How to Make a Green Bed for Your Pet

My boys, Cobi and Ferdi and foster, Penelope, on hand made bed

For the holidays this year, consider eco-friendly bedding for your pets. (And for yourself—a subject for another posting.)

Your pets probably spent a lot of time in their beds. If they are sleeping on most synthetic products, they are probably breathing in and absorbing through their skin toxic chemicals. The petrochemicals found in pets’ beds outgas for years.

Synthetic bedding came be made up of a combination of materials—and that is where the real problem lies. It is estimated that the scores of potentially harmful chemicals in our homes can be up to sixteen hundred times more potent when combined. Yet, no one knows for sure, as the outcome of mixing chemicals has barely been tested.

Green bedding is often more expensive than synthetic, but if you choose wisely, it will last for years. My foster, Sam, came with a cheapie synthetic bed that ripped after several washings. Not only is buying a poorly made bed a waste of money—constant replacement ends up exceeding the cost of a well-made bed—but the bed will end up in landfill, where it will leach chemicals for years.

Fortunately, there are now many stores that sell non-toxic bedding, or you can make your own. Look for natural fibers such as organic cotton or organic wool, hemp and man-made materials that do not outgas like Sunbrella fabrics for bed covers. For the fill, good choices include natural latex (rubber), buckwheat, wool and recycled non-toxic materials like soda bottles.

I make beds for my dogs. They last for years and rarely need to be replaced—and then, only the covers have worn out. Currently, my Pugs, Cobi and Ferdi, share a double bed made of two shredded latex queen size pillows sewn together, with a pure wool cover that closes with a zipper. Note: buy 30% more wool than needed to cover pillows, and then wash in hot water. This will shrink the wool and you can then safely wash it again with no further shrinkage. Shredded latex—rubber—is great because if there is an accident, the pillows can be washed. It is also very comfortable for the dogs and they love them. Their other bed is a single pillow made of buckwheat and covered with Sunbrella fabric. (The photo above is the double pillow bed with Cobi, and Ferdi and their foster sister, Penelope, behind them.)

One other tip—make sure that the cover is removable and washable or that the entire bed can be washed. Every two weeks, I wash our bedding and theirs and the boys get a bath. (The boys sleep with us—I want clean boys!) This helps keep everyone smelling fresh and clean and helps with the shedding.

Pet Beds:

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About Norma Lehmeier Hartie

Norma is an award winning author, speaker and an eco-friendly designer. Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify and Energize Your Life, Your Home and Your Planet won The Grand Prize in the Writer's Digest Book Awards, and was the Award Winner for Best New Non-Fiction USA National Best Books 2008. Her most recent book is Sell Your Home Fast in a Buyer's Market. Norma created the practice she calls Harmonious Adjustments, which combines the best principles of Feng Shui, the use of eco-friendly materials, the application of the Four Elements, color, Vastu, creative visualization, energy work and good design. Norma is an an animal lover, a hiker, crafts person, healer, and a gardener. She lives north of New York City with her husband.