Keeping your dog warm and comfortable throughout the colder months of the year is absolutely essential for anybody with one of these furry companions. Even if you don’t have or want to build a dog house, outdoor bedding provides them with a cozy place to rest when they’re outside. So, it’s undoubtedly one of the more important aspects of being a pet owner.
That being said, not only are there quite literally hundreds of bedding options, but each also comes with its own list of pros and cons. So, we’ve come up with the following guide to help you through the process of finding the perfect outdoor bedding solution for your furry friend!
Table of Contents
- 1 10 Best Outdoor Bedding Ideas for Dogs
- 1.1 1. Cheerhunting Outdoor Dog Bed
- 1.2 2. Large Outdoor Cushion
- 1.3 3. Outdoor Rug
- 1.4 4. Artificial Turf Pad
- 1.5 5. Lifted/Elevated Dog Beds
- 1.6 6. Soft Towels
- 1.7 7. Your Old Hoodies
- 1.8 8. Cozy Blanket (Old Bedding)
- 1.9 9. Wood Chips
- 1.10 10. Standard Dog Bed
- 1.11 Can You Waterproof a Dog Bed for Outdoor Use?
- 1.12 What Outdoor Dog Bed Ideas Should You Avoid?
- 1.13 What’s the Best Outdoor Dog Bed for Winter?
- 2 Final Thoughts
Do Dogs Need Bedding When Outdoors?
Outdoor bedding is a necessity for dogs that live outdoors in cold weather because they provide much-needed insulation, moisture resistance and comfort throughout the day and night.
That being said, simply purchasing the softest or most plush materials isn’t always the best route to take. In fact, if dog beds are too soft then they will not provide the support needed for the dog to remain comfortable and have healthy joints.
This doesn’t mean that they should be left to sleep on the cold, hard floor, but that the bedding will need to provide enough support to keep them comfortable and healthy. Most importantly, it will need to be something that is durable and long-lasting, since it’s going to be used outdoors (ideally) for years to come. Taking this into account, here are some of the best outdoor bedding ideas for dogs!
10 Best Outdoor Bedding Ideas for Dogs
The absolute best outdoor bedding for dogs is the Cheerhunting Outdoor Dog Bed. First and foremost, this durable design is made from Oxford cloth, which features waterproof capabilities and is resistant to just about any weather condition. It’s also 43” long and 26” wide, which is perfect for any medium-sized or large dog, and is suitable for any crate or kennel as well.
Moreover, it is also claw-resistant, scratch-resistant, and machine washable.
Plus, it also so happens to be one of the more comfortable and breathable beddings thanks to its PP cotton filling. The mat is also entirely reversible, comes available in 7 vibrant colors, has a durable handle, and strong seams. It’s also incredibly easy to fold, store and carry.
Another great option would be to purchase a large outdoor cushion, like this one presented by Classic Accessories. Not only is it water-repellent and stain-resistant due to its solution-dyed durable woven polyester fabric with a protective coating.
But it’s also extremely comfortable, featuring three-layered cushion foam with outer layers of open-cell foam and inner layers of high-density foam that naturally conform to the body.
It’s also made with bound interior seams that are designed to provide strength and durability. This is a particularly handy purchase for shelters, as it would provide a great bed option for a small kennel.
A nice and cozy rug is another excellent choice for outdoor bedding for dogs. Not only are they typically made from soft materials, but they also tend to feature rubberized backs, which help to protect them from moisture and prevent them from sliding around. So, they’re particularly useful if the dog is surrounded by cold weather, and you have no other way of keeping them sheltered from the elements.
But they may pee on it too lol… Could be a good bed base!
Another direction you could look to go to keep your furry friend comfortable is with an artificial turf pad. The one presented in the link above is made by Downtown Pet Supply and features incredible overall ratings as well as unique patterns and size options. It’s also made with odour control technology and features incredibly soft grass that’s made with a three-layer system to protect your floor.
Making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. It’s also weatherproof, portable, and can reliably be used on any porch, patio, or balcony.
Next up would be to buy a lifted/elevated dog beg, like this one designed by K&H Pet Products. It’s a sturdy build constructed out of lightweight metal with a heavy denier cover that’s capable of supporting over 200 pounds. The denier material is also waterproof and features plush cushions for additional security and comfort. Also, since it’s elevated, it keeps dogs off the wet and cold ground with over 7” of clearance.
The cover is also completely removable and machine washable, and the base even comes with slip-resistant rubber feet to provide protection to your floors.
Similar to rugs, towels are another split option because they are generally constructed out of soft and durable materials. While they’re probably not going to be as dense as a rug, they are equally if not more comfortable. Which is half the battle.
