A durable, comfortable and weather-resistant bed is essential for dogs who enjoy relaxing outside. Here’s our complete guide to choosing a bed, along with seven of the best outdoor dog beds.
- What Makes a Great Outdoor Dog Bed?
- 7 Best Outdoor Dog Bed Reviews (Including Elevated, Waterproof and Canopy Beds!)
Many dogs love spending time outdoors, but it’s important to provide a comfortable and durable bed.
After all, bare ground is hardly the most comfortable surface to sleep on. It also gets cold in the winter and uncomfortably warm in the summer, making it impossible for a dog to get comfy.
Unfortunately, most regular beds won’t last long when exposed to the outdoors. They tend to absorb moisture and are prone to mold, mildew and sun damage. Foam beds also often become lumpy when wet.
In this article, I’ll discuss what makes a great outdoor bed and how to choose the right one for your dog. I’ve also reviewed seven of the best outdoor dog beds to help you decide.
Note: These beds are for pets who are spending time outside, but a dog should always have the option to go inside if he chooses. Leaving dogs outside for long periods can be isolating and uncomfortable for them, as well as potentially dangerous in cold or hot weather.
Our #1 Pick: Coolaroo Elevated Dog Bed
Durable bed that provides plenty of airflow
My top pick for an outdoor dog bed is the popular Coolaroo Elevated. It’s a durable dog bed with a raised surface, which helps to keep your pet cool. You’ll probably want to add a soft blanket to the surface though.
What Makes a Great Outdoor Dog Bed?
An outdoor bed is most likely to be used in warm weather rather than cold. For this reason, the bed’s cooling and airflow properties are an essential consideration. You also need to think about your dog’s size, sleeping habits, and the comfort of the bed.
- Bed type (elevated or plush). If you live in warm climes, an elevated bed could be a great choice. Elevated beds (also known as cot beds) raise your dog on breathable fabric, which increases airflow and keeps him away from bugs. Plush foam beds are softer and more snuggly. They tend to absorb moisture and are less breathable though. A removable cover is important for cleaning a softer bed.
- Durability. Elevated beds are always more durable than softer alternatives. They are often made with heavy-duty frames and tough fabric sleeping surfaces, making them a great choice for outdoors. There are still outdoor foam beds available though. These are often made with thick canvas fabric, which is strong but harsher than indoor beds. Whichever type of bed you choose, look for mold and mildew-resistant materials.
- Comfort. Beds made with memory foam or orthopedic mattresses are good choices in cooler environments. For dogs with joint problems, including arthritic elderly dogs, they provide greater comfort, warmth and support. Elevated beds can still be comfortable, but they don’t have the same supportive qualities and may create pressure points. You’ll probably want to add a blanket to an elevated bed to soften the surface. They can also be difficult to place on uneven ground.
- Size. Owners often make the mistake of selecting beds that aren’t big enough for their dogs. Your dog should be able to stretch out comfortably, even if they choose to curl up. If you have opted for an elevated bed or a bed with bolsters, be aware that the outer frame can reduce the “effective” sleeping area.
- Temperature control (cooling or heating). Elevated beds increase airflow around your dog, which helps him stay at a cool temperature. Foam beds often become warm, although this may be useful in cooler regions. You can also buy self-heated beds for active warming and cooling pads for hot weather. Dogs should never be left outside in extremely cold or hot weather, however, regardless of the bedding provided.
- Weatherproof design. If your dog prefers a plush bed, look for one with a water-resistant cover to prevent the mattress becoming mouldy and misshapen. A cover won’t allow you to leave the bed outside all the time, but can provide protection in a quick rain shower. Elevated beds can generally handle being left outside, although the frame should be rust-proof if the bed is going to be in the rain.
- Shade or sun protection. If your dog loves being outside in the summer, selecting a bed with a built-in canopy ensures they have access to shade on a cloudless day. When the heat is extreme, however, make sure you bring your dog inside to prevent them from overheating.
