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Made in the USA: These quality dog-gear companies create gear here

I could be described as a dog-gear junkie. I love finding new dog gear to help enrich my adventures with my two pups, Glia and Sasha. But recently, I am have been thinking about the impact buying all this dog gear has on the environment and the world around me.

Shipping items from across the world uses resources that wouldn’t be needed if items were purchased locally. And even though items made in the U.S.A can be more expensive, there are clear environmental benefits to spending the extra money to purchase dog gear created locally.

Products created overseas need to be shipped or flown across the ocean, which burns a lot of fossil fuels. Additionally, some of the countries that manufacturing is outsourced to have weaker environmental regulations than the United States.

Per a MoneyCrashers.com article, “A 2014 paper by a team of Chinese researchers, published in the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that the U.S. has effectively “outsourced” much of its air pollution to China, where more than 33% of sulfur dioxide emissions and around 25% of nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide come from the production of goods for export.”

Data like this begs the question…

Why is so much dog gear manufactured overseas?

The main answer is cost. Labor is cheaper in other countries (like China and Vietnam) than it is in the United States. So even with all of the shipping expenses, manufacturing dog gear in another country means that the dog gear is cheaper to make. This allows the dog gear company to sell the product at a lower price to make it more accessible to everyday dog owners or it allows the company to make a bigger profit.

There are some other reasons as well, and some of it does involve limiting the movement and shipment costs of raw materials that are obtained overseas. So it is not all about profit and convenience, there are instances were no matter where you manufacture your product, you would end up shipping some materials across an ocean.

That being said, let’s take a look at where some popular dog gear companies manufacture their products.

Which major dog gear companies manufacture locally?

I made a list of some of my favorite dog gear companies (and some companies with gear that I am currently eyeing for future product reviews) and went on a hunt to find out where the companies are located vs. where the products are manufactured. The table below lists my findings.

CompanyHeadquartersManufacturing
RuffwearBend, OregonChina, Vietnam and Taiwan
HurttaFinlandChina
Groundbird GearBaltimore, MarylandBaltimore, Maryland
KurgoSalisbury, MassachusettsChina
DogBooties.comAnchorage, AlaskaAnchorage, Alaska
MuttluksCanadaCanada

As you can see above, two of my favorite dog gear companies – Ruffwear and Hurtta – both manufacture in a different country than where they are headquartered. So this is something to consider when purchasing dog gear from either of these companies.

Currently, Ruffwear makes my favorite day-hiking harness: the Flagline Harness. And Hurtta makes amazing winter dog jackets. This year I invested in the Hurtta Expedition Parka to layer over a fleece or turtleneck when temperatures are below 10 degrees. My dog Glia is very short-coated and gets cold easily during Minnesota winters.

But happily, both of my favorite dog boots (Muttluks and DogBooties.com) are manufactured in the same country that they are headquartered in! So while the boots do still need to ship to me, they do not have to cross an ocean to arrive at my doorstep.

And I want to give a huge shout-out to Groundbird Gear. This company is small, woman-led, and located entirely in Maryland. Created and run by Marie a.k.a “Bobwhite,” this company creates high-quality custom dog harness, trekking packs, and quilts. While the price point on these gear items is 2-3x that of Ruffwear harnesses, backpacks, and sleeping systems, you are investing in a great company and (for those living in the U.S.) are significantly reducing the environmental impact of shipping dog gear.

And honestly, the higher price point and great quality can limit the amount of gear that you feel the need to buy. And as a consumer, purchasing fewer items that last longer ultimately helps reduce pollution and waste.

Glia and I have the Groundbird Gear Harness + Trekking Pack system and are very happy with it. You can find our full review here.

Other ways companies are trying to reduce their environmental impact.

Local manufacturing is not the only way to reduce environmental impact. So it is important to look at a company as a whole.

For example, take Hurtta’s Eco Product line. This line of products is focused on using recycled polyester in the creation of the products. For the Hurtta Outback Dreamer ECO – the shell fabric and lining are both 100% recycled polyester fabric. On the ECO version of the Extreme Warmer, the shell fabric, wadding and belt are made from 100% recycled polyester and the lining is made from 50% recycled polyester.

You can find Hurtta’s ECO product line on Amazon. (I am an Amazon affiliate and do earn from qualifying purchases.)

Additionally, Ruffwear has posted their reasoning for manufacturing outside of the United States, and some of it does involve limiting materials movement.

Well, the technical specifications of many of our products utilize skill sets and manufacturing equipment that are well-developed in Asia. Another benefit of manufacturing in this region is improved efficiency in our supply chain; most of our raw materials are also produced in Asia so we can limit materials movement (and therefore carbon footprint) by manufacturing in close proximity to where we acquire our raw materials.

https://ruffwear.com/pages/frequently-asked-questions#reamaze#0#/kb/product/manufacturing

Ruffwear also notes that they incorporate recycled materials, natural rubber, and bluesign®-approved fabrics into many of their products. They have also jointed the Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) [Climate Action Corps].

What dog gear companies do you support? And how do you reduce your own consumer impact on the environment?

As I work to become more aware of how my dog gear purchases impact the world that we live in, I am curious… What dog gear companies do you support? Do you know where your dog’s gear is manufactured?

And if anyone is aware of more dog gear made in the United States or just simply made very sustainably, please let me know in the comments section below.

Happy Hiking Everyone!

Kate, Glia, & Sasha

2 replies on “Made in the USA: These quality dog-gear companies create gear here”

See Also: Animal Suspension Technology, headquarters and manufacturing in Bellingham, WA, USA.
AST has been creating custom support harnesses for dogs facing disablilty or medical challenges since 2006, and also makes a line of “off-the-rack” harnesses, and various accessories. Read the full story, and customer reviews, at petsupportsuit.com

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