More than 89.7 million dogs live in U.S. households as pets, according to The Statistics Portal (Statista.com, March 2017). Since It costs over $1,600 a year to care for a dog (Michal Addady, Fortune Magazine, 8/26/16), it is pretty clear that we Americans really love our dogs!
But no statistics exist on how much we don’t really love the dog hair that falls all over the floor, the couch, the bed or the sexy black outfit that we just put on for a night on the town. But common sense says that most of us would really welcome a practical solution to this problem other than constant brushing, sweeping, vacuuming and expensive dry cleaning bills.
Enter Tyson Walters, creator of Shed Defender! Tyson’s St. Bernard, Harley, was shedding all over his apartment and his car. In an interview on October 5, 2016 on TheDodo.com, Tyson described the problem to Stephen Messenger: “My car was practically ruined. Harley’s hair would intertwine in the fabric and not want to ever come out. She would shake and the hair would just explode off her and disperse all throughout the car. I looked around on the internet and dog stores, but I couldn’t find a solution. So I decided to make one.”
In 2011, Tyson came up with the idea of a “onesie” that Harley could wear to contain the hair. His mother sewed the first prototype and he began experimenting with different fabrics and designs. When he walked Harley around his neighborhood people would stop him to talk about the shedding issue, but also mentioned other problems that their dogs might have, and Tyson began to realize that the “onesie” would be helpful in other ways as well. In 2012 he set up a Facebook page, describing the Shed Defender as “a onesie for dogs that contains pet hair and also helps dogs with special issues such as anxiety, allergies or skin conditions.”
Interest in the product grew and on October 11, 2016, Tyson appeared on “Good Day Sacramento,” which generated 18,000 views on-line. By the following year, Tyson had applied for a patent, and introduced new patterns and designs. Pet Age, an on-line pet industry magazine, featured the Shed Defender in an October 25, 2017 article. Just in time for Halloween, the Shed Defender was now being made in a leopard and camo print! “We had really positive feedback from people using the Shed Defender for the 4th of July and expect the same response over Halloween. Its fashion meets function in that it helps reduce anxiety and contain dirt, dog hair and dander so you can keep your house hair-free during any Halloween parties,” Tyson told the Pet Age staff.
The Shed Defender is made from RecoTex, which is a premium, environmentally friendly fiber made from recycled plastic water bottles. The polyester and spandex blend is strong enough to endure wear and tear, but is also light and breathable, to prevent overheating.
The Shed Defender is not meant to be worn constantly, and brushing the dog is still necessary. But it is extremely useful for those occasions (such as riding in the car, or during a party) when shedding needs to be kept to a minimum. The Shed Defender is machine washable and fastens with a zipper – which is easily unzipped for potty breaks! When a dog has a skin irritation or stitches from an injury, it could be used instead of the plastic cone that every dog hates.
Shed Defender donates a portion of their sales to animal shelters, rescue centers and adoption groups through their “Paw It Forward” program. Support has been given to the Atlanta Humane Center after Hurricane Florence, to Charlie’s Foundation, which finds homes for senior dogs, and Animal Haven, which cares for and finds homes for abandoned cats and dogs.