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Is the dog bed in the corner looking a little chewed and lumpy lately? While you could buy a new dog bed, why not make your own? A homemade dog bed is a great way to show your favorite dog just how much you love him — and save some money too! Plus, you can get creative by upcycling everything from old furniture to T-shirts to make the perfect bed for the perfect pooch.
Some Assembly Required
Dogs come in many sizes, so start by measuring your pup's old bed to see how much space he needs to be comfortable. You can also observe his favorite ways and spaces to relax. Do you have a giant husky who sleeps curled up in a tiny ball? He may like a cozier den. Does your beagle spread-eagle? He may need a bigger cushion than you thought.
The simplest DIY dog bed is a huge pillow, which you can make by cutting two large rectangles of fabric and sewing them together on three sides. One or two old fleece blankets make a great recycled cushion. Before stitching up the fourth side, choose a stuffing that will be safe and comfortable for your dog.
Stuffing Options for a Homemade Dog Bed
While you want your homemade dog bed to look great, you also want it to be the ultimate in comfort for your canine pal, so the filling you choose is very important. You have a lot of choices, but you'll want to consider things like joint and mobility issues, ease of cleaning, and chewing or digging tendencies before making a decision.
Here are five great filling choices:
- Fiberfill is an inexpensive and soft choice — but keep in mind that it compacts over time and doesn't wash well.
- Memory foam can be an excellent choice for a dog who suffers from arthritis or who appreciates a firmer surface. Thin, bony dogs, such as greyhounds, may also need a thicker bed to keep their joints comfortable.
- Aromatic wood chips can absorb some stinky dog odor but may create a big mess if your pet decides to chew up his new bed. You will also need a fabric strong enough to encase the chips, so that none of them poke through and make it uncomfortable for your dog to use the bed.
- Old towels, T-shirts, sheets, and blankets all make great filler when torn into strips. You'll save money and keep the items out of the landfill. Win-win!
- A bed pillow can be the simplest filling, with the added benefit that it's easy to clean. Like people, dogs might prefer a certain type of pillow, so keep experimenting until you find the one your dog seems to like the most.
Small Dogs: No-Sew Options
Here's how to take an old sweatshirt and easily turn it into a doughnut bed for a small pooch: First, separate the sleeves from the body with a line of hot glue on the inside. Then, stuff a pillow inside the main chest portion. Next, create a simple drawstring in the neck and waist to tie it shut and stuff fiberfill into the long rectangle of the arms. Last, wrap the arms around the main pillow, and use glue or an iron-on adhesive to seal them together into a doughnut shape.
A simple wooden crate, recycled or available at any craft store, also makes a perfect pint-sized nest. Carefully pry the boards from one of the long sides off of the crate and sand the rough edges. Paint the crate and personalize it with your dog's name or a fun design, and line it with a soft folded blanket or pillow. HGTV Handmade also recommends screwing furniture gliders onto the bottom corners to protect your floors. Just like anything you give to your dog, make sure the paint, decorations, and lining are non-toxic to pets and not easily chewed or ingested.
Big Dogs: Refurbishing Old Furniture
Do you have an old dresser that's taking up space in an attic or basement? Project DIY suggests giving it new life as a retreat for your dog! Start by removing the drawers and cutting out the front frame of the dresser. You should also remove any sharp nails, hardware, or bits of plastic or wood from the inside.
Sand and paint the dresser frame in the color of your choice. Mount brackets for a small curtain rod to the front and hang curtains to the floor. Finish with a soft cushion on the inside, and you have the perfect "cave" for your dog when he needs some quiet time. Plus, the top can double as a table.
Still feeling crafty? Think about making your own dog toys or whipping up a similar DIY pet bed for your cat. With a little creativity, your pets will be happily snoring in no time on a one-of-a-kind bed handmade with your love.
Kara Murphy is a freelance writer and pet parent who lives in Erie, Pa. She has a goldendoodle named Maddie.