Dear Tabby,

Please settle an argument in my home: How often should we wash the dog’s bed? My wife says that, because we bathe the dog every other week, that her bed is fine and doesn’t need to be washed but a few times a year. I disagree and think that the dog’s bed is probably the dirtiest thing in our home. What say you?

Dog Bed Dispute in Woodland Heights

Dear Dog Bed Dispute,

While I never like to get in the middle of a marital dispute, I’m afraid there is a clear winner in this debate. The correct answer is that yes, your dog’s bed is likely the dirtiest thing in your house right now, but the good news is there’s a simple way to remedy that problem.

Why so germy?

Kelly Reynolds, associate professor of environmental health at the University of Arizona, found that dog beds are one of the 10 dirtiest (germiest) spots in the home, due to the bacteria, MRSA and fecal matter they harbor.

Think about it. ... Your dog goes outside and walks around, collecting bacteria on her feet. She might even roll in dead things without you knowing about it. Those germs stay on her body until she hops on her bed, roots around and deposits all of that “stuff” onto her nice, fluffy bed.

Safe haven for germs

Another issue is that humans are pretty good about bathing their dogs, but don’t think to regularly wash their dog’s bedding. It’s not until it gets really smelly that someone throws the bed in the wash. In addition to germs, our pet’s beds also hold all of the pollen, dust, dirt and dead skin cells that your dog tracks into the home. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria to grow and flourish, such as salmonella, listeria and even ringworm.

What do you do?

Experts recommend that you wash your pet’s bedding at least once a week. (Yes, I know that sounds excessive. Don’t shoot the messenger!) The best way to do it is to throw it in the washer and wash in hot water and dry on the highest (hottest) setting that your dryer has. This will help to eliminate most of the germs from the bedding. Another good way to remember to wash your dog’s bedding is to do it the same day that you change your own sheets, that way it gets done more often (one hopes!) and you and your wife can rest easy, knowing that your home is a little less germy than it was!

Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at

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How often should you wash your dog’s bed?

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