When I walked into the bedroom, I saw a not so little surprise that my dog had left me. I’m sure you’ve found these smelly surprises yourself, and unfortunately, neither the carpet nor his dog bed was overly forgiving. In all other respects, Archibald was a good dog, a dog who understood the importance of letting us know when he had to go out. At least when it wasn’t night. He forgot all that when it came to the winter nights.
So, frustrated, I decided that I needed another better bed because nothing has worked in stopping the occasional accident. I hate poop. I hate germs. I am not satisfied unless I can scrub and get all of that out. The problem with memory foam and other types of typical pet bedding fillers don’t wash well. It’s almost impossible to get the full scent out, even when the bed cover is removable. For our dog, we used an old comforter thrown over a regular dog bed because he refused to sleep on anything else.
However, with this regular pattern of accidents, I discovered a better way to make an environmentally friendly pet bed that is both cheaper and easier to clean.
1) Order or make a duvet cover. Even if you have small dogs, they love the bigger beds and will likely try to claim yours.
My favorite duvet covers are from a place called Vision Bedding. Since I’m an artist, I enjoy getting to pick out fun and unusual designs for my puppies. They have their own individual personalities just like people! The Vision bedding duvet covers also hold up to vigorous scrubbings and washings, and they respond well to Oxyclean.
2) Wash the duvet cover in cool water and let air dry. This helps the dye set if it isn’t already and makes it softer. If you are trying to be environmentally friendly, then try making your own laundry soap using this recipe.
3) Get a bunch of old cardboard boxes and shred them.
You might be able to use paper. We used this for our kittens, and if you do that, they’re just as likely to think it’s a toy as a bed. Shredding cardboard is not that hard. I keep the extra in a sealed bag.
4) Place the shredded cardboard loose in the duvet cover or in a sealable bag. Seal the bag and place inside the duvet cover. Zip firmly.
When accidents happen, the shredded cardboard can be easily removed. If it is in a sealable bag, then you do not have to change out the cardboard. If it is not, then you will need to remove at the very least the shredded cardboard that has been contaminated.
Depending on the severity of the accident, you may need to fully wash the duvet cover or you may be able to spot treat it. Scrub and rinse thoroughly. Then allow to air dry. Air drying not only saves precious energy but will help your pet’s bed last longer.
Even if your dog does not have any accidents, you will need to change out the cardboard every so often. With Archibald, our lab mutt, we have to change it about once a month. You may need to change it more or less frequently.
Taking It One More Step
One of the reasons that we started using the Vision Bedding duvet covers was because our daughters fell in love with some of the patterns. Archibald also fell in love with the blanket, and he has insisted on sleeping on it ever since they got it. It made the best compromise to just allow him to use their old duvet cover for his doggy bed after he ruined it rather than purchase a brand new one. (We did replace the girls’ comforters, of course.)
The shredded cardboard which you use for filler, however, should be recycled after you changed it out. Even the cardboard with waste can be reused compost. This sort of multi step recycling allows for maximum benefit with minimal time.
As for Archibald, he loves his new bed and sometimes play with it, making the cardboard rustle. I’ve even flopped down beside him. It’s surprisingly comfortable, and I have considered using shredded newspaper and cardboard for our own comforters to help reduce heating costs in winter. But that is another project.