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How to Wash a Large Dog Bed & Small Beds

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The question ‘How to Wash a Large Dog Bed’ dominated my thinking recently. For good reason. We had just visited the home of a relative, unannounced. Well, when I say unannounced I guess our friends knew that we were going to drop in sometime that day. Perhaps they weren’t expecting us quite so early in the morning. Oops. Our mistake. I would not have been happy if I were the host either.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, their little dog, Daisy, was definitely making her presence felt. And not by jumping up or barking or being adorably cute, which she is. Rather, Daisy caught our attention with the smell. Her doggie bed was punctuating the air with an undeniable stench.

Dog bedding is a problem when it comes to cleanliness.

As it happened , when we returned the next day, at a more reasonable hour, the aroma was perfectly sweet. How did Daisy’s owners do it? Mind you, little dog beds are probably easier to wash than huge, bulky dog beds. Nevertheless, Daisy’s bed was now looking almost brand new and the whole house smelt fresh and clean.

What secret did Daisy’s owners have up their sleeves for cleaning dog bedding so quickly and so effectively?

Let’s see.

First of all, it’s a good idea to choose the right bed for the dog breed as well as for your environment.

What Are the Best Washable Dog Beds?

This is a question that is relevant when you are about to welcome home a new puppy, or when you are needing to replace an existing bed. Perhaps you are looking to replace a bed that your dog has either outgrown or destroyed with chewing.

Alternatively, perhaps you are trying to reclaim your own bed by enticing your dog into his own. As much as we love our dogs and want them close by, people who share they bed with their pets, surprisingly don’t sleep as well. Perhaps you are the exception. Providing your dog with his own cosy, comfy bed is generally a better alternative.

So what are your options in each of these cases, if wash-ability is a priority?

How to Wash a Large Dog Bed With or Without Washer

Let’s look at different types of dog beds along with how challenging they are to wash.

Foam Dog Beds

Many of these dog beds are basically a dog-sized version of ours and are best for larger dogs.

They’re usually too large to put in the washing machine, so it makes them difficult to wash effectively, but the good news is that a lot of them come with a removable cover that is machine washable.

Memory Foam Beds for Dogs

These beds are, of course, very similar to regular foam, but a little denser and more supportive. These are very helpful for older dogs as well as dogs with arthritis or other joint issues.

Like foam dog beds, they’re typically too large to put in the machine, but a lot of them come with a removable cover that is machine washable.

Covered Canvas Canine Beds

These beds are ideal for dogs that like to be higher off the ground. They are also ideal for out in the yard or when going camping.

They’re waterproof and provide shade, since they come with a dome at the top, so no matter what the weather, your dog will be protected from the elements.

The material also makes these dogs easy to clean. Usually all it would take is just wiping the bed down with a wet cloth.

Microfiber and Fleece or Faux Fur Beds

These beds are usually a circular or square bed with raised sides. They are lightly padded.

This type of bed really suits small dogs, since the raised sides can help them feel more secure. However, they do come in all sizes.

Fleece Fur beds are among the easiest to clean thoroughly, since they are flexible enough to fit in your washing machine.

Choosing Washable Dog Bedding

Which bed you choose for your dogs will naturally depend on their size, age and health. Your choice will also be governed by whether they are more active or likely to be outside.

But as mentioned, a lot of consideration should be given to how easy it is to clean a given dog bed type.

If you and your dog are more active, then a foam bed and a covered canvas bed are most likely the right dog beds for your situation.

The Best Dog Beds for Large & Small Breeds

If you have a larger, older dog, for example, you’ll probably want to get them a memory foam bed with a cover. They’ll usually be less active and cleaner.

If you have a smaller dog that’s anxious and like to get things thoroughly clean, a microfiber and fleece or faux fur bed would be best for you.

How to Wash Dog Bedding Efficiently

Foam beds, unfortunately can’t be thoroughly cleaned in a washing machine, but the good news is that a lot of them come with a removable cover that is machine washable.

Of course, another consideration is whether or not you actually want to use your washing machine. If you do, make sure it is thoroughly cleaned afterwards in readiness for family washing.

Memory foam beds can’t be machine washed either, but like traditional foam dog beds, a lot of them come with a removable cover that is machine washable.

Microfiber and fleece or faux fur beds can be machine washed completely, depending on the size of the bed and your washing machine, since they’re more flexible and have minimal padding.

Best Detergent to Wash Dog Bedding

Please use gentle, hypoallergenic detergent, so you don’t run the risk of irritating your pet’s skin or triggering any allergies.

All of these beds can of course be vacuumed and wiped with a damp cloth in between washings. This will serve to keep them looking good not to mention making them more comfortable for your dog.

If your pet is a low shedding breed, you probably won’t have to worry about vacuuming his bed in between washes.

If not, then regular brushing will help reduce shedding, but you’ll still have to vacuum and wipe the bed in between machine washing.

Some Tricks for Cleaning Dog Beds

How Often Should a Dog Bed be Washed?

How often you need to wash dog bedding will depend on how messy your dog is. If your dog is more of an indoor dog, then he is probably easier to keep clean. I would use the smell test then in deciding how often the bed needs washing. Some can last a whole month, others need washing every 2 weeks or so.

If your dog loves to play outside in the mud, or roll in you-know-what, you may want to wash his bed more often, perhaps weekly.

Of course, if the bedding is large and bulky, most dog owners are reluctant to do the heavy washing too often.

However, I personally like to use the sniff test when deciding how often to wash my dog’s bedding.


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