How to Build a Bunk Bed for a Dogby Catherine Holden Robinson
A bed is a sanctuary, but a bunk bed can give a dog a new perspective.
Repurposing items has become a national pastime, and oftentimes when crate training is done and puppyhood is a thing of the past, dog lovers find themselves with an abandoned crate. With a few easy steps, and some items from a local home improvement store, you can easily fashion a dog crate into a bunk bed that will have your canines fighting over who gets the top.
A Perch for Pete
Dirty paw prints on the windowsill are a bone of contention, but a bunk bed fashioned from an abandoned crate can give Pete a bird's-eye view of his neighborhood. Even a single-dog household can benefit from a bunk bed, as it gives the family dog a chance to see his surroundings from a different vantage point. Wipe the crate down thoroughly. Using pliers, remove the door. Many metal crates have J-hooks attaching the doors. The edges of these hooks may be sharp, so be careful removing them.
Getting Ramped Up
Measure the length and width of the top of the crate. You'll want a sturdy untreated plywood to cover the top of the crate. A 1/2-inch thickness should be sufficient. If you don't have a scrap piece lying around, you may need to visit your local home improvement store. If a trip to the lumberyard is in order, it may save you from having to cut the plywood yourself, as many lumberyards and home improvement warehouses will cut the plywood to your specified dimensions. You'll also need a piece to fashion a ramp to allow Pete to ascend to his new perch. The size of this piece will depend on how tall your crate is and how big Pete has gotten over the years. Make sure to choose untreated wood. Treated wood often contains toxins, which can be harmful to pets.
The Conversion Begins
Once you have your wood, and have sanded it to remove any rough edges, you're ready to begin converting the crate into a bunk bed. To fasten the plywood to the top of the crate, drill holes with a 1/2-inch drill bit along the outermost edges of the square or rectangular plywood piece. Drill these holes 2 inches apart. Leave a section undrilled for two hinges, with which you'll connect the ramp. Once you've drilled your holes, fasten the plywood to the top of the crate using a heavy-duty electrical tie in each hole. As long as Pete isn't standing on top of his bunk bed, rocking back-and-forth like a madman, the electrical ties should be sufficient to keep the plywood in place.
For Added Stability
Once you've gotten the plywood attached to the top, secure the ramp to the back right- or left-hand corner of the crate. Use two hinges to attach the ramp. If you want to carpet your ramp to help Pete ascend, measure the ramp piece, cut a scrap of carpet and attach with contact cement. Covering the hinges may protect Pete's paws and pads. If you're worried that the crate may not support Pete's weight, four lengths of untreated 2-by-4 sections can be used on the inside corners of the crate for additional stability. The top of the 2-by-4 can be attached with a couple of 2-inch wood screws and a power screwdriver. The lower part of the 2-by-4 can be secured by wrapping a heavy duty electrical tie around it and threading that through the wire of the crate.
The Finishing Touches
To finish off the bunk bed, you can place Pete's favorite dog bed on top, or fashion a bed from foam purchased at a fabric or craft store. Using a vinyl fabric as a cover will make the bed easy to clean. For multiple dogs, place a bed inside the crate as well, but don't be surprised if you find your pups vying for the position of top dog.
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