What’s the Temperature on your Dog Beds?

Dog laid on green Durasoft Tuffies mattress dog bedThe temperature can be very deceiving at this time of year because the sun has now got some power in it, yet the ground and the wind can be rather freezing. If you keep your dogs in a kennel outside and if the dog beds are directly on a concrete floor, you need to make sure that the base of the dog beds are really good and thick so that the sneaking cold from the floor does not chill the dog. The concrete will take months to warm up during the spring and summer along with the soil underneath it, so it’s worth checking with your hand to see if it is acting like a fridge inside the kennel, keeping the kennel too cold for too long. Of course you can’t really do much about the kennel construction, but you can ensure that your choice of dog beds is the right one for the kennel. Find a type and quality of dog beds that are really thick with a futon mattress inside to make sure that the insulation is perfect and even along the bed. It is also hugely important that you use waterproof dog beds so that you don’t find your beds slowly getting soggy and damp inside. If they are damp, they are cold for your dog.

 

If, in addition to a cold floor, your kennels are a little less than draught proof, you could also consider dog beds with sides on to give total draught exclusion. You may pop your head inside the kennel and decide that it’s reasonably warm in there, but if you stay for a bit longer, and at night, you might find that there is in fact a sneaking draught, which would be eliminated if you had nest beds. Imagine the difference between lying on a mattress only, against lying tucked in with soft, insulating sides right round you. Big difference.

 

You could also consider raised dog beds, but most of these are without sides and they are really very cold. I don’t know if you have ever fallen asleep on the kids’ trampoline, but I can tell you, it’s really cold from underneath. In a kennel this is also a problem.

 

When you come out to your dogs in the morning, they might look happy as anything, but they can’t tell you that they were bitterly cold during the night. One good check, I find, is to go out late at night when they have been out for some time, and see if they have cold ears. If the ears are freezing, it is because the blood has been taken back from the extremities to keep the body warm. Your dogs are cold and they need warm dog beds.

 

Lastly, if you are struggling to keep the temperature up in the kennel, you could consider the entrance. The wind on the doorway can be a source of much heat exchange. I have got some lovely kennels with total insulation right round the walls, floor and ceiling, but it doesn’t matter if I put in the best dog beds, there will still be a lot of heat loss. So I made some curtains for the door way and sewed in some stones in the bottom. That way they don’t swing in the wind, but the dogs can push them aside to walk in. It works really well.

 

Check the ears regularly…..

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Dog Beds for Spring and Summer

During the long, cold winter we all know how our dogs love the feeling of sleeping on their dog beds in front of the fire. More and more people are using wood burners and open fires instead of oil heating, which is right up doggie street. It is a common request here at Tuffies that customers want a bespoke size dog beds to fit in front of the fire or a colour that will match the AGA as the dogs are always sleeping by the warmth. We have no shortage of testimonial pictures of dogs enjoying their luxury dog beds in front of the crackling fire in the winter.

Three dogs on their Tuffie by the fire

Once spring and summer arrives, I also see my own dogs out there on their patio basking in the sun. In the very early spring the sun doesn’t quite get to the patio in the morning and if it’s a bright day, they will abandon their outdoor dog beds on the patio and find themselves a little natural nest in the grass, right there where the sun strikes. They curl up in the sun and sleep as in heaven.

 Gollum does look for a nice bed and if the old, battered lawn mower is sitting in the garden, I have seen him curled up, uncomfortably looking, sleeping on the seat. Dogs love being a bit higher up, they like to know what is going on on the road outside just in case there is a cyclist that needs to be barked at.

Gollum, the GWP, asleep on the lawn mower seat.

Gollum, GWP, sitting on the lawn mower, looking out.

The lawn mower is also very good as an outdoor dog bed when you need to have a good look out.

I tried to make them all a variety of summer outdoor dog beds that can be left outside. There are various factors to take in to account: for example, if you want to leave it on the grass, you want something that doesn’t yellow the grass underneath due to lack of sun light. I guess there are many raised dog beds for sale, but we do find that they all seem really cold and draughty. I guess the lawn mower remains the best option as it will be moved regularly and is high up.

 

Another requirement for outdoor dog beds would be drainage. You don’t want to be forced to take it in every night or to put something over it in case it rains. So I made some very well draining patio dog beds, which consisted of chopped up cow matt inside a seriously permeable cover. So when it rains, the water runs straight through the cover and content without leaving the “bed” wet. As soon as it stops raining, these dog beds will be dry and ready to be slept on. Once I had made them, I realised that they were not very comfortable and I would certainly not like to lie on all these lumps myself, but it turns out that the dogs are actually using them. To them it seems more important to have a bit of insulation and warmth than anything super soft. These were prototypes that never came to anything other than an idea that might be revisited some time in the future.

