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Winter Bedding For Dogs

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Dog beds with bolsters, orthopedic mattresses, and self-heating options are recommended for winter bedding.
  • Linen is a sturdy and fashionable option that repels dog fur and stays fresh with age.
  • Rugs can be soft and comfortable with a rubberized back to prevent sliding and protect from moisture.
  • Towels or blankets can be used as warm bedding but should be washed frequently and checked for damage.
  • Wood chips, such as cedar or pine shavings, can provide warmth and insulation for outside dogs, but be cautious of allergies and bacterial risks.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Licensed veterinarian and animal behaviorist with over three years of experience and a Ph.D. in Poultry Science.
Published on
Friday 22 March 2024
Last updated on
Monday 30 October 2023
Winter Bedding For Dogs
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The icy cold winter season screams warmer and thicker beds for maximum comfort and coziness. Nonetheless, you might be wondering what to put in a dog house for bedding; that’s why you have come across this article today. Fortunately, you can worry less about the cold because we will guide you to the best winter bedding in town! 

Dog Bedding for Winter

Looking for the best bedding for outdoor dog kennels is not a challenging game. To help you begin your search, we have listed five types you can efficiently and warmly use in any freezing season. Feel free to read ahead to know each bedding better!

Dog Beds

When looking for the best dog bedding for winter, the first thing you can think of is getting a cozy dog bed. While this option can be more expensive than other choices, its features are top-notch because it can keep your furry friend warm yet comfortable. For instance, you can grab a traditional one with four or more inches of bolsters and stuffings.

On the other hand, you can also come across self-heating beds that use reflective metal films to regulate your pup’s body heat. If you want something warmer, you can get electric ones with heating elements that warm the bed up. Also, beds with orthopedic mattresses are popular because they improve mobility, promote healthy joints, and assist in curing back and muscle problems.

Relatively, Doring et al.‘s research on using dog beds by laboratory beagles recommends padded, soft beddings for elderly canines. So, if you opt to get a dog bed for your four-legged friend, you can consider its needs and conditions.


If you want a sturdy yet fashionable dog bedding material, linen is undeniably your furry friend’s best match. According to Danny E. Akin‘s research on this fabric, linen consists of fine, long, and strong fibers that make the quality excellent. Since its strength is stellar, you can consider it sturdier than cotton or wool.

Thus, with that said, you can rest assured that linen can withstand any dog that will use the bedding. Furthermore, this fabric also gets better with more washes and with age. It is also comfortable, skin-friendly, and refreshing in summer yet warm enough for winter. 

In addition, if your furry friend often shreds hair on its bedding, linen can end that problem. That is because it effectively repels dog fur, minimizing the need to clean the bedding from time to time. Lastly, it offers cushion while keeping any mess and insects from staying in the fabric.


Aside from dog beds and linens, a soft, comfy rug can also be a superb option. You can notice that its features and benefits are similar to those linens can bring. Nonetheless, what makes it exceptional is that it contains a rubberized back that keeps the bedding from sliding around. Also, it helps safeguard the bed from moisture.

However, since this material is challenging to use as a blanket, it may not be the warmest bedding for outside dogs. Besides, it only works best on well-behaved canines that do not chew things. If you have a dog that does otherwise, you can provide it with one that possesses sturdier threads.

Yet, this fabric can still be cozy and soft for your pup’s body. You only need to get one from a high-quality brand to guarantee that it is not thin and too frigid to use during winter.

Towels or Blankets

While towels and blankets provide warmth to humans, there is no doubt that they can also make the best bedding for dogs. In this case, you can find a soft yet sturdy duvet in your closet to give to your furry friend. If you do not want to sacrifice one of your favorite sheets, you can look for one you no longer use often. Yet, refrain from providing your pup with something torn apart or worn out.

To make your blanket’s lifespan longer, you can wash it often to keep it clean and prevent odors and dirt from piling up inside the sheet. Moreover, since it can be a place for spiders and other bugs to hide, we suggest shaking the blanket once a week.

Additionally, you can check it regularly to see if there are ripped parts and chewed threads. If you find defective seams and worn-out areas, do not hesitate to throw the duvet out to avoid ingesting torn filler materials. 

Wood Chips

You might find them weird, but using wood shavings for dog kennels also lands a spot on the best outdoor bedding for dogs. These materials can warm canines during winter while providing support and soft cushions. However, you must choose the safest wood chips because some can bring risks.

For instance, cedar and pine can offer insect-repelling features, preventing bugs and fleas from entering your dog’s house. They also give comfort and insulation for maximum coziness, but their pleasant smell can irritate dogs with sensitive respiratory systems and noses. So, with that said, we suggest keeping an eye out for sneezing and other allergic reactions.

Wood chips composed of thin shavings are also better than those with hardwood chunks because it can be uncomfortable lying down on the latter. Nonetheless, these materials are not advisable for lactating or pregnant dogs because they can harbor bacteria, causing health problems. Also, puppies can become severely sick from getting these organisms.

Bad Choices for Winter Beddings for Dogs

Opposed to the previously enumerated winter dog bedding types, you can also encounter the worst choices for warm dog beds. Sometimes, you may think these materials are superb, but they are entirely different from what you expected.

In this case, you may ask, does hay keep dogs warm, or are straws excellent options? Continue reading below to know the answer!


