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Barka Parka pet bean bag beds
dog reading a book with glassesquestion marks on coloured post-it-notescat looking smart with book and glasses.
dog and cat with question mark on paper

Questions? Find all the info you need about our products.

Still got questions?   
Submit your question or
call us on (03) 9016 3394.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Below is a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions which we have attempted to anticipate and address as many as we can.

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Is the Slip-cover washable?
Yes.
Our Slip-Covers are fully machine washable and can be tumble dried although they dry really well on the line.
The fabric we use is the same as the army use in its drill uniforms so just wash the Slip-Cover like you would any other piece of clothing or linen. Warm or cold machine wash using a normal laundry detergent.
For more details and photos go to our Easy to wash! Slip-covers page.
 

Is the Slip-cover easy to get on and off?
Yes.
The Slip-cover is as easy to remove - and replace - as your own fitted sheet and it works in exactly the same way.
For more details and photos on how easily the Slip-cover comes on and off go to our
Easy to wash! Slip-covers page.
 

Can I tumble dry the Slip-cover?
Yes.
Warm tumble dry, of course the Slip-covers also dry beautifully on the line.
For more details and photos go to our Easy to wash! Slip-covers page.
 

Can I get an extra Slip-cover later on?
Yes you can.   And because we keep the same colours as part of our permanent range you can get the same colours or a new colour.   Always check before you order to see if we have any new colours that suit you even better than the ones you already have.
For more details and ordering go to our Spare Slip-covers page.
 


I want a Super Set. Can I have each Slip-cover in different colours?
Yes you can.   We like to think of these beds as being just like your own bed with different coloured sheets to change the appearance of your room and/or decor.  So of course you can have your Slip-covers in any colour combination you choose at no extra cost.
 


Can I replace the elastic in the Slip-cover?
Yes you can.
Replacing the elastic will only be necessary after years of use and washing at which time the elastic may lose it's tension.   You will probably notice that the Slip-cover feels loose or keeps coming off.   It's unlikely that the elastic will come apart as it is securely sewn together. It's easy to replace.  You will need to contact us for the correct length and type of elastic needed. We do not publish the elastic specifications to protect the design of our products. Detailed instructions are included in our Handy Hints booklet.
 


Can I have an All-over-cover?
Yes you can in special circumstances but we strongly recommend against it.  An All-over cover is so much harder to take off and replace for washing that you will be less inclined to do it.  This means that smells will tend to build up and become unpleasant. Our unique elasticized Slip-cover is specifically designed for you to easily and quickly whip the cover off in a moment and put it back nearly as easily - so you will.

Finally the bed may not work quite as well.  It won't be quite as comfortable for your pet because it is so much harder to line up the top circle of the cover with the top circle of the inner bed will not allow the two components to work together.   Its much like a fitted sheet - if you put a sheet on crooked then you wont expect it to lie flat or be comfortable. If your pet is constantly causing the Slip-cover to come off then we will gladly make an All-over cover for their bed. Contact us on 03 9016 3394 to discuss it with us.
 


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What is a Dri-top?
The Dri-top Protector is unique to Barka Parka.   It is a fitted sheet of polyurethane coated nylon that sits between the Slip-Cover and the Inner Mattress just like a rubber sheet or mattress protector on our own beds.  It acts to keep the Mattress dry in the event of 'accidents' or if you have a female in season.
For more details and photos go to our Dri-top page.
 


My dog comes in damp. Should I get a Dri-top?
NO.   A Dri-top is designed to protect the bed from large volumes of 'liquids' such as incontinence and females in season. The Slip-cover will usually absorb the moisture from a damp pet without affecting the Inner Mattress. In truth, if your dog is coming in so wet that the Inner Mattress bed will get wet too, then we suggest that you dry him/her with a synthetic chamois.   These can be purchased at most motor accessory shops and can be wrung out over and over unlike towels, which just get wet! They then fold up into a convenient size which will fit in the glove box of your car.
 


Can I have the Dri-top on permanently?
Yes you can BUT we strongly recommend against it unless it is really needed.
The Dri-top will, because it is a plastic sheet, tend to reduce the life of the beans and may cause the bed to sweat somewhat, possibly leading to a certain amount of odour.  We suggest you regularly hang out the Inner Mattress on the line (using the tabs either side of the zip opening) to air the bed.


