Hixx was founded as a direct response to the chemicals found in most dog beds.

We are not just designers that are dog lovers, we are customers too. We are careful about what we bring into our homes because it directly affects our families, animals and our environment.
Whilst Hixx is a brand, it's also a deeply personal engagement with a love for dogs and all animals at the heart of it.
With the dramatic increase of Toxic Home Syndrome and cancer in dogs we thought it was important to uncover the truth of what is in pets beds.

You can go along way asking questions that others don't ask. That's what we did and here is what we found out.

Polyurethane Foam

This is what is in most of the cheaper and some of the expensive beds in either a solid or chipped form. It is basically petroleum with added chemicals. It's made from a non renewable resource (oil) and whilst claims as to its recyclability have been made, it has proved to be difficult and has a very limited application and so most of it still ends up in landfill. 

Even the best of these foams break down losing up to half of their weight over a ten year period of use. Polyurethane oxidises and creates a dust that settles around the home and it also off gases a neurotoxin called Toluene 
[i] which is then breathed in by its inhabitants. 

Depressingly, it's worse for animals as they will lick their paws and coat thereby ingesting it. A chemical cocktail that just isn't possible to drink responsibly.
This is all bad enough however if you enclose all of this into a covered bed you effectively create a gas chamber.

Memory Foam

Memory foam is essentially a polyurethane with more chemicals added to it to give it its viscosity and elasticity properties which allow it to regain its shape.
Often purchased for elderly dogs to ensure maximum orthopaedic support, memory foam beds are easily one of the most toxic beds available. The problem isn't just what's in them but also how it reacts with the body.

It is designed to mould to the body but because of this it can cause difficulty when your dog wants to turn over especially for one that has poor mobility. Also, low quality memory foam mattresses tend to flatten and as a result position you animal unnaturally. This leads to poor blood circulation, increased stress on pressure points and uncomfortable joints. In other words it is doing the exact opposite to what it's intended to do.

Additional to that, it holds in the heat and moisture which makes for a hot and uncomfortable experience for your animal. A 2002 study published in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reported the presence of dust mites in polyurethane foam mattresses at four times more than in spring mattresses. It can also be next to impossible to remove mites, bacteria and allergens from these mattresses.

Fire Retardants

Because foams are extremely flammable they are sprayed with fire retardant chemicals. Many of these potent chemicals have been linked to a broad range of serious health risks, including infertility, birth defects, neurodevelopmental delays [xii],reduced IQ and behavioral problems in children [xiii], hormone disruptions [xiv] and cancer. They are also known endocrine disruptors and neurotoxicants in animals [xv] [xvi].

In fact, flame retardant chemicals have been identified as one of 17 "high priority" chemical groups that should be avoided to reduce breast cancer [xvii] [xviii] [xix]. However, the effectiveness of these chemicals is hotly disputed and there is virtually no evidence to support their use. Infact they only serve to make the air more toxic and you are more likely to die of toxic gas inhalation in a fire than from the fire itself.

But you don't need a fire to stir up this chemical brew. Because some of these chemicals aren't chemically bonded they don't stay in the foam but instead join the toxic migration into the house dust which is then breathed in by all its occupants [xx]. So alarming are the effects on people, animals and the environment that nearly 150 scientists from 22 countries have signed a open letter raising their concerns [xxi].


Stain resistant finishes

These really are the icing on the cake. They fit within the family of PFC ( Perfluorocarbon) chemicals and are commonly known as Scotchguard, Teflon, Nanotex, Greenshield Zepel and Crypton Green.

Unnaturally persistent, they break down in the body and in the environment to form PFOA, PFOS and other chemicals that take decades to dissipate ( as long as you don't take on board anymore).

Whilst the long term health effects are little known [xxii]we do know that the are responsible for reduced fertility [xxiii] [xxiv] and have been classified as a likely human carcinogen [xxv] [xxvi].

In animals, exposure to PFCs have been linked to liver toxicity [xxvii], liver cancer [xxviii] and various hormonal [xxix], developmental and immune system abnormalities [xxx]. Also, increased neonatal and adult mortality [xxxi] [xxxii].

Components Researched

Additional Related Chemicals

Toluene [i]

Emits toxic fumes of cyanide, hydrogen chloride, sulphur oxides and oxides of nitrogen
when heated.

Inhalation causes irritation and sensitisation,dry throat, chest tightness, shortness of breath, anxiety, paraesthesia and ataxia.

Ingestion causes gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Dermal exposure causes inflammation, blisters, erythema and itching; sensitisation and
allergic contact dermatitis.

Ocular exposure to the vapour may cause pain, burning, lacrimation, superficial lesions
and conjunctivitis.

Formaldehyde [ii]

Skin irritation (dermatitis).

Irritation to the mucous membranes, eyes, nose and throat.

Gastrointestinal irritation.

Ocular exposure to formaldehyde may result in permanent alterations to vision or blindness.


Isocyanates [iii]


Skin irritation (dermatitis).

Irritation to the mucous membranes, eyes, nose and throat.

Gastrointestinal irritation.

Chemical bronchitis.



Even if this is removed symptons may improve but acute asthma attacks may still occur after renewed exposure even if the exposure is very small or very brief. Isocyanates are insoluble in water, and are not easily washed off.

Methylene Chloride or Dichloromethane [iv]


Prolonged and excessive inhilation can cause death.

Mucous membrane irritant.

Can harm the nervous system producing nausea and confusion.

Can form carbon monoxide in the body which decreases the ability to carry oxygen.

May aggravate existing heart conditions.

Trichloroethane [v]

Highly toxic by inhalation, ingestion and skin contact.

