How to Choose
Your outdoor dogs need somewhere comfortable to lay. Treat them the same as you treat your inside dogs with a comfortable pet bed! There are outdoor beds that are cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and everywhere in between!
We’ll take a look at the different types of outdoor dog beds, why safety matters, and what you should look for as you continue to shop.
Types of Outdoor Dog Beds
There are a handful of different outdoor dog bed types. We’ll take a look at them briefly so you can decide which type of bed is best for your dog.
- Mat Beds are the more traditional dog beds. These are flat pillows that you are big enough and filled well enough for your dog to sleep comfortably atop them. These mat-style beds can stretch our stay plush for comfort, and they may or may not include heating or cooling.
- Elevated Beds are raised off the ground to prevent the heat (or cold) from affecting the temperature of the bed. These beds can help keep your dog cool in the summertime due to airflow and light mesh at the bottom of the bed. In the wintertime, you can place a heating pad on elevated bed to keep the cold ground from affecting the temperature.
- Shelter Beds are makeshift dog houses that you can use to keep your pet out of the elements – whether that’s harsh sun or rain. Some shelter beds may be able to stand up to rain or snow, but most can at least handle sun and light rains.
Heating and Cooling Beds
Heating and cooling dog beds can help your pet feel more comfortable during the extreme temperatures of summer and winter. While you likely aren’t going to find a bed that cools AND heats, some beds will do one or the other to keep your bed comfortable.
Heating beds usually contain an electric heating pad. Usually, these pads can be set to a temperature via temperature control, but some options use an internal thermostat to warm the dog bed to your pet’s temperature. Other dog beds are self-heating, mean they amplify and reflect your pet’s heat to them.
Cooling beds usually don’t include cooling pads. Rather, most cooling beds are elevated or include cooling gel to keep your furry friends from overheating during extreme temperatures. These elevated beds, as mentioned above, usually have mesh or another light material as a base so that air can circulate to your dog.
When it comes to heated dog beds, safety is key. If your dog’s bed has an electric element, make sure that it has internal temperature control, overheat protection, or some other features that can help your dog stay safe. Otherwise, electric beds may cause fires and harm your pet.
Make sure that your electric dog bed cord is wrapped in steel or other chew-proof material, especially if your dog usually chews cords. Chewing through this cord while the power is on could cause your dog unnecessary damage or injury.
Dog Beds vs Dog Houses
There are two major differences among the beds on this list. Some are dog beds, while some are dog houses with beds inside. It’s important to understand the key differences and how you might use them differently.
- Outdoor dog beds can be mat-like or elevated, but they are usually uncovered. Even when they are covered, their canopies are not meant to hold up to extreme weather variations. These beds are good for use anywhere outside, but are most effective when placed in a barn, garage, shed, or another outbuilding. You can place these dog beds within a wooden or plastic dog house to increase their effectiveness.
- Dog houses are structures that are solid and weatherproof, usually made of tough nylon, wood, or even plastic. These structures can be used with a dog bed to give your pet a comfortable place to sleep. Dog houses can be used inside a structure, or they can be used outdoors by themselves to provide a comforting place for your dog to rest.
What to Look for in an Outdoor Dog Bed
Here are the additional considerations that you should think about as you shop for an outdoor dog bed.
As we looked at above, there are a few different types of outdoor dog beds. Choose one that fits your lifestyle, your dog, and how much time they expect to spend outside. Check out our breakdown above for more information about the different types of dog beds that are available for your outside dogs.
How big is the bed? Thankfully, most dog beds either default to larger sizes or provide different sizes for different breeds. You’ll have to choose the size option that best fits your dog’s size. You want them to be comfy all over, so choose a bed that is big enough and gives them plenty of room to spread out.
A weatherproof dog bed can stay outside without shelter under all types of weather. This is especially important if your dog is outside permanently. If you want to give your pet a place to stay out of the wind and rain, snow, and cold, choose a weatherproof dog bed that won’t buckle or disintegrate in the weather.
What is the bed made of? Especially for outdoor-only dogs, you want to make sure that the bed is made from durable materials. Ripstop and denier-rated nylon are great materials for outdoor dog beds, as they won’t rip easily and provide waterproof or water resistance for sudden rain showers and most weather patterns. Choose a material that won’t succumb to the elements, your dog, or the outdoors easily.
Choosing a washable bed can make keeping your bed looking great easy. It’s especially important if your dog is prone to accidents, or if you have reason to believe that your dog will soil the bed. Entirely washable beds can easily be tossed into the washing machine or scrubbed by hand. Some beds even have removable covers that you can wash separately from the filling for smaller messes.
Above, we took a look at some of the heating or cooling options for your outdoor dogs. Trying to keep your outdoor dogs comfortable is a major undertaking, but it can be worth it to keep your pets safe and happy. If your area is known for extreme weather (and your dogs stay outside most or all of the time), consider getting a dog bed with heating or cooling features to help them feel a bit better.
A durable bed is ideal for outside use. These beds won’t be harmed by extended outside use, but durability also extends to dogs who chew. Dogs who aggressively chew at their bedding will have a harder time chewing through a bed with more durable materials. However, most dog beds (even the most durable canvas or nylon beds) won’t be able to withstand the aggressive chewing of big dogs. Keep this in mind and shop for the weather as well as your dog’s chewing habits.
Last, but certainly not least, consider comfort as you shop for your dog’s new outdoor dog bed. Even though outdoor dog beds must be durable, weatherproof, and all of these other things, they have to be comfortable for your dog to use them. Consider choosing a bed that is safe, secure, but also has a little extra padding for your outside animals as well.