The itching, the scratching, the sneezing...is your pooch being irritated by the materials in their own dog bed? It's actually quite common.
While it may come as a surprise to many dog owners who are left confounded by their dog’s constant scratching and sneezing, more and more pet parents are finding out that their dog’s own bed is the culprit for their allergies.
If your dog is showing signs of a mild allergic reaction and you’ve ruled out seasonal allergies and food allergies, it’s very likely that you may need to turn to the materials in the place they lay the most: their doggy bed.
Why Is My Dog Showing Symptoms Now?
The reason why many parents don’t initially recognize their dog’s bed as the cause for their allergies is that, for many months, they see that their dog hasn’t had any issue at all with their bedding. So, why are their allergies kicking up now?
When your dog first starts to show signs of an allergic reaction, you will typically try to start by ruling out any changes in their lifestyle. If it’s a new season, it could be a seasonal allergy. If you recently changed their food, they could be allergic to an ingredient in it. But, what if you haven’t made any changes at all?
That’s when it may be time to turn to your dog’s bed. In this case, the reason probably isn’t that the materials the bed is made from are causing your dog allergies. Rather, over time, the dog bed has become a place where bacteria and dust mites are harbored within your house, and they may have built up to the point that they are now agitating your dog’s allergies and symptoms.
Washing Your Dog’s Bedding Is Essential
You probably wash your dog fairly often, but there’s always going to be a time where they have just run in from outside or come back from their nightly walk and the first place they go will be their dog bed. In fact, most dogs spend a great deal of time in their bed.
Similarly to how your own bedding needs to be washed regularly to avoid the buildup or dirt, dust, and other allergens, your dog needs their bed washed regularly too. In fact, it could easily be argued that their bedding should be washed even more often. After all, when was the last time you went out and rolled in the dirt?
If you have never washed your dog’s bed, it is most certainly harboring allergies (and other debris) that you don’t want in your house. Replacing it would be ideal as not everything will come out in a single wash cycle. However, regular washing is the key to a healthy home, and a healthy dog, no matter how new or old the bed may be.
The Filler Used Is More Likely To Harvest Allergens
If you’ve invested money into a comfy dog bed for your four-legged friend, you may be surprised to see a change in their behavior. When you expected to see them loving it and lounging on it constantly, instead you are noticing that they are itching and scratching far more often.
In most cases, a dog bed will be filled with a synthetic or latex memory foam. Both of these materials are resistant to the growth of dust mites and mold, but they can still cause problems--especially for sensitive dogs. Pet skin cells will begin to accumulate on the foam’s surface and underneath the fabric covering. This allows for house dust mites to grow.
Although the foam itself will not facilitate the growth of mold or house dust mites, the surface of it provides the perfect area for these things to begin to proliferate. Moisture and skin cells make for the perfect environment for these two nasty things to grow. And, when they start growing, your dog will begin to itch and scratch.
How Often Should I Wash Their Bedding?
Prevention is key when it comes to many things in life, and your dog’s health and comfort are no exception. You should be washing your dog’s bedding at least once a month. You should also make an effort to wash your dog at least that often too. If they are prone to rolling in the dirt or mud, or getting dirty in general, even more often will be necessary.
You should purchase a new dog bed at least once a year due to the buildup of house dust mites and mold within the fabric. For dogs who are especially sensitive and who are showing more severe allergic reactions, you should do everything you can to limit their exposure to these two elements. A new, fresh dog bed that is clean regularly is just one aspect.
Talk to your veterinarian about controlling your pet’s allergies and they are also likely to recommend the following:
A new dog bed that is replaced at least once a year and washed at least once a month.
A regular dog bathing and grooming routine that will help keep your pet clean and healthy themselves, which lowers the amount of skin cells and debris they will leave on their bed.
Potentially an allergy medication to help your dog escape the symptoms caused by their allergies and get them back to their comfortable, playful selves.
Keep in mind that skin cells and moisture are the two main causes of house dust mites and mold growth. So, don’t let your freshly bathed dog lay on their freshly washed bed! Keep things clean and dry for the healthiest home and the happiest dog.