When thinking about bedding for a doghouse, several factors need to be considered. Environmental conditions are important but individual dog needs are equally so. Hair length, body size and proportions, any possible allergies to materials and personality traits should all be considered when making Spot's home as comfortable and safe as possible.
The Harsh Outdoors
A doghouse is bound to get a little dirty with Spot tromping in and out. Material that dries quickly and does not allow for bacterial or mold growth will make him much happier -- and save you on veterinary bills. Considering a raised platform with a vinyl or plastic layer as a base will increase warmth and keep him off a wet ground. Beyond this layer, Tri-County Vet recommends three dimensional bedding for a more cuddly pup.
Some Good Options
Pet stores have many options for safe bedding with the most basic being a foam filled fleece bed. For dogs more accustomed to the outdoors, and perhaps, more apt to chew and destroy an expensive bed, cedar chips and straw can be used. However, these must be maintained, replenished and cleaned to allow for a soft surface. Many pet stores have a section designated for outdoor pet care and can help find one or a combination of these options to work for your four-legged friend.
Not So Good Choices
Cotton or polyester blankets and sheets are not ideal for outdoor doghouse bedding. They do not retain heat well, can become ripped and tangled posing a significant health hazard. High quality fleece blankets are a more resilient material and much less likely to rip. Pet stores can provide safe and warm blanket options.
Bedding and Behavior
Some pups are more sensitive to certain materials and it's important for pet parents to note any skin irritation, itching, sores or changes in behavior that suggest Fido is uncomfortable. Even the suggested materials can harbor mold or bacteria over time. In addition, older dogs and smaller dogs will require more heat support and padding than more acclimated breeds like huskies and malamutes. Fortunately, dogs are pretty good at letting their humans know if they are comfortable or not.
Working with both small animals and exotics, Pamela Meadors has devoted more than 15 years to the veterinary field. She possesses a bachelor's degree in biological sciences and is the proud mom of a blind hedgehog.