The only thing cuter than a sleeping puppy is a one snoozing on a bed you made for nothing. With just a few materials you already have around the house and some amateur sewing skills, you can ensure your pooch always has a comfortable, cozy bed.
1. Make a cover.
We want to make the bed as simple and with as little sewing as possible. Pillowcases are the best covers: They come in different sizes perfect for various breeds, and you only need to sew up one end. “Tightly woven fabrics like cotton are best for since it’s harder for dogs to chew it up; they can’t get their teeth in between the fabric,” says Diana Porper, a volunteer at Cape Ann Animal Aid in Gloucester, Mass. “Dogs, especially puppies, like to suck and tear up fabric.”
Cotton pillowcases are ideal, but you can also use cut-up sheets to stitch a cover together. Porper says that bedspreads, duvet covers or thin quilted blankets work well. Towels are the softest, toughest and most luxurious options for the dog bed cover, so keep that in mind before you toss out your old bath towels. “The higher the thread count, the better,” she says. “Because if it has a high thread count, dogs’ teeth can’t fit between the spaces of the fabric because it’s so tightly woven.”
2. Stuff it.
You can fill the cover with just about anything, as long as it’s not tufted polyester or down. To create the most versatile dog bed, cut out pieces of blankets, towels or cotton comforters the size of the cover. (Remember to wash these scraps or spray them with a fabric freshener.) Layer these pieces up to 2 inches thick and place them inside. Create enough of a cushion that the dog is comfortable.
“Dogs don’t care, I can tell you that,” says Porper. “They just want something between them and the floor that feels good and smells like home to them.” If your dog is arthritic or older, you may want to use more padding. A thinner bed also allows you to use it as a covering for your dog’s favorite couch cushion, the back seat of the car and to bring with you on trips. It’s flat, easy to pack, and easy to wash. “Just toss it in with your clothes,” says Porper.
3. Sew it up.
After you’ve layered your stuffing, insert the pile into the open end of the pillowcase or cover you’ve made, pin the fabric down and get your sewing machine ready. Stitch the length of the case every 3 inches or so, creating long column-like pockets. This will hold the stuffing into place and create little tufts on the surface. By securing the stuffing, you’ve made the bed more durable, but most importantly, it will come out of the washer (and dryer) in perfect condition -- no bunching or shifting. As such, you can wash your dog’s bed dozens of times and it will come out in the same condition it went in. To freshen up the dog bed between washes, spritz a pet odor eliminator fabric refresher.
If you’ve got more advanced skills (and extra time), you can stitch across the cover, making square quilts. The more pockets will further secure the stuffing inside. If you really want to make your dog more secure, try stuffing it with old T-shirts or the fabric from one of its dog toys that’s ready for the trash bin. Regardless, you now have the knowledge to save a ton of money and make a dog bed (or five) that’s washing-machine-safe, durable, and most importantly, comfortable for your best four-legged furry friend.