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How Often Should Dog Beds Be Washed?

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Regularly cleaning your dog's bed is important for their health and hygiene
  • Dog beds are one of the germiest spots in your house and harbor bacteria, dirt, and fecal matter
  • The general recommendation is to machine wash your dog's bed at least once a week
  • If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors or has allergies, you may need to wash their bed more frequently
  • Use pet-safe detergents and add vinegar to the wash to remove pet hair and odors
Written by Jay
BsC (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare graduate with a passion for advocating for misunderstood animals.
Practicing small pets and equine veterinarian and junior teaching assistant in Veterinary Medicine.
Published on
Saturday 7 November 2020
Last updated on
Thursday 6 July 2023
how often should dog beds be washed
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Your dog’s bed is a safe haven. However, it’s also one of the germiest places in your house! Regularly cleaning your dog’s bed is important to ensure that they stay happy, healthy, and hygienic. But how often should dog beds be washed?

To remove bacteria, debris, and fur from the bed, the general recommendation is to machine wash your dog’s bed at least once a week. A dirty bed is not only uncomfortable for your pooch, but can lead to infections and skin irritation if not cleaned regularly.

How Often Should You Wash a Dog Bed?

Dog beds are in the top eight germiest spots in your house. This is because they harbor hundreds of germs, dead skin cells, dirt, and fecal matter they harbor. With all of these unwanted substances, it’s no wonder that your pet’s bed is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

Despite this, a Vamoosh study found that 63% of 1000 dog owners don’t wash their dog beds once a week. A further 5% admit to never washing their dog bed in the washing machine. To protect your pet from germs and to keep them as comfortable as possible, we recommend washing your dog’s bed at least once a week in hot water followed by drying it in high heat.

When detergents are used, they should be well removed from the dog’s bed because they often cause allergic reactions and skin irritations. Also, changing the detergent can cause an allergy. Do not use detergents with fragrances or fabric softeners.

Outdoor Visits

A dog who spends lots of time outdoors is likely to get dirtier and bring home more parasites. If this sounds like your dog, you should wash your dog’s bed more frequently to ensure good hygiene. Make sure you use a quality disinfecting liquid or spray for the areas around the bed. Your mucky pup may stain their bed more often, calling for more frequent washes. If your dog bed is stained with mud or other substances, you can use a pet-safe, natural stain remover before washing the bed completely.


If you are allergic to your pet, there are many ways for you to reduce indoor allergens and allergy symptoms. Keep your pet’s bedding in a dedicated room in the house and wash it regularly to prevent the build-up of dander. As well as washing your pet’s bed more frequently, you can keep the bed away from certain areas of the house. You may want to restrict your dog’s access to your bed and bedroom. Encourage your dog to sit on and sleep on their bed rather than your upholstered furniture. Your furniture can retain a lot of dandruff and hair.

washing a dog bed
Washing your dog’s bed regularly will prevent fur buildup.

Dog Shedding

Regularly washing your dog’s bed can help to prevent a more severe buildup of hair. Pet hair dissolvers can also be added to the wash to break down those pesky stray hairs. After running a pet-hair-heavy load, it helps to clean your washing machine by running it on an empty wash cycle. After this, wipe the washing machine down with a cloth to remove stray pet hairs. You can also add half a cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to the cycle to loosen pet hair.

How to Wash Dog Beds?

Washing your dog’s bed doesn’t have to be a chore. If you are well-prepared and have a plan of action, cleaning your pooch’s bedding can be done in just a few simple steps!

Machine Wash

Before washing your dog’s bed, check if it has a removable cover. If you can remove the cover completely, load it into the washing machine. It’s best to wash the cover separate from your other laundry. You can do this on a large load setting with cold water. When washing the entire bed, use a hot water setting to kill any insects, eggs, or bacteria hiding in the fabric. The setting should be at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog’s bed is too large to be washed in your washing machine, you can take it to the laundromat, or hand-wash it in the bathtub using hot water and a safe detergent.


Make sure that you get a lot of dog hair off the bed before washing it. Pet hair sticks to wet fabric, so removing it beforehand will help to ensure that your pet’s bed is effectively cleaned. Using your vacuum hose, focus primarily on your dog’s sleeping surface, but also make sure to remove dust and hair from the rest of the bed. You should also vacuum the bed between washings to maintain good hygiene. It also helps to shake your dog’s bed outside. This can get rid of soil and dirt that might accumulate inside the fabric.


