Dogs are great companions, but every pet owner knows how effectively doggy smells can diffuse around the house and just settle there. Your dog’s bed is certainly no exception as your pet loves to carry the outdoors, inside. Inevitably, a lot of the grime and mess finds its way into the bed’s fabric. Before you’re aware of it, red flags dance in the air by way of doggy odors and sometimes those smells can be pretty intense.
You wouldn’t particularly entertain the idea of lying down in a dirty bed, would you? So, why should you expect your dog to do so? They may wallow in dirt, make their beds messy and not really complain about it and perhaps that’s why cleaning dogs’ beds never make to the high priority list. But your pet deserves to be healthy and clean, so, pave the way for a clean snooze and show how much you care for them.
Dog Beds With No Removable Covers
Many dog beds come with removable covers and these are easier to clean. Just remove the cover, wash, disinfect and slip it on again. It’s easy to do and easier to maintain a rigorous schedule of cleaning. However, when there is no removable cover, you’d just have to change your modus operandi. Remember though that any cleaning process shouldn’t endanger your pet in any way.
Let’s see what can be done to keep your dog’s bed look clean and smell fresh.
Shake the stubborn bits out
First things first- your pet’s bed is sure to have a lot of debris and clumps of dirt. That can’t really be helped- dogs being dogs- they prefer to wear unhygienic coats caked with mud and grime, which they bring along with them. After all, you can’t expect your dog to shake itself free of dirt and wipe its feet on the door-mat before entering the house. Carry the dog bed outside and either beat it like you do a carpet. Once the big pieces are out, you just have to vacuum the bed to get rid of those doggy hairs and other fine particles that choose to secrete themselves in the corners, seams, the stitching, and creases. That should take care of mites and insects that love to hide in any warm place that they can find. The dog bed should look cleaner by now, except for some recalcitrant areas.
Treat the ‘no budge’ areas
Sometimes, there are patches of dirt that have dried and are not amenable to the vacuum. Don’t fret- just place a wet towel or cloth over those spots for about 30 minutes. Then, use a toothbrush to scrape off dirt and you should be good.
Remove the stains
Stains are always harder to remove and all stains cannot be treated the same way. Spot stains can be eradicated by resorting to spot removal treatments. There are tough enzyme cleaners that do the job pretty well. Ensure that any product you use doesn’t contain bleach or chlorine. In case the stain is pretty desperate and has to be bleached, settle for ones that don’t are chlorine-free. The disadvantage of using chemicals for spot treatments is that if the bed is not rinsed properly, the remnants can irritate the dog’s skin. Sometimes allergic reactions set in and a host of problems follow in its wake. If good old soap and hot water can tackle the stain, there’s just nothing like it. Check if the soap used is safe for pets.
Now that the dirt and much of the stains have been removed, you think that the dog bed looks and feels clean. You’re not done yet- the real washing begins now. Dump the dog bed into the washing machine taking care to follow instructions. Hot water and a couple of washing cycles should do the trick. Adding apple cider vinegar to the water is a great way for dissolving some stubborn bits and it acts as a great stain cleaner too. You could add a soft detergent that’s safe for your pet.
Big dog beds may pose problems as they may be too big for the washing machine. You can always use your bathtub. Fill it up with hot water, add a little detergent and quarter cup of vinegar. Pet-friendly soaps and detergent should be available at pet stores. Dump the dog bed into the bathtub ensuring that the whole thing is completely immersed. Let it soak for a while.
That’s the hard part- once the bed has soaked sufficiently, empty the bathtub and squeeze the bed to get rid of the water. Rinse it once again in hot water and squeeze to remove the collected water. Repeat this process till you’re sure that the dog bed is entirely soap free.
Dry thoroughly before use
A wet dog bed can fall prey to mold and mildew- so dry it well in a dryer. In case, it’s too large, leave it out in the sun to dry. Sunlight kills germs too and keeps the dog bed looking dry and fresh. If you are air drying the bed, choose a well-ventilated spot. In case there’s no Sun to turn to, the indoor heater will do as well. Keep it well away from the heater though as there could be accidents. Turn the bed a few times so that all parts dry equally well.
Air fluffing the dog bed and tumble drying for about 15 minutes helps to reduce the static. Shrinking of the bed is minimized, lingering pet fur is separated and cleaning is enhanced.
Stop insect infestation
If you are worried that your dog’s bed could have fallen prey to pests and insects, then dump the bed into boiling water for about 2-4 minutes. Extending the time may cause the bed to disintegrate and some of the fillings may melt. So do keep an eye on the bed as it boils along with the water. Then rinse, squeeze and dry the bed thoroughly. Also, treat your dog for insect infestation before it uses the bed. Making sure your dog is up to date with their flea and tick medication is important.
Make the bed smell good
Don’t you love getting between clean sheets that have just been washed? Don’t you love getting to rest your head on pillow covers that smell like heaven? Dogs need that too- at least to some extent. Spray the bed with pet-friendly products after the bed is thoroughly dry and clean. Just don’t apply the spray heavily- it could bother your pet.
Make dog baths a habit
Regular baths ensure that your dog is clean and that its bed also remains clean for longer periods. Your pet may rebel at first at this ‘cleanliness frenzy’ but it will learn to take it in its stride and be resigned to the ‘regular bath.
How often should you clean the dog bed?
If you have a spare dog bed, then it makes the task of keeping it clean, a little easier. Dusting it and vacuuming it regularly means you can postpone the actual washing. You can also keep pet odors at bay and keep your pet looking and feeling healthy. If your pet doesn’t use the dog bed on a regular basis, then you can afford to let the next wash slide to a couple of weeks later. If that isn’t the case, washing once a week should ensure that the dog bed always remains clean and good smelling. So while buying a bed, make sure it can withstand frequent washes.
End of story?
Not quite- the dog bed is clean (for now) but has to be kept looking that way till the next wash. Once in awhile just vacuum it lightly and treat the outside of the bed to a vinegar-based spray. Cover the bed with a soft blanket, one that you can remove easily and launder occasionally. By ensuring that the bed is always relatively clean, subsequent washes are always easier.
What you need to do
It’s strange that though people spend a lot on pet care and products, they always seem to drag their feet on cleaning out dog beds. More often than not, they are the last priority. Not until the odors really hit them, do they realize that that one job is still pending. You love your pet and he means the world to you- so why put this one task off? Keep your dog’s bed clean, keep your pet clean- it will help keep allergies from dander and dust at bay, check the spate of pet diseases and probably keep vet bills down. The environment becomes a lot safer for your pet and also for you.
Cleaning a dog bed is easy, doable and a practical way to good pet health.