There are two things that are true when trying out a new product:
In the case of the Shed Defender, a lightweight suit meant to contain your dog’s hair (and keep you from having to incessantly vacuum), I took none of this advice and instead handed it to my boyfriend and begged him to do it for me. Which means the suit ended up backward on Monkey and, as a result, the zipper ended up breaking. Oops …
On my next try (they were kind enough to send me a new suit), I watched this short video on the Shed Defender website and, as a result, got the superhero-esque bodysuit on Monkey in under a minute. All by myself! (Monkey is a Saint Bernard who weighs 150 pounds and isn’t always the most cooperative, so, yes, I consider that a feat.) It was actually quite easy, and Monkey didn’t even protest. (While it was going on, anyway.)
Once Monkey was securely in the Shed Defender, my first reaction was to laugh. I mean, any dog is going to look a little ridiculous in a form-fitting bodysuit, but put a Saint Bernard in that same suit and it’s basically comedy gold. Unfortunately, Monkey’s first reaction to being in the suit wasn’t quite as jovial. He definitely got a little anxious and did a lot of shaking (I assume in an attempt to get it off). The good news is that normally when Monkey shakes, fur AND drool fly all over the house. With the Shed Defender on, it was just drool. (With a dog as messy as Monkey, small victories are still victories.)
Still, after about 10 minutes or so, he seemed to accept his fate as a Saint Bernard superhero sidekick destined to save the world (by not shedding all over Mama’s apartment), plopped down on the floor, and took a nap.
Listen, does it seem a little ridiculous to put an animal in a onesie in order to cut down on vacuuming? Maybe. But I have to vacuum three to five times a week because of how much Monkey sheds (and because of how clean I like things). And don’t even get me started on my car — my poor, poor car; dog hair EVERYWHERE. On the ceiling, under the seats, in every single nook and cranny. So, yeah, maybe it’s a little ridiculous to put a dog in a bodysuit, but it’s also oddly practical.
Think the idea of a dog onesie is cool, but worried about your dog overheating? Well, we live in San Francisco where temps above 60 are rare, so I didn’t freak out about that, but the Shed Defender is made out of a lightweight, breathable, stretchy athletic mesh that’s designed to ensure your dog doesn’t get hot.
It can also be worn for a couple of hours without issue (seriously — once Monkey got used to it, he didn’t seem to even notice it was on). If your dog needs to go to the bathroom, you just unzip it a little bit (it zips from front to back), so he can relieve himself.
Note: This is important! Not only do you not want to put it on backward, you definitely don’t want to put it on backward and then have your dog run outside and poop inside of it. Not that this happened — okay, FINE, this totally happened. Again, do as I say, not as I do, and watch the video first! It’s seriously so easy to get on and off once you just see how it’s done.
Was it a little embarrassing to take Monkey outside in the Shed Defender? I mean … yes. I will not lie to you — he looked ridiculous. And if people are vocal when they see a Saint Bernard (I hear “Wow, that dog is big” 50-plus times a week), you can only imagine what they say when you parade the aforementioned Saint Bernard around in a bodysuit. Although mostly people were just curious. And then judgy. But curious first, which was a nice change.
But does the fact that I only had to vacuum twice last week make up for the strange looks and constant questions? Absolutely. Also, Monkey is a very handsome dog who is used to being constantly fawned over. I think it did him a little good to not be the fluffiest, most adorable dog on the block. Plus, his head is the softest part of him, and that sticks out of the suit just fine for maximum petting, so I don’t think he suffered too much.
Truthfully, though, as much as I love this concept — and it really did help contain Monkey’s fur — I haven’t put it back on him since the test run. For me, the fact that you have to take it off him after a few hours makes it a little pointless in the house since I’m still going to have to eventually vacuum. The time I think it would be really useful is for long car rides. Dog hair can majorly ruin the interior of your car, and I look forward to using the Shed Defender to keep that from happening, even if Monkey will look a little silly when he sticks his head out the window. Function over fashion is a necessary fact of life sometimes. Even, apparently, for dogs.
I love the concept of this product, but it seems impractical to use in the house on a daily basis. However, I think it’s a great invention if you want to save your car from being destroyed by dog hair or if you want to keep your home hair-free for a short amount of time after cleaning.
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About the author: Daisy Barringer grew up in San Francisco and didn’t let the fact that she’s a city girl keep her from getting her dream dog: a Saint Bernard. She and Monkey love to romp in the snow in Tahoe, visit dog-friendly bars, watch 49ers football, and drool. Yup, both of ’em.