 

We have, however, a new product in the pipeline, which will be a perfect outdoor dog bed. Watch this space. I can’t reveal any more, but it will be awesome.

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Is Your Dog Scratching on his Dog Beds?

This is the time of year where you could be led to believe that your dog has got some kind of allergy that makes his feet itchy. It can look rather fierce when dogs, in absolute desperation, start digging up their dog beds. I have seen my dogs have a good dig, then turn round, dig some more and then get really frustrated and run off for some relief. So what is going on? It can be the annual return of one of our most hated weeds, the stingy nettles. In the early spring these hardy and feisty plants start growing as soon as there is the slightest power in the sun light and they are at that fresh, new stage, very stingy and not very visible. Long before the grass starts getting green and long, the nettles send out their stingy leaves and that is a doggy problem.

 Small nettles in the dead spring grass. Very stingy.

 This happens every year, but it seems like the dogs forget from one year to another and every year in April they get taken by surprise. So when they run across the fields, they don’t notice straight away that the soft skin in between their pads is getting stung by the nettles. Only when they return home to lie on their dog beds do they start noticing the problem and get up and scratch. A dog can’t scratch himself in between the pads, so he just digs. It is aggravated by warmth, so if he is in a warm house it will be more annoying for him. You can try and apply a little bit of antihistamine cream in between the pads on the underside where he can’t lick it , but it is unlikely to solve the problem. There is not a lot to do about it and the itchiness will settle down again after some time. While it is at the most irritating stage dogs will be digging a lot on their dog beds (or on your carpet) and it would make sense to have the strongest dog beds you can get, which is probably our Durasoft mattress beds. We have tested our fabrics extensively and we have indeed our in-house digging tester, who always digs his beds just for the sake of it. He has not managed to dig a hole in our Durasoft Mattress Beds while they are out on the veranda with him, where we can see him give it hell. There are claw marks across the fabric, but the texturised Nylon easily stands up to the stress.

 Collie on Durasoft bed. Very scratch resistant surface.

So although it is annoying for your dogs, at least you are not going to lose your dog beds to excessive digging. The Tuffie beds will stand up to the abuse.

 Just one thing to come back to whether a dog learns from year to year. I have noticed that they certainly learn by the first few weeks of spring and when the nettles are further up, I have seen my dogs simply smell the field and because it’s full of nettles, they won’t run over it and play. Nettles have, even to our crude noses, a very strong and characteristic smell.

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Easter is a good time for washing dog beds

This is a good time to look at the outdoor facilities for your dog. When the warmer weather comes along and you have some time around the Easter holidays, it is a perfect time to arrange the kennels in the garden and make sure everything is good. The garden will be looking a bit tired right now, but you know it will soon spring in to action when the grass starts growing and the weeds are trying their best to win over the grass for sun, water and space. Before the big weeding jobs begin, you can pay the kennels and the dog beds some attention. If you already have kennels, in which your dog has been living, perhaps just during your working day or only during the night, it is nice to perform a good old spring cleaning. The dog beds might look pristine, but they will probably be a little bit smelly. If you have a Tuffies waterproof bed with one of the machine washable covers on it, you can take the covers off and simply bong it in the machine with any detergent you like. At the recommended 40 degrees wash, they come up like new.

 Lady washing and rinsing a Tuffie dog bed

Tuffie covers on the clothes line

It is also nice, on a sunny spring day to wash out the kennels thoroughly and air it all while the dog beds are also drying out. In our kennels there is always lots of leaves that have been blowing in and there are dry dirt from all the mud that the dogs drag in from running round the wet grass via their paws. With the lovely washable dog beds and washable covers, this is no problem while it happens because the dogs are not feeling wet or damp, but over time, this all dries up to dust and needs cleaning out. I also usually find weird and funny things in the corners of the kennels and once I found the mummified body of a black bird. I know my dogs won’t eat a black bird if it has hit the window and died in the garden. I have seen a bird out there, untouched for days till I remove it from the lawn, but obviously one of the dogs, probably the young one, has picked it up to have a closer inspection in ‘’privacy’’ on the waterproof dog beds inside the kennel only to conclude that it was not edible.

 Lady washing a Really Tough Tuffie

If you feed raw food like I do, and I mean proper raw food like whole deer-heads, you will find various remains like teeth and jaws from the deer or the odd femur which the dogs have given up on. All this needs to be chucked out in the cleaning process.

