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Let sleeping dogs lie.

While 2020 brought with it many negatives, we can’t overlook the positives that have come from this year; spending time at home with our family, our pets, understanding what’s really important to us and, that simplicity is key. Self-care and all that comes with it has played an integral role in getting us through a year most of us would rather forget.

When it comes to self-care, proper sleep hygiene is one of the latest trends to sweep the human health world, from weighted blankets and comforters to smart beds and silk bedding. This trend has trickled down into the pet health world too. “With all the extra time we’ve been spending at home with our pets, now’s as good a time as any to offer them a luxurious new bed, comforter or cushion, just like yours. Plus, if you’re looking to give your home a facelift, why not choose a new dog bed to compliment it’s new look?” says Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s pet behaviour expert Marycke Ackhurst.

Pet parents already know how crucial it is to ensure their fur babies’ health and safety, and, if you’re planning on adopting in the upcoming months make sure you have comfortable bedding options once you welcome them into their forever home.

While it can be tempting to let them sleep in your bed with you, a recent study from the Mayo Clinic found you may be better off if they're on their own turf - even if it's in your bedroom. Unlike sleeping in a bed with another person, the study found, having a dog in your bed is linked to reduced sleep ‘efficiency.’

A dog bed is more about improving your dog's comfort and enjoyment of their living space. “However, since our pets get far more sleep than we do, providing them with a good bed can be very important to improve their quality of life. Spending too much time laying on and sleeping on hard or rough surfaces can lead to pressure sores on their elbows, knees and paws.”

When looking for a dog bed, Ackhurst advises some basic numbers pet parents should keep in mind:

  • The size of your dog

  • Your dog’s age

Then there’s the age-old question, what does your dog want? While our pups can’t communicate with us directly about the types of materials and surfaces, they prefer, there are signs pet parents can look out for. “Why not place several dog beds throughout the house in different locations or rotate the bed towards different directions to see where they gravitate towards,” Ackhurst explains. It’s best to keep an open mind though, she continues, your dog may prefer to sleep in cooler areas of the house during the day and in the comfort of your bedroom at night. Or they may prefer quiet and secluded areas in a noisy home environment full of other pets and children — during the current stay-at-home reality many are facing, the latter may be more applicable.

What’s important to remember is that even though they may like their bed, your dog may still sleep in other places, like the floor, depending on temperature, thickness of their coat and general preference. “If your dog doesn’t like his bed, he won’t sleep on it, regardless of where it is.”

Ackhurst adds that your dog’s bed is likely to deteriorate over time, so it helps to know when you’ll need to replace it. She provides the following tips:

  • Think about how frequently your dog will use his dog bed

  • Does your dog’s bed get dirty or soiled regularly?

  • Does the bed have a foul smell that doesn’t go away even after a thorough cleaning?

  • Have you noticed deterioration or damage to the integrity of the dog bed cover or stuffing? – exposed stuffing will not only reduce the support and comfort of the bed, but may be easy for your dog to chew or swallow, which can become a health hazard, and not to mention, messy.

From 1 November pet parents of dogs of all sizes who purchase any two Hill’s Canine large bags between 10kg and 12kg will receive a free stylish large comfort cushion and those who purchase any two Hill’s Canine small bags between 3kg and 6kg will receive a free stylish mini comfort cushion. 

*T & C’s apply

For more information visit the Hill’s Pet Nutrition website

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