My dog is incontinent. What can I do?
The Dri-top is the perfect answer for you.
This liquid proof sheet works just like a plastic or rubber mattress protector and sits between the Slip-Cover and the Inner Mattress, protecting the Inner bed from wetness whilst at the same time allowing your pet to enjoy a comfortable nights sleep.  Plus your pet's bed still looks attractive and no-one will know they are using a Dri-top.   If there is an accident then the Dri-top and Slip-cover can be easily removed for washing.   The Inner Mattress which holds the bean filling is protected and won't need washing.
For more details and photos go to our Dri-top page.
 


Can I use the Barka Parka bed when my female pet is in season?
Absolutely.   If you use Dri-Top then the Inner mattress is fully protected from any mess asit is a liquid proof sheet.  The Dri-top and Slip-cover can be easily removed for washing.  This means that you and your pet get a peaceful, comfortable nights sleep and you still have an attractive looking pet bed.
 


Is the Dri-top suitable for whelping bitches?
No not really.   Giving birth is a messy and time consuming business at the best of times and whilst the Dri-top will protect the Inner, the Slip-cover may be permanently blood-stained if it is not removed immediately for washing, something you won't want to do during the whelping.  The Dri-top is not designed to allow the Slip-cover to remain soiled and on the bed indefinitely but rather to protect the Inner bed in the short term.   The Slip-cover still needs to be washed as soon as practicable.  In any case most birthing pets like to go and find somewhere very private to whelp, or somewhere massively inconvenient to you, so they probably won't choose to use the bed anyway.
 

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Do these beds harbour dust mites?
No!
Dust mites accumulate in pet beds because they feed on skin flakes which fall off your pet and then penetrate into the filling of the bed or get trapped in the fabric itself, creating an ideal, warm environment for them to live in. Our beds use a densely woven poly/cotton twill fabric which prevents the skin flakes penetrating into the Inner bed or fibres. The skin flakes just sit on top of the Slip-cover and are easily brushed off, vaccummed or washed away.
 


Do these beds harbour fleas?
No!
Fleas accumulate in pet beds because they lay their eggs on the shaft of pet hairs, which then fall off your pet and penetrate into the filling of the bed or get caught in the fabric itself forming an ideal, warm environment for them to hatch in.  Our beds use a densely woven poly/cotton twill fabric which prevents hairs penetrating into the Inner bed or fibres of the Slip-cover so the eggs brush off the bed with the hairs rather then getting into the filling.  We rarely use flea products on our two Bichons and they have never had fleas - and of course they sleep on a Barka Parka!!
 


Why don't these beds smell?
A Barka Parka pet bed doesn't harbour smells because of the densely woven Poly/cotton Twill fabric we use.  The smells in pet bedding arise from the dog and cat hairs that get trapped in the fabric and then work their way down into the filling along with general dirt, skin flakes etc.  We use a twill weave fabric for both the Slip-cover and Inner bed which prevents the hairs and dirt penetrating into the Inner bed.
Because of this the hairs and dirt remain on the surface of the Slip-cover, which is easy to wash and replace, and they are kept out of the filling of the Inner.  If you think your Barka Parka IS beginning to smell a bit, try taking the Slip-cover outside and brushing the surface hairs off it. Also brush the bottom of the Inner bed that is not covered by the Slip-cover.   You'll be amazed at how the 'doggy' smell disappears!
 


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What is the bed made of?
All our beds (Inners and Slip-covers) are made from a Poly-Cotton Twill fabric (67% Polyester/33% Cotton).  This is the same fabric that the army use for their drill trousers so it is both tough and comfortable - we buy from the official supplier to the British Army.
This same fabric is also used for corporate uniforms such as bank tellers so it always looks smart and feels soft to the touch. The only filling we use are Virgin polystyrene beans.
For more details and photos go to our Design page.

We will send you a swatch of Barka Parka fabric colours<br> to help you decide for your pet bed.
Want to SEE the exact colours,
FEEL the quality?
Simply complete our Fabric Request Form
to receive a swatch of all our fabric colours.

