Right behind flattening, bed covers that are not moisture resistant and/or don’t hold up well after washing are among the most common complaints, especially from people who own older dogs that can be prone to having accidents.
Many dog bed covers are simply that: a fabric cover. Even though they may be washable, they have no protection against liquids penetrating the cover and contaminating the filling inside.
You’ll read many reviews on Amazon of poor quality bed covers that ruin the bed the first time your dog has any sort of accident on it. Of course, once this happens you have no hope of returning the bed.
Water resistant means that a spill (or accident!) will not soak through the material right away but will after a certain period of time. The more water resistant the material, the longer it will take for the liquid to soak through.
So long as the cover is washable – and you catch the spill before it soaks through – you can throw it in the washer and all is well. That is, assuming the cover will hold up under multiple washings. Many don’t and the reviews on Amazon are full of complaints about covers that fall apart after a few washings.
Water proof, on the other hand, means that no liquid will ever make it through the material. You can wait until the spill dries completely, even a spill that soaks the material completely, and the inside of the cover will still be 100% protected. Very few dog bed covers are water proof and if they are it will say so prominently. If it doesn’t say water proof, then assume it isn’t.
Unfortunately, while most dog bed descriptions will state that the cover is washable, they frequently don’t include detailed information about whether the liner is water resistant or water proof.
And don’t be fooled by the term “stain resistant”. This may or may not mean water resistant and most certainly doesn’t mean water proof.
As an alternative to a water proof cover, some bed manufactures (Big Barker is one) will sell a 100% water proof liner for the bed, which is placed under the bed cover. The advantage to this is that when the cover wears out you can replace it without having to replace the water proof liner.