Best Elevated Dog Bed of 2020
The K&H Pet Products Original Bolster Pet Cot is one that our testers were eager to get their hands on from the start, and it did not disappoint. The bolster, a stuffed pillow of shorts that borders three sides of the bed, sets it apart from the competition, while still utilizing a mesh center to allow for cooling. This bolster makes the bed look much more furniture-like, enhancing its visual appeal. Dogs who like to lean against something or snuggle into a bed will appreciate the bolster, too, as many of our pups preferred to lay their heads on it like a pillow. The mesh on the center of this bed is much softer than any others that we tested, with multiple layers that feel comfortable to the touch. This material held up well to our durability test as well, showing no signs of wear and tear after five minutes of continuously scraping it with a fork to simulate a dog's nails on the bed.
While this bed earned our top spot, there are still a few things we didn't completely love that are worth noting. First, the bed only comes in one colorway: black mesh with a chocolate border. While this may not matter to some, this dark color also makes material of the bed absorb heat when left in the sunlight, reducing its cooling effect. While the bolster is removable and machine washable (win!), the multiple layers of mesh on the bed make it a bit more difficult to clean than some of the others we tested. But, that's the nitty-gritty. Overall, we were very pleased with the bed, its furniture aesthetic, high-quality comfort and feel, and it was certainly dog approved by the majority of our canine testers. If your dog prefers a bed where he or she can rest their head on the side or snuggle into a corner, but needs the breathability of mesh or to simply be kept off the floor, the K&H Pet Products Original Bolster Pet Cot is our top recommendation.
When searching for an elevated dog bed on a budget, the AmazonBasics Cooling Elevated Pet Bed should be high on your list. One of the more affordable beds on the market, it offers the best bang for your buck while performing well, earning it our Best Buy Award. It was sturdy enough for both us and our dog to sit on, held up to our durability test well, and is simple to clean with a hose when it gets dirty. While the set-up process would be best done with two people, once set up, it is easy to move around the house and yard as needed.
The main issue we had with the AmazonBasics bed is that it does not currently come in many different color options. While there is a large range in terms of size to best suit your dog, if you are particular about how you decorate your home or backyard, you might find this option lacking. Also, because of it's tricky set-up, it's not one that you would want to pack up and have to reset frequently. If you get the larger sizes and want to travel with it, this might make it more difficult since the size Medium required the seats of a Subaru Forester to be folded down in order to fit. That being said, if you are not too picky when it comes to color, this bed will treat both you and your furry friend to a durable bed that can be used both outdoors to keep your dog cool and clean or indoors for a nap (we even tried it with a soft bed on top with great success) at a very reasonable price.
The Cooleroo Elevated Dog Bed has been a staple for those looking for an elevated bed in hot weather, and it's easy to see why. Similarly constructed to the AmazonBasics bed, the metal frame provides sturdy support while allowing air to pass beneath the bed and through its mesh-like material. This material is used throughout the entirety of the bed, providing the most cooling surface area of any bed we tested, and because of the many holes on its surface, we noticed that the Cooleroo held dirt less than many of the other beds tested, sifting through the top instead of sitting on top. The Cooleroo is available in a multitude of colors, meaning you and your pup are sure to find one that speaks to your personal taste and preferences.
There are a few reasons, however, why this bed did not earn our top spot. First and foremost, the mesh-like material that makes up the surface of the bed is rough and scratchy. While its woven texture is what allows air to pass through it so easily, it may cause dogs with shorter coats or who are particularly picky to dislike it. During testing, it left indents on our human tester's skin. It did not seem to bother dog testers with thicker fur (who may be the ones who desire more cooling), such as Cali, the Husky. The Cooleroo was also one of the more difficult beds to assemble. Similar to the AmazonBasics bed, one is required to stretch the surface fabric taut while screwing in the frame. We highly recommend doing this with two people, though it is possible with one. Because of this, the bed is not one which you would want to assemble and disassemble often. If you are looking for a bed with superior cooling capabilities that comes in many different color options, check out the Cooleroo Elevated Dog Bed.
