Is Timothy hay okay for dog bedding?
I went to Walmart today to find an alternative bedding (that can't be ripped or chewed up) for Daegan's dog house to replace the cedar chips that are being used now. I wanted to try hay, so I bought this stuff called "timothy hay" that's supposed to be for feeding rabbits. I figured "hay is hay", and that it'd be okay to use. But I'm concerned that it has an expiration date and that if Daegan tried to eat the hay, it would hurt him after it expired. Research on the internet didn't help me, so I came here. Is it okay to use the hay as a dog house bedding?
- Cast your vote for which answer you think is best!
Hay is fine bedding except when it gets wet... it is very difficult for it to dry out and it can mold, which can cause respiratory problems. Wood shavings may be slightly better as they dry out faster without packing down like wet hay will. We use pine shavings in all our outside houses. The dogs do not stay out all night, but they are clean and dry during the day and a bonus is the dogs coats always smell nice. The problem is that they sometimes stick into the coats, especially curly poodle coats, and they get tracked into the house when the dogs come inside. When you change the shavings, the old ones are perfect for putting in any holes in the yard. They will turn into great compost fairly quickly and work great for filling mud pie holes, which my labs love to create!
Unless your dog has an allergy to grass, it should be fine. The expiration date would be considered more of a quality thing. As hay gets older, especially when exposed to sunlight, it loses nutrition. But used as bedding, that really wouldn't be a concern for you. Hay can be a little dusty. I mite be a little concerned about dust in a small place like a dog house. If the pack is REALLY dusty, you can rinse it, but make sure is dries out before placed in the dog house so it doesn't get moldy. I used to use hay chaffe (all the spilt hay on the ground from feeding livestock) for bedding when I had ducks. It worked really well and was free from the barn. And the barn got the chaffe cleaned up for free too!
Isy answered on 11/10/09. Helpful? / 0
what you really need is straw, hay is feed for ruminants, straw is bedding. Hay will degrade and break up, straw is much sturdier. Straw is what is left when wheat, oats and rye are harvested, the stalks and a few leaves. The expiration date is just there because it MIGHT develop mold if it sits too long which can make ruminants very sick.
I have a herd of goats, sheep and a couple of horses, twenty years in the country and sometimes I STILL say hay when I mean straw, and I get corrected every time! Straw is GREAT bedding for dogs, mine LOVE it. They do tend to "rearrange" it and some will end up outside the doghouse. Straw has the added benifit of ABSORBING stinkiness, even skunk smell is gone after a couple of days on straw. See if you can get some straw, look on craigslist for farm supplies in your area. Out here it runs about $3-$4 a bale and a bale is a lot when you open it it expands.
If it is real hay, and not pelletized, it should be OK. Yes, straw would be better, but my Walmart doesn't carry it. When I needed some for starting grass this fall Lowes didn't have. There is a place out the road with a stack of bales under a tarp and box for the money. You may not have such.
My dog sleeps in the house in a bare crate.
Aster answered on 11/10/09. Helpful? / 0