Eco-Friendly Doggy Style. ~ Jolee McBreen

Via on Apr 30, 2011
Photo: Eco-Pup

Show me a baby and all I can think is,

“Please dear God, don’t hand it to me.”

Show me an adorable doggie and all I can do is ” awww!” and grin while my vocabulary goes from English to bumbling idiot.

It’s no secret that pet owners can get a little nuts about their furry friends. I’m a prime example of someone who adores her dogs to the point of suffocation.

The very first love of my life was Comet, a black and white Silky Terrier, Poodle mix. She was sassy, sweet, and way too smart for her own good. She popped out of a box on Christmas when I was a year old and the rest was history. She passed away when I was 15 years old, but I forever deemed her “my second mom.” Which, I know, is completely absurd – but completely true. At least to me.

Photo: istolethetv

The truth is, we do silly things for our dogs and to our dogs. Some resort to baby-talk, which in my opinion is never acceptable to a dog or otherwise, we give them nicknames, treat them like humans, and even dress them up in little outfits.

Now, you have to draw the line somewhere, but I’m not above dressing up a dog. A little sweater or jacket never hurt anyone — nail painting, hair accessories or hair dye is another story. However, when we think of how many of our own clothes we dispose of, should we really be adding to our waste just to dress up our dogs?

A few companies geared in providing your pet with stylish and eco-friendly clothes are Eco-Pup and Muffinhead.

With an overall increase in environmental awareness from a range of different companies, it’s important to some, as well as their consumers, to try to do things to better the environment. Or at least not push it further down a treacherous black hole. This has trickled down all the way to your dog’s next outfit.

On average, Americans are throwing away 68 pounds of clothing a year. Only 10 percent of this is being recycled, usually through donation. After disposing of textiles, they’re burned or left in landfills. Burning textiles emits dioxins, dust particles, and so on, and it takes thousands of years for textiles to decompose in landfills. It’s estimated that 95 percent of the 1.25 million tons of post consumer textile waste could be recycled.

Photo: muffinheaddog.com

More companies producing eco-friendly dog clothes are popping up left and right. As they should. If we’re going to be conscious consumers, we might as well make our dogs jump on the bandwagon. Especially with certain products that have the potential to get ruined and worn-out, you can breathe a little easier knowing that these were made in ways that if you need to dispose of them you don’t need to feel guilty.

Eco-Pup

was started in 2008 when the creator, Susanne Postill, noticed a gap in the market to dress her aging pup in eco-friendly attire. She has since created a company that is geared towards eco-friendly, recycled clothes for dogs, as well as efforts to reuse packaging, eco-friendly hang tags, and taking orders electronically. You can view and buy their products online.

Photo: muffinheaddog.com

Muffinhead

was started in 2010 by Emily Lariviere. After moving from Maine to Portland, OR, Emily began to soak up the local flavor of Portland, which inevitably furthered her love for vintage clothes and recycling – with, or without, the plaid shirt and Pabst Blue Ribbon in hand. After battling the rain and her dog Xavier’s protests to the moist climate, it struck her to create a company that melded what she loved: dogs, style, and the environment. I talked with Emily to find out some more about the company and what inspired it…

Why did you want to start Muffinhead?

Four years ago I moved to Portland, OR from Maine and I quickly realized that consequently, a dog jacket was actually a necessity. Upon going to the local pet supply place to pick out a jacket, it came to my attention that the jackets that were in the marketplace were either cheaply-made, ill-fitting, or utterly did not convey Xavier’s personality. Many of the jackets were very plain or very cutesy, and I didn’t want to spend money on them. I started thinking that there are so many great fabrics and materials out there that are going to end up in a landfill and I could use them to make unique dog jackets.

What makes Muffinhead unique?

We use a horse blanket style jacket with an adjustable chest strap and an adjustable neck strap to allow for about 4” of sizing flexibility at either point in an effort to fit the maximum amount of dog body styles/types. Literally, there are no two Muffinhead jackets that are the same. I use the materials that are available to me (I find them), and several weeks later a jacket is created. It might not be a jacket for everyone’s taste, but for someone it will be perfect.

Photo: muffinheaddog.com

How many Muffinheads do you have?

I have two Muffinheads, both Pit Bulls, both rescues, and both with names that start with “X” even though I’ve named neither of them.

What’s the most ridiculous outfit you’ve dressed your dog in?

I think I got my fill of dressing dogs when I was younger. I had a great yellow lab named Chelsea growing up and I would cut my shorts up so that there was room for a tail. I’d modify my own t-shirts and put them on her. She was a pretty incredible and ideal playmate for an 8 year old. My current dogs only really wear their Muffinhead jackets when we go outside.

Where can Muffinhead merchandise be found?

We have been really well-received by the Portland, OR community and we are currently available at seven Portland retailers. We are also happy to announce that Muffinhead jackets will be sold in Bozeman, Montana starting next fall. This summer they will be available for purchase on Muffinhead’s website!

What is the price range of the jackets?

There are 7 different sizes of jackets that range between $58-$84, which is pretty mid-market (inexpensive when you consider that they are made here in Portland, OR).

Photo: Randy Robertson

Not only does Muffinhead create clothes that are sustainable and recycled, they also focus on supporting local businesses, manufacturers, retailers, photographers, and so on.

I may draw the line at booties and sunglasses, but I’m a fan of a dapper jacket for your pooch – especially if it serves a functional purpose. And eco-friendly? Sign me up!

We try to do what we can in our daily lives to do good things for the environment, as well as good things for our pets, and this one seems even easier than separating your recycling. As a consumer, it’s encouraging to see businesses walk the talk.

I figure, you’re already putting the effort in to dress your dog, why not go the extra mile for essentially the same price? Besides, as it says on the Muffinhead website, “Who says you can’t be pretty and practical?”

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Jolee McBreen is a student at the Art Institute and whips up delicious coffee concoctions at a coffee shop in Denver. When she’s not avoiding homework or steaming milk she can be caught with her family, friends, snuggling her two adorable dogs, or dancing… pretty much anywhere.

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