Unitasker Wednesday: The dog umbrella

pet-umbrellaAll Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

I recently had a big double take after seeing a pet umbrella in action at my local park. Did I just see that? Yes, yes I did.

Did the poor dog have a cold? Did other dogs make fun of him for retreating under an umbrella? Since when did a dog require an umbrella for a walk in the rain? Has the pampering of pets become such an industry that a product like this becomes a good idea for consumers? I had so many questions to ask the owner, but I had to be somewhere and the dog owner was probably unable to answer any of my queries.

Have any of you seen a pet umbrella in action? It is definitely something to see. Any owners of a pet umbrella out there? Defend it in the comments if you’d like. The wet dog smell is obviously a reason to employ the pet umbrella, but what else beyond that? I’m truly baffled.

38 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: The dog umbrella”

  1. posted by Amanda on

    Can’t wait to hear someone defend this one! The thing about walking dogs in the rain is that they get wet from both sides as they splash through puddles and walk through wet grass. The pet brolly isn’t going to help that at all – and frankly I doubt it is effective at keeping the tops of dogs dry either. Maybe if you had a very small, very sedate dog…otherwise this isn’t only a unitasker, it’s a complete waste of cash.

  2. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    Ha! And, it’s a clear umbrella so it can’t even be used as a parasol. Awesome.

  3. posted by chzplz on

    Amanda’s obviously a dog owner. And the developer of this product isn’t.

    As an aside… As the owner of a water loving, belly flopping, wet grass rolling lab, I’ve just been using an old towel. But I’ve been intrigued by these “Sham-Wow” thingies. Anyone used them to dry off a wet dog? Any better than a regular towel?

  4. posted by linda deane on

    I wouldn’t use one, but I can somewhat understand why someone might. I have a bichon and the cost of grooming is high. Rain ruins a blowout of the fur, and wastes the money just spent on grooming. I get around this by just not letting it bug me. He’s a dog, not an accessory.

  5. posted by Blair on

    The messier the dog, the more I love him.

    However, this could be useful on rainy days for those parents who leash their kids when they go out. :P

  6. posted by Dogvocate on

    I’m a cat person, but I have several friends with dogs that REFUSE to go outside in the rain to do their business. Maybe this will encourage them to go on walks without their precious backs getting wet! I can definitely see some people buying this.

  7. posted by Amber on

    My dog is one of those that WILL NOT go outside if it’s raining. Fortunately, she’s litter trained. However, with previous dogs, I’ve taken them outside with a large golf umbrella that can cover me and the pup. It works pretty well with something I already own.

  8. posted by Missi on

    I need this badly for my 13 week old Great Dane puppy. If I can barely drag him out in the rain at 40lbs, I can’t imagine how hard it will be one year and 100 lbs from now.

  9. posted by Marci on

    While my dog has no problems getting wet or running around in the rain, it’s a convenience when she stays dry. I would never invest in a “dog umbrella” but when it does rain, I hold her on a tight leash under my umbrella with me. On weekends, I don’t tend to mind her getting wet. The wet dog smell goes away and a bath will make her smell good again, but during the week, on my lunch break, I don’t have time to dry her off before letting her loose to dirty up the inside. I do make her wipe her feet at the door though :)

  10. posted by Robbin on

    I have a dog who does therapy visits. I did buy him a raincoat for when we go visiting on rainy days. While it’s ok if his paws and belly are a bit damp (I use a microfiber towel I got at the auto store to wipe those), having someone pet a damp dog is just yucky! (I suppose an umbrella might keep his head dry, too, but I still don’t see one in our future. :-)

  11. posted by Enrique S @ The Corporate Barbarian on

    Good God. Now I’ve seen everything. Why not just take the dog out in a plastic bubble? Didn’t the inventor think that the ground would be wet during a rain storm?

  12. posted by Jane on

    I have the Sham Wow things and I would not use them on the dog. I think a soft terry cloth towel is better. In my experience the sham wow is better for big spills(so an unnecessary clutter item!). I do have a rain coat for my dog. She is a Sheltie and when it is a heavy rain she hates to go out because as the rain soaks through her coat on her back she gets itchy and cannot concentrate on why we are out for our walk so then we are out in the pouring rain for longer and everyone gets wetter. The coat also dramatically reduces the amount of drying time, # of dirty towels and the associated wear & tear on my furniture.

