Every dog needs a comfortable bed and every human wants one that doesn't show dog hair, looks nice and most of all, is easy to clean. There really is no reason the ideal bed for your dog cannot also be the ideal bed for the human who maintains it. Look for washable fabrics rather than waterproof materials, like vinyl, that may be too hot or cold for your dog's comfort, and easy-off covers you can toss into the washing machine.
Nothing works quite so well as an all-purpose, indoor/outdoor washable bed as one made from PVC pipe and canvas. Both are essentially impervious to water and because they are equally durable, they hold up almost as well in the backyard as in the house. The lightweight construction makes it convenient to move the bed around with your pup. Best of all, you can make one easily yourself from only one or two 10-foot sticks of pipe -- depending upon the finished bed size -- four three-way PVC elbow pipe fittings, and some canvas. If you're lucky, you can even get free or low-cost fabric remnants from an awning maker to build it.
If you want a washable bed but have no money to buy one or the inclination to make one yourself, keep what you already have and make it washable with simple covers. For very small dog beds, simply slip on a pretty pillow case to cover. When it gets soiled, toss it in the laundry and put on a new one. For medium and larger dog beds, purchase fitted crib sheets to cover their beds. Stock up on pillow cases and crib sheets at seasonal “white sales” or scout out attractive used ones in thrift stores and yard sales.
If you can sew a straight seam, you can make this washable bed in about 10 minutes. Merely put two heavyweight terrycloth bath mats together with right sides facing out and run a seam about 1/4 inch from the edge on three sides -- leaving one end open. Slide a 1-inch thick piece of foam rubber into the open end, then stitch it closed too. Finish by tying the two sides together at regular intervals across the surface -- quilt-style -- with colorful embroidery thread inserted using a large needle. Toss the whole thing in the washer to clean.
With clever shaping and stitching, you can turn an old sweater into a snuggly round nest for your puppy. The pillow-stuffed sweater body serves as the base of the bed, while the stuffed arms are sewn in a curl around the base to make the sides and back. Using only a few simple tools you probably already have in the house -- scissors, measuring tape, needle and thread -- and soft rags or polyfill for stuffing, you can whip up a bed that will have your dog thinking he has fallen asleep in your arms. This is a fantastic way to reuse an old sweater and make your fur baby happy at the same time.
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