I remember the first dog bed I bought for Sugar, our first dog. It was a green pillow that fit into a basket and had just enough room for her and her stuffed toy bee. It wasn’t long before she outgrew that bed and convinced us that she was happiest when she was sleeping with us in our bed, specifically on my side. She had a dog bed, but preferred cuddling up with me. And, truth be told, I preferred that as well.
We’ve always bought beds for our dogs, but none of them really every fit the bill when it came to color/pattern choices, accidents or general cleanliness. I wanted to get the fancy ones with zippers, but they were just too expensive and when Ellie was a puppy, the idea of zippers (metal parts she could chew and ingest) was completely out. Woody really liked his dog beds, but Ellie always commandeered them for herself (even though she had her own) and he would end up on the carpet next to her looking very sorry for himself.
A couple of years ago I decided to whip out the old sewing machine and put together two dog beds, one for each dog. I wrote about it here and the dogs loved these beds. I found really cute fabric and they used them all the time – they even let their friends use them. I called them Dog Bed 1.0. They were a single bed stuffed with polyester fiberfill and sewn shut.
Over time, the beds became stinky and worn, and marked on by visiting doggy friends. I usually caught the ‘offender’ and quickly cleaned the bed before the urine soaked in, but the day came when I realized that I had missed an incident and the beds were beyond salvaging. I could have removed the stuffing, washed the material and started over, but that seemed a little toooooo much work. What I needed was a better design.
So I took some time to think about what I wanted in a dog bed and came up with Dog Bed 2.0. Over the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with a dog bed design that meets the needs of both dog and owner. As a consumer of many dog beds, I designed my dog beds to address the needs that I had and the basic needs of most pet owners.
2. Washable – All my fabrics are pre-washed and the finished beds are machine washable/tumble dried. Makes it great for freshening up a well used bed or in the event of accidents. We’ve already washed Ellie’s bed a couple of times and it comes up brand new every time-so easy.
3. Convenience – My Velcro closure allows for easy removal/replacement of pillow inserts. My experience with Ellie as a pup was the #1 reason I decided to go with Velcro. She was a puppy that ate EVERYTHING and the Velcro closure removes the possibility of zippers breaking as well as puppies and younger dogs gnawing on zipper parts.
5. Waterproof pillow insert option – I wanted to have the option of a waterproof pillow insert to prevent any moisture from saturating the stuffing. I created a plastic sleeve that fits over the pillow and protects the stuffing. In the event of an accident, all I have to do is remove the pillow insert, launder the cover and replace the insert. Easy, peasy.
As I was making my first plastic sleeve, I discovered that while the plastic prevents moisture from damaging the pillow, it also crinkles. And in sewing the waterproof sleeves, I discovered that I needed to make holes along the seams with a straight pin to allow air to escape. Even with this, the air needs to be pushed out of the pillow every now and then or else the pillow can behave like a trampoline ;-). I keep the holes to a minimum to maintain the “waterproof” quality of the sleeve. Honestly, though, it’s worth it to me to put up with a little bit of noise and needing to squish the air out, if it saves me having to replace the pillow inserts.
6. And finally, I never liked the color/pattern choices of the dogs beds in the stores. I have been able to find fun prints and colors and have had a great time coming up with the design.
Since we added a third dog to our household, our pet related costs have risen. While we knew this would happen, I feel good knowing that I’ve come up with something that is economical as well as useful. I’ve made a bed for each of my dogs and have put a few more in my Etsy Shop.
If you or someone you know is shopping for dog beds, consider taking a look at these.
4. Make a Memory Album for each dog. Our dogs are part of our lives and I want that documented along with everything else.
Hey mom – our dog beds are the best, but Woody’s pretty snuggly, comfortable too.