High-quality eco-friendly pet beds are not just good for the environment; they offer more safety and comfort for pets, and more value for consumers.
Instead of circling around a room to find the most comfortable spot on the floor, these days more pets are nuzzling into a bed of their own to get a good night’s sleep; and with more dogs catching some shut-eye in a bed specifically designed for them, demand for pet beds—particularly those made with eco-friendly materials—is on the rise.
“The demand for eco-friendly pet bed offerings grows every year,” says Spencer Williams, owner and president of West Paw Design. “We think it is due to conscientious consumerism. Customers are concerned with how their purchases are impacting the earth—whether it’s what food they’re consuming or what type of dog bed they’re purchasing for their pet.”
While the eco-friendliness of a pet bed is certainly attracting more attention from consumers, pet owners are also starting to recognize that these products offer more than protection for Mother Earth. “Consumers are seeing how these beds aren’t just good for the environment, but they are made to the standards that sometimes exceed those of non-eco-friendly products, in terms of design, function and durability,” says Deborah Feng, director of sales and operations at P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle And You). “When you take that all into account, they are seeing how they are actually buying a product that provides more value at a competitive price point.”
With increased demand and consumer awareness, independent pet specialty retailers would be wise to include eco-friendly options in the store’s bed selection. However, manufacturers say it isn’t enough for retailers to just place these high-margin items on the shelf and expect them to sell on their own. “It’s always a good idea to know exactly what ‘eco-friendly’ means, as it can mean different things to different companies,” Williams says.
“West Paw Design uses eco-friendly materials in all of our pet beds—whether it’s the fill or batting, every bed we make contains recycled materials,” he adds. West Paw offers beds made from a variety of materials including the Eco Nap, a bed with outer fabric that is made from 100-percent recycled plastic and a fill made from 61-percent recycled plastic. The company also offers a durable hemp blend and the Bumper Bed, which is made from organic cotton.
Organic cotton, grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers, is becoming a popular material that manufacturers are using in pet bedding, according to Jean Chae director of sales and new business relations at Simply Fido. “Organic, non-toxic and natural fiber bedding options are now available more than ever to satisfy any pet parent who’s looking for beautiful, safe organic beddings,” Chae says, adding that Simply Fido makes Organic Cotton Crate mats, available in three sizes and color options.
Understanding what makes a pet bed eco-friendly—whether it is the materials used or how a company manufactures products in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way—is just one way a pet retailer can successfully sell the category.
“Often, people pay attention to what we call first-tier eco-friendliness, which is usually based on things like whether the materials used are natural or recycled, but what some do not realize is that product durability is a form of environmental protection too,” Feng says. “In the case of pet beds, customers do not need to replace our beds as frequently as many others, and in the process, they create less waste.”
P.L.A.Y. recently introduced several beds, including the Urban Plush Lounge Bed, La Folie Rectangular Bed, and Skulls and Roses Lounge Bed. Each bed is made with PlanetFill, the company’s trademarked filler made from 100-percent post-consumer plastic bottles. The company also provides options for consumers to switch out bed covers and allow pet parents to build their own beds with its Change-a-Cover option.
The concept of re-using resonates with consumers looking for eco-friendly options, and Molly Mutt is one company that gives pet parents the option of re-using materials from around their own home to build a bed for their canine friends. “We design our Duvets to be re-used, re-washed and enjoyed over a long period of time,” says Art Simon, co-founder of Molly Mutt. “Most of our customers fill their Molly Mutt Duvets by up-cycling old pillows, blankets and T-shirts. Textiles from around the house that carry the owner’s scent make pets feel safe and happy right from the start. Customers routinely tell us that they get many years of use out of one our Duvet covers.
“Selling the concept of durability and longevity is very eco-friendly,” Simon adds. “But overall, I think price, durability and design still rule the day. If the consumer can’t check the box on those items, they aren’t likely to purchase. If an eco-friendly product can provide those features, then the eco-friendly aspect becomes a key driver.”