When deciding on an outdoor dog bed, you should also consider your dog’s usual sleeping positions and preferences. If he isn’t comfortable, the bed will be a wasted purchase.
Some dogs like to curl up and stay snuggly. In these cases, a bed with bolsters or cushioned sides will be a better choice. For dogs that like to spread out, legs akimbo, they’ll need a larger, flatter surface area.
If your dog is a prolific chewer of beds, selecting an elevated model with a metal frame and no tempting stuffing could ensure longevity. There aren’t many foam beds that last long against a determined chewer!
Note: If you’re looking for a more portable option for taking on a road trip, check out our guide for camping beds for dogs.
7 Best Outdoor Dog Bed Reviews (Including Elevated, Waterproof and Canopy Beds!)
Listed below are seven of the best outdoor beds for dogs. Make sure you read each review carefully, as the best option depends on your dog’s sleeping habits and preferences.
1. Coolaroo Elevated Pet BedVIEW PRICE
The Coolaroo Elevated Pet Bed is my top pick for an outdoor bed. With breathable fabric and a raised frame, it’s a great choice for keeping your pet cool when outside. It’s also much more durable than foam beds and is available in three different sizes.
One of the great things about the Coolaroo is that the sleeping surface is around seven inches off the ground. This, combined with the breathable mesh fabric, increases airflow and helps keep the dog cool in hot weather. It also prevents the bed from retaining moisture.
The supportive fabric is made from high-density polyethylene. This is tough and resistant to mold, mildew and mites, making it an excellent choice for an outdoor bed. It’s also easy to hose down and even Greenguard certified, so it’ll appeal to eco-friendly dog owners.
Along with a strong cover, the Coolaroo has a durable powder-coated steel frame. This is weather-resistant and relatively lightweight. The tough construction also makes the Coolaroo a more suitable choice for chewers than many other beds.
These beds are fantastic, but they do have a couple of drawbacks. The Coolaroo doesn’t fold down, for example, and the rigid structure (which requires assembly) takes up a fair bit of space. It’s also much less snuggly than a foam bed, which might be an issue for some dogs. Adding a soft blanket can make it more appealing, but you’ll need to remember to bring it inside when your dog doesn’t want to be outdoors.
Even so, the Coolaroo is a durable and easy-to-clean bed that’s a fantastic option for outdoors. It’ll keep your dog cool in hot weather, and the water-resistant cover and frame make it much more weather-proof than the average dog bed.
2. Kuranda Chewproof Aluminum Elevated BedVIEW PRICE
The Kuranda Chewproof Aluminum Elevated Bed is a heavy-duty alternative to the Coolaroo. It’s an excellent choice for dogs who chew or if you need a durable bed for outdoor use. The larger sizes can also support heavier dogs than most other beds.
The tough vinyl sleeping surface can withstand lots of rough treatment. If your dog often bites or digs his bed, the Kuranda is one of the most durable beds on the market. The lightweight aluminum frame is also ultra-strong and chew-resistant.
For giant breed dog owners, the Kuranda has an extra-large size which holds up to 250lbs. This is considerably heavier than the weight capacity of the biggest Coolaroo bed. It’s also a waterproof dog bed and easy to clean.
The biggest drawback is that the fabric isn’t breathable. Air doesn’t flow as freely around your dog, which reduces the bed’s cooling properties. The thick vinyl fabric also allows water to gather on the surface during rain showers.
Other drawbacks include that it doesn’t fold and the sleeping surface isn’t soft like a foam bed. Like the Coolaroo, you’ll probably want to add a soft blanket to increase the bed’s comfort. It’s also not the prettiest dog bed on the market!
So which should you buy? For most dogs, the Coolaroo is a cooler option due to its breathable fabric cover. But if your dog is a prolific chewer, or you need a bed for a heavy breed, the Kuranda Chewproof is a good choice.
