Can You Use Fabric Softener On Dog Beds

Have you ever snuggled up in your cozy, freshly laundered sheets and wondered if your furry friend would enjoy the same level of comfort?

 As dog owners, we constantly strive to provide the best for our beloved four-legged companions, from carefully selecting their food to ensuring they have a warm and comfortable sleeping environment.

And while fabric softener may be a staple in our laundry routine, could it also be beneficial for our dog’s beds?

In this blog post, we will dive into the world of fabric softeners and explore whether they can be safely used on dog beds. So, grab a cup of tea, settle in, and let’s find out if your pup’s snoozing space could benefit from a little fabric softener magic!

Can You Use Fabric Softener On Dog Beds

In short, while fabric softener can make the dog bed feel softer and smell fresh, it’s not recommended to use it on dog beds.

Some fabric softeners may contain chemicals and scents that could be harmful or irritating to your dog’s skin. Instead, opt for dog-friendly laundry products or simply clean the bed with hot water and mild, unscented detergent

Table of content 

  • Scents/Essential Oils in Fabric Softeners
  • Effects on Fur and Skin
  • Alternate Solutions for a Fresh-Smelling Dog Bed
  • Potential Risks of Ingestion
  • Comfort and Longevity of Natural Fabrics
  • Implementing a Safe Cleaning Routine
  • Addressing Potential Allergies
  • Ensuring Regular Maintenance and Hygiene
  • FAQS

Scents/Essential Oils in Fabric Softeners

Fabric softeners can often contain heavy fragrances or essential oils. While these may smell delightful to us, they can be overpowering and even harmful to our canine friends.

Dogs have a far more sensitive sense of smell than humans, so what smells pleasant and mild to us could be extremely intense for them. Furthermore, some essential oils are toxic to dogs and can cause a range of symptoms from gastrointestinal upset to central nervous system depression.

It’s crucial, therefore, to always check the product label for any harmful essential oils such as cinnamon, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, and wintergreen.

Effects on Fur and Skin

Using fabric softeners on dog beds could have potential repercussions on your pet’s fur and skin. Certain chemicals found in these products may cause irritation, dryness, or even skin allergies, leading to discomfort or more severe dermatological issues.

Dogs often have a tendency to lick and chew at irritated areas, escalating minor irritations into potentially serious issues.

Moreover, unlike humans, dogs have a natural oil in their fur that acts as a barrier against harsh environmental factors. Using fabric softeners could strip away this protective layer, leaving their skin vulnerable.

Lastly, while humans might tolerate these agents well due to our less sensitive skin, it’s essential to remember that our furry friends have a different physiology.

What is harmless for us can be harmful for them. Therefore, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and forego using fabric softeners on dog beds.

Alternate Solutions for a Fresh-Smelling Dog Bed

Rather than using potentially harmful fabric softeners, consider safer alternatives for keeping your dog’s bed smelling fresh. Regular washing with pet-friendly detergents can help maintain cleanliness.

You may also consider using baking soda, a natural deodorizer, by sprinkling it over the dog bed, letting it sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuuming it up. Another option is to use pet-friendly, odor-neutralizing sprays available on the market.

Always remember to air out the dog bed regularly, as fresh air and sunshine can do wonders in eliminating odors. These methods ensure a pleasant-smelling bed without compromising your pet’s health and comfort.

Potential Risks of Ingestion

Dogs are known for their grooming habits, and this includes licking their beds. As such, there is a risk that they could ingest residual fabric softener left on their beds after washing.

Ingesting these chemicals can lead to a variety of health issues for your pet, ranging from mild discomfort and gastrointestinal upset to more severe symptoms like chemical burns in the mouth and throat, or even systemic toxicity in severe cases.

Furthermore, repeated exposure or ingestion could potentially lead to chronic health issues. For these reasons, it’s best to avoid fabric softeners and opt for safer alternatives when washing your dog’s bed.

Can You Use Fabric Softener On Dog Beds

Comfort and Longevity of Natural Fabrics

While fabric softeners can indeed enhance the softness of fibers over time, natural and untreated fabrics can also provide a high level of comfort for your pet.Materials such as cotton or fleece are inherently soft and can create a cozy environment for your dog.

