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I gave in. I thought it would never happen, but all of the begging and depressed looks of my husband and kids as we pass by other happy families with bouncy, happy dogs got to me. And ok, maybe my own secret interest in having a family pet that's more than a bunny or the chickens finally won out, too. We're now proud dog parents. Suddenly I have an acute interest in the best eco-friendly pet beds available. Why? Because I don't want our Border Collie absorbing all kinds of toxins from his bed. Why else? Because I don't want his bed off-gassing into our home and into our bodies. I think that's fair. (If you're not familiar with what off-gassing is, buckle up and read up here.)
Pet beds have been around long enough now to have received some eco-friendly makeovers by numerous conscientious companies and artisans. (Yay! I love those small shops adding quality and choice to our marketplace!!) I'm thrilled by the choices I'm seeing!
So what qualifies something as one of the best eco-friendly pet beds worthy of your attention? MATERIALS, MATERIALS, MATERIALS. The qualifiers you should be on the lookout for (composition, durability, comfort and ease of cleaning) all come back to the materials used to make the pet bed.
WHAT QUALIFIES SOMETHING AS ONE OF THE BEST ECO-FRIENDLY PET BEDS?
When we're looking at the composition of the bed, we're looking at the material used for the "filling" and the material used for the "cover." Those are the materials that are going to control the degree and nature of the other three attributes of the bed (durability, comfort & ease of cleaning).
If we're on the hunt for one of the best eco-friendly pet beds out there, we have to examine our end goal. I say that because there are beds being advertised as "eco-friendly" because they are filled with 100% recycled plastic fibers in them. Hmmm. I'm all for reusing materials that were headed for a landfill, but I'm not all for their reuse being in the fiber form, next to my pet for a significant part of its life and off-gassing into my living environment. So natural filling is the only filling that makes the cut in my world. My apologies in advance to all those companies trying their darnedest to do the right thing out there with the recycled filling. So as it stands, we've got the following three natural fillings that make the cut: wool (animal fiber), hemp (plant fiber) and *organic* latex (a plant product).
- It regulates temperature. Wool has the ability to regulate body temperature when in close contact with the skin. It transfers and regulates moisture and heat throughout every fiber of the fabric, just like it does to its natural wearers–sheep. For this reason, wool filling is ideal for any season–from hot summer to cold winter months.
- It's eco-friendly. Wool filling is the best choice you can make for the environment for mainly two reasons. It's sourced from local farmers naturally who graze sheep in the fields or organic farms and there is no harmful factory waste and petrochemicals involved in its making. Moreover, wool fibers are naturally biodegradable and can be recycled and remade into other wool bedding products.
- It absorbs harmful pollutants (WAIT! READ ON...) - not only does wool absorb many harmful pollutants from the air, it does not re-emit them. It's estimated that wool used in an interior space can help purify the air for 30 years.
- It's hypoallergenic. Wool is resistant to bacteria, mold and mildew that can trigger allergic reactions in many people and pets.
- It's fire-resistant. Yep, a property not known by many is that wool offers the highest level of fire-resistance among other fabrics such as cotton, leather, viscose, nylon, and satin. The texture of the wool and its lanolin coating simply need extra amounts of oxygen that are not sufficient in the usual atmosphere so it can’t catch fire easily.
- It's dust mite resistant.
- It renews the soil it grows in. Hemp plays a really positive role in regenerative agriculture. While it's an annual crop, it doesn't deplete the soil like many annual crops. In fact, it leaves it better after harvest. Hemp roots grow deep which both prevents erosion and makes spaces for other plant rotations that have more delicate roots. It also creates a significant amount of biomass which leaves the soil filled with nutrients for whichever crop is planted afterward.
- It's antimicrobial, and therefore very durable. Because of its antimicrobial properties, hemp is extremely strong and very durable (ready to stand up to circling pets!). It's the strongest natural fiber there is.
- It's biodegradable. As hemp is a natural fiber, it's happily biodegradable.
Latex is essentially sap from rubber trees that is then whipped into a froth and steam baked. There can be additional processing where it is then frozen in a vacuum chamber. Make absolutely sure the latex is 100% certified organic, and even better, certified by GOLS, too, *and best*, certified Oeko-Tex Class 1, too (the highest rank that certifies the organic latex is 100% safe to sleep on, even for sensitive infants, for example). Those certifications guarantee the following:
- No pesticides or toxic chemicals were involved in the growing of the rubber trees.
