, as well as of sweat, mould, urine and faeces. Like silk and wool, bamboo is also self-cleaning, which makes it possible to clean a WetDog by washing it at just 30 degrees Celsius, but, in fact, cleaning is not necessary after every use and if you wash a WetDog at a higher temperature, it will actually destroy this useful enzyme. And there is one further benefit of using bamboo: it is an organic, sustainable product.

And so, bamboo was added to the outside of the WetDog which brought the added benefit of an alternative look from the white viscose. Bamboo and viscose work well together, and therefore we chose to quilt the two materials together to create a stable material with many properties.

I chose the olive green colour for WetDog Classic in order to signal that this is a bamboo product, and not just normal cotton towelling. The majority of our customers appreciate that the colour is non-gender specific, and can be used for both males and females.

Looking ahead, there will be several different bamboo shades available on WetDog, which we look forward to presenting.


The locking system

When we were almost finished with the shape of the WetDog, we still needed a buckle that would be easy to open and close, and which could be used in the winter and summer, by young and old, and work throughout the range of sizes that we planned, from small to XXXlarge.

We had ordered dozens of standard locks to test, but none worked properly. One day, my father Peter Marschall presented some sketches of a buckle that he had been working on. From those sketches I needed to take a decision whether or not to start a production without having tested it.

That was a big leap of faith for me, but I trusted his judgement and experience, and I am very glad that I did, because the locking system works so well with the WetDog. It is small, lightweight and easy-to-use and, naturally, was patented straight away.


The shape

For our super-absorbent material to function best on the dog, it is important that it sits close to the body and covers as much of its coat as possible.

That was the chief challenge in designing the WetDog, but the dog still needed to be able to move around freely and move its legs without being impeded. It also needed to be easy to put on and take off.

It was necessary, for example, to elasticate the area around the hind legs, so that the robe sat fairly tight but avoided rubbing delicate areas to the rear. The elastic also needed to be arranged so that it could be opened easily so that it could be used on dogs that were undergoing physical rehabilitation after operations or accidents, or dogs that suffered from arthritis and could not stand on three legs while the robe was being put on. Therefore we added elastic with buttons.

There are different ways to use the WetDog, depending on the dog. For instance, initially there was no zip on the neck, but we quickly realised this would be necessary when we began to encounter dogs with wide heads that simply could not fit through the hole we had designed. With time we realised you can leave the zip undone on dogs that don’t have long hair or long ears that need drying.

All these adjustments are the result of the feedback we have been lucky enough to receive from our customers, which has helped us to make the WetDog better and better. That’s why we are always interested to hear user feedback - it helps us develop and improve all the time.


Properties

WetDog was developed with the primary aim of drying a wet dog effectively and easily. But, since then, customers have made us aware of several other bonuses of the product.


- Cooling

When the Danish team competed in this year’s International Working Test (IWT) championships in Croatia, the temperature was 38 degrees Celsius, and the dogs competing quickly got tired due to the heat. The solution? Soak a WetDog in cold water, and put it on a dog. This instantly cooled them down, readying the dogs to focus on the competition. Which the Danish team ended up winning. I was delighted that the WetDog came to play a role in the world championship winning team’s success.

The fibres in WetDog are extremely good at absorbing so the dogs don’t get wet, they just get cool. But what is extra special is that the WetDog creates an air pocket between itself and the dog’s coat, and that helps the cooling effect. The viscose does not release the water, so the dog doesn’t get wet, instead the water gently evaporates, helping the cooling process.

It is very effective for any dogs which are required to work in summer temperatures.


No bathing with a WetDog on
I always remind our customers that it is very important to control their dogs when they are wearing a WetDog close to water - preferably on a lead. If the dog were to jump into deep water, it would struggle to stay afloat.


- Ticks

I have also heard from our customers - particularly those with hunting dogs - that the robe can catch ticks. If you use a WetDog on a dog after it has been somewhere frequented by deer, the ticks seem to seek the damp, white interior of the WetDog, and cling to the fibre instead of the dog’s fur. If you carefully remove the WetDog, you remove the ticks along with it. The record is eight ticks: I’d love to see photographic evidence of any record breakers!


