Can Dogs Be Allergic to Their Beds?

Published: 4/26/2021
It’s normal for a dog to scratch an itch every now and then, but if you’ve noticed that your pooch is scratching more than usual, then they might have an allergy. This is especially true if the incessant scratching is accompanied by other symptoms such as hair loss or irritated skin. 

There’s nothing worse than seeing your canine pal being uncomfortable and struggling. But with so many possible allergens, it’s not always easy to pinpoint the cause of your pup’s itching. If you’ve tried changing their diet or bathing them with a hypoallergenic shampoo and yet nothing seems to be working, the culprit could be something that’s right under your nose: the dog bed. 


Is your dog allergic to their bed?

An allergy occurs when your pup’s immune system overreacts to a substance that is normally harmless, such as a plant, food, or insect. With allergies, the immune response is more harmful than helpful, causing itching, possibly coughing or sneezing, and sometimes even digestive problems. 

A lot of things can act as allergens, and yes, that includes your dog’s bed. Though contact allergy is the least common type of allergy in canines, certain materials used in dog beds can still cause itchy reactions, with wool and synthetic fabrics being the usual suspects. Fillings like down and latex memory foam, as well as vinyl coating, can be sources of discomfort for sensitive dogs too. 

A dog who is allergic to their bed may have symptoms such as:

  • Skin irritation at the points of contact, especially the stomach and feet
  • Sneezing
  • Hair loss
  • Incessant scratching
  • Skin cuts or abrasions due to scratching
Fortunately, changing your dog’s bed will usually solve the problem. Choose a bed made with natural or hypoallergenic fabric, and remember to wash it on a regular basis for a happy and comfortable canine.

Other possible allergens on your dog's bed
Dog beds are repositories for a lot of things, so in some cases, it may not be the bed itself that is causing the allergic reaction. Here are some other allergens that might be lurking around in your dog’s bed.

Laundry Detergent

While keeping your dog’s bed clean is important, using a laundry detergent that your pup is allergic to can cause more harm than good. Even if your dog never goes near the product itself, coming into contact with laundered bedding can be enough to trigger an allergic reaction, usually around the face and groin. 

Signs of a laundry detergent allergy in dogs include:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Hair loss 
  • Skin rashes
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Face rubbing
Oftentimes, simply switching your laundry detergent will do the trick. In many cases, it is the dye or fragrance in the detergent that is causing the allergic reaction, so go for a product without these ingredients. You might also want to look into pet-safe laundry detergents that have been formulated to be gentler on our four-legged friends.

Dust Mites

A common allergen in dogs, dust mites live in textiles such as carpets, upholstery, cloth toys, and bedding. These microscopic creatures feed on dander, or flakes of dead skin shed by humans and other animals. Additionally, the temperature and humidity of a sleeping body combined with a dark environment creates an ideal setting for dust mites to flourish. Dust mites don’t actually bite your dog, rather, it is their feces that causes your canine pal to itch. 

Symptoms of a dust mite allergy in dogs include:

  • Generalized or localized itching
  • Ear infections 
  • Pyoderma
  • Dandruff
To get rid of dust mites, steam clean your pup’s bed or wash it in hot water every month. Your vet may also use immunotherapy or administer corticosteroids to treat the dust mite allergy.

Fleas

Fleas can be present wherever your pup spends time, including bedding, furniture, carpets, and floorboards. A leading cause of allergic reactions in canines, fleas inject a small amount of saliva whenever they bite to feed. For sensitive dogs, even a single flea bite can cause uncomfortable itching for days. 

Signs of a flea allergy in canines include:

  • Hair loss on the lower back, tail base, and rear legs, also known as “the flea triangle”
  • Intense scratching
  • Red, flaky skin
  • Flea dirt or flea droppings in the fur
Successful flea control requires the elimination of fleas on your dog, the elimination of fleas in the environment, and the prevention of future infestations. The first and third steps can be achieved with a flea control product that you can discuss with your vet. To eliminate fleas in the environment, wash your dog’s bed in hot, soapy water and vacuum areas where they sleep until the infestation has ended.

Mold
If your dog’s bed is harboring mold, then it could be the source of their discomfort. Mold is a type of fungi that can be found almost everywhere. Microscopic mold spores spread through the air, so your pup is continuously being exposed to it. Though often harmless in small quantities, mold can be an issue for dogs who are allergic to it.

Some symptoms of a mold allergy in canines are:

  • Persistent scratching
  • Dry or irritated skin
  • Generalized or localized hair loss 
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Paw licking or chewing
  • Respiratory problems

Because mold is present everywhere all year round, it is impossible to fully avoid it. Minimize exposure by keeping your dog’s bed out of places that tend to get damp and retain moisture, such as the basement, laundry room, and cluttered spaces. When washing your dog’s bed, be sure to let it air dry completely to keep mold and mildew at bay.

If your pooch is allergic to their bed, simply swapping it out for another one made with different materials can bring some much needed relief. If you are still seeing symptoms, talk with your veterinarian to explore other solutions to help your pup be itch-free.


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