With so many Americans owning a dog or cat it’s no surprise that over a billion dollars is spent every year on pet supplies and care. Pet beds in particular are big business. The large pet chain stores are continuously in a price war with one another to provide beds to the customer for the lowest price. The result, they buy from manufacturers in China, Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan to name a few. And that is where the trouble starts.
Foreign factories are under no real obligation to use quality materials, processes, or safe chemicals in their manufacture of pet beds sold in the United States. Although the chain stores do not set out to purchase a poorly made or dangerous bed, they are not always in a position to monitor everything the supplier does. Poor foam, fabric and stitching make foreign made pet beds a bad investment. Overseas manufacturers can use bad “pours” of foam and cheap fabric seconds. Additionally, they use fillers to make their beds seem thick. These fillers frequently contain toxic substances, not to mention the fact that the foam breaks down and flattens. We have all been there, you buy a new bed for your pet and in a couple of months it flattens out and looks terrible, or worse, it makes your pet sick.
Formaldehyde, Phthalates, PVC and BPA or among the list of toxic substances used in the manufacture of foreign pet beds. To make matters worse, many overseas factories use very toxic chemicals to make their beds flame retardant. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE’s) are added to the foam and fabric to help the beds withstand high temperatures. Once the foam starts to break down your pet will begin ingesting the toxins little by little.
Recently an environmental work group took blood and urine samples from 20 dogs and 37 cats. The dog group tested positive for 19 toxic chemicals and the cat group all tested positive for PBDE’s. And what if you have a pet with allergies? If your dog or cat suffers from allergies you should absolutely keep them away from foreign-made beds. Toxic substances in the foam or fabric can make their allergies much worse. Respiratory issues along with skin irritation can cost you a trip to the vet.
If you have a dog who suffers from a hip or joint condition you will need an orthopedic bed. Orthopedic beds are designed to provide support and ease pressure on a dog’s joints. A bed with poorly made memory foam will flatten out making the condition worse.
So what to do? If you follow a few simple shopping rules you are less likely to be stuck with a poorly made pet bed. Consider the following:
Avoid a bed made overseas.Look for a bed that is at least partially hand stitched.Is the bed non-allergenic?Has the bed been tested by a third party laboratory and certified to be free of toxic substances?Do you need an orthopedic bed and does the bed state that it offers that benefit?