- Keep warm

We also have many dog owners who use the WetDog to keep their dogs warm, simply because they see that it has a great shape and sits better than many other dog coats. Spaniels, for example, don’t have much undercoat, and boxers are also glad for it. It can often also be necessary to keep a wet dog warm if, for example, it is sitting in a cold car. WetDog will do this, thanks again to that space between the dog’s coat and the robe. Those few millimetres work as an effective insulator as the WetDog soaks up the moisture.


- Calming effect

WetDog can sometimes have a calming effect on dogs. Hunting dogs which have been very active, excited, and perhaps stressed calm down when they have a WetDog on. We have seen a similar effect with dogs that have been distressed by thunder and lightning, or by fireworks. Our theory is that they like the tight feel of something holding them.


Target groups

I believe that anyone who has a dog - whether large or small, whether they live in the city or the countryside - will benefit hugely from being able to dry their dog quickly and easily, with minimum mess and bother. I realise that not everyone is ready or able to pay so much for this solution, but there are lots of special user-groups which have really benefitting from the WetDog in their daily life with their dogs.


- Hunters

were the first to immediately see the many advantages of the WetDog. It solved a perpetual problem they have in the cold months when they have to deal with wet and warm dogs that have to spend time in cold cars in frosty weather, while the hunters are inside having lunch, for instance. The WetDog copes excellently by drying the dogs, and keeping them warm, while also keeping their surroundings free from water and mud.


- Police

dog handlers also discovered that it is an easy way to get a dirty, wet dog nice and dry again. Some police mentioned that the robe was also effective at keeping the dog cages and cars cleaner. Police dogs are often out training in all kinds of weather and they also have times when they need to wait in cars, so it was a great advantage to be able to keep them dry and warm. We are very pleased with this cooperation with the police, particularly as, to begin with, they were tricky to impress. As with other German Shepherd owners, they weren’t used to putting ‘clothing’ on their dogs. But when they realised how effective a WetDog is, we got the police on our side too.


One nice story came via a severely physically disabled customer, who also suffered from arthritis. She told me how much easier it had become for her to dry her dog, now she had a WetDog, which was immensely gratifying. These days I am delighted to have many service dog owners among our customers.


- In the spring, when the preparations for the camping season began, I was contacted by a Danish TV programme which focussed on camping issues. Campers were discovering that the WetDog was incredibly useful to have around on holiday, as there wasn’t the space for a wet dog in the few square metres of a tent or caravan. After the programme we got even more campers as customers.

- WetDog has also been discovered by boat owners, who were confronted with a similar problem to campers: a wet dog in a confined space.

- It is no longer unusual to take a dog on holiday to a hotel, or to a restaurant or to one’s workplace. The tolerance for dogs in these situations is much greater these days from non-dog owners, particularly if they are well-behaved, don’t smell, and don’t make a mess. Which, again, is where the WetDog comes in as it stops dogs leaving hair, reduces their smell when wet and in many cases has a curious pacifying effect on dogs. Also, by using a WeDog, the owner shows that they are taking responsibility for their dogs, particularly if they are wet and dirty.

- Perhaps the greatest surprise came in the summer of 2014 when we attended an open-house event at one of Sweden’s largest animal hospitals and learned that many cat owners had begun to use the WetDog!

These owners of show cats explained that, contrary to popular myth, their cats had no problems with being washed because they had been used to that since they were kittens, but that they absolutely HATED being dried. After being washed, they wanted to be left to lie down and dry in peace. But the WetDog speeds that process up dramatically, which greatly reduces the time needed to get the cats ready to be exhibited. Our xs size is cat-friendly.


Cleaning and maintenance

WetDog should be washed at 30 degrees Celsius, and spin-dried on a low heat. If you do not have a dryer, simply spin it well and hang it up to dry near a radiator or in a warm room, or outside in sunshine.

The WetDog does not need to be washed after every use, only when the fibres have taken up so much dirt that they no longer absorb efficiently. A WetDog shrinks roughly 3-5% after the first wash and its absorbency improves.

 
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