Five Considerations When Buying an Outdoor Dog Bed

heated outdoor dog bed

Choosing an outdoor dog bed can be a frustrating and confusing process, especially if you’ve never purchased one for your dog before. From off-the-ground cots to high-walled beds with canopies, the options are endless.

You’ll want to make sure you’re purchasing a bed that makes sense for your pup based on his or her age, activity level, breed, and other considerations. Take a look at our checklist of suggestions for finding the best outdoor dog bed for your best friend.

Type of Dog

Different beds are made for different types of dogs. From small, energetic boisterous dogs, to calm, collected, sleep-all-day kinds of dogs, consider your pooch’s unique personality to begin the bed-buying process.

Size, breed, and age are the important considerations here. When choosing a bed, select a size that will not only accommodate your dog’ length but also their favorite resting position. Does your dog curl up in a ball, or stretch out as much as possible? Measure your dog in the most common resting position, then add about five inches to your dog’s length and width to find the right bed for your dog’s size.

Knowing your breed’s particular habits will help you determine how that breed will be most comfortable. Several breeds are prone to various health problems, like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and breathing restrictions. Other dogs prefer to nest and be surrounded by their beds. In that case, choose one with high sides or a canopy.

If your dog is older, consider a bed that offers good firm push-back support. Foam will hold shape, unlike other loose forms of fill that may disperse when your dog settles in. Bolsters offer support for larger dogs that benefit from good head and neck support.

Activity Level

Is your dog a runner or a mud puddle jumper? A barking bird dog that tears through the swamps and fields, or a snow-loving mountain dog who loves to romp and play? Dogs’ activities have a big impact on what they’re tromping through, and ultimately, what they’re tracking onto their dog bed.

If your dog loves the water or snow and spends the day tearing through the trails, coming away muddy and full of grime, pick a bed that’s easy to clean. Waterproof and washable covers are a common option for the busy, messy active dog.

If you live by a water source, or in a very damp climate, a waterproof or mildew-resistant outdoor bed is a smart choice. This will allow you to avoid having to frequently wash or replace the cover for the bed.


You might find the prettiest, softest bed around, but if it can’t stand up to your dog, their activities or the elements, you’re wasting money. Before investing in an outdoor dog bed, shop around. Read the reviews and feedback on the models that interest you before you buy, especially while shopping online.

If your furriest family member is a chewer, opt for a strong, durable nylon ripstop, or thicker tension-resistant fabric to hold up against the strongest jaws. Many beds are made especially for dogs that like to chew them.

Make sure the fabric of the bed can hold up to snow, water, or the bleaching sun. If your weather conditions in your area are a bit extreme, choose a bed that offers a warranty. Many elevated dog beds are made of fabric that will stand up against UV rays.

Climate Comfort

Many outdoor dog beds offer options that provide comfort against the cold weather elements. Canopies or beds with high sides can protect against wind and snow. Heated beds will keep your dog’s core warm when the temperatures drop.

For those in warm climates, elevated pet cots provide a surface of strong support that allows air to circulate and cool your dog. Dogs with thick coats like shepherds can benefit from these types of beds, along with breeds that have trouble cooling down due to breathing issues, such as bulldogs.

In areas of extreme seasonal change, finding a bed that accommodates all the seasons can be a challenge. To maximize the usefulness of a bed, consider your climate’s most extreme season. Choose a bed that provides most the comfort over the longest span of months.


Cedar is a good natural option for odor and flea resistance. Because cedar fill will disperse with pressure or weight, it’s lack of support is not ideal for dogs with joint or health issues. Manufactured foam and poly fill beds offer great support for aging dogs with sore joints, larger dogs, and dogs that have breathing issues and need a bolster or head rest to prop up their heads and necks.

Poly fill is made from recycled plastic bottles. The higher the grade, the brighter the color of the fill. Higher quality fill typically results in a higher priced bed.

While many factors determine what type of outdoor dog bed will be best for your pet’s particular needs, choosing your few most important features for creature comfort will take the guesswork out the process so you can ensure tht your money is well spent.

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