CAM blogs

CAM Meets Alison Priestley

Alison Priestley is the founder and owner of Ruff and Tumble Dog Drying Coats. Warming, drying and comforting, they help all dogs, particularly arthritic ones.


Alison kindly agreed to answer the following questions:

What gave you the idea for the Drying Coat?

I live near the sea in Norfolk and walk my three dogs every day on the beach. I knew it wasn’t good for them to be cold and wet after a sea dip and I like to keep my car and house clean too! I’d seen there were Drying Coats but didn’t like what I found. They were thin, poorly made and uncomfortable for the dogs, who disliked them. Because I couldn’t find a drying coat I liked, I sourced some towelling and asked a friend to make some for me. Several of my friends admired them so I made some more with the leftover towelling and they sold out at a local market. It was then that I realised I could take it further. Eight years on, it’s a thriving family business, with eight employees, including my two sons!


How do you use Drying Coats on your own dogs?

Drying Coats have many uses. I use them for drying every day. The double layer means that the dog will dry completely without staying damp, unlike towels, and save endless rubbing down. They stay on the dogs until they are completely dry, and I dust any mud off when I remove them. They hold in smells too. Daisy, my Black Lab is very arthritic these days, so I also use the coat as a warming coat for her. Made of two layers of thick towelling, they really are very cosy. But, unlike some coats, they are not difficult to put on and do not require any awkward and painful lifting of legs, which, in arthritic dogs, is not advisable. They simply slip over the head and fasten with Velcro at the side and the neck. Buckles and straps are uncomfortable for arthritic dogs, but Velcro is soft and forgiving.

Lulu, my Springer, is frightened of fireworks, so I put the coat on to calm her at that time of year. The swaddling effect of the coat is wonderful on timid dogs. Mac, my new Parsons Russell Terrier puppy runs around all day, so during the hot summer I used the coat to cool him down. Simply turn the coat inside out and dampen with cold water and pop on a dog for five minutes only. He’s being neutered soon, and I’ll use the coat to comfort him after the op too.

Why did you want to help CAM?

I came across CAM when Daisy was diagnosed with arthritis. I thought the information on the website was brilliant and a great combination of clever ideas, backed by scientific rigour and common sense. I approached Hannah and said I would love to help by making a Limited Edition Coat in CAM colours for Crufts, which we did for Crufts 2019. Hannah was so enthusiastic and energetic, it was a pleasure to work with her. We gave CAM £1 for every coat we sold – and we sold hundreds!

Hannah was also on our stand, answering customers’ questions about arthritis and we gave away thousands of tote bags with the CAM logo on too. I think CAM does a wonderful job for such a common problem which is hard to manage. I started Ruff and Tumble because I wanted to make sure that dogs were cared for properly, so I support anyone trying to do that too.

Contact Ruff and Tumble:
03332 079960