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What Are The Best Materials for Outdoor Dog Bedding? Facts, & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

dalmatian on mulch

Many dogs, especially larger breeds, prefer spending the vast majority of their time outdoors. But while they might enjoy playing, eating, and sleeping outside, that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a little bit of comfort along the way.

Whether your dog has a designated doghouse or just a fenced-in yard, the right outdoor bedding ensures they’re always comfortable. However, shopping for outdoor-friendly bedding isn’t as simple as buying something for your home. Along with standing up to your dog, it also needs to survive the elements.

Here are what materials to use for an outdoor dog bed that is actually going to last.

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The 5 Best Materials for Outdoor Dog Bedding

1. Wood chips

Wood Chip Bed
Image Credit: Pxfuel

They might be simple, but wood chips are actually quite effective as outdoor dog bedding. Not only do wood chips provide cushioning and support for your dog but they can also help keep their dog house warm in colder weather.

Using wood chips for your dog’s bedding doesn’t come without risks, though. Make sure that you use dog-friendly wood, like pine or cedar, and that the pieces are not too sharp. If your dog tends to eat small objects, especially wood, then it might be best to choose an alternative.

2. Straw

Straw Bed
Image by: Katrinbechtel, Pixabay

Straw and hay also make excellent dog bedding, especially when used in a dog house. These materials are soft and offer plenty of insulation during the fall and winter.

One major concern of using straw in a dog house is its tendency to attract fleas. Unfortunately, hay and straw make great breeding grounds for fleas and other pests. While this isn’t guaranteed to be a problem in your own outdoor dog bedding, it is a possibility.

3. Old bedding/Carpeting

Old Rug
Image Credit: alda2, Pixabay

As long as their bed is comfortable, your dog really doesn’t care what it looks like. If you have any old linens, blankets, rugs, or carpeting lying around, all of these materials can make excellent outdoor dog beds.

If you don’t have any of these materials lying around, then going out and buying some might not be worth the trouble. Also, some rugs and carpeting might not be appropriate for avid chewers.

4. Traditional dog beds

Dog Bed
Image Credit: MiraLove, Pixabay

Just because your dog enjoys the rugged outdoor life doesn’t mean they wouldn’t enjoy a store-bought dog bed. In fact, many beds are designed specifically for outdoor use.

When shopping for a new dog bed, keep an eye out for fabrics advertised as waterproof or weather-resistant. These materials will withstand rain and other weather conditions much better than soft, plush beds.

5. Elevated dog beds

Outdoor Bedding
Image Credit: Piqsels

Along with a traditional cushioned bed, your dog may also enjoy an elevated dog bed. These beds resemble a sturdy hammock, lifting your dog off of the ground for optimal comfort.

An elevated dog bed is an excellent choice for dogs with joint pain or stiffness. The elevated design relieves pressure from their joints when resting or sleeping.

This style of bed is also great if you’re worried about your dog’s bed getting wet. Because these beds are elevated and made of heavy-duty materials, rain and snow will go right through and the bed itself will dry in no time at all.



Putting together an outdoor dog bed might seem like a simple gesture, but it’s one your pup will certainly appreciate. Each of these bedding materials has its own list of pros and cons, so the best bedding for you and your dog might not be the same as the next reader. However, all of these materials are great options in the right situation.

Even if your dog is a fan of the outdoors, remember to follow proper safety precautions. If you suspect that your dog might chew up carpeting or eat wood chips, supervise them with their new bedding. Also, keep in mind that not all breeds can handle cold weather, even with adequate bedding.

What do you use to make your dog’s outdoor living space a little more comfortable? Have you tried any of the materials we listed above? Let us know in the comments!

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