3. K&H Pet Products Original Elevated Bolster Dog CotVIEW PRICE
If your dog likes to snuggle against something when sleeping, the K&H Original Elevated Bolster Pet Cot is worth considering. It’s one of the few bolster beds that’s suitable for outdoor use.
The sleeping surface is made from a 600-denier nylon mesh. This is both tough and breathable, so it provides good airflow while being resistant to bacteria, mold and mildew. The fabric is also easy to clean and waterproof, while the removable bolster can be machine washed.
Although the bed can hold up to 200lbs* – double the amount of the Coolaroo – the bolstered sides mean your dog won’t be able to stretch out. You can always remove the bolsters if they are getting in your dog’s way though.
A bonus is that K&H sells a canopy that can be added to this bed. Canopies are great for providing shade, especially if you have a garden without much sun protection. You’ll need to purchase this separately though.
There are a few minor drawbacks to the K&H Elevated Original Pet Cot. The largest size is only 42” wide (compared to 50” for the Kuranda), so it’s less suitable for a large dog. There’s also only one color option.
In conclusion, the K&H Elevated Cot is great for dogs that like to rest against something when sleeping. Unlike many bolster beds, it has a breathable sleeping surface and is designed for outdoor use. It’s not the best option for giant breeds though.
* There is some confusion about the weight limit of this bed. Some retailers list 150lbs, while others list 200lbs, including the K&H Manufacturing website. Either way, it can safely hold the vast majority of dogs.
4. Pet Craft Supply Super Snoozer All-Season BedVIEW PRICE
The Pet Craft Supply Super Snoozer All-Season Bed is a plush outdoor bed that’s softer and more comfortable than elevated alternatives. It’s a great choice for dogs that like to get curled up and cosy, yet the bed is still UV and water-resistant.
This bed contours to your dog’s body and is much more padded than an elevated bed. The polyfill stuffing isn’t as supportive as an orthopedic bed, but it provides a middle ground between outdoor durability and comfort. When temperatures are lower, your pooch will also benefit from its insulative properties.
For a plush bed, it’s pretty durable. While it’s not comparable to the non-seamed fabrics used on elevated beds, it’s still well constructed and carefully seamed.
In humid conditions, the tightly woven and water repellent fabric helps prevent the absorption of moisture. This reduces the possibility of mold, mildew and odor problems developing.
The Pet Craft Supply bed has several other benefits, such as being machine washable and easy to move around. This makes it a more versatile choice for use in a car crate or when camping.
What this bed is missing compared to elevated beds, however, is breathability. Your dog will likely get hotter faster, as the bed doesn’t allow as much airflow. Also, while it’s water-resistant, rain will still soak through if it’s left outside.
In most cases, elevated beds are a more practical option for outdoor use, due to their durable design and breathable fabrics. If your dog prefers cushioning, however, the Pet Craft Supply is one of the best soft beds for outdoors.
5. PawHut Elevated Dog Bed With Shade CanopyVIEW PRICE
For gardens or yards without much shade, the PawHut Elevated Canopy Bed could be a great choice. The shade canopy means your dog can relax in good weather without laying in direct sunlight. The PawHut is also foldable, easy to clean, and suitable for outdoor use.
As with most elevated beds, the PawHut is built with breathable mesh fabric. This, combined with the elevated design, helps to increase airflow and keep your pet cool.
The tent-like canopy is great for providing sun protection, but it can be quickly removed if necessary. Many dogs will enjoy the “den” feel of having a canopy, even on days when shade isn’t required. The canopy does hang low, however, so it may be tricky for taller dogs to hop on and off the bed.
An added bonus is the bed’s portability. Unlike most elevated models, it folds down and comes with a carry bag.
On the flip side, the foldable design makes the PawHut less durable than other elevated beds. It’s also quite tricky to construct. Plus, even the largest size option can only hold a rather meagre 55 pounds, ruling it out for bigger dogs.
