Washable Dog Bed Buying Guide

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Washable Dog Bed Buying Guide

Dog beds come in all shapes and sizes, a range of colours and patterns, and are made of any number of materials. Regardless of taste in dog bedding, and regardless of the type of dog, having a bed that is washable will go a long way to keeping the dog's sleeping area clean and healthy.  When shopping for a dog bed, it is important to make sure that it will be easy to clean.

Odour is Only One Issue with a Dirty Dog Bed

Perhaps you are familiar with the experience of walking into someone’s home and identifying from the smell that they are a pet owner. Doggy odour doesn’t have to be part of having a dog: it can be kept to a minimum. Regular grooming keeps pets and the house they live in smelling good, but people sometimes forget that a pet’s bed can collect odour that transfers itself back to the dog and the rest of the house. Odour is not the only problem encountered with a pet’s bedding. Dog beds routinely collect fur, dirt, dander, debris, drool, stains, urine, and even fleas and their eggs. To keep all these issues to a minimum, it is important to clean the dog’s bed regularly (once every week to ten days is recommended).
Materials to Remove From Dog Bedding

The following are the most common types of dirt, stains, odours, and vermin that collect in dog bedding:

Fur, Dander, and Pollen.

Most dogs shed, and some dogs shed quite a lot. Fur, dander, and pollen can not only coat the dog bed, they can float to all corners of a room to land on other furniture, on the table, in food, and up noses where they may aggravate allergies. Even if the owner does not have a problem with pollen, if the dog sneezes when indoors, it’s possible that the pollen he tracked in is triggering the dog’s allergies.

Dirt and Debris.

All dogs will track dirt and debris into the house, unless the owner stops  them every time they enter the house, brushes them head to toe, and wipes off their feet. Even then, some dirt and debris will probably come in between their toes or stuck to an out of the way place on their bodies. Much of this debris ends up on the dog bed.

Drool, Stains, and Urine

Muddy feet, a lolling tongue, a cut foot, or a leaky bladder can all stain your dog’s bed and cause it to smell. Urine can be particularly difficult to deal with, and is a problem common to older dogs. Although urine smells and stains can be controlled by placing a training pad under your older dog, you will still need to wash the bedding regularly to keep the odour from permeating your dog’s sleeping area.

Fleas and Their Eggs

Every time a dog is taken for a walk, there is the possibility he will pick up a flea or two. As anyone knows who has ever battled fleas, two fleas quickly become 50 fleas. Fleas like to bite dogs and people equally, and hop from one to the other, so it is in everyone’s best interest to stop these vicious intruders the first time they are seen on the pet or on his bed.

Effective Ways of Cleaning Your Dog’s Bed

  • Fur, Dander, Pollen, Dirt, and Debris.       
To remove fur, dander, dirt, and debris from the dog’s bed, either shake the bedding outside or vacuum it. It is harder to vacuum a soft, pillow-like bed than a firm bed. Bed furniture that is covered with a slick material such as leatherette is easy to wipe down with a damp cloth. If it is possible to remove all the cushions from the frame, the whole bed can be kept clean and tidy with just a cloth. Beds that are made of softer or more porous materials are more likely to trap fur. An outdoor raised bed can often be washed simply by turning the garden hose on it.
  • Drool, Stains, and Urine.
Dried moisture, such as dried drool, dried mud stains, blood stains, and dried urine won’t come out with shaking or vacuuming. Stains need to be treated and removed, just as they must be removed from clothing. Then the bedding, or at least the dog bed cover, needs to be removed and put in the washing machine to become truly clean.
  • Fleas and Their Eggs.

Fleas and their eggs present a very difficult problem, because their presence will not be confined to the dog’s bed. If the dog's bed is cleaned regularly, the fleas and their eggs should be picked up before they infest the home. Place the entire bed into the washing machine, where the soap and water will clean the bed and the hot air from the dryer will kill the fleas. While the bed is churning in the machine, the dog itself will need to be washed with flea shampoo (and the garden should probably be sprayed with insecticide also, if the dog is am outdoors pet) to prevent re-infestation. It is very important to treat for fleas the minute they are discovered, as they are liable to quickly spread to other areas of the home.
Other Considerations With Respect to Washing Dog Bedding

Sensitive Skin

Dogs can have sensitive skin. If the dog has a tendency to scratch a lot, or if he suffers from hot spots or flaky skin, it is a good idea to use only the very mildest detergent when washing his bed. Baby detergent is a good first bet, but if the dog is very sensitive, it might be necessary to look into buying plant-based washing soap from health food stores.

Use Hot Water – Most of the Time

In general, wash the dog's bedding in hot water to kill germs. However, if trying to remove a stain, consult a stain chart. Blood, for instance, will set in hot water, so it is important to wash a blood stain out with cold water before putting the whole bed in a hot water wash.

Use the Dryer – Most of the Time.

Use a dryer to ensure that all germs and fleas have been completely eliminated. In between washings, it is a good idea to air dry the bedding in the sun. Sunshine freshens the bedding and removes residual odour.

Which Dog Beds Are Easiest to Keep Clean?

Clean bedding is important in keeping a pet looking and smelling appealing, and because cleaning it is a regular task, the bed it needs to be easy to care for. Here are some features to watch for.

Most dog beds are constructed with a fill material (foam or other padding) and a cover. Be sure the cover is easy to remove
  • Zippered, Buttoned, or Velcro Closure.

Metal zippers sometimes rust and buttons can be chewed off (and swallowed). Velcro works well as long as the cover doesn’t shrink. Check to ensure that the material the cover is made of is completely washable. If it is 100% cotton, for instance, it is liable to shrink after washing, which makes putting the fill back in difficult, if not impossible. If the material is dry clean only, the task of cleaning becomes a lot more onerous. Dry cleaning can also add up to a significant cost. It is essential to be able to remove and wash or dry clean the cover of the bed. If the fill is washable, so much the better. Make sure the fill is wrapped in such a way that it will not shift or bunch when washed. Smooth outer materials are easy to wipe clean. This applies to slick surfaces, such as vinyl or leatherette, which is found on outdoor, raised platform beds and on some “dog furniture” styles of dog bed.

What If You Don’t Have Access to a Washer and Dryer?

If maintaining the cleanliness of a dog’s bed sounds like a tall order, with a little care and attention when choosing the material, it need not be. An hour or two on the weekend should be adequate to perform the task, if a washer and dryer are available. If not, cycling blankets to cover the dog’s mat, bed, or sleeping area could provide an answer. Use four blankets, cleaning one blanket a week, and washing the four together each month at a laundrette. Another good choice for those without a handy washer and dryer is a vinyl covered mat or smooth surfaced dog bed that can be wiped clean, deodorised, and disinfected with a cloth.


Dogs are enjoyable pets who are so much more appealing when they smell good, and they deserve a clean, dry, place to nap and sleep. Investing in the good habit of regularly cleaning your dog’s bedding will pay off in a clean and attractive dog and a fresh, tidy house. To find the perfect bed for your dog, check out the dog beds for sale on eBay.

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