Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Yes, there shouldn’t be any problem with using old cloths as bedding.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Polyester Fiberfill

Polyester fiberfill is the most common filling used in commercial dog beds, it mimics the soft and lightweight qualities of down filling, is washable, lightweight and is the most affordable, but it can easily be compressed and lumpy.

Lay your comforter out flat on the floor, with the side you want facing up towards the floor. Take one edge of your comforter and fold it up about two-thirds of the way, leaving a space on the opposite side. The folded section will turn into the blanket/snuggle section of the bed.
Cordura and canvas are some of the more popular cover materials for indestructible dog beds, as these materials are extremely durable and tear-resistant. Tougher frames. The best chew-proof dog beds also use stronger materials for their frames (if it`s a style of dog bed with legs), like aluminum or PVC frames.
The issue with animals eating fabric is that textiles are not able to be broken down and passed through the digestive system like a stick. Depending on the size of your dog and the size of the sock, they may be able to vomit it back up or eventually pass it through their excretions.
Dogs have a body temperature a few degrees higher than humans so may be a great winter warmer for your cold bed, but Katy Alexander, Veterinary Research Lead at Blue Cross warned that some dogs might face the dangers of overheating if left covered up with a duvet.
Can dogs breathe under blankets? Your dog should be just fine snuggling up and sleeping under blankets, though accidents can happen. If they aren`t able to breathe well, they will find a way out of that situation for themselves. If you are worried, consider a lighter weight blanket for your pup.
Stuff Dog Toys or Pillows

Dog fur makes excellent stuffing. If you`re crafty, you can sew your own dog toys and fill them with fur rather than synthetic stuffing. For an easier project, consider creating a dog bed; if you want to enjoy the comfort of fur yourself, try making a throw pillow for the couch.

Dogs sleep between 12 to 18 hours a day, depending on age. So, they need a comfy bed to snooze on just like you do. Although you might find your pup occasionally, or often, snuggled at your side during the night, dogs need to have a bed of their own.
If you let your dog(s) sleep in the bed with you, you should wash your sheets more often. But the question is, how often? A good rule of thumb is to change your bedding every three to four days, especially if your dog goes under the covers and doesn`t just stay on top of your duvet.
Linen is the ideal fabric for a pet bed as it is so absorbent and also durable – stronger than cotton that can break down over time. It is breathable like a second skin and can help to regulate temperature. It absorbs moisture in the heat and retains body heat in the cold.
Dogs don`t need soft beds, but instead need to rest on a firm surface; too-soft pillow beds don`t offer the support needed for comfortable rest and healthy joints, and an older dog who sinks into a plush bed may have trouble getting into and out of it. This doesn`t mean he should sleep on the floor—that`s too firm.
Nylon is water resistant, stands up well to the elements and can last a long time. For example, nylon mesh, stretched over a frame, is an excellent material for an outdoor dog bed. The open mesh weave facilitates air circulation, helping to keep your dog cool and dry.
Clothes may cause painful friction or rubbing on a dog`s skin. Dogs with short hair or skin conditions may be more susceptible to skin irritation than others. Clothes may cause a dog to potentially overheat and become sick. Always keep an eye on your pet when they are in clothes indoors and in warmer climates.
Comfort: Your dog`s coat should be comfortable to wear, so it`s important to choose a fabric that is soft and not irritating to their skin. Fleece, cotton, and cashmere are all good options for a comfortable coat.
Check out our sister brand, Petsies, where you can create your own plush lookalike of your pet. We can create a custom stuffed animal of any pet you can think of, from dogs and cats to horses and rats. Visit MyPetsies.com.
According to Dr. Russell of The Malamute Mom, a lot of dogs can appreciate the security of a covered dog bed. But they`re especially popular among breeds with a natural instinct to burrow or tunnel, including Dachshunds, Beagles, Border Collies, Malamutes, and Huskies.
Using a soft upholstery fabric would make a dog bed durable and easy to clean. A canvas, denim, suede or sailcloth fabric would also be durable. Fleece and cotton would be a comfortable fabric to use for those who like their beds soft.
For a small dog bed we will need approximately 2m of fabric. For a medium size dog bed, approx 2.5m. For a large dog bed we need approximately 3.5m and an extra large dog bed about 5m but the exact length of material required depends on the width of the fabric.
It`s not just dogs that like soft warm places to sleep too. In fact, most animals and people alike love the combination of a clean, warm, and soft blanket. A former dog owner recently recalled how her family`s pooch would sleep in a bed with covers over him every day until her sister got home from school.
While it`s only natural to want to embrace your loved ones, it`s not always a good idea to hug your canine friends. “Hugging is a form of handling, and handling can lead to fear, anxiety, and stress in some dogs,” says Dr. Vanessa Spano, DVM at Behavior Vets.
Point: Dogs carry certain intestinal parasites, fleas, and ticks that cause human illnesses. Sleeping with a dog increases human exposure to these parasites and vector-borne diseases. Very young, very old, and immune compromised people are particularly at risk of infection.
Do Dogs Get Cold at Night? It is possible for dogs to get cold at night, even if they`re kept indoors. “If you think your dog is getting cold at night, consider giving him a cozy blanket to snuggle up to in bed. Most dogs will not feel cold at night or will seek out a warmer place if they do,” says Satchu.
Dogs notoriously love their blankets. Whether it`s at home or on the road, it gives them a place to snuggle up and be comfortable. No matter your lifestyle, this is an easy investment that every pet owner can make to improve the quality of life for their animal.
Can My Dog Suffocate Under The Blankets? Some people worry that their dog will suffocate under the blankets, but you can breathe a sign of relief. Experts say it`s highly unlikely! Of course, you should always make sure the covers are not really tight around them and they have a way to get out.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. My Bulldog puppy growls, barks and even tries to bite me when I say “no” to him. What can I do?
ANSWER : A. First, avoid scolding him and acting aggressively towards him if you don’t want him to be acting aggressively towards you. There are other methods you can use to communicate to your dog that you don’t want him to continue doing what he is doing. I recommend you stop telling him “no”, scolding him, or raising your voice at him. Everything coming from you should be 100% positive and 100% calm.

