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In common with most domestic furniture, pet beds are often sprayed with a very toxic group of chemicals called flame retardants. Often overlooked in the field of dog care it pays to ask questions when choosing your next dog bed.

Items sprayed with flame retardants are supposed to burn more slowly in the event of a fire but even this is widely disputed.

Unfortunately, these chemicals don’t stay confined to the furniture they’re in. Evidence proves the chemicals systematically migrate from furniture into the home environment through household dust and vapours.

A huge body of international scientific evidence now links everyday exposure to fire retardant chemicals used in sofas, mattresses, carpets and other household items to thyroid problems, lower birth weight, reduced IQ, hyperactivity, poorer coordination, reduced fertility, birth defects, hormonal changes and cancer. Children and domestic pets can be especially vulnerable.

One particular type of flame retardant chemical called Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) is widely used and is highly toxic.

Other flame-retardant chemicals include boric acid, a respiratory irritant; antimony, a metal potentially more toxic than mercury; and formaldehyde, a well-known hazardous toxin.

The USA and Europe are far more aware of this issue and have banned the use of many such chemicals in domestic furniture. The UK is one of the few countries still using them.

In a bid to drive retail prices down, many foams and man made fibre fillings are imported from low cost producing countries that have already been treated with these chemicals. These are widely used by the pet industry.

Dog beds are subject to heavy use and constant movement, scratching and frequent exposure to moisture can break down cheap foam and fibre very quickly making these particularly vulnerable to

dust and vapour emission.

If a pet bed is not marketed as free of toxic flame retardants, there is a high probability that it has been treated with these chemicals and it would be wise to find out exactly what’s in your pet bed before purchase.

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