Whether you own a tiny Chinpin (a cross between a Pinscher and Chihuahua) or stalwart English Mastiff, all dogs have one thing in common: They enjoy relaxing and lounging on a comfortable bed.
And, while we often think of dog beds as fuzzy spaces placed unobtrusively in a corner, that’s not your only option for securing your pup’s comfort. It’s time to think outside the box (literally).
From elevated outdoor beds that keep your pup off the ground to pillow-style loungers designed to withstand the elements, your options are endless. And, while these beds are designed to be placed on a porch or deck, you can also use them indoors.
Before you head out to buy just any bed from the corner pet store, explore your options with our comprehensive guide below.
Powder-coated steel. Ergonomic memory foam. Breathable fabrics. The innovative features in human beds can now be found in many outdoor dog beds.
With so many options available, we utilize the “feature-benefit matrix” to help you choose the best outdoor bed for your pet’s needs. Essentially, we highlight the “features” that deliver the best “benefits” for your beloved pooch.
And, just because these beds are perfect for outdoor use doesn’t mean you can’t place them in a cozy indoor nook. Each of the following beds is easily adaptable for indoor-outdoor use as the seasons change.
Below, our pet advisors have reviewed the six best picks for pets of all sizes and ages.
This is the trendsetter that started it all. The Coolaroo Elevated Pet Bed keeps your dog seven inches off the ground. Your beloved pooch will be comfortable, even in the summer heat. The hammock design also provides ergonomic support for your pet’s joints.
Meanwhile, the GREENGUARD-certified bedding is made from high-density polyethylene, which is both durable and resistant to mildew, mold, and pest infestations. Weighing in at less than seven pounds, this bed is portable and ideal for overnight trips.
Your dog will love the quilted, cushion-soft, and water-resistant poly-suede top. Meanwhile, you’ll love that you can simply roll this pillow-like bed up (it even includes a nylon stuff sack) and then toss the entire thing into your car at the end of your outdoor adventures. The bed even has a built-in hanging loop to make air-drying a breeze. Your favorite pooch can rest comfortably in a multiplicity of settings, whether on the trail or on the porch at home.
The nylon rip-stop bottom also has protective qualities for rugged outdoor use.
Although the Chuckit! Outdoor Dog Bed only has one size (measuring 30 X 39 inches), it will accommodate small, medium, and large dog breeds. In this bed, you’ll find versatility paired with comfort and durability.
If you want an elevated bed that transitions effortlessly from outdoors to indoors, this chic bed is for you. Unlike most hammock-style dog beds, this one includes a plush bolster that mimics a traditional sofa and gives your dog a comfortable headrest.
The bed comes in three sizes and will even support pets that weigh over 150 pounds.
That said, this K&H bolster pet cot doesn’t sacrifice utility for style. The 600-denier nylon fabric is waterproof and resistant to mold, mildew, and bacteria. And, while it’s easy to launder in the washing machine, you can also hose it down or clean it with a damp cloth. Note that the bolster is detachable and machine-washable.
In the winter, you have the option of choosing a self-warming cot, and in the summer, you can accessorize with a canopy for added shade.
Embrace your quirky side with this unusual looking elevated pet bed. The regular size fits dogs up to 60lbs., while the larger size accommodates dogs up to 90lbs.
The Smart Air-Flow mesh bedding provides optimal airflow, making this an ideal bed for hot climates. The Gen7Pets Trailblazer Cool-Air Cot also wicks away moisture quickly, which is perfect for a rainy day.
Finally, the suite of “smart features” makes traveling easy. You can assemble the entire bed in just seconds with a few zips and snaps.
Memory foam is great if you have a pooch who needs orthopedic support or a pet with joint pain. Unfortunately, memory foam isn’t common in outdoor dog beds because it’s tough to keep clean. This bed’s selling feature is its waterproof quality. Its 3.5 inch 100% polyurethane memory foam also provides exceptional joint support.
Whether your dog is lounging on the deck or by the lake, the bed offers maximum comfort. The inner liner is waterproof and protects the foam. Meanwhile, the machine-washable, 100% polyester micro-suede outer cover adds another layer of protection and comfort. This bed comes in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes.
Roll up and head outdoors with this ultra-portable, waterproof bed. A durable quilted top keeps your dog comfortable, while a slip-resistant bottom keeps it in place in your camping tent or the back of your car. Plus, the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty.
When it needs cleaning, simply unroll it, toss it into the washing machine, and then hang it out to dry. The bed comes in medium (27” x 36” x 2”) and large (36” x 48” x 3”) sizes. Both the top and bottom are water-resistant, which ensures maximum comfort for your pooch.
The entire ensemble also includes a camping pillow and hidden zipper pocket for your pet’s favorite toys and snacks.
Every dog has unique needs based on your family’s lifestyle and local weather. But, before we dive into the different features to look for (and avoid), let’s talk about why you may want an outdoor dog bed in the first place.
First and foremost, purchasing a great outdoor dog bed is crucial if you and your pup enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle. For example, if you go on many camping excursions, road trips, or overnight hikes, you’ll want a high-quality outdoor bed to keep your pup comfortable, safe, and off the ground.