Hay is popular among people engaged in livestock businesses because they make excellent bedding for this industry. However, if you plan to use the same material for your dog, it is best not to do it. That is because hay can serve as an eminent habitat for fleas, bugs, mites, and other bacteria that cause sarcoptic mange.

In addition, since hay can also become contaminated with other harmful organisms from farms, there will be no surprise if it brings pathogens and livestock diseases. It can also quickly rot once they get wet due to accidental spills. Besides, they can fail to offer any other benefits that wood chips can bring.

Still and all, if hay is all you can have now, you can temporarily use it because it can add insulation underneath and outside your dog’s house. Yet, you must not put it inside the house to prevent the risks we mentioned earlier.


If you want cheap bedding for dog kennels, you might want to choose newspaper over any other option. Nevertheless, even though it can be an acceptable choice, you will need to replace it too often because it falls apart quickly. While it can be lightly absorbent, it can still become useless once entirely wet.

On the flip side, newspaper is slightly safer than hay, although the ink from the letters can stain your four-legged friend’s fur. It also allows you to shred it into long strips if you wish to, but we recommend leaving it as it is to have a whole sheet of newspaper.

Meanwhile, you can crumple each sheet and flatten them again to trap air pockets between the papers. This way, you can have more cushioning features to warm your dog in the cold. You only need to use numerous large-sized newspapers to achieve more coziness and warmth.

Saw Dust

Like hay, sawdust is also prevalent in the livestock industry but not for dog use. If you think it is soft for your furry friend to lie down, that is not the case. Contrastingly, sawdust will only harm your dog because it will only enter its eyes, nose, and mouth.

Aside from that, since it is too fine-grained and dusty for bedding, it can clod your pup’s moist crevices and cracks. Besides, it can be beyond dangerous to your dog’s health if it accidentally ingests sawdust while lying on it. It also does not provide a cozy place to stay, and it can be excessively messy to use.

With that explained, sawdust is not ideal bedding for a dog kennel even though it is cheap. You can choose another option you can also derive from wood, such as wood chips and shavings. That way, you can ensure that your furry friend is safer and more comfortable.


Opting for straws can be your cheaper alternative to wood shavings, but how much can you offer to make your dog safer? This material remains out of the list of the best bedding for outdoor dog kennels even though it can make warm dog beds due to its insulation features. Furthermore, its softness brings numerous risks, such as a higher tendency to attract fleas and bugs.

As stated earlier, hay can be an excellent habitat for mites, bacteria, pathogens, and other pests. Since it is highly similar to straws, you can expect straws can also bring these harmful microorganisms. Thus, for that reason, you can switch to another option if you want to prevent such pest-induced diseases. 

Why Is It Necessary to Add Winter Bedding?

While some dogs can sleep on the bare ground due to their thick coats and fur, it is still necessary to give them winter bedding to keep them warm, cozy, and comfortable. It will also give them a pleasant and relaxing spot to spend the cold night. After all, you may not want to see your furry friend squirm on the floor because of the frigid temperature. 

In addition, preventing canines from getting exposed to wintry weather can help them reduce the risk of having cold-induced winter illnesses, such as hypothermia, frostbite, and kennel cough. Lastly, winter bedding can protect your furniture, flooring, or dog’s house from scuffs and scratches. The latter can also destroy the entire dog house further once the damaged areas rot and get severe.

Winter Bedding For Dogs: FAQs

Although looking for good dog bedding can be easy, it is still understandable if you remain unsure of what to choose. So, should you have further inquiries about an outdoor dog bedding winter, read these frequently asked questions below! 

How can I keep my dog’s bed warm in the winter?

You can add blankets, towels, linens, rugs, or bedding to your dog’s bed to make it warmer and cozier. If its bed is on the ground, you can slightly raise it to minimize the coldness. Moreover, you can put insulation or anything that can regulate warmth on it.

Do dogs need blankets in the winter?

Yes. Your furry friend can have difficulty regulating its body temperature, so giving a blanket can help it become warmer. Also, letting it sleep on a blanket instead of lying on the floor can give it a more comfortable spot to spend the night. Otherwise, it will find its warm place to sleep if you fail to provide one.

What can I put in my dog’s house for warmth?

You can put wood chips, such as cedar or pine shavings, inside your dog’s house to help regulate heat in the interior area. These materials can provide warmth while repelling insects, bugs, and fleas from entering. If you do not have wood chips, you can opt for extra blankets, linens, thicker dog beds, or rugs.

What is the warmest bedding for outside dogs?

Wood chips top the list of the warmest bedding for outside dogs. It provides cushioning, support, and enough insulation to keep your furry friend comfortable, balmy, and cozy during winter. In some instances, hay and straw can also be warm, but they bring several risks, so they are not advisable.

What keeps an outside dog warm in the winter?

Providing a warm shelter, thick clothes, and cozy blankets can keep your dog warm outside in the winter. You can also provide heaters and a heated water bowl. If you plan to upgrade its bed to cope with the chilliness of the surrounding, you can elevate it to prevent touching the icy ground.

Anyone can undoubtedly feel cold once winter kicks in. However, since dogs can sometimes fail to regulate their body temperature, they need warmer bedding and thicker clothes during these times. So, if you want something that can save your dog from the cold, knowing what to put in a dog house for bedding is one of the best ways to make them cozier and more comfortable!

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