Dog Bed Material: How much and what kind to Use?

Before sourcing your dog bed materials, figure out the following:

  1. The amount of material you’ll need for each part.
  2. The type of materials that will work for the covering.
  3. What you plan to use for the stuffing to make it comfortable.
  4. What kind of fastener(zipper, Velcro, buttons) you want to use, to remove stuffing materials from the cover.
A dog sleeping on a dog bed

Amount of Material

This will involve measuring your dog and deciding what shape of bed you’d like to make. 

If you want a symmetrical bed that is round, oval, or a shape other than rectangular or square, you may wish to create an actual-size pattern to most accurately determine how much fabric you’ll need.

Remember to add in the material for the top, bottom and sides, as well as for a bolster if that is part of your design.

Note that you can use different types of materials for different parts of the bed, and the same goes for stuffing.

Types of Dog Bed Materials

There are many different choices for dog bed materials. 

Here are things to consider about the cover fabrics:

  • How durable is it? 
  • Does it need to be water/urine proof
  • Is it strong enough for the dog’s weight and claws
  • Is it washable or will it be easy to clean?
  • How will it handle fur?
  • Is it hypoallergenic?
  • Is there enough fabric to piece together given the measurements you’ve taken?
A flannel sheet that got turned into dog bed material

This brightly colored flannel sheet that I obtained from a thrift store could easily be turned into a dog bed cover.

Suggested cover materials:

  • Flannel or fleece – old blankets or sheets
  • Upholstery fabrics – check thrift stores for inexpensive drapery or upholstery material in the sizes you need
  • Vinyl – you may be able to take apart an armchair or sofa for the fabric
  • Faux leather or leather – take apart an armchair or sofa
  • Terry cloth – used beach towels
  • Quilted fabrics – take apart a quilt no longer in use
  • Cotton or linen – old sheets or tablecloths

Stuffing Materials

Again, there are different dog bed materials that can be used:

  • Foam. For durability and comfort, high-density or memory foam is best. For a dog that has orthopedic issues, choose high-density foam that is at least 5 inches thick.*
  • Poly fiber fill
  • Foam peanuts
  • Stuffing from an old beanbag chair
  • Old quilts, pillows, or sleeping bags
  • Rags and old socks (for the bolster)
  • Plastic bags (best if they do not smell like food)

*To test the compressibility of the sample they show you at the upholstery or foam shop, squeeze the piece from both sides with your hands in the middle of the foam sample, not at the edges.


Your options are:

  • Buttons
  • Ties
  • Velcro
  • Zippers

* If the fabric is very heavy it may be easier to add ties or buttons than Velcro or a zipper. 

Sew-on Velcro is recommended rather than the adhesive type. 

* If you do plan to use adhesive Velcro, we suggest you staple it to the fabric as well for best results (sewing through adhesive Velcro is not recommended as it gums up the needle).

Well, that about sums it up. I’d love to see what you’ve done with these instructions, and I’m betting others would too – feel free to submit your homemade dog bed photo here!