When choosing a detergent for your pet, make sure to pick one that’s pet-safe. Harsh commercial products are often irritating to dogs, especially to those with sensitive skin. You should avoid products that contain fragrance additives, petroleum distillates, phenols, phthalates, formaldehyde, and bleach. Not only are these ingredients irritating, but can also be toxic or cause an allergic reaction in dogs. If your dog has a severe allergic reaction to your detergent, take them to the vet.

As well as detergent, it helps to throw some vinegar into the wash too! You can add 1/4 or half a cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar into your pet’s laundry. Not only is vinegar an effective deodorizer, but it’s also safe for your pooch too.

Opt for Bed Throws

If your pet is a heavy shedder, consider using a dog bed cover or liner. Many dog bed covers are waterproof and designed to withstand chewing. Having a spare bed cover means that your dog won’t have to go without their bed when the cover is being washed. Using bed covers can also prolong the life of your pet’s bedding. They can even help to reduce the number of stains.

washing a dog bed with chemicals
Use chemical-free detergents!

Cleaning Dog Beds – FAQ

Still wondering how often should dog beds be washed? Feel free to refer to our Frequently Asked Questions section for more details. If in doubt about your pet’s health, always ask your vet for advice.

Is it OK to wash dog beds in the washing machine?

Ideally, your pet’s bed should be machine washable. Most small or medium dog beds can safely fit inside the average washing machine. In these cases, the only worry is the amount of pet hair that can fill up a machine after just a few washes. If your pet is a heavy shedder, consider using a pet hair dissolver with each wash to reduce the amount of fur left behind. It’s also a good idea to wipe down your washing machine with a cloth after cleaning your pet’s bed.

However, while most pet beds are machine washable, some are better off being washed by hand. If your dog bed isn’t machine washable, you can use hot water and detergent to wash it by hand. Ensure that all of the detergents have dissolved, and be sure to rinse the bed a few times before drying it off. Some dog beds simply won’t fit into the average washing machine. If this sounds like your dog bed, don’t fret. You can ask your laundromat for help or wash the bed by hand.

How do you wash a dog bed in a washing machine?

Before washing the dog bed, vacuum it thoroughly. If you can’t use a vacuum, you can also use a lint roller to remove dirt and hair that is stuck to your pet’s bed. This will make the wash more effective and can reduce the amount of hair left behind in your washing machine. Next, if you wish, you can pre-treat any stains by applying a stain remover to the discolored areas.

Next, add pet-safe laundry detergent to your washing machine. It’s best to avoid detergents that contain fragrance additives, petroleum distillates, phenols, phthalates, formaldehyde, and bleach. These chemicals can be irritating to a dog’s skin. You can also add white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to the wash. Vinegar acts as a natural deodorizer and helps to break down any tough-to-remove substances from fabric.

Happy with your prep work? Get that bed into the machine! Once your machine is loaded, choose a hot setting of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit. After the wash is complete, you can load the bed into your dryer. Tumble dry the bed for about 20 minutes. Not only will this speed up the drying process, but it will help to remove any pesky fur and bacteria that have been left behind. If you don’t have a dryer, you can air-dry your dog’s bed instead.

How often should I wash my puppy’s bed?

Your puppy’s bed should be washed once or twice a week. Whether you wash it once or twice depends on your puppy’s activity levels, any allergies in your family, and how active your puppy is. If your puppy wets their bed during toilet training you will need to wash the bed more often as well.

New puppies may have allergies that you aren’t aware of yet. Even if you use a pet-safe detergent, look out for signs of an allergic reaction in your puppy. Be sure to watch out for bald patches, blister-like lesions, hives, obsessive licking, and face rubbing. These reactions are usually concentrated around the groin, face, between the toes, and under the front legs. If your puppy reacts poorly to the detergent you use, switch to a different detergent. This might be an all-natural detergent that uses gentle ingredients that are better for your pup’s sensitive skin.

how often to wash dog beds
Wash your dog’s bed once a week.

How often should dog beds be washed? We recommend washing your pet’s bed at least once a week. If your dog is more active, sheds regularly, or is living with allergic owners, consider washing their bedding twice a week. Not only will this keep your pooch happy and healthy, but will keep your home cleaner and give you peace of mind too!

One comment on “How Often Should Dog Beds Be Washed?”

  1. Megan

    Thank you for this guide! I realized that I don’t usually wash my pet’s bedding, so I’ll clean it more often now. Hopefully, I’ll be washing the bedding more now that I’ve learned about it.

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