You may also want to consider a portable dog bed if you like to bring your dog on extended daytime outings, like fishing, rock climbing, or having a picnic at the neighborhood park.
Finally, an outdoor bed can also benefit your dog’s health and wellbeing if it likes to lounge in the sun on your patio or deck. In the summer, the ground can heat up quickly, scorching your dog’s paws and overheating its body.
A high-quality outdoor bed deflects heat and promotes airflow so your favorite pooch stays cool and comfortable during the dog days of summer.
Ask yourself a few key questions when choosing the best outdoor bed for your furry friend.
When it comes to dog beds, size matters. Depending on the manufacturer and brand, you’ll typically see dog beds sized from extra-small to large:
Always go up a size larger to give your dog enough space to indulge in the classic “turning-around-in-circles” ritual.
More traditional dog beds are placed directly on the ground. This can work in some cases, but in many outdoor situations, it’s far from ideal. Here’s why: rocks and sticks can negatively impact your dog’s joint health.
Also, extreme temperatures can make napping an uncomfortable affair for your pooch. In the summer, elevated beds promote airflow so Fido stays cool and comfortable. And, in the winter, an elevated bed keeps your puppy from being chilled to the bone.
Meanwhile, dampness can be a problem for floor-based pet beds (this is especially critical if you camp or enjoy winter activities).
A better option would be an elevated dog bed that keeps your pet off the ground. A common example is a hammock-based dog bed, which molds to your dog’s shape while offering proper support.
Hammock-based outdoor beds are also easy to store since you can detach the hammock and collapse the frame. They’re perfect for traveling, camping, or hiking.
Not every human companion needs portability, but if you plan on taking your dog on a road trip, on a flight, or a weekend getaway, this is one feature you won’t want to skip. Consider a few key aspects to portability:
The best fabrics should be both durable and comfortable. This is why many outdoor pet beds are made of canvas, acrylic, or Crypton fabric. You’ll also want to consider if the bedding is:
Many outdoor dog beds have frames that are made out of either durable plastic or metal. The ideal choice will depend on your needs. For example, plastic bed frames are lighter and may be better for traveling or camping.
That said, we recommend avoiding dog beds that offer little protection against the elements. For instance, the best outdoor pet beds should be designed with rust in mind. So, metal beds should be coated and have a rust-resistant frame.
There are many scenarios where you may want a dog bed that transitions easily between indoor and outdoor use. For example, perhaps you live in a climate where your dog will spend equal time indoors and outdoors. Or, perhaps, you live in an open-concept home and don’t have a designated space for your pooch.
If so, you may prefer a more conventional “on-the-ground” dog bed without a raised setup or hammock feature. However, even if you choose this type of bed, you may want to watch for features that allow it to adapt to your outdoor needs:
So far, we’ve discussed features and benefits from the owner’s point of view. However, the best outdoor dog beds also include features that meet your dog’s individual needs and preferences. After all, there’s no point buying the “best” dog bed if your dog can’t or won’t use it once you set it up!
Ask yourself the following questions to examine the options through your dog’s eyes.
Some puppies have joint issues. It may be uncomfortable for them to use a hammock-style raised pet bed. The same is true for small dog breeds, who may have trouble hopping onto a high bed. In both cases, a thick, floor-based bed that has durable features may be a better choice.
Likewise, if your dog has back issues, it may need a floor bed that has memory foam and other orthopedic features.
Just like you, dogs have their own ideas about comfort. It’s helpful to pay attention to where your dog naturally gravitates when choosing a place to sleep. Does he nuzzle into a thick pile of blankets and pillows, or does he curl up on the ground in a sunny spot?
If your dog likes soft, thick surfaces, a floor bed usually has more padding and stuffing than a raised bed.
If your dog racks up more frequent miles than other pets in the neighborhood, you’ll want a portable dog bed. This type of bed is designed to be lightweight, easy to assemble, and very compact for storage purposes.
The good news is that there’s a portable version of almost every outdoor bed, so you never have to sacrifice your dog’s safety and comfort in the Great Outdoors.
This is one of the most critical questions to ask. Some puppies are delicate creatures and can lounge on fragile cashmere for years. However, most dogs need a bed that can withstand scratching, pawing, and the occasional chewing, to say nothing about mud, dirt, fur and grime.
Whatever you choose, think about your dog’s needs while factoring in details like budget limitations and lifestyle choices. There’s a comfortable, durable outdoor option at every price range. However, you’ll want to invest in a high-quality dog bed that will last for years. Often, the cheapest options turn out to be far more expensive because you have to replace them more frequently.
A final insider’s tip: Learn from the mistakes of other dog owners. Before investing in a quality outdoor puppy bed, read the reviews from recent purchasers. This helps you cut through the marketing hype and get feedback from real owners.
Seeing a beloved pooch lounging outdoors and soaking in the sun can bring great satisfaction to a pet parent. Thus, investing in a good outdoor bed is critical.
Use the qualifying questions above to navigate the many options on the market. This ensures that you get the most bang for your buck and that you and Fido enjoy many years of exploration together.