 Tippex, GWP, eating raw roe deer meat

It is a lovely feeling to put all the clean and fresh waterproof dog beds back in to a clean kennel as part of the spring cleaning. Usually I will do the same in preparation for winter when the autumn arrives. But for now, let’s enjoy the warm spring time and get the doggies nice and tidy.

 White mountain hare running in the snow

I have been on spring grouse count and found this little Easter bunny that the young dog managed to point.

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After this they all need their dog beds

At the moment there is again demand for the dogs. This time of year is grouse counting time. In March-April the grouse pair up as husbands and wives and start looking seriously for a nesting place. On the big Scottish moors they decide which little bit will be their territory to defend and this is where they will make their nest (well, “nest”….. because a grouse nest is really not much more than an indentation in the moss under some heather). The pairs sit quite close together, so when you sweep across the moor, you will see two birds fly up each time. The grouse moor estates like to know how many breeding pairs that live on the moor and this is when they ask us, pointer owners to get our dogs off the dog beds and get them out on the heather. The dogs LOVE this. This is what life is all about for a German Wirehaired Pointer. We cast the dogs off, preferably in to the wind and they quarter back and forth across the wind with their noses up hoping to get the scent of sitting birds. You can see when the dog hits a few molecules of bird scent as they are almost towed by their noses after the scent. As they decide that it seems to be real and not just old residual scent, they start moving into the scent, holding their heads up high till they think they are definitely standing right down-wind from the bird. Wow, how far can they get from being interested in lying at home on their dog beds in front of the fire? THIS is a dog’s life. As you go up to the pointing dog and ask it to flush, a good pointer should spring forward and get the birds in the air without grabbing any of them. We then count the pairs as we move forward, pair by pair.

DSC_0151 oooo

So far I have been out three days and the dogs are needing their dog beds every night as they are not as fit as they used to be in August – September. We had two days last week and Gaia’s weakest point was clearly her nipples. She ran for just a few hours, but her nipples were bright red and swollen. Next time we went out I gave her a lovely little Gaffa-tape-bra to protect her nipples. It obviously fell off, but lasted a few hours and did the job as she is not lying on her luxury dog beds licking her undercarriage all evening now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had a great couple of days and went out again today. The weather forecast was absolutely great and we set off in bright sunshine. However, the snow started gently at first and then really filled in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe kept going, but it was becoming really difficult to see now and in the end we had to turn round and go home. I nearly got lost in the snow storm as I couldn’t see the landscape and suddenly got really disorientated. Thanks to radios, I was found and we started the descent. The dogs continued to work as they were not the least interested in returning to their car dog beds and we got some funny point on the way

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe were happy to find the cars and get home. This was on 30th March, hardly spring time…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Dog Beds in the Snow

On annual leave recently, I was skiing in Italy, a nice break after four busy days at Crufts. Having stood up on a concrete floor for 10 hours a day, talking non-stop about dog beds, some fresh mountain air was welcome. My three pointers, never left on their own, were securely looked after by Jodie and they love it. Jodie has four dogs and it must be quite a party with seven dogs and little house, but Jodie has a handle on it all and it went fine.

 

If you ski in Scotland, you are certainly told to leave your dogs at home on their dog beds and not bring them with you on the down-hill slopes. I did it once, years ago, and the snow patrols told me NOT to ski with the dog because I could have a bad accident and sheer off the paws. Well, with that thought in mind, I put her back in the car. What a hideous thing to happen. I am sure it has also to do with other skiers, who may be scared of dogs or just don’t want to get scared when a black dog runs across the slope.

 

However, when I have been to Austria occasionally, there are super fit people, who ski/walk up the hill with skins on their skis so they can walk (cross-country type of style) up, where they take off their skins and ski down. Often these enthusiasts take their dogs with them and it’s clear to everyone HOW much these dogs are enjoying running on the snow instead of being left at home on their dog beds. When these fit people have walked to the top, I am sure they get a cup of hot chocolate and then they ski down, sometimes with head lamps on. If skiing over your dog’s paws was a common disaster, we would surely not see so many people bringing their dogs.

 

While in Italy we had stopped to eat at lunch time and I saw a lady with three extremely happy dogs. Two were still with her, the last one had to be called a lot to be found. It was a funny mix with sticky-up ears that wouldn’t really behave. It was obviously running round the woods, having a great time. The skier eventually got them all round her and went off. They will be sleeping very well on their dog beds tonight.

 A person skiing with her dogs in the Dolomites, Italy

At the ski-lifts there is a note to say that dogs must pay for their tickets too and that they must wear a muzzle. It is a bit of a shame, but we never quite know our own dogs and it would be horrible if they suddenly decided to chase AND BITE another skier.