Have a pup that can't resist chewing? We've been (some of us still are) there. It can be frustrating to spend money on a high-quality dog bed, only to have your furry friend rip it to shreds. That's where the K9 Ballistics Chew Proof Armored Elevated Dog Bed comes in. Not only does it come with a 180-day chew proof warranty (just in case), but its construction is made with ultimate durability in mind. Its frame is constructed of aluminum, making it unattractive to the chewing-inclined, and the rip-stop bed fabric seamlessly connects to it, leaving zero gaps for a dog to put their mouth or to catch a paw. The durability was further proved during our testing after we were unable to break through the material after five minutes of scraping it continuously in our abrasion test. While this test did leave some marks on the surface, its structural integrity did not seem to be affected, and we did not see any visibly broken fibers. This bed was one of the simplest to set up, only taking us 40 seconds to simply screw the legs of the bed into the metal frame, making it easy to take apart and put in your car, storage, or move around.
One thing to note about the K9 Ballistics bed is that it ranked lower than others when it came to breathability. While the material is thin and did not get hot to the touch when left in the sun (we were testing the light, sandy color; this may differ for the darker colors), it does not have any perforation or mesh, meaning airflow through the actual bed is very limited. It also comes in only a small handful of color options, but some of our human testers found them a little lackluster. If your dog is a super chewer, but still needs a reliable bed to keep them off the ground and comfortable, we highly recommend considering the K9 Ballistics bed.
There is no end to the lengths we will go to in order to make our dogs happy, and the Best Choice Products Raised Mesh Cot with Canopy Dog Bed is proof of that. Fully equipped with a removable canopy for shade and luxury, this bed is like a cabaña for your pup. The bed took only nine minutes for one person to construct, and that includes the set up of the easy to take the canopy on and off. This bed featured no hardware and a Velcro attachment on one side, that made it less frustrating to assemble than some of the competition and might make it more appealing for those who want a bed they can set up and take apart often. We also noticed that while it does not block all direct sunlight, the air beneath the canopy was notably cooler than air in direct sunlight, and it helped keep the surface of the bed from collecting heat. If you live somewhere with low shade, this bed could provide a great, transportable option for your pet to sleep on.
Now, the downsides. While the canopy does provide shade, it is rather low at the entrance and some dogs might not like the sensation of walking under it. It also could present a problem in strong winds, and while it does repel some water, it does not prevent water from getting onto the bed. We would recommend removing the canopy or moving the bed inside if you are expecting strong weather events. It is also worth noting that this bed only comes in two color options. For a piece that makes quite the statement, you may be disappointed if you don't find a color that you like. Finally, while the bed did not break during our durability test, our wear and tear simulation did scrape off the coating of the mesh during the five minutes of scraping and did separate some of the material. The bed still seemed sturdy, but you may find yourself needing to replace the mat material after some heavy usage. In the end, this bed would be great for someone who needs some extra shade for their dog or wants to provide a luxurious place for them to rest their head.
If you have a small to medium-sized dog and want an easy to use, transportable, raised bed, the Paws & Pals Elevated Dog Bed is worth your consideration. One of the easiest beds to set up that we tested, this bed simply unfolds, similar to a camping chair. Also similar to a camping chair, it comes with a carrying stuff bag, making it easy to bring with you on the go, whether you're leaving for a weekend camping trip, a BBQ, or anywhere else you may want to bring your dog along in comfort. Because of its folding structure, this was the only bed tested that did not become taut when assembled. The bed has some intentional sag in the middle, which some dogs clearly enjoyed as it allowed them to curl into the bed. Dogs of different sizes may experience the bed differently. Our 40 lb. mixed breed dog enjoyed curling up on the bed but could not stretch out on it, as the bed is currently available in only one size. For those who do take the bed on the go, they will also enjoy the fact that the cover is easily removable thanks to velcro tabs, and can be machine washed to remove any dirt picked up while playing outside.
