Can Dog Beds Be Washed?

We won’t beat around the bush with this posting. The title is “can dog beds be washed?” and the simple answer is yes, at least in most cases.

As we’ve got an entire article devoted to how to clean dog beds, we’ll stick to the why’s and when you can (and can’t) wash them below. If you’re shopping for a new dog bed, you’ll find some things to consider. But, if you have one already and need some advice, you’ve come to the right place. Get ready to turn on the faucet!

  • Why and when dog beds need to be washed
  • Three scenarios for washing dog beds
  • Dog beds that can’t be washed
  • Frequently asked questions about whether dog beds can be washed
Washing Machine

Why and When Dog Beds Need To Be Washed

Like most people, you probably change your bedding at least once a week. It’s just something you know needs to be done, stains or no stains, smelly or not. That’s because you’re still contending with dust mites, skin particles, and that fun stuff that we really don’t like to discuss.

So, if you know that your sheets are attracting all of those airborne particles, can you imagine what’s setting up shop on your pet’s sleeping surface?

You might keep your little fur baby bathed and brushed (like you!), but the bed still needs cleaning.

Benefits of Washing Dog Beds

There are a few reasons why regular washing is not only recommended but will keep your home smelling fresh and clean.

  1. Removes the random hairs that can end up floating onto other surfaces
  2. It prevents the foul odors that’ll accumulate over time
  3. Addresses dust mites, molds, pollens, and other allergens and irritants
  4. Not enough time for stains to become permanent

In a nutshell, washing your dog’s bed weekly or at least every two weeks makes life more comfortable for you and your beautiful pet.

cleaning a dog bed, how to clean a dog bed

Three Scenarios for Washing Dog Beds

There’s a significant difference between a bed for a Chihuahua and another for a Great Dane. A tiny bed might seem easy enough to clean, and it usually is with minimal effort. But washing a four-foot structure could be a daunting task.

Here’s the simple rundown of the types of cleaning possibilities:

  1. A small dog bed that can be thrown in the washing machine
  2. Removable covers that are also washable
  3. Larger beds that require plan B

Small Dog Beds That Can Be Washed

The small dog bed category isn’t the easiest of the three, but it’s manageable. It’s even more so if you have a front-loading washing machine.

You’ll find that most of today’s dog beds are machine washable. They’re deceptive because some are made of plush materials that you think would be designated dry clean only.

Fortunately, though, pet supply manufacturers are well aware of the importance of keeping dog beds clean. We’d estimate that about 95% of today’s dog beds can be washed. That doesn’t mean they’ll all fit into your machine, but the smaller ones shouldn’t be a problem.

Removable Covers

Regardless of size, many of the top-shelf dog beds come with removable waterproof covers. They not only make washing a breeze but keep saliva and other liquids from seeping into the mattress below.

If you’ve got a bed with a proper cover, then you can wash and dry it weekly or as often as necessary.

After you remove the cover, keep the bed away from your furry friend so that it stays clean. Also, give it a good once-over with some vacuuming and surface cleaning.

Larger Beds

You might be surprised that even those large beds that look like mini-replicas of ours tend to fall into the washable category.

Yes, we get it. There’s no way that it’ll fit into your machine, front-loading or not. So, we’ve got two backup plans for you.

  1. Head to a laundromat and use a commercial-sized washer
  2. Take it for a bath


Your local laundry is better equipped for more oversized items, like comforters, pillows, etc., and can handle your washable dog bed.

Again, though, double-check that it is actually washable, and you’re good to go.

Dog Beds Can Be Washed in the Bathtub

It’s a bit messy, but your bathtub can quickly turn into a dog bed washing machine.

The most challenging part is squeezing out the excess water, but your tub will do the trick.

TIP: Even though your large dog bed can be washed, it’s not something you’ll want to do weekly. So, if it doesn’t come with a cover, you might want to consider purchasing one. Just make sure it’s a waterproof one, or you’ll still be taking the bed for frequent soaks.

Coolaroo dog bed, Coolaroo elevated dog beds, Coolaroo dog cots

Dog Beds That Can’t Be Washed

As we research and review all kinds of dog beds here at Restful Dog, we’re familiar with various cleaning instructions. So, we can confirm first-hand that an overwhelming percentage of beds are washable, regardless of the method.

Most of the dog beds that can’t be washed are of the elevated variety. They’re typically for older dogs that have a difficult time getting on and off of the floor. So, they have some kind of framing or heavier construction.

Now that doesn’t mean that all raised dog beds can’t be washed, but you’ll want to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. That same advice applies to all beds. You’ll find that most are washable, but always read the label first.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I cover my dog bed with a blanket, do I still need to wash it?

Yes, you’ll still need to wash the dog bed, but not as often. Cleaning the blanket will take care of some of the surface stains and airborne particles. However, blankets aren’t waterproof, nor are they providing a tight-fitting protective cover.

How can a dog bed be washable if it’s too big to fit into the machine?

If your dog bed indicates it’s washable (which most do), but you can’t fit it into your home machine, you have a few options. You can take it to the laundromat and use an industrial-sized washer. Or, you can save some money and wash your dog bed in your bathtub.

My dog bed is enormous and looks like an actual mattress with bumpers. Can I still wash it?

You’d be surprised at the dog beds that can be washed. They resemble our beds with think mattresses and cushioning, and it doesn’t seem possible. However, most manufacturers consider the wear and tear (and smells!) that can build up over time. So, even if your dog bed is oversized and doesn’t fit in a washing machine, you can still wash it in your tub or take it to the laundromat as long as the instructions give you the thumbs up.