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The Six Best Dog Beds for Winter: Warm and Cozy Cots for Your Canine

They may wear a fur coat all year long, but dogs can still get chilly in the winter – especially if forced to sleep on a cold floor or a substandard bed.

And while some breeds are insulated enough to keep them warm while sleeping on an iceberg, most dogs prefer a nice warm place to sleep when the days are short and the nights long.

Fortunately, there are a number of great beds available that will help keep your dog warm and comfy through even the longest winters. Below, we’ll examine a few of the best warm dog beds and discuss some of the major considerations you’ll want to keep in mind when making your selection.

See our quick picks below, or continue reading for full details and reviews.

Quick Picks: Best Warm Beds for Cold Winter Nights

Types of Warm Dog Beds

There are four basic ways dog beds can help keep your pet warm, although there is a bit of crossover at times.

In order of increasing warmth:

 Traditional Beds

Traditional beds keep your dog warm by insulating him from the cold ground or floor.

Generally speaking, the more material used to stuff the bed, the warmer it will keep your dog, so look for traditional beds that have 4-inches or more of loft. Additionally, bolsters will help further insulate your dog, so they’re typically desirable as well.

 Enclosed (“Cuddler”) Beds

Cuddler beds provide insulation to help retain your pet’s body heat like traditional beds do, but they take things a step farther. Typically, cuddler beds have a half-dome roof, which works somewhat like a blanket, and gives your pooch a place to burrow in and stay toasty.

Some dogs don’t like sleeping in this type of covered manner, so it is not appropriate for all individuals.

 Self-Heating Beds

Self-heating beds incorporate highly reflective metal film (similar to that used in the making of “survival blankets”), which redirects a significant amount of the heat radiated from your pet’s body right back at him. Because they provide a great deal of warmth, yet are very affordable and require no electricity, these have quickly become the preferred style for many owners.

 Electric Beds

Electric beds work just like heating pads or electric blankets. They have enclosed heating elements, which warm up when the unit is plugged into a wall outlet. Some models include a pre-set thermostat, while others feature an adjustable thermostat, which you can set at the desired temperature.

Warm beds for dogs

Things to Look for When Selecting a Bed

There are a few things you’ll want to seek out when picking any bed, and there are a few additional characteristics to look for when trying to find one that will keep your dog especially warm.

 Suitable Loft

Cheap dog beds often flatten with use, which not only makes them less comfortable, it means they won’t keep your dog as warm as a loftier bed will. You’ll usually want to go with a bed that is at least 4 inches thick, unless you have a big dog. In this case, you’ll want to look for a mattress that is 6 inches thick or more.

 Removable and Machine-Washable Cover

Even if you have a neat and tidy pooch, you’ll need to wash your dog’s bed cover regularly. Otherwise it will become coated in saliva, little drops of urine, hair, and dirt, making it unhygienic and smelly. Most modern beds include removable covers, but a few budget-priced models forego this feature and should be avoided whenever possible.

Appropriate Size

You don’t want your dog hanging off the bed and resting his head or legs on the floor. Not only is this uncomfortable for your pooch, it won’t keep him as warm as he’d be if he fit properly on his bed.

The Best Warm Beds for Cold Winter Nights

There are a variety of great dog beds on the market, but some will keep your dog warmer than others. Any of the six options detailed here should keep your canine cozy when the mercury falls.

We’ve included three different styles in our recommendations: traditional, self-heating and electric.

1. Reversible Rectangular Cuddler Dog Bed

About: The Reversible Rectangular Cuddler Bed is a straight-forward and affordable bed that will keep your dog warmer than many other pet beds will. Because this bed features two different fabrics – one that will help keep your pet warm, and another that will help keep your pet cool – it works well all year long and in a variety of climates.

Features: The Reversible Cuddler Bed is a 21-inch-long by 25-inch-wide, chili-and-taupe-colored dog bed. One side of the bed is covered in luxurious, luxtouch fabric, which is designed to help keep your pet warm, while the other side is covered in unisuede, which helps keep your dog cooler.