 

We also skied past a place where food was served and we noticed the dog on the top of the roof having chosen this as his cooling dog bed: in a snow pile. OK, the March sun can be strong and warm and this dog had a good, thick coat, but to actually seek out a lump of snow to lie on, must be because he is very hot.

 Ski resort cafe with dog sleeping on the snowy roof

Dog lying on the snowy roof top

We excel in making warm dog beds and then we find a dog that wants the opposite. Haha.

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Good times selling dog beds at Crufts

So we are back again, pretty exhausted after Crufts. We has such a good time and as usual it was brilliant to meet everyone who came to our stand. We find, every year, that there is a steady stream of happy customers who may or may not need any more dog beds, but who want to come along to see if we have any new products that would tempt them. Many of you come and tell us how happy you are with your Tuffies dog beds even when you don’t need a new one. It is hilarious how we may have new people looking at the dog beds and we are trying to explain the exact features of the products and then you come along and take over the speech telling everyone how great they are and how many years you have had yours. This is real testimonial evidence and new customers will trust a stranger in this situation far more than the people who are in charge of taking the money, in fact we are a bit too shy to add quite as many superlatives as you are. Thank you to everyone who gave up a couple of minutes to stop and tell fellow dog lovers about your great experience of our dog beds.

 

Being at Crufts was also important for us in order to see if there was any feedback that we could learn from regarding our new Durasoft dog beds. We first launched the Durasoft fabric in September 2014, so there would be plenty of people who had had them for a good long trialling period and any comments, good or bad, were eagerly anticipated. Firstly, there was not a single person that had encountered any problem, on the contrary there were a lot of people, who were thoroughly impressed with our move from the Woven Surface dog beds to the Durasoft. It has been a great move because we now offer a proper choice between the Wipe Clean fabric for people who definitely want to see dog beds without hairs sticking to them and which they can simply wipe off and then the Durasoft for everyone who likes their dog beds to be more like an upholstery fabric item, more suitable for indoor use. Well, the wipe clean dog beds are great indoors, but you know what I mean. The hairs also vacuum off the Durasoft in absolutely no time and it is downright amazing how well they appear after a good scrub down with hot, soapy water. They come up as new.

 

At Crufts we also gave everyone the chance to see our newest products in the flesh: the Tunnel Cover, the Nest Sock and the start of our Sink-in Tuffie. Both we and customers like the opportunity for everyone to see and feel the dog beds. Some customers would not like to buy before they have seen an item, but many, many people have of course seen the dog beds at their friends’ place, but, believe it or not, there are still some folk, who have never heard of our dog beds and when they come across them at Crufts, they are bolted over. Some, again, had found us on line and liked the dog beds, but just needed to feel them and see them for real before they committed. We did indeed once buy a competitors dog bed, which looked amazing, for the price, on line, but when it arrived, it looked nothing like the original picture. Ours do!!!! No, they look even better in the flesh….  :-)

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Winning Dog Beds at Crufts

We would of course like to claim that our dog beds are the winning dog beds at Crufts if you consider all the other dog beds for sale. Tuffies dog beds stand out not only because of what is inside, but also what the covering is like. There are plenty of companies making lovely looking puffed up dog beds, that later, in a matter of a few months, are just flat and of very little use……  and smelling rather horrid. Tuffies have to be the winner because we are making a proper little futon mattress for each bed, which we cut to just the right size so that it will fill the cover completely. We make sure that the futon is firm and supporting so that all dogs will feel comfortable and always, always feeling totally insulated from the floor. The covers we use for our waterproof dog beds are of the absolute best quality and we have two types: The Wipe Clean fabric is a polyester weave with an acrylic coating on both sides. It is a very strong, mildew and UV resistant fabric, which you can wipe down. Our other waterproof dog beds are called Durasoft and they are more like an upholstery type, however super strong and waterproof. The other winning side of Tuffies has to be our Luxury Fleece covers. Fabulous for the dogs, easy to wash and looking stunning.

 

However, there is another level at which there are winning dog beds at Crufts. We have already given one winner a wipe clean nest dog beds from our facebook competition instigated by Crufts. We put out a 24 hour competition on the Kennel Clubs facebook and had 500 entries. The lucky winner will soon receive one of our best dog beds. She just needs to tell us which size and colour combination.

 

The other competition with a chance to win one of our dog beds is at the Dog Theft Awareness Stand at Crufts. As this problem is so horrific we are more than happy to donate a Tuffies nest to the raffle at this stand. They need all the help they can get and we are doing our bit. Go to the Dog Theft Stand and buy a ticket to get a chance of winning one of our dog beds.