Try to figure out ways to clearly communicate what you want to your dog. If you want your dog to leave something or someone alone, I strongly suggest teaching your dog commands like “leave it”. Here is a link to a video in which I explain how to do it:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1TS5nA7z5Q

Another thing I suggest you use is a no-reward marker. This clearly communicates when your dog has done something wrong. No-reward markers have to be introduced during your training sessions. You should be doing at least three training sessions per day, that are something like 3-10 minutes long (working on different things each training session). If you are teaching your dog something BRAND NEW, do not use the no-reward marker, as you do not want to discourage your dog from performing behaviors for you. Use the no-reward marker for known behaviors only. Here is another helpful video about this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdU5a6fXKlg

Lure each new behavior (as shown in the video) using high value treats. Let’s say you’re working on “down” which is a behavior your dog knows fairly well. Present the treat to your dog. Ask your dog to “down” (only ask once). If he does not go “down” immediately, say, “uh-oh” or “eh-eh” in a gentle tone, and then place the treat behind your back. This communicates to your dog that they did something to make the treat go away.

After you place the treat behind your back to show your pup “that was wrong” you need to communicate to your pup “let’s try again” by getting your pup to walk around for a second, and then start the behavior all over again. If your puppy is very young, chances are you haven’t taught him a solid “down” behavior yet. So, as I said, do not use this method until you have lured each new behavior as shown in the video.

This is the order in which you should teach behaviors: Lure using a high value treat as shown in the video. After a few successful food lures, lure with an empty hand. If the pup is successful with the empty hand lure, reward with lots of treats. If the pup is unsuccessful, then go back to food-luring a couple more times. After a few successful empty-hand lures, you can begin to add the cue. Say “sit”, then lure with an empty hand, and then reward. Once your pup understands the cue, begin to work on the no-reward marker.