Despite the fancy fabrics used in the construction of the bed, the entire thing is machine washable. This bed also features a tufted base, which helps ensure the filling remains in place, no matter which side is facing toward your pet.

PROS: Most pet owners were very pleased with the Reversible Cuddler Bed and praised the bed’s durability, aesthetics and impressive loft. Most dogs appear to love using the bed, and the different fabrics seem to work as intended.

CONS: There aren’t many downsides to this bed, but it is rather small, making it unsuitable for large dogs. It is likely appropriate for dogs in the 10- to 20-pound-range, or perhaps a little larger.

2. Sofantex Plush Pet Cave Bed

About: The Sofantex Cave Bed is a great option for dogs who like to burrow deep into their bed. If your dog typically tries to make a “nest” in his regular bed, this may be a great way to give him the body-contact he desires.

Features: The Sofantex Cave Bed features a Sherpa polyester lining, which will keep your canine cozy while he sleeps, and a non-skid base to ensure the bed stays where you want it. Available in both Red and Coffee colors, this bed looks great and is built to last. The dome is removable via a zipper on the back, so if your pooch is feeling more social, he won’t be forced to hide away if he doesn’t want to. The entire cover is machine washable – all you need to do is unzip the outer layer and throw it in the wash.

This bed is available with either a 25- or 30-inch diameter, although both are most suitable for relatively small dogs. The smaller size is suitable for dogs below about 20 pounds, while the larger may accept dogs in the 30-pound-range. However, because dogs come in different shapes and sizes, it is difficult to predict the appropriate size with certainty.

PROS: A number of owners reported that the Sofantex Cave Bed was more durable than they’d have thought. Others were very happy with the aesthetics of the bed, and loved that it was easy to keep clean. Most dogs also appear to love it, although some didn’t seem to use it as intended (more on this below).

Being able to remove the top during the warm months is an added bonus, which makes the bed quite versatile. Finally, the Sofantex bed is very affordable, especially considering the quality materials and craftsmanship it bears.

CONS: The most common problems mentioned by owners related to sizing problems or the fact that the half-dome top would not stay upright. This meant that many dogs simply lay on top of the entire bed, squishing the top under their body. The bed may still be useable like this, but it certainly defeats most of the point.

A few owners complained that the bed had a plastic odor for several days after opening the product, so you may want to air it out for a few days or go ahead and wash it before using it. A few customers also complained that it was not chew-proof, but it is not advertised as such, nor are any of the other beds in this review.

3. Aspen Pet Self Warming Beds

About: The Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bed is designed to keep your pet warm via a layer of heat-reflective material located inside the mattress. This will allow you to keep your dog warmer than most traditional beds can, but without the need for electricity.

Features: The primary distinguishing feature of the Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bed is the internal reflective film, which reflects your pet’s radiant heat right back toward his body. This type of technology works without electricity, and yet is very effective at maintaining a warm temperature for your pup.

The bed’s exterior is covered in corduroy and a non-skid bottom, while the interior features a faux lamb’s wool for maximum warmth.

The Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bed is available in several different configurations and sizes.

We recommend one of the models with bolsters for maximum warmth. This includes a 19-inch-diameter round model that is suitable for very small dogs, or any of three rectangular lounger style beds, with sizes ranging from 24-inches by 20-inches to 35-inches by 27-inches. They also offer a 27-by-36 non-bolstered, pillow-style bed.

PROS: The Aspen Self-Warming Bed was very well-received by dogs and owners alike. Most owners were happy with the heat-reflecting technology used in the bed, and appreciated that it was completely safe. Dogs seemed to love the warmth and most used the bed eagerly.

It is also nice to be able to choose from several different shapes and sizes, to select the perfect dimensions for your dog. It can be hard to find a bed suitable for really big dogs, but the largest lounger model should work for pretty large canines.

CONS: The most common complaint from owners who tried the Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bed related to the reflective film inside the base. Although the majority of owners confirmed that the material certainly keeps their pet warm, some reported that the crinkly sounds it made put some pets off.