  13. posted by Shalin on

    I am also…baffled…

  14. posted by Matt on

    A coat makes a lots more sense to me.
    I’ve read that those super-absorbent towels are pretty good with wet fur, but don’t bother getting the Sham Wow ones, the no-name generic versions work just as well.

  15. posted by Jenn on

    My would not cooperate. He likes the rain, the towel dry, AND the light once over with the hairdryer he gets from coming inside.

  16. posted by Lucy on

    @ Blair – You obviously have no children. I have used a kid keeper before with my daughter. We bought one for our trip to Disney World and you wouldn’t believe the number of parents who wished they had done the same. It isn’t to “leash” our children, it is to keep them safe in a crowded area while still allowing them to be independant.

  17. posted by Karyn on

    @ Lucy – Hear, hear. Keeping the kids safe is first priority, and anyone with experience with preschool children knows how easily they can slip out of one’s grasp and dart away. Never been to Disney World, but when my son was young we walked and took the bus everywhere, so I jerry-rigged a cheap pet leash around my son’s hips to serve the same purpose. (Wish I’d had the proper harness-style ones, designed for children, that they have now!) I had to put up with the occasional stranger who felt it was his/her business to be a pundit say things like, “He ain’t a dog, lady!” My retort: “I’m keeping him from becoming roadkill.”

    It’s also easier to walk upright, by the way, when you have the kid on a short leash instead of having to walk bent over to hold the kid’s hand the whole time. And the kid, as you noted, likes the freedom better, too. Win-win, all the way around!

  18. posted by Courtney on

    I got some Sham-Wows as a housewarming gift and had EXACTLY the same thought – Wow! (or “Sham-Wow!”) I can use these to wipe off my 2 wet 90-pound dogs!

    After having used them, I must say I prefer old, big, soft bath towels. Though the Sham-Wows absorb water, they are perfectly smooth (not textured like terry cloth towels), and small, so they don’t do much of a good job. Draping a big terrycloth towel over your dog and rubbing seems to catch more water, my dogs like the rubby-scrubby action better since the towel is textured, AND you can hold it up to protect yourself when your dog does the inevitable shake. Ditch the Sham Wows.

  19. posted by Kersten on

    I think we Westerners are the kings of single-purpose inventions! The umbrella is cute, but with only one use it is just too wasteful for me to justify. Dogs that don’t go outside in the rain? That must be difficult. Have you tried training a la Cesar Milan to help get the dogs to go out in the rain?

  20. posted by Vespa on

    I would actually buy this. I have a 9 lbs hairless Chinese Crested and we live in Seattle where it rains … a lot. And not the warm fun Hawaii rain, the cold constant drizzle.

  21. posted by Elle Kasey on

    We have two dogs with high-maintenance long fluffy coats. We leave them shaggy because we’re not fans of the preciously groomed look. That said, when we get into a run of 3 or more rainy days the constant need to catch them at the door and dry them head to toe and then mop up their muddy paw prints is a drag. So I understand the theory of the product. We have a couple of rarely used dog raincoats for the same purpose. And anyone whose dealt with a snowshy dog who won’t go out when it snows (not ours they love it) can commiserate with rain-averse dogs whose owners search for something to get them to go out.

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  24. posted by knitwych on

    I’ve seen these silly things before, and I laugh every time. Although I have a Chihuahua who absolutely HATES to go out in the rain (and who puts on Academy Award-worthy dramatic performances of Shivering Pitiful Dog Being Forced to Suffer Heinously Inhumane Treatment) when I drag him out in the rain, I am absolutely certain that he would think this umbrella was trying to eat him.

    I am equally certain that my Shepherd mix, who is a contender for World’s Biggest Wuss Dog, would agree with the Chih that he was about to be absorbed and digested by this bizarre, alien thing. Being a wuss, though, she would not leap to his defense. She would run like h*ll, and I would end up getting dragged face first through the wet, soppy grass whilst dragging the Chih along behind me.

    And the cats, indoor kitties who always watch us from the windows when we go out (no doubt thinking, “Dummies. Why don’t you just pee in a litter box like we do?”, would undoubtedly laugh their tails off.