To wind things up, if you want a portable elevated bed that provides more respite in the sun, then the PawHut Elevated Dog Bed With Shade Canopy may appeal. For heavy dogs, the Kuranda is a better choice.
Note: Dogs can quickly overheat in hot weather conditions – even when they are in the shade. Always supervise your dog and bring them indoors when the temperatures soar.
6. Snoozer Waterproof Round Pet BedVIEW PRICE
The Snoozer Waterproof Round Pet Bed has a durable and weatherproof cover, while still providing a soft place for your dog to sleep. It’s not as tough as an elevated bed, but it provides a good compromise between comfort and durability.
Like the Super Snoozer, this bed isn’t as cool or breathable as elevated alternatives. The mattress is much softer, however, and the water-resistant cover prevents most water from being absorbed into the filling. This reduces the chance of mold and odors – especially compared with regular indoor beds – although it’s still not suitable for being left outside in the rain or overnight.
The largest bed size is only 48-inches in diameter. Given this is a round bed, designed for dogs that like to curl up, it should be spacious enough for most breeds. Larger dogs won’t be able to stretch out though.
Admittedly, this bed could prove too warm for hotter temperatures. It also isn’t as easy to clean as elevated beds, although the cover is machine washable.
There are a few other drawbacks. It can take time for the inner stuffing to flatten down, so some dogs might initially find it difficult to get comfortable. The waterproof fabric also makes more noise than a traditional indoor bed. If your dog is sound sensitive, you may need to spend time building up positive associations by rewarding any contact with yummy treats.
All in all, the Snoozer bed is a comfy outdoor option that’s great for dogs who enjoy soft mattresses. It’s also water-resistant and has a machine washable cover. Soft beds aren’t the coolest option during warm weather though.
7. K&H Lectro-Soft Heated Outdoor BedVIEW PRICE
Does your dog sleep while you’re in a workshop or garage? If they do, then the K&H Lectro-Soft could keep them toasty on cold days. It’s an electric bed that warms your dog to his normal body temperature, while providing a soft orthopedic foam mattress to lay on.
The Lectro-Soft is thermostatically controlled and responds to your dog’s body heat. This means it automatically adjusts depending on your dog’s temperature, which reduces wasted energy and prevents your pet becoming uncomfortably hot.
The bed has a durable and waterproof PVC cover that stops the foam inner from becoming damp. You also get an additional removable fleece cover. If you have a dog that likes to stay really cosy or doesn’t like the feel of the PVC cover, this is a handy extra.
While the fleece cover can be machine washed, the bed itself can’t. The PVC fabric is easy to clean though, by simply wiping it down with a damp cloth. Just be sure that the bed isn’t plugged in and that it’s completely dried again before you switch it back on.
Given that these heated beds from K&H rely on an electric design, they aren’t appropriate for use outdoors – even if the name suggests otherwise. They need to be plugged into a power socket, and this’ll also restrict where you can position the bed.
Because of the electrical components, I also don’t recommend leaving your dog unsupervised with this bed, especially if they’re prone to chewing things.
Overall, this warming bed could prove to be a worthwhile purchase if your dog spends a lot of time in unheated, uninsulated spaces with you.
It’ll even be worth considering if your house tends to be drafty or chilly. Even more so, if you have an elderly dog that feels the cold or has stiff, arthritic joints.
When selecting an outdoor pet bed, you’ll need to consider several factors. Average temperatures, fabric breathability and water resistance should all influence your decision. You’ll need to consider your dog’s preferred sleeping position too.
My top pick is the Coolaroo Elevated Pet Bed, especially if you live in a warm region. The fabric is durable, breathable and easy to clean. Plus the cover and frame are waterproof, and the bed can be left outside regardless of the conditions.
For dogs that like something snuggly, you may just need to pop a blanket or mattress on top to encourage them to use it. I also recommend doing this when the weather takes a chilly turn.
I hope this article has helped you choose the best outdoor dog bed for your four-legged friend. If you do have any feedback or queries, please let me know using the comments form below.