- No toxic chemicals were used in the production process of the fibers.
- No rain forests were deforested to create the rubber tree plantation.
- The organic latex is 100% safe for animals to sleep on.
Organic Latex as a filling would be my last choice, but it's out there, and it's worth mentioning. Wool and hemp involve a lot less mass farming and transportation across the world.
So what cover material is used for the best eco-friendly pet beds? Again, I have an immediate preference for natural fibers. For instance, some materials may be more chew and bite-resistant while others like hemp fibers or sheepskin are more soft and snugly.
We assume that the best eco-friendly pet beds, just like ordinary pet beds, can last at least 2 years, provided that we choose one made from high quality materials and that we take care of the bed properly. Choosing a bed made from more delicate materials like linen for a huge, heavy, active dog is going to shorten the lifespan of the bed. You can assess your needs around durability by considering the size, type and activity level of your pet. My border collie is going to give his pet bed a real run for its money, and I anticipate having to buy several throughout this life, but I know I'll want a durable cover material like organic cotton or hemp for sure.
Perhaps the most important part of a pet bed for the pet itself is the level of comfort it provides. Some pet beds specifically are flat and more appropriate for dogs that need to simply rest and cool off while some others like donuts or ones with extra cushions are more comfortable and appropriate for smaller pets who need extra warmth and coziness. If your pet doesn’t really spend much time in their bed, you may invest in a flat square bed whereas if your dog likes to snuggle for hours, you may invest in a soft round donut bed with extra cushioning. Again, consider your pet's preferences and behaviors before you invest in a pet bed.
Ease of cleaning
For sure, the best eco-friendly pet beds are going to be able to somehow be taken apart for cleaning. Thankfully, the talented artisans out there making them know that that's a key part that pet-owners are shopping for. When looking for a good dog pet, you should look out for a model where all individual cushion parts or the whole bed itself can be easily cleaned and washed in a washing machine. Some models are washing-machine friendly, while others are more waterproof and may require dry or hot steaming cleaning methods. Nonetheless, a good quality model will be easy to clean and a quality manufacturer will provide you with cleaning instructions to clean this properly without damaging it.
MY PICKS FOR THE BEST ECO-FRIENDLY PET BEDS ARE:
HomeofWool makes the Shangri-la of pet beds, and I find it thrilling that they're a small shop on Etsy. Amazon has its place in the world, no doubt about it, but small shops out there trying to offer wholesome solutions immediately earn my love and devotion. Wherever HomeofWool had a decision to make about the best material for the pet, for the environment and for the people sewing the beds, they've made it. Wow. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't salivating over their human wool products!!
HomeOfWool Pet Bed features:
- 100% All-Natural
- 100% Sustainable
- 100% Renewable
- 100% Biodegradable
- Materials are all recyclable.
- Made by hand in a chemical-free and scent-free environment.
- Materials are all completely free of flame retardants, dyes, synthetics, plastics, vinyl, finishes, carbonized wook, etc.
- The wool, fabrics and zippers are Oeko-tex certified in the strictest category. (Oeko-tex is one of the world's oldest safety standards, similar to GOTS and more recognized in Europe. It guarantees the certified materials are free of all harmful chemicals.
- There are customizable options. For instance, you can choose between cotton canvas and linen depending on how rough your pet is on its bed.
If you're looking for the ultimate pet bed, I think HomeofWool has earned that position. In my opinion, it's the ultimate in the best eco-friendly pet beds on the market. An investment in your pet AND the environment - a true win-win. (I love win-wins!)
Bean Product Inc is another American Etsy artisan really trying to do and offer the right thing to conscientious pet-owners. Thank you, Bean Product Inc!! Their pet beds are made with premium hemp covers (listen up, pet-owners who need a strong and tough bed!), and they're filled with Organic Latex. Their pet beds are a great choice for those seeking natural comfort and durability at the same time. Their love and care for pets and the environment is truly reflected in their pet beds.