Aside from only coming in one size and color (sorry, large breeds!), this bed did not hold up our durability test. We scraped a fork consistently on the same surface area for five minutes, easily scratching through both the top and bottom layers of the bed, creating a hole. The Paws & Pals Elevated Dog Bed also scored low in the cooling category. The bed is constructed of two layers of oxford cloth, with stuffing between them, which allows for no noticeable air to flow through. If you plan on bringing the bed to cooler climates, this could be to your advantage. With these attributes in mind, if you plan on camping with your dog, this bed could be the easiest to transport and simple to clean option you're looking for.
If you are tired of replacing torn or chewed dog beds, check out the Kuranda All Aluminum Dog Bed. Constructed with an aluminum frame and a heavy-duty vinyl bed material, this bed is practically bombproof. It excelled during our fork durability test—after five minutes of continually scraping the same spot, you could see that the scraping left marks on top of the bed, but the structure of the vinyl still felt and appeared strong. We even tried stabbing the bed with the fork as an extra test, and could not break through. It also comes with a one year warranty, just in case. The aluminum frame and vinyl topping also make the bed incredibly easy to clean. Simply brush it off or rinse it with a hose, as the material is not absorbent.
While it's incredibly durable, the bed did score low in a few categories. The metal frame of the bed is very bulky, exposing the plain metal, and may not appeal to some people's taste, especially indoors. Because of the bed's vinyl material, air does not flow through it and it is not very comfortable. Finally, the bed requires a screwdriver and pliers to assemble/disassemble, making it harder to transport or store when it's not needed. This bed would be best suited for someone who is looking for an extremely durable bed, regardless of looks, to keep their dog sleeping off the ground for a long time to come.
The Veehoo Elevated Dog Bed offers many different color options in a comfortable material for dogs of all sizes. Constructing the bed is simple thanks to the use of T joints, with no use of tools necessary. The final step of setup is using velcro to attach the top material around the frame, which helps make the set up so quick. We did have a hard time pulling the material taut enough to prevent sagging, and highly recommend using two people for the final step. The T joints and velcro do make the bed easy to assemble and take down, and could be useful for those who are frequently on the go. We ranked the bed highly when it came to cooling, as the bed did not seem to absorb heat when left in the sun, and thanks to the breathable material, it's easy for air to flow through.
The Veehoo bed is one of the flimsier beds we tested. This is most notable when transporting the bed — it would twist on its hinges a good amount when picked up or moved. This combined with the sagging that can occur if you are not able to pull the material tight enough during the velcro step. We tested the XL 49" size, which provided additional support in the center of the bed. The bed did show signs of wear during our fork durability test. The bed frayed enough to turn the coral color we tested to white, and frayed some of the material. In the long term, the top of the bed may need to be replaced. This bed would be best for someone who values options when it comes to color, wants a bed that is easy to set up and take down, and will provide some cooling for their dog.
Why You Should Trust Us
Together, Sarah Sherman and her canine companion Indy, have made it their mission to bring you honest and insightful reviews across a range of topics. Sarah has been writing in-depth gear reviews for several years, and Indy brings two and a half years of expert dog-napping experience into the mix. Indy is a 40 lb mixed breed dog, who is either running miles at a time or napping in the yard; there is little in between. Indy is a "bed dog," who prefers any kind of surface to the ground and was more than happy to test each bed out. Having gone through the frustration of trying to purchase toys, food, beds, and more for a picky bed, Sarah understands the desire to provide the best for your dog as well as the desire to find the right product the first time. To ensure that their testing was as thorough as possible, Sarah and Indy not only tested each bed themselves (sometimes sitting and napping on them together) but had a number of their human and canine friends join in, too. From Cali the Husky to Nala the Weimaraner to Pacha the Everything Mix and other mixed breeds, our top selections each received a paw of approval.
Our testing process began with elaborate research into the elevated dog bed market, comparing specs and materials and price, before purchasing several models to compare head to head in our backyards, bedrooms, and decks. Our crew of dog and human testers spent weeks sprawling out on each bed. We often left out several beds to see which our dogs preferred to nap in and took careful notes. We washed each one to see how easily and effectively this can be done, and used a hairdryer to test the amount of air movement each bed material allowed to pass through. Our durability test involved scraping against the bed abrasively to simulate weeks to months of dog nails, recording which ones survived, which ones got scuffed up, and which ones bore a hole. We strive to have thorough and exhaustive test methods so that your tough and exhausted pet can have the best rest possible.
