While more expensive, quality petwear and accessories are generally designed to stand the test of time, to get the best return on your investment you have to give your items some TLC to ensure they look tip top in the park and beyond. And even though some of your dog’s petwear might be getting put away for summer, ensure that they are clean before storing because moths are attracted to dirt and stains – and a hole-ridden doggy knit isn't going to win your pooch best in show!
To help you become a domestic dog-ess, I’ve enlisted the help of some of our favourite premium pet brands to bring you tips on how to keep your fancy pet swag looking its best.
COAT & JACKET CARE
While dog coats tends to me of an Autumn through Spring wear, the not-so-great British weather suggests it's a good idea to keep your dog’s coat or jacket to hand. Renowned for tailored dog jackets for both the city and the countryside, Brit-born Baker & Bray are one of Basil’s go to brands. When it comes to caring for dog coats, their founder Richard Thurlby offers his advice:
- Wipe over wash. Most quality dog jackets simply need a wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any mud or light stains, and if they are water-repellant, it should generally come off with ease. Only wash your dog’s coat when you really need to – your nose will tell you, or a wipe no longer cuts it
- Step away from the washing machine and tumble dryer. Just as you would with a human raincoat (most of which are dry clean only), avoid the temptation to throw the coat in the wash. Many coat fabrics, particularly cotton-based, have a water proof coating which will eventually wash out when using detergents for the washing machine
- If you must wash – do it by hand and with gentle detergents. If your dog’s coat has reached the stage where it needs a wash, wash by hand with a gentle detergent then hang to drip dry
- Re-waterproof. If your coat’s waterproofing has been washed out, you can spray it back on. Like scotch guard for shoes, there are various brands available for clothing. Make sure to follow the directions on the can – usually it is simply to spray onto the coat.
Follow this advice and you'll help prolong the life of your favourite dog coat.
CARING FOR YOUR DOGGY KNITS
Any self-respecting furry fashionista knows that when it comes to chic canine knits, Ruby Rufus’ cashmere numbers are on point, as shown by their 2015 model Barkarama's very own Basil. Founder Ruby says: “Cashmere is a natural fibre that won’t harm dogs coats and skin. Take good care of your cashmere and it will last for years.” To keep your dog’s cashmere and knits looking pristine season after season, Ruby shares her step-by-step guide for washing your doggy knit, as well as storage guidelines:
- Prepare a basin with tepid warm water and add a generous squeeze of mild detergent. Hair shampoo is good for cashmere too because it’s goat hair
- Submerge your knit into the soapy water using your hands to agitate the water and detergent. Press the detergent into the item and leave to soak for at least 15-20 minutes. If you see colour in the water don’t panic – it's simply the yarn dye releasing some colour and you won’t notice any colour loss when dry
- Rinse well with luke warm water (at the same temp you washed it in) until soapy water is gone. Do not wring; press the water out of the item instead. NEVER rinse with hot water, as your knit will shrink
- Layout your semi-wet knit onto a towel and roll it up pressing out as much water as you can with the towel
- Once you have removed as much water as possible, remove from the wet towel and lay it out on a fresh towel or drying rack, away from sunlight or heat sources. Leave it to air dry naturally
- Be sure to put the sweater back into its original shape because it will dry however you place it, and never hang your cashmere as it will distort the shape and fit
Ruby adds: “When it comes to storing your dog’s knits away for the season, ensure they are clean and fresh to avoid attracting moths. I recommend placing them in a breathable storage bag that has a zip closure to keep the critters out – but avoid plastic. Adding some Lavender to your storage is a good idea too because it’s a natural bug repellent and will keep your items smelling wonderful.”
LEATHER COLLAR & LEAD CARE
Collars and leads are without a doubt the most important items in your dog’s petwear arsenal. From fashion colours such as bright orange to luxe classics like tan, I love leather sets for Basil and they're a buy I see well worthy of investment. Recently I’ve had my head turned by Maison Le Lou, who offer an understated luxury range of collars and leads. Their founder Claire Alexander (and former men’s accessories designer) says: “Dog leads and in particular dog collars lead a very hard life but one of the great aspects of high quality leather is that with the correct care, the look and longevity of the leather can be maintained for long time use.” Claire shares her tips on caring for leather to last:
- Treat your products. I recommend treating your leather products with a protective balm leather feed not only prior to use but also every once in a while to keep them looking smart. My preferred product is Renapur Leather Balsam, as not only does it clean, condition and polish the leather but it also helps waterproof the item too. Using balm will go a long way towards helping your products last well, hold their appearance and their colour.
- Deal with the elements. If the leather should get wet, blot any excess moisture with a tissue and dry flat away from a heat source. And should your dog go into the sea in their collar, I recommend wiping it down with a damp, soft cloth afterwards, as salt water and leather are not the best of friends. The same goes with mud