  25. posted by martha in mobile on

    My Jack-Chi won’t do her business in the rain unless I am out in the rain with her. Fortunately, she is gracious enough to allow me an umbrella.

    And those kid leash thingies are great! If you have ever felt a small hand trying desperately to squirm out of yours to investigate something interesting (to owner of said small hand) and dangerous (to you), then you know what I mean.

  26. posted by Lizzie on

    I used to like those dog umbrella thingies because my daughter found them screamingly funny when she was a baby. And yes, since she would NOT hold my hand, she was one of those kids on a leash in my busy Manhattan neighborhood. And I got a surprising amount of positive comments about it–people who thought it was nice to see a little one actually walking instead of being forever in a stroller. Now we live in the country, where dogs don’t even wear raincoats.

  27. posted by Bonnie L. on

    Raincoats definitely all the way! My dog is a tiny little thing and the coast keeps her warm as well as dry and means when I go home the only thing I need to do is wash muddy paws. I couldn’t see the point of a pet umbrella.. I have enough issues keeping a normal leash from tangling around telephone posts etc on a sunny day let alone trying to manage that unwieldy thing when I would probably be trying to juggle my own umbrella! Not to mention.. does that mean when the dog brushes up against you, you would get wet pants from its umbrella?

  28. posted by Barbara on

    I’ve been looking for a solution like this. My dog absolutely refuses to go out in the rain (where as I’m happy to get wet) and I use a harness on him, so a dog coat won’t work. Maybe he would actually go out with this? I’m just not sure if I could endure the snickers from my neighbors!

  29. posted by rukidding on

    Apparently you censored/removed my comment so i’m putting it up again. Please note – i did not use any foul language, make any disparaging personal insults, or invoke anything racist, sexist, age-ist or any other -ist so removal of this comment is unjustified. Please also note, if this comment is removed i will forward a copy of it to all writing staff on Unclutterer so they are made aware of the situation.

    #1) Animals with fur usually have a top coat and an undercoat. The undercoat usually holds the majority of the body heat. Many breeds of dogs have little or no undercoat. Thus wet = cold = justifiably uncomfortable = possibly getting sick.

    #2) The dog umbrella is not a pampering, foo-foo frivolity like pink bows, diamond dog collars, or manicured nails. It serves an actual functional purpose. The preference for not-getting-rained-on is shared by most mammals on the planet.

    #3) It is as much a “unitasker” as a human umbrella or raincoat. So where’s your rant on human umbrellas? Come to think of it, how about a rant on human socks, underwear, and baseball caps? (all unitaskers).

    I don’t have a dog, never owned a dog, don’t particularly like or dislike dogs, but FOR THE LOVE OF COMMON SENSE, if 2 of the 3 things i’ve mentioned didn’t occur to you when you thought of this article then maybe you should run your stories by someone first before you post them.

    The point of Unitasker Wednesday posts is supposed to be about ridiculously impractical, waste of space, frivolous waste of money, could be just as easily done conventionally – items. This product doesn’t fall into any of those categories.

    This is the first post on Unclutterer i’ve found lacking any redeeming thought – it’s almost like you knocked out a rant just for the sake of meeting some kind of quota.

    BTW – was it really necessary to passive-aggresively insult the person you saw using it?

    “the dog owner was probably unable to answer any of my queries.”

    Talk about snide and snarky out-of-nowhere.

  30. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @rukidding — Sorry to not fuel your fire, but I don’t think anyone on staff purposefully took your comment down … sometimes comments disappear … I know specifically we lost 27 on Monday.

    Also, if you were really thinking about spamming everyone on staff, can I ask that you not do that? It’s a lot of clutter. A website has like 9,000 technical things that can go wrong in a given second. Your comment disappearing is not personal. Things just happen.

  31. posted by rukidding on

    @Erin Doland
    – I am hardly on fire. I think that’s obvious from my elevated choice of diction as well as some well bulleted points of logic.

    – While i certainly understand technical mishaps happen time to time, i find it highly suspect that my comment was removed 10 minutes after confirming that it had made it up. I am not privy to your IT dept. so i think it wasn’t unreasonable for me to assume someone had intentionally removed it.