 


Can I reuse the beans from my old worn out bean bed?
It is really up to you but we strongly recommend against it.
Generally, any beans that have bean used in another pet or human bean bed will almost certainly contain hairs and dirt that have passed through the fabric and into the filling.   This means that you start with smelly beans that will cause you bed to smell and it may harbour fleas.   For this reason we would not be able to honour any guarantee claim based on the use of inferior or contaminated beans. The saving in money is trivial and it means that you never get to see your Barka Parka filled with just the right amount of beans, so you will find it harder to judge the correct fill level when you do fill it.
 


What are the beans encased in?
A Barka Parka is made up of two pieces: a self-contained Inner Mattress and a Slip-cover.
Both the Inner and Slip-cover are made from the same Poly/cotton Twill. The Inner Mattress holds the bean filling and has a zip for easy access to top-ups and refills.   For more details and photos go to our Design page.
 


Why do you use this type of fabric?
We us a Poly/cotton Twill for many reasons:
  1. The twill weave - it is woven in 5 different directions making it impermeable to hairs and dirt.  They just sit on the top and easily brush or wash away.
  2. Very durable and tough even to cat claws.   We guarantee it!!   It's used by the Army for their drill trousers so it has to be tough!
  3. It is also used for corporate wear such as uniforms for bank tellers, airlines etc because it looks smart and is comfortable to wear. It even has a crease-resistant finish so it can be washed and dried with no need to iron.

We will send you a swatch of Barka Parka fabric colours<br> to help you decide for your pet bed.
Want to SEE the exact colours,
FEEL the quality?
Simply complete our Fabric Request Form
to receive a swatch of all our fabric colours.

 


What sort of filling do you use?
Beans are best as they mould to your pet's shape.  Your pet can dig, poke and prod to make a nest just right for them. They 'mimic' the loose leaf litter that, in the wild, dogs would naturally make into a nest. Your pet will satisfy it's natural instincts to nest without destroying the bed to achieve this. They will then happily snuggle down in pure comfort and with maximum support.

<center>This is an enlarged view of the beans. Note their uniform shape and size and smooth surface.<br />This enables them to move over and around each other so your pet can easily make a comfy nest.</center>

We use only Virgin polystyrene beans.  They are perfectly round, smooth pellets about 3 mm in size that shift more easily around each other.  They also keep their shape better and longer, preventing your pet's bean bed from flattening prematurely.  Virgin polystyrene beads are a higher quality and will last longer.  They are readily available from stores such as K-Mart and Target.

Click on image to enlarge    

<center>Be wary of buying reground or recycled bean filling.  Note the uneven pieces.<br />This type of bean can't shift around each other when your pet tries to nest in the bed.<br />Your pet will get very frustrated or not want to use the bed. <br />They also degrade/crumble very quickly and need replacing more often.</center>

Reground polystyrene beads are not pre-used but come from large blocks of polystyrene (Styrofoam) that are broken down to beads typically 3--4 mm in size.  This method creates uneven pellets that stick together and as the "beads" are uneven they don't shift easily around each other.  Reground polystyrene beads are cheaper, but have a shorter active life.


Click on image to enlarge    


 


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How often do I need to top-up the beans?
On average once every 10-12 months but .........
Bean life is affected by many factors such as weight of the dog, amount of use, atmospherics especially humidity and the surface that the bed is sitting on. All that said, we normally expect that you will need to Top-Up the beans every 12 months or so.   After a few Top-Ups you will one day come to the realization that the bed is getting a bit heavy with the accumulated extra weight of compressed beans, so at the next Top-Up, we recommend you replace the beans entirely. In summary the average need to replace the beans is about every 3 to 4 years.
 


How often will I have to replace the beans?
How long is a piece of string?
Bean life is affected by many factors such as weight of the dog, amount of use, atmospherics especially humidity and the surface that the bed is sitting on. All that said, we normally expect that you will need to Top-Up the beans every 12 months or so.   After a few Top-Ups you will one day come to the realization that the bed is getting a bit heavy with the accumulated extra weight of compressed beans, so at the next Top-Up, we recommend you replace the beans entirely.
In summary the average need to replace the beans is about every 3 to 4 years.
 


Where can I buy beans?
We use and recommend beans made by Beans First and The Bean Factory. They are excellent quality and manufactured in Australia. They are usually available in 100 litre and 25 litre bags at K-Mart, Target and Big-W.
If you buy other brands please ensure they are uniform round beans as explained above in "Materials used" - What sort of filling do you use?

