This guide is all about veterinary bedding and how to tell that you're getting the genuine article. It is aimed mainly for pet owners, IE Dogs, Cats, House Rabbits, Guinea pigs, etc but Vet bed can be used for Equestrian, baby, nursery, home furnishings and disabled or bed use!
Way back in the early 70s, (probably earlier) someone ( I wont say who but I now know who it is) invented an imitation sheepskin fleece to protect people from bed sores and nasty infections caused from being bedridden. It was known as MEDICAL FLEECE
This was used extensively in hospitals and is to this day. The idea was it didnt hold bugs, could be boiled for cleaning so soiling by the patients wasnt a problem. People with allergies were safe on it as it was hypo allergenic. So Medi fleece was invented. As happened with the brand name of sticky tape, "sellotape", it was soon was being made by various brand names like Medi pad, Hospital fleece, Pro pad, Dry bed etc etc.
Then a bright spark decided to sell it to a vet for injured animals who were recouperating from their operations and so VETERINARY BEDDING was born. It was soon apparent that this amazing stuff was handy for a bit more than just post op care for dogs. The Breeders screamed out for it. Kennels and catteries couldnt manage without it. It took the pet world by storm The same happened in the dog world with the trade names and suddenly we had.. Pro Fleece, Vet, Bed, Medi bed. Dry Bed.. erm me Bedding Box Vet Fleece.
The basic make up of vet bed is a tough latex lined backing and a 1.5 " thick imitation sheepskin top. The idea is any moisture runs straight through the fibres thus keeping the dog, cat, animal, or human, dry and comfortable.
THE TECHNICAL BIT
The amount of fibres per square inch provides the support. This is measured in weight GSM
An average veterinray bedding should be between 1200 and 1450 GSM. This is a medium - Heavy weight vet bed and the one you are most likely to find on sale.
The lightweight one is around 850 - 1100 gsm. its like the fleece you get on a paint roller. THATS BECAUSE IT IS THE STUFF YOU GET ON A PAINT ROLLER. It wont give any support, due to the thinness of it, it cannot stay dry on the surface as efficiently as the medium weight. Its not designed to do the same job as true vet bed, so it wont. Another way to tell its paint roller fabric is the backing is very flimsy, and doesnt have the latex coating also its rarely green backed, more often than not white or similar colour to the sheepskin side
The heavy weight is around 1600 gsm and its not often seen on general sale and has to be ordered. WHY? Because the heavy weight doesnt actually do much more than the medium except it will give more support. Its ideal for giant breeds IE Mastiffs, St BErnards, Etc with elbow problems, but other than that the mid range is perfect for every day use.
HOW DO I KNOW I AM GETTING A REAL VET BED?
Ok first and formost a few old wives tales..
"VET BED is only genuine if it has a green back"
Erm.. RUBBISH! It can be any colour you like. It was originally made under the brand name of VET BED for the company "pet life"wth a green back. It was put in very fancy packaging and to this day is sold in pet shops. It is the most expensive around, but it is the same as all the other vet beds and does all the same things.. To prove this, vet bed was and still is being sold at dog shows by the sheet for half the price or less than you would pay for the same thing with pet life. So pet life had a lovely idea and had the backing made YELLOW, re packaged it and went on a huge marketting campaign to re sell the "original" vet bed, now with extra special properties under the new name of "Vet bed gold". The one good thing about pet life vet bed is you can get the odd sizes and oval shapes from them, but they are still the most expensive on the market.
Well the obvious happened and yellow backed vet bed sprung up at the shows. Interestingly enough its not as popular, as people had been told so many times only green back was the genuine vet bed, and so they were wary of this new yellow backed vet bed. So thats how the rumour started that only genuine vet bed had a green back
Genuine VET BED is white?
WRONG again. Originally you could only get white. Then came grey, then brown. Vet bed was then re branded by another company and blue & green was added. Along came PRO FLEECE and as an independant manufacturer he turned vet bed on its head. HE improved the quality and consistancy and added a rainbow of colours. To this day white is still popular, mostly for vets, whelping and kittening because of the fact if something is going wrong it shows up. But the coloured is popular as it doesnt show the dirt. PRO FLEECE no longer manufactur, but they do sell vet bed under the PRO FLEECE name.
VET BED is made by Pet life so has to be genuine?
VET BED is actually the "trade name" of the veterinary bedding product sold by "pet Life". All veterinary bedding fleeces are made by 1 of 3 factories in the UK. ALL VET BED comes from here, it is made to the specifications of the companies who contact them and are packaged there. These factories also make paint roller fabric, rugs and carpets. A market trader can go into one of these places get ends of rolls or seconds and this is how the mixture of the qualities, paint roller, genuine vet beds end up for sale. NO ONE company who sells vet bed actually MANUFACTURES vet bed! They may put on the packaging "makers of" but they cannot say MANUFACTURERS.
If you want a consistant quality of veterinary bedding then you need to go for a medium weight from a reputable seller. Profleece were the only company to manufacture their own veterinary bedding but the actual machinary has now been sold to one of the three manufacturers in the UK and they like all the other suppliers of Veterinary bedding do not manufacture
NO VET BED IS IMPORTED. thankfully its still a UK market :)
Ok, so now thats out of the way how DO you tell a good vet bed.
