CareHousingWhat to Put in a Dog House For Bedding: Keep Your Pup...

What to Put in a Dog House For Bedding: Keep Your Pup Comfy!

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite parts of the day is going to bed! There’s nothing quite like laying down on a comfortable mattress after a long, hard day. But have you ever wondered if you’re giving your dog that same luxury?

Sure, dogs don’t NEED super comfortable bedding, but they would love it if they had it. If you’ve taken the time to set up a dog house for them, you might as well take the time to provide the proper bedding for them as well. Plus, if you have an elderly dog or a dog with arthritis, comfortable bedding will be a huge help.

The best things you can put in a dog house for bedding are either one or a combination of the following:

  • Dog bed
  • Blanket
  • Kennel Pad
  • Cedar Shavings
  • Straw (controversial but we use it)
  • Wood Shavings

All the above are great options you can’t go wrong with. Below we will expand into more detail on each of these.

If you’re considering using straw, be sure to read the section below on straw. It does work great, but you have to be cautious.

General Options to Provide Cushioning

The primary goal when it comes to bedding for a dog house is to provide a cushion. If your dog’s joints and bones are pressed against hard flooring all night, they’ll end up with a lot of aches and pains. If your dog has arthritis, it will make the pain from arthritis even worse.

Once you’ve figured out how you want to provide cushion for your dog, you can then consider what additions you can add to their bedding to keep them warm during the winter and cool during the summer.

Dog Bed (The #1 Choice)

outdoor dog beds are perfect for your dog house

Yes, dog beds can be expensive, and some people choose not to purchase them because they know their dog will end up destroying it. But if you can afford a dog bed, that’s our number one recommendation.

As technology develops, we are getting better and better at creating “indestructible” dog beds. We know the price tag can be scary sometimes, but just remember the level of comfort you’ll be providing for your furry friend.

When picking a dog bed, make sure you get one that was designed specifically for outdoor usage. These will hold up longer, so you don’t have to buy a new one every few months.

Kennel Pads

Kennel pads are a great way to save money and still provide your dog with excellent cushion. They may not be as great as dog beds, but they’re much cheaper and can last for a long time. You can get a high quality kennel pad that is weatherproof and chew resistant for less than $30.

Dog Blanket (or Rug)

If getting an indestructible dog bed isn’t an option right now, or if you want to add something to the dog bed or kennel pad, a dog blanket is always a good choice.

No, you don’t need to use a blanket specifically for dogs, but they’re usually cheaper, and you don’t have to worry about ruining one of yours. When it comes to size, the thicker, the better. Although a blanket won’t provide as much cushion as the other two options, as long as it’s thick enough, it will provide just enough cushion to prevent the joints from aching all night.

If you want to take it a step further, you can use both a rug and a blanket. The dog can use the rug as a cushion and the blanket as something to “snuggle up” with.

The three things discussed above are the basics of dog house bedding. Any dog house should have at least one of those three as the primary bedding. Now that you have the basics down, let’s talk about how to create the most comfortable environment for your dog during certain weather conditions

Additions to Keep Them Warm During Winter

be careful with space heaters in dogs hosue

On those cold winter nights, the last thing you want is for your dog to be outside in the freezing cold. You can help your dog stay warm by using insulating the dog house. The two methods we will talk about below serve two purposes.

  1. They will insulate the dog house and keep it warm
  2. They’re comfortable to sleep on so your dog can use it as bedding.

Unlike what we talked about in the general bedding section, you don’t want to combine these two methods. Choose one and see how well it works. If your dog doesn’t like it, then try another approach.

Cedar Shavings

We always put cedar shavings in the dog house when it’s cold outside. Any type of wood shaving is comfortable for the dog and helps keep the dog house warm. It also helps control odor, which is always a plus.

Fill about two inches of the dog house up with cedar shavings and your dog will love you for it during the cold months.

Important Note: Don’t use cedar shavings with a pregnant dog or newborn puppies. Although cedar shaving is considered safe for most dogs, it can cause a bacterial infection in puppies.


You’ll hear a lot of “experts” say don’t use straw because it attracts fleas and mites, but straw has an amazing insulating quality and does a great job keeping your pooch warm during those cold months.

Although straw can indeed attract fleas and mites, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it. You need to make sure you replace it often. But it’s cheap to purchase and easy to clean, so replacing often isn’t a big deal.

If you’re worried about the mess, here’s a simple solution…just put a blanket over the straw. This blanket will not only add to the comfort, but will also keep things clean.

Raise The Bed

If you decide not to use cedar shavings or straw, you can also raise the bed a couple of inches off the ground. The ground pulls heat from the bedding, so raising the bedding a few inches off the ground on something like a wooden pallet can help keep your dog much warmer on cold nights.

Additions to Keep Them Cool During Summer

The good news is keeping a dog cool is usually easier than keeping them warm. However, anytime the temperature reaches 90+ degrees, you should consider moving them inside.

There are two primary things you can use for dog bedding to keep them cool during hot weather. Both work in the same way.

Self Cooling Dog Bed

A self cooling dog bed is the best bedding to place in a dog house during the warm months to help cool them off. Dogs naturally have a higher body temperature than humans, and they have almost no sweat glands, so it’s harder for them to cool off.

Although these beds can be a little pricey (well over $100 for a good quality one), they’re worth it. Especially if you have a dog with a thick coat or short nose (short noses make it harder to cool down).

Self Cooling Dog Mat

If you liked the idea of a self cooling dog bed but feel like it’s a little too far out of your price range, you can always go with the self cooling dog mat. Very similar to the bed, but much cheaper!

You can place this mat on top of any of the previous bedding you were using. For example, if you were using a rug with a blanket, you can place the cooling mat on top of the blanket. If you were using cedar shavings as bedding, you could set the mat on the cedar shavings.

You can get a good quality self cooling dog mat for under $50. This should easily last through the warm summer months.

Do I Even Need To Put Bedding in a Dog House?

One of the most popular questions we get asked when it comes to dog houses is whether or not bedding is even important. The question usually goes something like this:

“I just purchased a new dog house for my dog. He seems to prefer laying on the floor instead of in his bed, should I teach him to lay in his bed?”

The simple answer to this question is “no!”. Most dogs don’t NEED bedding. Plenty of wild dogs sleep outside on the dirt all night and they’re ok with it. Your dog cares more about staying warm during cold months and cool during warmer months. If it seems like your dog is doing fine without bedding or even prefers no bedding, that’s completely ok as long as the dog house is an appropriate temperature.

Multiple Ways To Provide Comfort Regardless of Your Budget

As you can tell, there are several things you can put in a dog house for bedding. Some of these things can help control body temperature. Others provide comfort and support to keep your dog pain free. Choose the option that fits within your budget. The primary thing is to make sure you keep the temperature inside the dog house at a comfortable level.

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