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What's Living On Your Dog's Bed

Dog on dog bed with removable cover

We, as humans, change our bed sheets once a week or so, and wash daily. Imagine if you only washed occasionally, rolled around in the grass, and then changed your bed sheet every month or two or? Now imagine what your dog may be sleeping on – dirt, hair, pollen, dead skin cells, feces, germs and slobber. And, what about odors?

On average, 1 in 20 dog owners (US and UK) do not wash their dog’s bedding.  I guess that some dog owners simply throw the bed out when it gets too dirty and stinky (hopefully). And, get this, research by Vamoosh, who make a hygienic, pet hair dissolving washing machine detergent, found that close to 66% of dog owners let their children snuggle into their dog’s bed… where bacteria, bugs, fungi along with salmonella, ringworm, listeria, and MRSA could be present. Eew!

Dr. Kelly Reynolds, Associate Professor of Environmental Health at University of Arizona reported that dog beds contains hundreds of germs, MRSA and fecal matter – making them on of the germiest places in the house. 😱

4 Harmful Dog Bed Visitors

  1. External Parasites – These are fleas or mites that your dog could get from another animal and bring them into your home and dog’s bed. Fleas can come into your home on your pant legs or shoes.

  2. Ringworms – These are not worms but a fungal infection. Ringworm spores can live up to two years – on dog bedding - if left untreated.  The fungal infection can spread to other animals or humans in your home. My dog had this. His skin was itchy and clumps of hair would fall out. Under his hair were crusty patches that required a Rx to clear up.

  3. Roundworms and Hookworms - Roundworms are parasites that live in the intestine of dogs. Infected dogs can shed roundworm eggs in their feces. Your dog might ingest the feces (my Lab loves to eat poop) and get sick. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. Hookworms live in the small intestine and shed their eggs in the feces. Your dog could get hookworm from eating contaminated soil. If they roll in contaminated soil, larvae may burrow through the skin. Symptoms of hookworm include weight loss and diarrhea. If your dog has roundworm or hookworm, the dog’s bedding could harbor eggs.  

  4. Salmonella and Listeria – The CDC found that 25% of commercial raw dog food tested positive for these nasty bacteria. Symptoms include high temperature, refusal to eat, weight-loss, diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy. Note that a dog may carry the harmful bacteria in their intestines without symptoms and expose your family. To avoid the risk, the CDC recommends cleaning all surfaces, including bedding, on a regular basis.

To see how fast a dog bed gets dirty, we put a white dog bed cover on one of our dog's bed. Within three days this is is what it looked like:
Dog bed cover dirty after 3 days

QUIZ: Test Your Dog Bed Hygiene IQ

1.     How often should dog bedding be washed?

a.     Daily
b.     Weekly
c.     Bimonthly
d.     Monthly

2. True or False: Dog beds are one of the top 10 germiest places in a home.

How to keep your dog’s bedding clean

First of all, wash the dog bedding regularly. Using a PawSheet dog bed cover is a great way to make this an easy task. Any removable dog bed cover will do the trick. Make sure to use hot water and dry it on a high setting. The only way to kill parasites, their eggs and bacteria on a dog’s bed is to wash and dry on hot settings. Also, a spray of DEODORATOR® works great in-between washings to keep your dog bed cover clean and fresh.

When you buy a bed for your dog, think about the effort it will take to wash it. Keeping your dog clean and well-groomed will help reduce dirt and grime on the bed. Brushing often decreases the need for bathing. If your dog likes to roll around in dirt, you may have to bathe more often than every 3 months.

Consider using grooming wipes between shampoos to clean your dog’s paws when coming the house – especially after visiting a dog park. I use and recommend earthbath® grooming and facial wipes. And don’t forget to give flea and tick medication year-round to avoid to parasites in your home.

Your fur baby will love a clean bed. Remember you can change the sheet or cover, not the bed. This saves you money and reduces landfill!


Answers to Quiz: b, True


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