When we got our first dog about three years ago I had plenty of questions about how best to look after her and keep her clean. We went straight out and bought her a bed, and we also bought her a dog blanket so she could snuggle up with us on the sofa. It wasn’t long before both the bed and the blanket began to smell a bit and I started to wonder how often should I wash my dog’s blanket and if I was doing it right too!
Over the past three years, I have settled into a routine of a weekly wash. In this post today I will share how I care for my dog’s blanket and bedding so that she and my family can live healthily together.
If you have no time, here is the quick answer for caring for your dog’s blanket:
Wash your dog’s blanket at least once per week. Vacuum it and then wash at 60c/140f with a small amount of pet-safe detergent along with some distilled white vinegar. Dry naturally outside if you can or in a hot tumble dryer.
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Why wash your dog’s blankets?
If you are wondering should I wash my dog’s blanket at all? Then it is worth considering what nasties can build up if you don’t!
We know that dogs love to investigate all sorts of nooks and crannies on walks. So you can’t avoid them picking up lice, ticks, fleas, faeces and bacteria. These all end up in their bedding.
The RSPCA advises that washing your dog’s bed regularly can help to prevent your dog from getting fleas.
You might think that my dog looks gentle and gorgeous, but actually, she likes to eat (yes eat!) cat poo. Horrendous!
Here she is on her blanket having a rest, looking angelic.
All that’s needed to keep your dog and your family healthy is to get into the habit of regularly washing your dog’s blanket and bedding.
How often should you wash your dog’s blankets?
Your dog’s blanket should be washed once per week. A weekly wash will protect you and your family from the bacteria, and insects that can take up residence in your dog’s blanket.
If the blanket has got muddy or you or your dog have allergies then you will want to wash your dog’s blanket more often than weekly.
Pro tip: In between washes keep your dog’s blanket smelling fresh with this homemade dog bed deodorizer spray. Keep your dog smelling fresh in-between baths with this homemade dog spray.
How to machine wash your dog’s blanket
Always check the label first. If the tag says ‘handwash only’ check out these directions for handwashing your dog’s blanket.
Our dog has a favourite fleece blanket. We put it on the sofa when she is allowed to sleep on it. It goes in the car for extra comfort and we take it on holiday and on family visits too.
When I wash my dog’s blanket, this is what I do.
Step 1 – Vacuum
To start, I get rid of the pet hair because I hate finding it in the washing machine later. I have some favourite items for this, that all work brilliantly for removing dog hair:
I love my pet hair roller because it is extremely effective at removing hair. All the hair collects inside, so all you need do is open the back and tip it into the bin.
Miele Cat & Dog Vacuum
I have a Miele Cat and Dog vacuum with a range of attachments that work extremely well at picking up hair. If I have the vacuum to hand I use the small turbo head.
I also have a Bissell floor sweeper which picks up hair very well too. It doesn’t work so well on my small fleece dog blanket because it bunches up. But if you have a large thicker blanket to clean it would be perfect.
Step 2 – Pretreat stains
If you have any stains on your blanket such as mud, blood, vomit, etc. then it is best to pretreat them so you can avoid adding extra detergent to your wash. Rub some dish soap into any stains. I also find Vanish stain remover bar is perfect for removing stains like blood and vomit.
Step 3 – Choose a pet-safe detergent
Several types of detergent claim to be pet-safe. My favourite for washing dog bedding is Ariel liquid detergent. I use a tiny amount and my dog has shown no allergic reaction. If you are unsure what is best for your dog, I advise starting with a very gentle detergent.
I also recommend adding some distilled white vinegar to your wash. Vinegar will naturally neutralise doggy smells and sanitize the bedding and your washing machine.
Step 4 – Machine wash
You should wash your dog’s blanket at 60c or 140f. The hot water along with the detergent and vinegar will help to kill insects, eggs and bacteria in the blanket. Use a very small amount of detergent so that residue is minimized and thus allergies in your dog later on.
Step 5 – Dry naturally
If you can, dry your dog’s blanket naturally. Outside in the sunshine is the best, because not only will the blanket get a good air, the sun’s rays will help to sanitize it.
If you don’t have good weather put the blanket in a tumble dryer. Do check the label first to make sure it won’t damage the item and the temperature to use.
How often should you wash your dog’s bed?
Typically you would wash your dog’s bed once per week. However, you will need to wash it more often if you have allergies in your family or your dog has got her bed particularly dirty:
Wash your dog’s bed more than once per week if:
- You have allergies. If you have allergies, wash your dog’s bed more often or at least vacuum between washes to remove hair and dander.
- Your dog has allergies. Dogs can have allergies too! If your dog has allergies, wash her bed more often using gentle detergent.
- When you bathe your dog. When we bathe our dog I like to wash her bed at the same time, so she doesn’t pick up smells again from her bedding.
- Your dog has got into the bed muddy and wet. It’s best to wash your dog after a muddy walk. Our dog loves to roll in poo! Cowpats and fox poo are her favourites. You will definitely want to wash your dog before she gets in her bed using a shampoo specially designed to remove the smell.
How to wash smelly dog blankets
If you have very smelly dog bedding to wash, first make sure you vacuum thoroughly and then machine wash with a small amount of detergent. To deal with the doggy smell add a cup of distilled white vinegar directly into the drum. Vinegar will naturally neutralize the smells and sanitize.
Which laundry detergent is pet safe?
If you are wondering what is the best detergent to wash dog bedding, whichever you choose don’t use too much, because a) it will be hard to wash out and b) any left-over residue has the potential to irritate your dog.
I use Ariel liquid detergent for my dog bed along with some white distilled vinegar. So far my dog Xena hasn’t shown any signs of irritation. I use a tiny amount of detergent so that it washes out completely. If I am only washing our dog’s small fleece blanket I have some diluted detergent in a spray bottle that I use to spray onto the item directly. That way I don’t use too much by mistake.
Adding distilled white vinegar to your wash will help to remove odors and sanitize the blanket and the machine.
Frequently asked questions
How often should you wash puppy bedding?
Wash your puppy’s bedding once or twice per week. You will need to wash it more often if your puppy wets its bed or vomits. Always use a small amount of washing detergent and thoroughly rinse. If your puppy shows signs of being sensitive, switch to a milder detergent.
How often should you wash a puppy’s blanket?
As for the bed aim to wash your puppy’s blanket once per week or more often if your puppy has an accident on it.
What temperature to wash dog bedding?
Check the label and wash according to the directions. Higher temperatures will kill more bacteria, so aim for 60c or 140f.
Can I hand wash my dog’s blanket?
Yes, you can handwash a dog’s blanket. Choose some gentle pet-safe detergent and always use a small amount. Make sure you rinse thoroughly. Squeeze out as much water as you can and then dry your dog’s blanket outside in the sunshine for extra sanitization or in the tumble dryer on high heat.