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Packing dog beds for Crufts

It’s upon us again!!! We make our great dog beds in Aberdeenshire and every year two of us go down to Crufts to sell dog beds at the world’s biggest dog show. This has been a tradition for years, I think we must have attended Crufts for over 10 years and as soon as I think about the Crufts week, I think about the daffodils that I see for the first time near Kenilworth in March a good while before we have the pleasure of seeing them up here in the cold Aberdeenshire. Maybe we make such warm and great dog beds because we experience the cold weather here more than in any other part of the country. I spoke to a customer just down the road this morning, she was in Dundee, just 100 miles South of Aberdeen, and was wondering whether to take a nest cover on her Tuffie nest. As she was buying two giant nests for her two Great Danes, it was all mounting up and she decided that she really didn’t need the nest covers, especially as it is going towards spring and summer. She told me that the horses were already casting their coat and that it is all very nice and warm in Dundee. Well, we had frost here this morning. As an experiment I had one of the waterproof dog beds sitting outside last night with a puddle of water on it. This is one of our Durasoft mattress beds with a silicone coating and I had allowed my big German Wirehaired Pointer to use it because he digs a lot. I wanted to see how the silicone coating coped with his keen digging and this morning I had to break a frozen puddle off this bed. Anyway, the bed has been washed in scolding water and soap followed by a good rinse and it looks absolutely great. We are very proud of bringing such great dog beds to Crufts and we shall soon be launching our silicone coated bed as this provides, at a modest extra cost, a bed that feels soft and pleasant like an upholstery fabric, but which will not allow dog hairs to stick. Best of both worlds.

 

At Crufts we will be bringing all the dog beds we normally have available on our web site and we will also bring a couple of new items such as our new Sink-in Tuffie. For the extra sensitive Princess on a Pea, we have made a sink-in Tuffie, which is filled with layers and layers of carted hollow fiber that is unwilling to move or separate, but which creates a very soft and sinking feeling for the dog. For these soft dog beds we have created a special system with vented eyelets in the waterproof fabric allowing the air to go in and out. These dog beds will come with a cover of your choice, either a luxury fleece of any colour or our beautiful 100% wool tweed. We are confident that these beds will be extremely popular once we have them fully out for sale. At Crufts they will not be amongst the dog beds for sale, but you will be able to place order for later, free, delivery.

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Dog Hairs on Dog Beds

Here at Tuffies we spend a huge amount of time (and money) on exactly that problem and on how to prevent it. While fabrics and textiles tend to attract hair in general, we have made sure that we found the solution for all of our customers, who really don’t like dog hairs stuck to their lovely dog beds. We have the Wipe Clean fabric, which is incredibly popular because, not only is it very durable and mold and UV resistant, but it also feels like a fabric without being an open weave. It also feels a little bit like a leather without being a leather or a faux leather and most of all, it does not allow hairs to stick to it. It is a wonderful fabric to make dog beds out of and it is the most popular fabric out of our range. When it is new it might feel a bit stiff and shiny, but is literally only in the very beginning and it soon wears in to a smooth and pleasant feel. A bit like a waxed jacket. If your dog comes in from that long, muddy, happy walk in the woods in the autumn, he might be longing for one of his luxury dog beds and head straight for the one you have put out for him, the Wipe Clean bed. There he will cosy in to the futon mattress and feel all nice and warm while he dries out, dripping muddy water and hairs and little leaves and sticks from the woods on to the bed. But heho, no problem, because the beds are waterproof and won’t go soggy, hence they remain nice and insulating for the dog without any sneaking dampness coming through. Once your dog has dried up on one of our waterproof dog beds, you can simply hoover off the dry mud and dog hairs. This will leave the bed clean enough for further use and it will look presentable, but of course there will be an element of bits of stains there, which, if you really want it to look pristine, can wash off with hot soapy water. The beauty with these beds is that you can literally boil the kettle and add a little liquid soap and then sponge and scrub the dog beds down followed by a good rinse with the garden hose or the shower hose. Now the bed will be wonderfully clean and almost look as brand new.

We have other fabrics that are also very friendly to the hair problem. We make some of our great dog beds out of Durasoft fabric, which will appeal to you if you are looking for a fabric that feels much more like an upholstery fabric. The Durasoft will have hairs stuck to it, but it is very easy to vacuum off. The Durasoft dog beds have proven to be extremely popular and we are very proud of it. We have, again, this fabric made for us and we make extensive tests of its strength and water resistance. We go right down to the back ground and have Hydrostatic head measured, not only in the beginning, but several times after when we get new batches of fabrics.

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