Unleash your style

From custom-made denim battle jackets to crazy-cool bandanas, we’re talking dog stuff with serious street cred…

14 Mar 2017 By Leanne Philpott Comments

Recently we caught up with Mel Westwood, one half of the dog-loving duo behind Pethaus. Mel, along with her partner Matt Johnstone identified a huge gap in the market for original pet gear so they set about making their own.

A few barks and a wag of a tail later (ok, so it might have taken a little more effort than that!)—Pethaus was born. Home to biker-style hoodies and denim for dogs, it’s your go-to for stylish pet wear and accessories.

Zookie: What inspired you to create Pethaus?

Pethaus: Our little mate Willie the English Toy Terrier.  When Willie arrived in our home he was a tiny little dude, we took him everywhere with us, lunches, the pub, parties, he was part of our crew and in typical terrier style he got cold and shaky when outdoors. We knew we had to get him something warm to wear but the options out there just weren’t us or him!  We joked about him getting a denim battle jacket to match his dad’s, and so Pethaus was born.

Zookie: Do you make the dog jackets yourselves?

Pethaus: Pethaus has grown much bigger and quicker than we ever anticipated. The days of being able to sew every jacket from home are long gone. All our designs are done in house and of course we still keep our paws on custom orders. Our patches are all hand stitched on, we hand stamp all our leather logo patches, sew all of our bandanas and hand stamp our dog tag bottle openers too.

Every item we sell is paw approved and quality controlled by Willie the dog’s discerning eye before it gets shipped. We are very particular about the quality of our denim. 

Zookie: As a dog and cat parent, did you have any trouble with the two getting along?

Pethaus: Our fur family originally consisted of two very handsome out going adult Abyssinian male cats. Diego our oldest is 'the lover', a very affectionate dude who wins hearts with head bops and a constant need for attention. Then there is Cowboy, think of him as the Clint Eastwood / Matt Dillion of cats, a rogue, a heart breaker, handsome, very smart and unattainable. Don’t even try to win his affection; he’ll come to you if wants something. The ladies love him. (A true cowboy.)

When we introduced Willie to the boys he was a tiny little guy only two kilos, we feared leaving them alone incase they mistook him for a mouse. The early days together in our house were closely monitored. Mostly things went great, Diego was indifferent and happy to let the new pup snuggle, Cowboy tolerated his existence while regularly reminding him who was boss. However, once we found puppy Willie whimpering in a corner sitting on his bum in a pool of his own wee with Cowboy standing over him nonchalantly licking his paws. Cowboy had let him know in no uncertain terms who ruled the house.

We made a point from the very early days of letting Willie know he was lowest in the pecking order. He got fed last, he got cuddles after the cats and he was most certainly never allowed to retaliate to a cat hiss or claws lashing out. He was their bitch. English Toy Terriers are prey dogs with a very strong instinct to chase pin and shake anything that runs, they are rat dogs and, by nature, hunters. If he wanted to, he could easily badly injure or kill a cat despite his size (now a tiny six kilos).

Willie now has total respect for the cats. They are, in his eyes, teddy bears with needles! He sleeps cuddled up with them, shares food, plays ruff ‘n tumble, but knows his place.

Zookie: Any thoughts on battle jackets for cats?

Pethaus: Our battle jackets are worn by cats the world over! In fact our first jacket was sold to a cat in New Zealand! Check out the Instagram account @cats_are_metal; one of our faves.

Zookie: How would you describe your brand in a sentence?

Pethaus: The Levis of dog denim!  The ultimate street cred for any dog. (Or cat)

Zookie: As pet lovers, what’s your favourite place in Melbs to hang out with Willie?

Pethaus: Edinburgh Gardens! Every weekend. Best dog people and a great place for old mate to burn off some energy.

Huge shout out to the guys at Rockwell and Sons on Smith Street Collingwood, Willie has a regular smash burger there, it was the first place we ever took him on a lunch date.  We also love Grub Street Food Van, who are super dog friendly, The Gem Bar and The Crab Shack for dog-friendly bar hangs on our side of town. We are lucky to have easy access to Yarra Bend Park for long weekend dog walks and picnics too.

Zookie: Got a favourite pet-friendly holiday destination?

Pethaus: Our favourite times away with Willie are spent camping; it’s tricky to find good spots which aren’t in national parks but one of our favourites for human-dog good times is Blue Pools. Dogs run loose through the camp ground and there’s the best swim hole you’ve ever swung off a tree into. Loads of wildlife for the dogs to sniff out and far away from busy roads.

We are lucky that Willie can be trusted off lead to stay near us and be recalled at all times, we would never recommend this kind of camping for a dog that needed to be leashed, it’s just not fair. 

Our dog camping hot tip is a flashing collar light for nights! Also be wary of snakes at all times and keep your mate within sight. A dog first aid kit in the car is a must have; A dog’s Life is where we got ours.

Zookie: Can you give us a heads up on any new items of clothing or accessories coming to PetHaus?

Pethaus: We have some super fun vintage style rock n roll gear planned, plus of course more denim gear and patches. Sign up to our email list for the exclusive heads up and pack member discounts on what’s new.


14 Mar 2017 By Leanne Philpott Comments

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