K-Mart logoTarget logoBig-W logo
 


Is the Inner bed washable?
Yes it is with the proviso that you have to remove the beans first. Of course you should seldom need to wash the Inner, any more than you wash your own mattress.   As long as you regularly wash the Slip-cover and keep it reasonably clean, then the Inner will not need to be washed.  In the normal course, when you replace the beans (every few years) it is probably a good idea to take advantage and wash the Inner, however it's not necessary.  If the Inner bed seems to smell "doggy" it may be that some hairs have got on the Inner especially on the bottom part not covered by the Slip-cover. Just give it a brushing with a clothes brush and you may find the smell disappears with no need to wash it as it is the dog hair that carries the smells.
 


How do I replace the elastic?
Replacing the elastic will only be necessary after many years of use and washing at which time the elastic may lose it's tension.  You will probably notice that he Slip-cover feels lose or keeps coming off.   It's unlikely that the elastic will come apart as it is securely sewn together. It's easy to do.
Detailed instructions are included on Page 2 of our Handy Hints booklet.
 


How do I replace or top-up the beans?
The best place to do anything with beans is in the bath as no matter how careful you are some of the little beggars WILL run loose. Insert a paper clip into the zip located between the tabs on the Mattress and carefully open it. If you are topping up then get a second person to hold the Mattress open whilst you gently ladle the beans into it. I find that a 1 litre jug is best for this purpose. For Top-ups add 10% of the number of beans needed for a complete fill. Close the zip, replace the Slip-cover and see what the bed looks like. If it still looks a bit flat then add some more beans.

For refills gently tip the old beans into a garbage bag – make sure it has no holes in it – and place in your normal garbage bin for collection.
Carefully cut the corner off the new bag of beans, hold it closed with your hand, insert it into the Inner and carefully allow the beans to gently flow into the Mattress. Try to judge the number of beans according to the chart in the Top-ups booklet, but as a rule of thumb the Mattress is full if you lay it flat and bring the top two edges together and they meet 'snugly'. Of course the only way to really tell is to replace the Slip-cover and owner and see how it looks!
 


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Can I use the bed when my bitch is in season?
Yes, as long as you use a Dri-Top to prevent any messy liquids penetrating into the Inner bed and contaminating the bean filling. This means that you and your girl get a comfortable, peaceful nights sleep and you still have an attractive looking pet bed.

If there is an accident then the Dri-top and Slip-cover can easily be removed for washing.
 


My dog is incontinent. What can I do?
A Dri-top is the perfect answer for you. This liquid proof sheet works just like a plastic or rubber mattress protector used in hospitals and children's cots. The Dri-top sits between the Slip-Cover and the Inner, protecting the Inner bed from fluids and contamination whilst at the same time allowing your pet to enjoy a comfortable nights sleep .... and the bed still looks attractive!

If there is an accident then the Dri-top and Slip-cover can easily be removed for washing.
 


Is the Dri-top suitable for whelping bitches?
No, not really. Giving birth is a messy and time consuming business at the best of times and whilst the Dri-top will protect the Inner it is likely that the Slip-cover will be permanently stained if it is not removed for washing immediately, something you won't want to do during the whelping.

Dri-top is not designed to allow the Slip-cover to remain soiled and on the bed indefinitely but rather to protect the Inner bed in the short term. The Slip-cover still needs to be washed as soon as practicable.

In any case most bitches like to go and find somewhere very private to whelp, or somewhere massively inconvenient to you, so they probably won't choose to use the bed anyway.
 


Can I put the Barka Parka in a kennel?
Yes you can but usually the shape of the kennel and the shape of the Barka Parka will work against each other unless you have a kennel large enough in its shortest dimension to take the Barka Parka (allowing for the fact that the Barka Parka can be squashed up a bit i.e. A size 45 will fit into a kennel 40 inches wide.)

If you really want a Barka Parka specifically for your kennel just contact us with the dimensions and we can tailor make a bed for you but remember it won't be nearly as comfortable outside the kennel as oblong bean beds don't work nearly as well as round ones.
 


Can I put the Barka Parka in a basket?
NO. Never!
A Barka Parka is designed as a stand alone bed which provides support and comfort. The basket will work directly against this. Equally it is extremely unlikely that you would be able to get a basket large enough to fit both the bed and the dog and even if you did, the basket will add nothing to the comfort.

