I can’t get hold of any cardboard locally and some shredded paper I’ve seen advertised specifically for dogs is £15 a bale which is too expensive for me. I have used shavings in the past but the dogs started fouling the beds. I may go back to using straw but I am worried about mites and any other passengers it may carry. Any suggestions?

Jeremy Hunt says: Everyone has their own ideas about how to make dogs comfortable in the winter in kennels. I know some kennels that just allow dogs to sleep together in plastic beds with no bedding at all, some use pieces of rubber matting manufactured for cow cubicles and stables, others prefer just torn up newspapers – the options are endless.

There’s no doubt that some people seem to have a hang-up about making dogs “too
comfortable” – almost as though allowing them to “rough it” is good for them.

I am never sure why that is, because a dog that’s warm, dry and comfortable is a dog
that will be happy in his kennel which is definitely a bonus if you live close to neighbours and have to leave your dog(s) for any period of time.

Shredded cardboard can be difficult to get hold of in some areas and some of the shredded paper I have used in the past is very dusty.

Many people use shavings in winter although I have never been a fan of them having seen dogs scratch up their beds and feared the risk of a kennelmate getting a wood splinter in the eye.

So what about straw? The secret of using straw is fi rstly to use only wheat straw, secondly to ensure it’s good quality and clean and thirdly to not let it get wet in the
beds.

If you bed-up a dog bed with fresh, wheat straw and then put two dogs in it that are wet through after a day’s shooting or a good walk, the bed will soak up the moisture and the straw will begin to break up.

Damp and wet straw absorbs moisture and the straw breaks down. I still use straw in some of my beds but because I don’t want to have to be replacing the bedding every few days in the winter I make sure that the dogs don’t get back into them when they are drenched.

I can already hear people say they never dry their dogs, well I would rather run an old towel over and under a wet dog and then put him a dry bed rather than let the straw do the work and see it rapidly deteriorate in the process and lead to more work cleaning out the bed.

We all have our own ways of doing things! If you do decide to go for the wheat straw option make sure you are generous when you fi ll the beds. Dogs will make deep nests in the winter and be contended to while away the time you aren’t around.

And don’t forget – a warm dry and contented dog will not only thrive without the cost of any heating in the kennel but will also make much more use of the food you give it. So instead of burning up every calorie just to keep warm he’ll be able to utilise his feed more effi ciently and hopefully provide you with a healthy and active dog that will
hold his body condition during the winter shooting season.

  • eligin orgin

    Take your dogs in the house duh.

  • declan mclaughlin

    i have use wheat straw and corn bags for several years and find it great for my springers .i fill the bags ti the max with wheat straw and then tie them and place two in the box and flatten them slightly and the dogs seem to like it , it also makes for easier cleaning of the beds from time to time ,and when the get dampi justs renew the straw.

  • scrittipoliti

    1″ thick poly insulation board cut to shape then wrapped in an envelope of construction grade plastic sheeting.seal the envelope with a hot glue gun.this can be removed for cleaning/disenfecting etc,it gives off heat and is inexpensive to replace and is recyclable,try lying on your elbows on a hard surface for a few hours and i’m sure
    you will know how your dog feels,straw can penetrate the skin,enter eyes and ears and gives off an abrasive dust,i bred dogs for over 30 yrs g.s.ps,try this, you have everything to gain.

  • Tomo

    My dad has made a little kennel with a bit of fluffy old carpet on the floor to keep things warm woth a wooden latched door and a little bit of garden for my dogs to walk out on and do whatever they want to, and some toys to keep them entertained

  • gordon.bird

    why cant you use barley straw as it is softer than wheat

  • adebxy

    please try and mail me for bussiness transaction …

  • james bell

    I have used old rags for my dogs kennel for 20 years .They keep the dog warm and comfortable and if one or two gets wet they can be replaced immediately.