Firstly its heavier than it looks. Based on a piece 100cm X 76cm Pick it up and feel if its weight is light & well under a kilo, if it feels floppy and saggy, then its paint roller fabric. A good vet bed weighs about 1 kilo.
The pile should be over an inch thick and wooly in texture, similar to a sheepskin. If you put your hand palm down flat on it, you should feel a cushioned support and not the flat latex backing underneath. Finally if you put your fingers in it, you should be able to leave "hole prints"
The backing should feel coated, not plastic, relatively stiff, A large sheet of 1.5 mtrs X 1mtr can just about be folded into 4 but no more than that and even that is a struggle. IF in doubt go to a reputable trader they will tell you the GSM of the vet bed you are purchasing and will advise the correct vet bed for your needs. Probably shooting myself in the foot here with this review and guide but here are a few who I have known for many years and can vouch for their service. IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER..
Bronte glen, Dry Bed, Pet life (Original Vet Bed), Pro fleece. Apologies if I missed anyone out and to all you reputable traders, I am happy to add your name to my list here. This is after all a guide to pet owners as to what this stuff is and where to get the real thing.
The Bedding Box, beddingbox dot com (Guess I best give myself a plug here?)
Non slip, plush, and soft vet bed, patterns and pictures!
Vet bed as I said comes from factories who make carpets, rugs etc. it was only a matter of time before they made a few variations of their own. The main one being non slip
This rubber (non slip) backed vet bed was born from bathroom rugs X vet bed and it really is a huge success! It solves the problem we have had for years. "how to stop it sliding around?" The downside is you can only wash it around 40% and not boil it. The backing does wear after a bit, so whilst a green back vet bed will last 20 years + .. HONEST! the non slip will have the same shelf life, but I would say about a year for the rubber backing if that, as it does rub off, or wash off or comes off. I still say go for the rubber back for general pet use.
Patterns and pictures are now being introduced. you often see paw prints, bones etc. Due to manufacturing problems this is only available on rubber (non slip) back. Other designs are wolves, Man UTD, Union Jack, list is endless
A warning tho! With the picture ones, union jacks, bob the builder (my son has this), your favorite football team!! they have been designed to be bedside rugs and so for pups and whelping purposes arent suitable.
Finally the new kids on the block, the plush and soft vet bed.
This was started by me *takes a bow*
It all began with Yorkshire terrier breeders who wanted something with a softer pile that didnt break the very fragile hairs of Yorkshire terriers. so a very soft silky fine vet bed was designed. Then along came the pug breeders who wanted a vet bed that wasnt wooly and with shorter fibres as pug pups can strugggle in long wooly vet beds, not to mention over heat.
I had a long chat with 2 factories and they made the pink plush vet bed for me, and then the finer soft vet beds.
These are rubber backed, they do the same as vet beds. IE it stays dry on top , the pile on the soft is the same length but because its fine it doesnt have the support. I repeat THERE IS NO SUPPORT! ... Just checking if you are still awake :). the plush however has the spring you still like from vet bed but without the wooliness.
So I hope you find the guide helpful. If you have questions email me. I will try and be as honest and helpful as possible.
If you want to buy a piece, PLEASE (holds hands together in praying fashion) GET IT FROM ME! I am not the cheapest or most expensive, but I do guarantee the quality. I have been dealing in Pet beds exclusively since 1974. and thats all beacuse I needed a bed for my own dogs and couldnt find one, so I made one.. now a few more than one! and YES I still use the beds I make for my own dogs, to this day! Bottom line, if you do not like it, return it for a full no questions asked refund, so you cannot lose. Plug over...
One thing I am proud of. in the early 90's I was asked to supply a sample of vet bed to a customer who wanted to check it out before buying. It turned out to be "Dogs Today" magazine who did a secret survey of all us suppliers. Out of the companies they tested samples from, mine got top marks for stay dryness and washability. I am guessing it was because at the time I was one of the first to sell a 1350gsm vet bed, when the standard was 1100gsm. After that everyone started selling 1350 gsm as standard :)
So to sum it up, GENUINE GOOD VET BED should be the following
THE TECHNICAL BIT
WEIGHT/DENSITY 2175GM ( PER LINEAR MTRE) OR 1450 GSM ( PER SQUARE METRE)
PILE HEIGHT 28 - 30MM
As with all our vet beds, it machine washes at 40%
It is used universally in the dog and cat world, veterinary surgeries, rabbits guinea pigs and equestrian because of its unique properties.
If you are having a litter of pups or kittens, THIS IS THE FLEECE YOU NEED
It stays dry on top
It is Ideal for whelping and is used by all breeders
Incontinant dogs stay dry
Post operative care
Dogs which suffer from "pressure sores"
Pets with Allergies
As a fleece blanket for pups and kittens
Due to the polyester pile, veterinary bedding has several very important qualities;
It is Non-Allergenic
It is Non-Toxic
It is Non-Irritant
It won't support Bacteria
Ros (The Bedding Box)