Veterinary professionals Alison Columbus and Janice Voth are no strangers to the current dangers facing small and medium-sized dogs in the outdoors.
Working together at a North Vancouver clinic, the pair has recently seen an influx of pets coming in with wounds from coyotes and cougars, Voth told Black Press Media.
On Thursday, a three-month-old German Shepherd puppy was carried away by a cougar in the Tri-Cities. It is assumed dead.
The duo decided to do something about it.
They created PredatorBWear – a lightweight mesh harness fitted with plastic spikes meant to deter domestic and wild animals from preying upon the canine wearing it.
“Predators go for the neck, they go for the back and they try to carry the dog away to a secondary location,” said Columbus, a veterinary technician.
“We tried to make something that when predators bite down on the dog the spikes will hit the roof of their mouth,” explained Voth, who works as a veterinary assistant.
“It isn’t designed to hurt the other animal, the spikes are hollow. It’s meant to give the owner that couple of extra seconds to grab their pet and get away.”
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The concept was first designed in Columbus’ living room with her 14-year-old Cavalier-Bichon cross, Abby.
Following its December 2019 launch, PredatorBWear was met with positive reviews. However, Voth said some dog owners don’t like the look of the spikes.
The pair have filled orders for people in Australia, Spain, and Israel.
They also donate harnesses to dogs who have come into their clinic having been seriously injured by larger canine breeds.
Toy poodle Sebastian lost his leg after being attacked three years ago. A few months ago, he was brought in injured again.
The pair outfitted Sebastian in a harness, “so he and his family can feel safer on their walks. He holds a very special place in our hearts,” Voth said.
So far, no dog owners have reported their pets being attacked while wearing the harness.
“That’s a good sign,” Voth responded.
PredatorBWear costs $99 and comes in four sizes, ranging from fitting a mini chihuahua-sized breed to one up to 45 pounds.
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