Bean Product Inc Pet Bed features:
- Cover made from premium hemp fabric. (Remember, hemp is S T R O N G.)
- Cotton inner liner.
- Filled with Organic Latex that is Oeko-Tex Class 1 Certified.
- Come in a massive range of sizes. They say, "Sizes to Accommodate Chihuahuas to Mastiffs." (If they offer a few sizes bigger soon, I'll be able to use one as my human bed!)
- Removable zippered cover for easy washing
- Zippered Inner liner for adding or removing fill.
When a seller like Bean Product Inc is clearly making such an effort to bring mindful materials to a product, I'm compelled to shift my purchase to them. They clearly are on the short list of the best eco-friendly pet beds!
CeCe's Wool on Etsy is another example of a small shop seller doing everything they can to bring the public something that's been made mindfully. CeCe has tried to think of everything, including preshrinking the cotton canvas cover. Because we pet-owners are going to have to wash covers! Things get gross, and quickly sometimes. So that kind of detail just sells me right away. But it's not the only one. Read on...
CeCe's Wool Pet Bed features:
- 100% cotton canvas removable cover
- All wool fill inside ("Full of luscious wool from local sheep farms!" CeCe, we love you! I so love it when we can keep our local economies strong!!)
- Wool fill is inside its own 100% cotton muslin
- Extra-durable box construction
- Sturdy zipper keeps insert in under the toughest circumstances
- Easy-clean washable/dryable cover
- Spot clean cushion insert
- Medium, large, x-large
- Handcrafted in New York State, U.S.A.
- Optional waterproof liner available
Here we've got one of the best eco-friendly pet beds that can really stand up to a beating. And be washed and made "new" again. Thank you, CeCe, for understanding active, feisty dogs and making a mindful pet bed that can meet their needs (and ours)!!
Naturo Bed is a brand that boasts using 100% organic materials e.g organic wool and organic cotton to make their pet beds and absolutely no pesticides, chemicals, and artificial dyes which can impact both your pet and the environment in so many negative ways.
Naturo Pet Natural Dog and Cat Bed features:
- 100% natural materials. Each bed is made with 100% wool, cotton or coconut coir fiber materials and no chemicals which may be bad for your pet and the eco-system.
- Quality comfort. Thanks to the premium cushioning and lining, the bed’s design offers extra support while matching your pet’s pressure points and body structure. The organic wool cushions will help ease tension and are a perfect match for aging pets with achy joints.
- Easy to clean. This bed model comes with an exterior and interior organic cotton cover which can be easily removed and tossed in the washing machine or tumbled dried.
If your pet doesn’t like to lie on fancy beds and tears them apart fast, this simple and comfortable bed design is all you need. Plus, it’s a great option for pets with allergies in chemicals as well as older pets.
Another great catch from Naturo Bed, which is renowned for using organic and ecological materials to make a completely natural, durable and comfortable products.
Naturo Bed Natural Dog and Cat Bed features:
- Perfect fit and size.The model comes in three flexible size that fit nearly every size of pet, from the smallest to the largest and the flat yet flexible structure can fit and adjust to the contours of any pet body.
- Made of natural materials. Thanks to its natural latex core part, natural wool and special coconut fibers, this one provides premium and durable comfort while respecting your pet and the environment.
- Water resistant. The exterior covers and cushioning are made of a water-resistant material which means that you can use it both indoors and outdoors e.g by the pool without any worries of water spills.
A natural yet totally luxurious pick for pet owners who are fed up with tears, bites and scratches that can make a pet bed useless overnight. This pet bed from Naturo is meant to last and tolerate all sorts of pet damage. Try to wreck it, Fido!! I dare ya!!
There you have it. A tour through my research into the best eco-friendly pet beds out there. My challenge, and maybe yours, too, is to not shop for myself and instead shop for my dog. I'm a lover of big, puffy, sink-into, cushion-y things. My new dog may only use his bed when I ask him to. I'm not sure yet. So consider your pet's behavior and circumstances before you invest (and maybe even splurge!).
Do you already have an eco-friendly pet bed that your dog loves? And I've missed it? Please, please let me know in the comments!
This post was originally published on August 23, 2019. It has been updated to highlight new and *better* products that are now available. Yay!