Can cause central nervous system depression which can lead to loss of consciousness.

Skin irritation (dermatitis).

Eye irritation.

Benzene [vi]

Toxic by inhalation and ingestion.

Harmful and irritant.

Carcinogen and possible mutagen.

Acute exposure to low levels can be irritating to eyes and can result in drowsiness, tachycardia, headaches, tremors, confusion and unconsciousness.

Mucous membrane irritant.

Can cause leukaemia.

Methyl Benzene [vii]

May affect the nervous system if inhaled.

Methylene dianiline / MDA [viii] [ix]

Suspected carcinogen.

Can cause liver and thyroid damage if ingested.

Eye irritant.

Skin irritant.

Vinylidene chloride [x]

Possible carcinogen.

Linked with respiratory problems and central nervous system side effects.

Dimethylformamide [xi]

Can cause liver damage.

Skin irritant.


Please see below links to all informational references. It's disturbing reading.

[i] Toluene Diisocyanate

[ii] Hexamethylene diisocyanate causes contraction of canine tracheal smooth muscles through activation of muscarinic receptors

[iii] Isocyanates are a family of highly reactive, low molecular weight chemicals. They are widely used in the manufacture of flexible and rigid foams

[iv] Continous animal exposure to DICHLOROMETHANE

[v] Trichloroethylene. Breathing in trichloroethylene can cause excitement, dizziness, headache, nausea and
vomiting followed by drowsiness and coma. More severe exposures may cause heart problems and in some cases death

[vi] BENZENE Acute exposure may resemble solvent intoxication, clinically manifest as drowsiness,
dizziness, delirium, loss of consciousness, respiratory arrest and death.

[vii] Facts About Benzene

[viii] Methylene dianiline: Acute toxicity and effects on biliary function

[ix] ToxFAQs for Methylenedianiline

[x] Vinyl chloride
Toxicological overview. Exposure to vinyl chloride can cause dizziness, drowsiness, unconsciousness, and at
extremely high levels can cause death. Vinyl chloride is a respiratory irritant producing
coughing, wheezing and breathlessness. Other effects include headache, ataxia and coma

[xi] Warning!Avoid skin contact with dimethylformamide (DMF)! This chemical is easily absorbed through the skin and can cause liver damage and other adverse health effects.,skin%20problems%2C%20and%20alcohol%20intolerance.

[xii] Prenatal Particulate Air Pollution and DNA Methylation in Newborns.

[xiii]Evaluation of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from memory foam mattresses and potential implications for consumer health risk.

Prenatal Exposure to Organohalogens, Including Brominated Flame Retardants, Influences Motor, Cognitive, and Behavioral Performance at School Age

[xiv] PBDE Concentrations in Women’s Serum and Fecundability

[xv] Brominated flame retardants as possible endocrine disrupters

[xvi] NIEHS- National Institutes of Health. Endocrine Disruptors

[xvii] Bisphenols and breast cancer.,copying%20the%20actions%20of%20oestrogen.

[xviii]  Scientists identify 'high-priority' chemicals that may cause breast cancer

[xix] New exposure biomarkers as tools for breast cancer epidemiology, biomonitoring, and prevention: a systematic approach based on animal evidence

[xx] Indoor
contamination with hexabromocyclododecanes, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and
perfluoroalkyl compounds: an important exposure pathway for people.

Harrad S, de Wit CA, Abdallah MAE, Bergh C, Bjorklund JA, Covaci A, et al. Environ Sci
Technol. 2010;44:3221–3231.

[xxi] Scientists San Antonio
Statement on Brominated and Chlorinated Flame Retardants - NCBI - National
Institutes of Health.

[xxii] Polyfluorinated
Compounds: Past, Present, and Future

Andrew B. Lindstrom,†,* Mark J. Strynar,† and E. Laurence Libelo‡ †National Exposure Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection

[xxiii]  Maternal levels of perfluorinated chemicals and subfecundity.
Fei C, McLaughlin JK, Lipworth L, Olsen J. Hum Reprod. 2009 May;24(5):1200-5.

[xxiv] Do perfluoroalkyl compounds impair human semen quality?
Environ Health Perspect. Joensen
UN, Bossi R, Leffers H, Jensen AA, Skakkebaek NE, Jorgensen N.
2009 Jun;117(6):923-7.

 [xxv] What are the health effects of PFAS? Draft Risk Assessment of the Potential Human
Health Effects Associated With Exposure to Perfluorooctanoic Acid and Its Salts

[xxvi]  Potential human health effects
of perfluorinated chemicals

(PFCs) Glenys Webster

[xxvii] Subchronic
toxicity studies on perfluorooctanesulfonate potassium salt in cynomolgus

Seacat AM, Thomford PJ, Hansen KJ, Olsen GW, Case MT, Butenhoff JL. Toxicol Sci. 2002 Jul;68(1):249-64.

[xxviii] Chronic dietary toxicity and carcinogenicity study with potassium perfluorooctanesulfonate in Sprague Dawley rats

[xxix]Androgenic deficiency in male rats
treated with perfluorodecanoic acid.

RC, Moore RW, Ingall GB, Peterson RE. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1990 Jun

[xxx] Exposure to
perfluorooctane sulfonate during pregnancy in rat and mouse. II: postnatal evaluation.

Lau C, Thibodeaux JR, Hanson RG, Rogers JM, Grey BE, Stanton ME, et al. Toxicol Sci. 2003 Aug;74(2):382- 92.

[xxxi] Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substance Toxicity and Human Health Review: Current State of Knowledge and Strategies for Informing Future Research

[xxxii]Determinants of maternal and neonatal PFAS concentrations: a review