In fact Barka Parka was first created precisely because of the manifest inadequacies of baskets in terms of both size and comfort. Furthermore since many 'baskets' are in fact plastic buckets they will cause the bed to sweat and smell. Personally I recommend that if you have a plastic bucket style 'basket' and you buy a Barka Parka for your pet, drill a few holes in the bottom of the basket, fill it with soil and use it as a plant pot!!
 


Can I put the Barka Parka on a frame?
NO. Never!
A Barka Parka is designed as a stand alone bed which provides support and comfort. The frame will work directly against this and besides the Barka Parka will tend to fall off the sides of the frame and the beans will flow to the lowest point meaning that all your dog will get out of their Barka Parka is three thicknesses of fabric.
 


I have two or more dogs. Should I buy one large bed?
This is a tricky question and ultimately one that only you can answer as you know your pets the best!! We can only advise you based on our own experience and feedback from our clients. Basically dogs usually like to sleep alone in shallow nests, near to the other members of the pack, but basically in a space of their own.

In the domestic environment we usually deny them the chance to make a nest, providing them with relatively unyielding bedding such as pads or blankets. As a consequence dogs will often replace the warmth and support they should get from their bedding by snuggling up to each other. As a result owners often conclude that our dogs like to sleep together.

Unfortunately it often turns out that the dominant dog, often a bitch and often the smaller dog, is simply using it's mates as convenient bedding. Once they get a comfy bed the dominant pet will then take the bed for itself and push everyone else onto the floor.

At its worst if you have bought a large bed for two dogs, one large and one small, you will often find the small dog in the middle of a huge bed and the large dog on the floor. You end up with an unhappy pet and you've wasted your money!

Only you know your dogs so only you can decide which crew yours fit into!

The only exception to the above are Cavalier and King Charles Spaniels which, because they were specifically bred to sleep in piles , will almost always share. (They were bred this way because King Charles II liked the aesthetic of piles of dogs around the palace)

If you feel certain that your pets will sleep together, or have Cavalier or King Charles Spaniels, then it is fine to get one bed for multiple dogs. Just combine their weights and get the bed for the total weight of the dogs.
 


Can I put the bed outside?
Yes but only if it is fully protected from the weather, especially rain. If the beans become soaked they are fairly hard to dry out.

The Inner can be hung in the sun by the tabs, preferably with a bit of a breeze, and the beans will eventually dry out but it is something to be avoided. The Poly/cotton fabric is primarily designed for interior use and clothing. It will tolerate the outside elements but it's life span will be shortened.
 


Can I buy a bed for my puppy?
Absolutely!
In fact we recommend you start off your puppy's life with a Barka Parka as it will provide it with a lifetime of support and comfort, possibly lengthening it' overall lifespan.

For large dogs prone to arthritis and bone defects due to their size, a Barka Parka will delay the onset of arthritis and bone problems.

Puppies like comfort just as much as older dogs and they need the support and warmth that a good bed can provide. Since the main reason that any dog will chew its bedding is to try to make it more comfortable and because Barka Parka beds are already comfortable your puppy will not feel any particular need to chew the bed. It will grow up and into a Barka Parka.

Of course puppies like to put things in their mouth (just like human infants), it's part of their education, so we recommend that you supervise your puppy on its new bed for the first half hour or so. If they do 'have a go' tell them NO. Be firm. Then give them a scratch or a cuddle just so they know you still love them, and provide them with a toy that they can chew on their bed.
 


Should I wait until my puppy is full grown?
No.
All dogs, like people, suffer serious health consequences from having poor or inadequate bedding. This is especially true for large or giant breeds, so the sooner they get a good bed that supports them the better off they will be.

Puppies also suffer, initially at least, from being separated from their mum and litter mates. We have all had the experience of a new puppy crying through the night because of this. A comfortable bed will help reduce the length and severity of this trauma.

Besides, puppies like comfortable beds and they deserve one just as much as any dog. If you tell us you have a puppy we will put some extra beans in the bed to make allowance for the reduced size when compared to a full grown dog. We will also supply you with a piece of plastic sheeting to protect the Inner bed during the toilet training period. By the time the puppy is full grown the beans will have compressed a little and the bed will still be correctly filled.