Some owners also suggested that the sounds made by the film set off their dog’s predatory instincts and encouraged intense chewing sessions. Whether or not that is the reason they did so, many problem chewers appeared especially eager to destroy their Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bed – so you may want to avoid if you have a heavy chewer on your hands. However, this is likely true for any self-heating bed of this style.

4. Easyology Self Warming Thermal Bed

About: The Easyology Self-Warming Thermal Bed is a super-affordable option for keeping your pet warm at night. This bed uses a thin layer of reflective material which bounces your dog’s body heat right back at him to protect him from cold temperatures.

Features: This 31.5-inch by 17.3-inch, pillow-style pet bed uses also uses a foam-backed reflective film to keep your pooch warm. There’s no need to plug the bed in – this bed is safe and comprised of only non-toxic, pet friendly materials. The bed features a plush, giraffe-print sleeping surface and a no-skid bottom. And the cover is machine washable, so keeping it clean is a breeze.

One unique aspect of this bed is that you can swap out the reflective film for a cooling pad (sold separately) during the summer to keep your dog comfortable all year long. Easyology backs this product with a 100% unconditional, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. If you or your dog aren’t a fan, just let Easyology know and you’ll get a refund.

PROS: Most owners found the Easyology Self-Warming Thermal Bed to be quite effective at keeping canines cozy in the cold. Many reported that it was very durable, great looking, and easy to wash and maintain. The very affordable price tag attached to this bed also elicited plenty of praise – most agree it’s a great value.

Most pets (including cats) seemed to find the bed quite comfortable, and there were relatively few complaints about the crinkly sounds that accompany some other beds that use heat-reflective films.

CONS: Very few owners had anything negative to say about the Easyology Self-Warming Thermal Bed. However, a few noted that the bed was thinner than they’d have liked.

5. K&H Manufacturing Thermo-Snuggly Sleeper

About: The K&H Manufacturing Thermo-Snuggly Sleeper is an electric-warming pet bed with a plush pillow and 5-inch bolster to keep your dog as warm as possible. The heating element in this bed is removable, allowing you to machine wash the bed as needed to get rid of dirt and odor.

Features: The K&H Manufacturing Thermo-Snuggly Sleeper has an internal heating device to actively provide heat to your dog, unlike traditional beds or those with heat-reflective films, which simply contain or redirect your dog’s body heat. This provides a much more effective way to provide high levels of heat and keep your dog warm in especially cool conditions.

This heavy-duty warming power might be best suited for dogs with outdoor dog houses or who hang in outdoor garages during freezing cold temps. Still, there’s always a degree of added danger when involving electricity. If your dog’s a heavy chewer, you’ll certainly want to avoid anything electric with those chew-tempting wires.

However, if your dog is relatively calm and not a ferocious chomper, electric beds can work. We always suggest covering any wires for added safety and keeping them as far and removed from your pet as possible.

This bed is actually designed to be operated continuously, so you don’t have to worry about turning it on or off throughout the day. Just plug it in and let your pet use it as he wishes.

The bed is certified by MET Laboratories and exceeds the safety standards for both American- and Canadian-made products.

When it comes to sizing, the bed is oval-shaped and comes in medium (20-inches by 26-inches) or large (24-inches by 31-inches) sizes. The bed is also covered by a 1-year limited warranty.

PROS: Most owners were very happy with the Thermo-Snuggly Sleeper, and they reported that it kept their dog happy and warm through the night. The entire bed is well-made, including the bolster section. Two-inches-thick and 5-inches-tall, the bolster is reportedly quite sturdy and helps to contain some of the heat coming from your pet and the included heating element.

Although this bed requires electricity, it doesn’t require very much, and it is unlikely to have a significant effect on your heating bill. Additionally, the testing procedures undertaken during the production of the bed help ensure that it is very safe, which will give you a little peace of mind.

CONS: As few owners complained that the heating element was underpowered or undersized. However, none of these complaints were especially common, and they were certainly not representative.

6. K&H Pet Products Lectro-Soft Outdoor Heated Pet Bed

About: The K&H Products Lectro-Soft Outdoor Heated Bed is an electric dog bed that is great for dogs who must sleep outside at night. However, this bed can also be used indoors, if your house is particularly cool or your dog just likes to be extra warm.

