What To Know About Elevated Dog Beds

What's up with elevated dog beds? Consider this style if your dog gets too hot or has achy joints.

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The right dog bed does a lot more than provide your pup a comfortable place to nap. Unlike traditional dog beds that lay on the floor, elevated beds provide airflow and take pressure off a dog’s joints. Whether you have a small or large dog, an elevated bed might provide more benefits than a regular one.

Let’s look at the different kinds of elevated dog beds, and worthwhile options to consider.

What Is an Elevated Dog Bed?

Elevated dog beds generally rise at least three inches off the ground. They come in all sizes and materials suitable for indoors and outdoors. While some are hammock-like, others provide a taunt surface.

“Elevated dog beds are particularly beneficial for large, big-boned dog breeds,” says Leigh Siegfried, a canine behaviorist and founder of Opportunity Barks. Because they elevate your pup, Siegfried says they support the body and reduce pressure on the joints.

Large dogs aren’t the only ones who benefit from elevated beds. Because air circulates under the bed, dogs stay cool. And some dogs feel more secure on a raised platform.

Types of Elevated Dog Beds

Elevated dog beds come in these types:

  • PVC: PVC frames are typically more rigid, offering a taut sleeping surface. Building a PVC dog bed is an excellent do-it-yourself project lets you to personalize the height to suit your dog’s needs. Of course, they also come pre-assembled.
  • Metal: Metal frames tend to have more give than PVC ones, Siegfried says. Depending on the height of the bed and fabric, this may provide a hammock-like resting place rather than a taunt one.
  • Bolstered: These feature raised, cushioned walls on three sides. Dogs who like to prop their heads up, or those with anxiety, may find bolstered beds comfortable.
  • Chew-proof: For pet parents of dogs who like to chew, a chew-proof bed is crucial. These are made with durable fabric and may come with an extended warranty.
  • Travel-friendly and weather-resistant: If you’re bringing your dog’s bed outdoors or on camping trips, consider one made from weather-resistant fabric that collapses and folds.

Are Elevated Dog Beds Safe?

Yes, provided it’s appropriately sized and your dog understands how to get on and off it. That’s especially important when selecting a bed for puppies or senior dogs. If your dog has mobility issues, consult your veterinarian before introducing them to an elevated bed.

Do Dogs Like Elevated Dog Beds?

Some do, some don’t. If you’re uncertain whether your dog will like it, consider purchasing one with a good return policy. You can also start with a less expensive option.

According to Siegfried, it’s best to assume your dog knows nothing about elevated beds. To help your pet get accustomed to their new resting spot, toss a treat onto the bed, or sit on the bed with your dog. You could even turn the bed upside down so your dog becomes familiar with the fabric before it’s elevated.

Elevated Dog Bed Alternatives

Depending on your dog’s needs, consider these alternatives to elevated dog beds:

  • Cooling mats and beds: These help pets beat the heat while keeping all paws on the ground. Typically made with water or heat-absorbing gel, some beds cool automatically while others require refrigeration.
  • Orthopedic beds: If your dog has achy joints and needs extra support while sleeping, this is a better option than an elevated bed.
  • Dog crates: If you’re thinking of buying a bolstered elevated bed for your anxious dog, it might be worth considering this as an alternative, because crates can provide a sense of security. With rudimentary DIY skills, you could even build a dog crate.

Best Elevated Dog Beds

We’ve gathered our top picks, whether you own a large-breed dog needing support or a pint-sized pup who likes to stay cool.

Best chew-proof elevated dog bed

The manufacturer describes the K9 Ballistics Chew Proof Armored Vinyl Elevated Dog Bed as “virtually indestructible,” and brand website reviews back up the claim. This bed features durable vinyl fabric and a sturdy aluminum frame. K9 Ballistics offers a 120-day warranty that covers any damage from your dog’s jaws or claws. It comes in six sizes, from x-small to xx-large.

Best bolstered elevated dog bed

We love K&H Pet Products Original Bolster Elevated Bed because it’s perfect for hot summer days, inside and out. Unlike other bolstered beds that won’t last outdoors, this headrest is made with waterproof nylon. The elevated mesh cot provides plenty of air circulation, and the whole bed is a breeze to wipe clean.

Best budget elevated dog bed

At less than $25 for the small size (and less than $40 for the extra-large), the Petmaker Elevated Dog Bed offers impressive features without breaking the bank.

Made of coated steel, 600D Oxford Canvas and mesh, the bed is built to last. Plus, Amazon reviewers say it’s easy to assemble. For those seeking an elevated bed with shade, you can add a 210D Oxford Canvas Canopy for an additional charge.

Janelle Leeson
Janelle Leeson began writing in 2020 as a passion project for sharing how and where to travel with cats. She quickly realized her decade-long career as a biologist felt muted compared to the insistent curiosity that came with content writing and reporting. So Janelle stopped writing about endangered species and started writing more about pets. Since then, she's covered domestic pet behavior and health, first-hand product reviews, and e-commerce roundups for outlets including Rover, Paw Print, Fetch by the Dodo and more. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, two adventure cats and a flock of urban hens.