Q. How do I desensitize my dog to squirrels and stray cats in the neighborhood?
ANSWER : A. It depends on the goal that you have in mind. I am going to assume that you would prefer that your dog not chase squirrels or stray cats in the yard/street. In this case, your options include: (1) training your dog on a “Leave it ” cue using positive reinforcement methods, (2) training your dog not to pull on its leash when it sees a squirrel/stray cat, and (3) training your dog to perform a more desirable behavior when it sees a squirrel/cat.
Training your dog on a cued “leave it” command is useful because it will give you the ability to tell your dog to stay away from any number of undesirable objects on your command. Training your dog to perform a more desireable behavior when it sees a squirrel or cat will substitute a behavior you find acceptable (sitting, laying down, coming to the door, etc.) with a behavior you dislike. Your dog can still react, just in a positive way. If your dog pulls on the leash every time you see a squirrel/cat, training not to pull will make your walk safer and more pleasant.
The ideal training method to use with dogs, or any animal for that matter, is positive reinforcement training, particularly a method called “clicker- training.” The basic concept of positive reinforcement training is to pair a reward (reinforcement) with a behavior you want to increase in frequency. In other words, when your dog performs the behavior you desire, it receives an award, which reinforces the desired behavior so you get more of that behavior. There are many excellent books in stores or on-line that describe positive reinforcement training in detail and many give step-by-step instructions for training common commands like “leave it”. Look for books that specifically mention positive reinforcement training or clicker-training. You can also take dog training classes to learn the techniques, find a mentor who already uses clicker-training, or request a consult from one of the pet experts on this site to guide you.

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. How can I train my 4 month old puppy to sit?
ANSWER : A. Training basic commands such as sit is very easy using a positive reinforcement method and does not require any more materials than a place to sit and some very yummy treats! When beginning to teach your dog new tricks, starting off in a distraction free area (such as a quiet room in the house) is best. The training can then expand to more distracting places once your dog has the hang of things.

Start by showing your dog a tasty treat and placing it over his or her nose. When they begin to sniff at the treat, gently move the treat backward. Most dogs will follow the treat with their head, and the backward motion will cause their back ends to sit down! Once your dog sits, reward with the treat and some praise. If your dog tends to walk backwards instead of sit, doing this technique against a wall will prevent your dog from walking backward and encourage sitting.

Once your dog has done this a few times, begin to add the word “sit” every time you put the treat above your dog’s head. Only say the word once, and then continue with the luring motion. Your dog will begin to associate the word with the action after several tries! After this, you can begin to attempt to offer the word “sit” once, and if your dog does so, reward with a treat and praise! If your dog forgets, or appears bored, stop training and try again at a later time- most puppies only have an attention span of a few minutes at most!

Q. My Beagle listens to me, but cries & whines when I’m gone & doesn’t listen to my parents. I adopted him just a couple days ago. Any tips for my folks?
ANSWER : A. I really highly doubt that your Beagle listens to you and has formed a connection with you in just a couple of days. It takes months to build up any kind of serious connection with your dog. You need to work on communication with your dog through training them to understand different cues. For instance the Leave-It cue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1TS5nA7z5Q

You have to work on bonding with your dog through mental stimulation. Training is very important. Luring each new behavior from scratch, and training using treats is how you form a strong bond with your new dog. No scolding is ever necessary… work on being calm, and positive, all the time.

If your dog is crying/whining when you leave, this may be separation anxiety. You’re going to have to separation train this dog from scratch. This dog needs to learn that separation can be a good thing! Tell your “folks” to NOT scold the dog when he is crying/whining after you leave, because that will make your dog MORE anxious when you leave next time. Your dog will be dwelling on the negative if your parents fuel your dogs negative feelings towards you leaving. FUN things should happen when you leave. Your parents should pull out the treats and start doing some basic obedience training with your dog. Your parents should stuff a Kong filled with awesome treats (peanut butter) and give it to him so he feels happy when you leave.

I have some excellent separation anxiety exercises you can work on. If you’d like, you can purchase a consultation with me, and I will go over how to separation train from scratch. It will make your dog comfortable being alone, guaranteed.

Read Full Q/A … : I Don't Like My Mother

Q. My cocker spaniel is 9 years old. He has involuntary bowel movements (little drops) very frequently, especially when he is asleep.
ANSWER : A. Is your dog on a senior dog food? I would get your dog on a high quality high protien dog food. Ask a pet store assosicate or your regular vet for a food recommendation. When you buy a better food the dog will have to eat less to get the same amount of energy from the food. The dog has to eat more of the cheaper foods to get the energy it needs from it. Meaning more poop and buying more food. So the cost really evens out. So the lessen your dogs bowel movements get on a better senior dog food. Next talk to your vet they may have a recommendation. If you switch dogs do it slowly by mixing the foods. Start with 10% new 90% old mixed for at least a week until you have switched to 100% new 0% old. Senior foods have more fiber to help with bowel movements. Take the dog outside to go potty more frequently, right before bed time.

Read Full Q/A … : Symptoms Questions & Answers