Instead of your puppy resting on the cold ground inside his new doghouse, you added cedar chips to provide soft bedding, a nice aroma and because they work as a natural flea deterrent. Unfortunately, your puppy decided that the new cedar is not his style and wants nothing to do with his house. While cedar beds are often a good choice for dog beds, exposed cedar can be offensive and cause allergies in some dogs.
While cedar dog beds are common, the cedar is confined within the bed and is not exposed to your dog’s skin or fur. Because of this protective barrier, allergies to cedar are often mild and go unnoticed. However, cedar chips are a common allergen to both dogs and cats. If your puppy is allergic to cedar, being exposed to the new cedar chips may cause itching, irritation or respiratory stress.
Just because cedar is not a working option for your puppy’s doghouse, that doesn’t mean there are no other alternatives. Similar to cedar chips, pine shavings work as a natural deodorizer while providing soft bedding that absorbs moisture and keeps your puppy dry. Another option used in barns and livestock housing is straw. Straw does not absorb moisture and you will need to replace it more often to avoid mold.
Another option to keep your puppy off the cold or damp ground is an elevated surface. Depending on the size of his doghouse, wooden pallets serve as an easy way to provide an elevated platform. Placing foam padding in between the wooden planks of the pallet provides additional insulation. For a softer surface, place a blanket inside. Remember to wash the blanket often and replace with a dry blanket to avoid mold.
If you notice signs of allergies -- chewing or constant scratching, flaky skin, irritated or red skin, skin lesions or hair loss -- consult your veterinarian immediately. He will help determine the cause of the allergies and treat as necessary. Severe scratching can lead to open wounds and secondary infections. Once you know what your puppy is allergic to, keep him away from these items. Often, as dogs age, reactions to allergens become worse.
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