When was the last time you gave much thought to the design of your dog’s collar? Aside from the color and pattern they are all the same, right?
Well, a California company is looking to change that perspective with their new ALU collar.
Mema Pets has completely rethought the standard dog collar. They reexamined every aspect of the design, keeping these 3 things in mind:
- Ease of Use
We were recently approached by Mema Pets to see to see if we were interested in reviewing their new dog collar, and we jumped at the chance!
As I have mentioned in the past, my full-time gig is as a mechanical engineer. My engineering work primarily deals with product design, so of course I am always excited to check out new and innovative products. I especially like to see a fresh take on a product that hasn’t been changed or updated in ages!
Before delving into the review itself, let’s take a look at all the features and improvements of the ALU collar.
The Buckle and Hardware
The real innovation in this collar is in the buckle. For a moment, forget about the standard plastic buckle that you have seen on every collar or strap in your lifetime.
Mema Pet has designed a completely unique type of connection…and there is no plastic in sight!
Their buckle is made out of aluminum hence the “ALU” name. Aluminum was chosen due to its high strength to weight ratio. Their buckle is precision machined, bead blasted, and anodized to create a beautiful and durable finish.
The sides of the buckle do not connect end to end as you are used to with a plastic collar. Instead they are uniquely shaped to fit one over top of the other and uses a magnet to guide each piece into place. This buckle is designed in a way that when connected, an axial (end to end) force will not pull it apart. To disconnect, the inner piece is simply lifted straight out of the other.
Mema also chose aluminum for the D-Ring and triglide (the part that adjusts length/size) on the ALU collar. The triglide has custom teeth machined in the back for better hold. This assures that the collar will stay the correct size and not slip off your dog. Finally, the D-Ring was put through rigorous computer simulations to assure its structural strength.
The ALU collar is made of cork! Aside from its natural beauty, cork is a great material for many reasons. First, cork is sustainable. It can be removed from a tree without damaging it. Additionally, this process is only performed roughly once a decade per tree. For this reason, the same tree can be harvested for hundreds of years. Cork also has several material properties which make it a great choice for a dog collar. It is flexible, waterproof, fire resistant and a natural mosquito repellant.
Finally, the ALU collar is held together with Hemp webbing, and UV-bonded polyester thread. Hemp is one of the strongest natural fibers, and it is also mold and UV resistant. The polyester thread is commonly used in outdoor environments and has proven to be highly resistant to sunlight, aging and wear.
The Verdict: Does it really work?
With its modern, but natural look, the collar itself is a beautiful work of art. Despite its light color, we were shocked at how much it stood out amongst the mounds of Golden fur which tried to obscure it. Somehow this collar both blends in and stands out in a really beautiful way.
Although I find the look of it to be quite striking on a light colored dog, it is also gorgeous on darker dogs, like Renzo, Head of Consumer Testing, who is featured on their site.
Originally, we thought that we would try this collar out with Harley, since he walks with a standard flat collar, whereas Charlie typically uses a no-pull harness. Unfortunately, weighing in at 90lb, the medium was a touch too small for our big boy Harley (collars are only available in sizes M-XL). Luckily, Charlie, our 65lb shrimp, fit into the collar perfectly with about 1.5 inches remaining for adjustment. Charlie is still working on his loose leash walking and is certainly a little tougher on things than Harley, so we knew he would put this collar through its paces.
Putting the collar on is easy-even with a wiggle butt like Charlie. As you can see below, without looking, we were able to line up the two pieces and secure the collar easily. The magnets make this blind job easy-drawing the two ends together to form a tight bond.
The buckle was so easy to connect and disconnect we were a bit skeptical of its strength. Don’t get me wrong, the construction and quality seemed top notch but if you have been around a puppy you are likely familiar with the strange and unpredictable ways they are able to wiggle and maneuver their bodies. Additionally, though Charlie is a perpetual student-he still struggles to walk loose leash particularly before he has had the chance to burn some energy running after his Frisbee. Likewise, though Charlie is small for a golden, anyone with a pulling pup knows, they pack some incredible force. We just didn’t know whether the collar could withstand it.
I am happy to report that despite Charlie’s best puppy brain efforts (pulling, running, jumping, rolling)-this collar stayed put!
Thinking we could clearly outmaneuver this collar, once we got home from our walk, Rach and I took it off Charlie and did our best to put it to the test. We pulled, twisted, tugged….and still did not break the connection.
What we found was that the unique design of the buckle makes the clamping force increase the harder it is pulled. It takes a very deliberate movement to separate the two pieces of the buckle (one hand pushing or holding in place and one pulling/lifting). We simply do not see this buckle coming apart during wear or normal use. As your dog is wearing the collar (or you are playing with it-like us), you will notice movement in the clasp. Don’t be alarmed, the clasp has some give, but the connection is secure.
Unless you have a dog with a particular need (ie. no pull harness), collars in general are something that we as pet parents take for granted. In a world of plastic and polyester collars, Mema Pets and their ALU collar are making pet parents take notice! Toss out any preconceived notions you may have because the ALU collar is anything but ordinary (we really can’t say enough good things about it). It beautifully combines form and function to make a stunning and innovative collar. We love that this collar is eco-friendly and made from sustainable materials. In addition the magnetic closure pretty much just geeks this engineer right out. It connects and disconnects easily but is secure during puppy play time and walks pulls.
I look good…
Charlie has happily worn his collar on walks and around the house since and it is holding up well. The collars are made of strong, durable, and weather resistant materials meaning it will look beautiful for a long time to come. Despite its durability, this collar is soft and flexible. Charlie looks comfortable wearing it even when he is having a serious cuddle/slumber session!
We would recommend the ALU Collar to anyone. Though the cost of the collars may be prohibitive (they are working on this), if it is within your budget and you love modern, innovative pet products, you need to give it a try. We also think this collar has some pretty awesome applications with individuals with disabilities or those who have lost some of their dexterity as a result of aging, arthritis, etc. It couldn’t be easier to use!