The other advantage to using a towel is that it’s more likely to carry your scent with it. This will help to soothe your dog and make them feel like you’re always around. Which leads us to our next point…
7. Your Old Hoodies
Much like the argument about towels, using your old hoodies as a dog bed is one of the best ways to make sure they stay warm, comfortable, and happy throughout the year. Simply put, your dog loves the smell you carry around and is probably going to feel more comfortable just by being surrounded by your scent.
So, by providing them with a sense of safety and security using your hoodie as a bed, they’re naturally going to feel far more at ease.
8. Cozy Blanket (Old Bedding)
Another fantastic solution would be to take some old bedding that you no longer use and make a bed out of it. The soft lying surface would provide enough comfort to keep the dog warm and comfortable in cold weather. And blankets are particularly suitable for things like allergies as well.
Obviously, you don’t want to use your favorite blanket, but if you’ve got one that you’re considering replacing or throwing out. Then this is the perfect time to give it to your dog.
Now, I know what you’re thinking; “why would I use wood chips as a dog bed?”. Well, wood chips are actually one of the best options when it comes to dogs, specifically if they are made from either pine or cedar. This is because both of these not only smell good, which helps to eliminate the smell of other potential odors, but they also have insect-repelling qualities.
Which helps to prevent fleas and other begs from nesting in your dog’s bedding area. They also provide natural insulation and are relatively inexpensive.
Despite this being one of the more expensive options on the list, buying a standard dog bed is arguably the best way to keep them warm and comfortable throughout the year. First of all, your dog will naturally gravitate towards the orthopedic design and warmth standard dog begs typically provide.
Even though there aren’t very many that are designed to be used outdoors, there are a few solid options that are able to withstand the elements.
Can You Waterproof a Dog Bed for Outdoor Use?
Believe it or not, it’s actually very possible to waterproof an existing dog bed to make it suitable for outdoor use. You can cover the bed in a fabric designed to be used outdoors, like Sunbrella, polythene or another moisture-resistant membrane sheet.
To which there are tons of cheap alternatives you can purchase online. You can then buy any kind of water-resistant tape to seal the edges, and ensure that no moisture leaks in.
What Outdoor Dog Bed Ideas Should You Avoid?
Soil, Dirt, and Grass
This one might seem pretty obvious, nevertheless, relevant. Having your dog sleep on dirt, soil or grass is the best way to ensure that it either catches some sort of disease or critter. Since these are all the places where things like fleas, ticks, gnats, and other less than desirable pests tend to dwell, this is a surefire way to get your dog (or yourself!) sick.
There’s also a greater chance of the dog tracking mud and dirt through your house if you let them back inside.
Another bedding material you must avoid is sawdust. Which may seem counterintuitive given that we just recommended you use wood chips. However, because sawdust is an extremely fine material it’s also more likely to clump together in your dog’s moist cracks and crevices.
This presents a serious problem and potential for infection if it gets lodged in your dog’s eyes, ears, nose, or mouth. It’s also rather messy to clean up after, and not overly comfortable.
Straw and Hay
While your natural instincts might lead you to believe that using hay and straw is a good choice for a dog bed. It’s actually one of the worst materials you can use. This is because straw and hay tend to generate fleas as well as other bugs such as mites, ticks and gnats. Not to mention all of the bacteria they contain as well.
Keep in mind that this method is typically used for farm animals and livestock. That being said, you can use straw and hay for added insulation underneath the dog house (just not inside!).
Pet Pee Pads
Pet pee pads are designed to soak up and absorb all of your dog’s excretions. So, allowing them to sleep here is another fantastic way to get them sick almost instantly. It’s also more likely than not going to make them just stink up the house, and who wants that!
What’s the Best Outdoor Dog Bed for Winter?
All of this information then begs the question; “what’s the best outdoor dog bed for winter?”. If you’re dog is going to have to endure the elements throughout the colder months of the year, then you must ensure that they have a proper shelter capable of keeping them warm, dry and comfortable.
This means that the dog house must not only be reliably constructed, but also have comfy and durable materials inside of the structure to keep them healthy and supported.
Warmth should be your top priority, so making sure that they have a rug as a base or a pillow/cushion is a good place to start. After that, you will want to add some blankets in there or warm clothes (like hoodies) to ensure that they have something to nestle with if it starts to get cold.
Dogs should never be left outside during the winter for too long, but if you absolutely must for a short period of time, you need to make sure they are protected from the element.
All in all, if you’re going to allow your furry companion to sleep outside then you need to make sure that they are doing so comfortably. Hopefully, our guide today has given you some sound ideas to help you get started and discover the optimal bedding solution to keep your dog happy, and healthy throughout the year!