Moreover, natural fabrics tend to be more breathable, making the bed a more comfortable place for your dog to rest, particularly in warmer climates or for breeds prone to overheating.

As for longevity, it is important to note that while fabric softeners can initially enhance the feel of the material, they can over time lead to a buildup that actually degrades fabric quality. This can shorten the lifespan of the bed compared to using untreated or naturally soft materials.

In conclusion, while fabric softeners have their benefits, opting for natural, untreated fabrics for your dog’s bed can provide equal, if not greater, comfort and longevity.

Implementing a Safe Cleaning Routine

Establishing a regular and safe cleaning routine for your dog’s bed is essential for maintaining your pet’s health. Start by vacuuming the bed to remove any loose hair, dirt, or debris. For a deeper clean, use a gentle, non-toxic detergent and warm water.

You may also consider adding a bit of baking soda or white vinegar to the mix to deal with any stubborn odors. Always ensure that the bed is thoroughly rinsed and dried before returning it to your pet. Avoid using commercial fabric softeners, as they can cause health issues for your pet.

Instead, opt for natural methods, such as sun drying, which can add a fresh scent and kill bacteria naturally. Regular cleaning coupled with the use of natural, untreated fabrics will help keep your dog’s bed clean, fresh, and comfortable for a long time.

Addressing Potential Allergies

When introducing any new fabric or cleaning product into your dog’s environment, it’s crucial to be mindful of potential allergies. Dogs, like humans, can have an array of sensitivities that could cause uncomfortable or even harmful reactions.

Prior to using a new item, conduct a spot test by applying a small amount of the product or introducing a small piece of the fabric to see if your pet shows any signs of discomfort or allergic reaction.

If any abnormal behavior or physical symptoms become apparent, discontinue the use of the product or fabric immediately and consult your vet. Paying attention to your pet’s individual needs and responses will ensure a safe and comfortable environment for them.

Ensuring Regular Maintenance and Hygiene

Routine maintenance is the key to extending the life of your dog’s bed while ensuring it remains a healthy and comfortable place for them to rest.

Create a schedule for washing and inspecting the bed. Look for signs of wear and tear, and repair any damages promptly to prevent further degradation. Regularly fluff and rotate the bed as well to maintain its shape and comfort.

Remember, a clean, well-maintained bed is not just beneficial for your pet’s health, but it also keeps your home free from pet-related odors and excess hair.


In conclusion, taking care of your pet’s bed is an essential part of maintaining their overall health and happiness.

By selecting the right fabrics, ensuring regular cleaning, being mindful of potential allergies, and sticking to a maintenance schedule, you can provide a clean, comfortable, and safe resting place for your pet.

Remember, a well-cared-for pet bed not only contributes to your pet’s wellbeing but also helps to keep your home clean and odor-free.


Q1. How often should I wash my pet’s bed?

A1.   You should wash your pet’s bed at least once every two weeks to maintain cleanliness and hygiene.

Q2. What fabrics are best for pet beds?

A2.  Fabrics like cotton, synthetic fleece, and microfiber are excellent choices for pet beds due to their durability and comfort.

Q3. How can I avoid pet-related allergies?

A3.  Conduct a spot test with new fabrics or products to check for any allergic reactions in your pet.

Q4. How can I prolong the life of my pet’s bed?

A4. Regular cleaning, timely repair of damages, and consistent rotation can significantly extend the life of your pet’s bed.

Q5. Why does my pet’s bed have a bad odor?

A5. Odor in your pet’s bed can be due to infrequent cleaning, poor ventilation, or health issues with your pet. Regular cleaning can help manage this.

Q6. Is fabric softener safe for pets?

A6. Fabric softeners may contain chemicals that could be harmful to pets. Use pet-safe laundry products or mild, non-toxic detergents instead.

Q7. What detergent is safe for dog beds?

A7. Detergents free from dyes, perfumes, and toxic chemicals are safe for dog beds. Hypoallergenic or pet-specific laundry products are ideal choices.

Q8. Why does my dog like fabric softener sheets?

A8. Dogs may be attracted to softener sheets due to their scent, texture, or simply out of curiosity. However, these sheets can be harmful if ingested, so keep them out of reach.

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