Your dog's bed may look as clean as yours, but chances are there's a lot more than meets the eye! Dog beds are breeding grounds for all kinds of creatures! Image: Flickr
If your dog’s furniture is looking a little worn or ragged, it’s a great time to freshen up. Besides being an eyesore, tattered bedding can pose a health risk to your dog. We're not trying to scare the pooch out of you, but here's a list of some of the real threats to your dog, and one of the easiest places for them to thrive is old or improperly cared-for bedding.
Your dog might get fleas from another dog, or in the street, and bring them home. One of fleas' favorite place to hide is your dog's bed. Careful! Because they can infest your house really quickly. Keep your dogs deworming and flea treatment up to date, and if he is itchy or scratching more than usual, take him to the vet.
Ringworm is an infection produced by a special type of fungi. This fungi infests your dog's skin, hair and paws. Some symptoms are redness, itching, hair loss and wounds.
Ringworm spores can live for up to 2 years in our dog's bed (and our home). They can infect our dog but also whoever lives in the same house (human or pet).
ROUNDWORMS and HOOKWORMS
These parasites live in our dog's digestive tract. Dogs can be infected by eating infected feces or any infected animal, such as mouses or birds. If your dog is infected, his bed will be too.
SALMONELLA and LISTERIA
Your dog might have these bacteria in his bowels and not show symptoms. However, you might be at risk.
To avoid it, it is very important to wash his bed, wash your hands and handle his food adequately.
So what can you do?
Keep His Bed Clean
When buying a dog's bed, check the label to be sure you can wash it in the washing machine and even dry it in the dryer. High quality materials will last longer and look nicer. These two things will make your life much more easier, since high temperatures are your best allies to kill parasites, bacteria and fungi. Before put the bed in the washing machine, clean the hair and dirt with a vacuum cleaner.
Choosing the right detergent is also important, as some can be toxic for your dog. Avoid detergents with ammonia or bleach. And don't use softener.
Keep HIM Clean
It is as simple as cleaning his paws with a towel when you get home. Grooming your dog at least once a week, or when you come back from your walk if necessary, is also very helpful.
Rotate Two Sets of Bedding
If you can, rotate two sets of bedding (provided, of course, that your dog actually sleeps in his own bed instead of sharing yours). With two sets, you can alternate his bedding weekly. Clean bedding not only minimizes doggy smells, but also helps keep your dog’s skin and coat looking healthy.
Another good opportunity to renovate your dog’s space is the holiday season or your pooch’s birthday, but a new bed will require a bit of adjustment.
Dogs are the sentimental type
When it comes time for something new, your dog might not be as thrilled with the gift as you had hoped. Dogs are creatures of habit, and they prefer things with a familiar feel and scent. You can simplify your pup’s acceptance by incorporating something old with the new:
• Place the new items where you want your dog to use them, or as close to a favourite spot as possible,
• Use positive reinforcement indoors or out - a pat, your usual firm commands, and a pleasant voice will help to reassure.
• Provide a familiar scent. Play a toy or part of your dog's old bedding in or on the the replacement, and rub old items against the fresh fabric. Add an old cushion to a new crate or doghouse, or place a well-loved mat next to the new exercise pen. The more familiar you can make the new home, the better!
• You can place treats on the new bed for your dog to "discover." This can also localize treat eating to one area, cutting down on vacuuming chores.
A Great Dane shouldn’t sleep like a Pomeranian, so whatever style of furniture or accessories you choose, make sure your selections suit your pet's size and breed. Appropriately sized items will lessen strain on your dog’s back and neck.