Features: The bed’s cover is made from a soft, absorbent PVC material that is both durable and comfortable. You can use this bed indoors, but it’s actually designed for outdoor use. Accordingly, this bed pumps out quite a bit of heat and is rated for sub-zero temperatures. However, it doesn’t require much juice to keep your pet warm, so it won’t cause your heating bill to explode.

This bed is available in three sizes, including small (14” x 18”), medium (19” x 24”), and large (25” x 36”). The cover is removable for easy washing, but we couldn’t find any information on whether or not the liner was machine-washable. Nearly all liners are, but we still recommend washing gently.

PROS: Most owners were very happy with this bed, and dogs seemed to love using it. It appears especially useful for large dogs who live outdoors or struggle with joint problems. Most owners report that it held up well to normal wear and tear, and several praised the cover and the heavy-duty electric cord.

CONS: This bed is not a good option for dogs who like to chew, as several owners reported their dog was able to access the heating element after a brief bit of chewing.

Our Recommendation: The Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bed

Any of the six beds detailed above should help keep your dog warm, but only a few come in a variety of sizes.

However, the Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bed comes in three different configurations and multiple sizes, making it suitable for dogs of varying shapes and sizes. It doesn’t require any electricity, and there is no reason to worry about your pet’s safety.

What Kinds of Dogs Benefit Most from Warm Beds?

Again, not all dogs will need an especially warm bed if they are sleeping indoors. Your malamute, for example, would probably go play in a blizzard if you let him; he’s probably not going to get chilly while sleeping in your climate-controlled house.

But other dogs will benefit significantly if given the chance to snooze on a warm-and-cozy bed each night. Some of the dogs that will benefit most include the following:

 Small Dogs

Because dogs are always radiating heat into the cold winter air, those with more surface area relative to their volume will get chillier quicker than those who have a lot of volume and a relatively small amount of surface area.

I’m not going into the math, but, assuming they are the same shape, small dogs have much more surface area relative to their volume than large dogs do. This means that small dogs will usually appreciate a warm bed.

 Lanky Dogs

Like small dogs, those with a lanky build have more surface area relative to their volume than thicker dogs of the same size. This means that, generally speaking, greyhounds, whippets, and salukis will appreciate a warm bed more than bulldogs and mastiffs will.

 Dogs with Short Fur

Your dog’s fur works like insulation and helps keep him warm. Accordingly, those with more fur will generally remain warmer in cool temperatures than those with short hair will.

So, if you have a Rhodesian ridgeback, Chinese crested or pit bull, you’ll probably want to give serious consideration to obtaining an extra warm bed.

 Dogs Suffering from Hip, Elbow or Spine Issues

Much like they do for people who suffer from bone or joint pain, cold temperatures can make your dog more miserable than usual. But a warm bed – particularly a bed made for dogs with hip dysplasia and other problems – will help cut the chill and keep your canine more comfortable.

 Dogs Who Must Sleep Outside

Dogs who sleep outdoors must always be given a safe, warm, and dry shelter into which they can retreat, but it is also a good idea to give these dogs the warmest bed you can to ensure they don’t suffer and shiver through the night.

In fact, it is probably better to avoid this practice entirely, but that’s not always possible (for example, some dogs have jobs to do outdoors during the night). Just be sure that you always keep your dog’s safety and comfort in mind if you must make him sleep outdoors.

If your dog sleeps outside, make sure to check out our articles on the best winter dog houses, top ideas for dog house bedding, and strategies for heating an outdoor dog house without electricity!

There’s no easy formula to use when selecting the proper bed size, as different dogs sleep in different positions. Just try to measure the amount of space your dog takes up when sleeping comfortably and look for a bed that matches this size.

Does your dog enjoy an especially warm bed? We’d love to know about the make and model you’ve given him. Let us know all about your experiences below, in the comments.

Last update on 2018-12-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author Ben Team

Ben is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about animals, outdoor recreation, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more by Ben at FootstepsInTheForest.com.

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