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Are cedar shavings good for bedding in my dog's house?

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Question Are cedar shavings good for bedding in my dog's house?

Answer This question has been debated by hunting and other dog owners for years. The primary reason is the dog's sense of smell. Most hunting dogs rely on their sense of smell, not their sight, to “hunt.” Even non-hunting dogs have very good noses. Some people worry that the strong cedar smell can overload a dog's nose and therefore dull the dog's ability to smell (or cause him to have headaches). Pet owners sometimes think it’s torture to make a dog sleep in such a smelly situation with a sensitive nose.

Most dog owners don't consider their pet's nose. They simply buy cedar chips because it makes their dog smell better. Some pet owners do realize that fleas, flies and mites don't like cedar chips. Straw and hay are more likely to harbor fleas and mites than wood chips (of any type).

Cedar wood contains organic compounds called thujaplicins. These compounds or oils give off the distinct cedar aroma. It may be pleasant to humans but it is a deterrent to insects, moths and wood decaying fungi. This compound makes cedar the choice material for closet liners and blanket storage chests.

Cedar shavings may cause a contact allergy in some dogs. This is due to the oil in the chips. Dogs with this problem usually have itchiness and sometimes hair loss. A veterinarian can determine whether your dog's symptoms are a result of an allergy or some other pest. Small puppies may also be more sensitive to the cedar oils than older dogs.

Outdoor dogs need material in their doghouse to help them retain body heat. Dogs can suffer from hypothermia and frost bite just like humans. Here are a few other tips to consider when winterizing your dog's dwelling. Doghouses should be large enough for the dog to stand up and turn around comfortably, but small enough to retain the dog's body heat. Wooden doghouses should be raised a few inches off of the ground to prevent rotting and keep out rain. Wash dog blankets every few weeks so they don't get stiff with dirt. Keep cold air from blowing through the doghouse by covering the door with a plastic flap. You can use a car mat, a piece of plastic carpet runner, or even a piece of carpet. Dogs need more food in the winter because it takes calories to keep warm. Lastly, check your dog's water bowl daily to be sure it isn't frozen.

Cedar shavings can be pricy. If you change the dog bedding frequently, then any type of wood shavings will be sufficient. For more info on cedar dog bedding visit http://www.1articleworld.com/Art/511550/350/Avoid-Ticks-And-Fleas-With-Red-Cedar-Dog-Bedding.html If you don’t have internet access, then call me at 910-893-7530 or email me at gpierce@harnett.org Instead of chasing rabbits, I wonder if a dog sleeping on cedar chips dreams of continually running in a little wheel that never moves forward or backward. After all, he smells like a hamster.

Gary L. Pierce

Horticulture Extension Agent

Harnett County

 
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