    – I also hardly think forwarding a single comment to 4 writers on your staff in the effort to notify you of a situation can be construed as spam.

    You are a business, I am a customer; you make money off of loyal readers like me. It is not unreasonable for me to bring a grievance to the knowledge of those who are in a position to rectify it. 4 writers does not a mass mailing list make. If i am in error, please let me know and i will summarily unsubscribe to your feed.

  32. posted by rukdding on

    @Erin Doland

    P.S. – i’m not in any way involved with the design or manufacture of this product but it seems obvious to me that it’s a “clear umbrella” so that owners can see if their dogs are done doing there business. Perhaps you should take a little more time considering the products you review.

  33. posted by me2 on

    Diction is the manner in which one speaks words. It means enunciation. So it is impossible for anyone to present or asses “diction” on a message board.

    Also, bullet points do not logic make. Given the quality of rhetoric this days, I wish we could be saved by some well placed dashes. Alas the dashes are just formatting. The logic would presumably follow the bullet points.

    Lastly, I really like the Unclutterer. Keep up the good work- like poking fun of this silly bumberchute por la pooch.

  34. posted by SheSaysGo on

    @rukidding

    I think you’re taking this far too seriously. I’m sure that no one intentionally took your comment down. Having a hissy fit because the internet doesn’t always work perfectly is just unreasonable. Besides, it’s not as if you are a paying customer of Unclutterer. You read their columns, but you are no paying for their service nor are they in any way indebted to you. As a “loyal reader” you might generate ad revenue or contribute in the columns [although the quality of your remarks may be dubious], but it’s not as if you purchased a faulty blender for $19.99 and are here to get your money back. They don’t owe you anything.

    As for the doggie umbrella- they simply don’t work. I used to walk a neighbor’s dog who refused to go pee in the rain and they thoughtfully bought the doggie umbrella in the hopes that it would make things easier. IT didn’t. The dog thought he was being attacked by this weird, flapping appendage and took off, spaying water all over the place and getting himself wetter than he would have become with just normal walking. The umbrella would crash against my thighs, getting me wetter and jerking the dog around. It was a terrible experience and a waste of money for them.

  35. posted by rukidding on

    sigh, alright i thought this was done but apparently not.

    @me2:
    – Diction ALSO means ‘choice of words’. Dude – you have to read past just the first meaning in the dictionary. As far as “present or asses ‘diction'” – i have absolutely no idea what that means.
    – “bulleted points of logic” means each point was logical and bulleted – not that bullets (hyphens) make it logical. I think you should examine the quality of your own rhetoric THESE (not “this”) days. Even without the grammar mistake, the 100% hypocrisy of the statement you made is funny/sad.
    -Lastly, your entire post is a personal attack on me – and has absolutely no mention as to if any of the points i brought up about the product actually having merit. Hooray for the art of misdirection. You should become a magician or a politician.

  36. posted by rukidding on

    @SheSaysGo
    -I put up a post. It dissapeared. I rewrote the post adding a three polite sentences to the front-end. If people had just read it – then end of story, but there was a response. So i responded back – that is the whole purpose of the commenting system. In fact i wouldn’t even be writing this very comment now if you and ‘me2′ had not said anything but you are exercising your desire to respond as much as i did. So either follow your own advice or don’t persecute me for doing what you obviously do yourself.
    -As i explained (sigh – why don’t people read), i am not privy to their IT dept. and given the tone of responses, it is not unreasonable for me to have assumed that my comment was intentionally taken down.
    -Correct – i don’t buy blenders from Unclutter, but you don’t buy stocks from stock brokers either. Unclutter, whatever abstract way (like ad-revenue), makes money off of their readership in the form of a blog with a commenting system. If they don’t want comments (favorable or unfavorable) then take the commenting system off. If they want a commenting system, then it’s my right to express disagreement or displeasure with the site or it’s content as long as i follow polite etiquette which i most certainly have.
    -I liked your 1st hand anecdote with the product – finally someone who’s actually written a comment about the topic and not meandered off into the wild about me.

    Now seriously – i let this whole thing go right after i put my FIRST post up. Let’s let this die. I don’t really care about dog umbrellas – i just wanted to comment about the quality of the article. Please – no more responses – i really don’t feel like responding back.

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