Analysis and Test Results
While scouring the internet for the top-rated elevated dog beds, reading other reviews, and narrowing down a selection of top 13 beds to eight beds to be tested in person, each bed was tested with the needs of different kinds of dogs in mind. These needs were broken down into five measurable metrics that resulted in the final rating of each bed. These metrics are Durability, Comfort, Ease of Use, Cooling, and Style. We highlight the top performers in each area below.
If you're buying a bed for your dog, odds are, their comfort is important to you. This metric is highly considered during our review process since it affects the likelihood that your dog will want to use the bed, feel safe in it, and want to sleep in it. While we could not directly ask our pups to write the notes for us, we took it upon ourselves to sit on each bed, feel the material, and consider any other features of the bed that might add to a dog's comfort, while also giving our dogs the choice of multiple beds and seeing which ones they gravitated toward most frequently.
The K&H Pet Products Original Bolster Pet Cot, for example, ranked very high in this category not only because of the bolster which acts as a pillow for the dog, but also because of its mesh material was the softest to the touch that we tested. Our pups also seemed to prefer the comforts provided by the Paws and Pals and Best Choice beds. The Cooleroo, which excelled in other categories, is made of a scratchy material that was unpleasant to the touch, so scored lower here.
If you are going to invest in a dog bed that is likely to be used outside, it's essential that it can stand the test of time, and dog paws. For the sake of the testing process, we needed to speed up the process of wear and tear that beds may undergo, and simulated it through what we are calling the Fork Test. For this test, we scraped a salad fork across the same 6" part of the bed continuously for five minutes, applying moderate pressure.
Not only was this a great arm workout, but it also gave us some insight as to what a dog's nails might do to the surface of the bed after prolonged use. While some of the beds showed more signs of stress during the test, this test revealed others, such as the K9 Ballistics Bed, Kuranda, AmazonBasics Bed, and the Cooleroo which showed very little signs of breaking down, and therefore scored higher. The K9 Ballistics and Kuranda best are the best models for heavy chewers, with metal frames and very difficult to chew bed materials. While we expect both to last a similar amount of time, the K9 Ballistics stood out a bit more in other areas over the Kuranda, making it our favorite model for big-time chewers.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is inherently a human metric. While our dogs are the ones who will be using the bed for sleep (most of the time…), as owners it is important to know how easy the bed is to set up, transport, clean, etc. If there is a special feature of the bed, is it easy to use? We timed the set up of each bed, considering that while they may only be set up once, some people may want to travel with their bed, making it necessary to reassemble in some cases. Our dog friends helped make each bed dirty, and we then cleaned them, assessing the ease of doing so. The beds were moved up and down stairs, inside and outside, and extra features were utilized. We considered all of these things to help ensure that you find a bed that is good for both you and your dog.
An example of excellence in this category can be found in the K9 Ballistics Bed. This bed was one of the simplest we tested when it came to assemble and disassemble (it took us just 40 seconds to set up), allowing for easy transportation and storage of the bed. It was also simple to clean by spraying with a hose or spot cleaning with a towel.
For many, the motivation for purchasing an elevated dog bed is for its superior cooling capabilities than that of a stuffed bed. To test this, we take a blowdryer on full blast and place it directly next to each bed. We then use our hand to feel how much air is felt on the other side of the bed. If more air can permeate and flow through the bed, the more cooling capabilities it has.
Our highest-ranking bed for this metric is the Cooleroo Elevated Dog Bed, as its entire surface is made of a woven, mesh-like material that allows for air to pass through. The Best Choice Products Raised Mesh Cot with Canopy also scored well because it has a mesh center for airflow, combined with a canopy to protect your dog from the rays of the sun.
While style might not matter to your color-blind dog, it may be important to you! A dog bed is essentially a piece of furniture in your home, and for some, that aesthetic makes a difference. For style, we considered the general look of the bed and what different options are available to choose from.
Some beds like the Cooleroo come in a lot of different color options, giving the purchaser more freedom to match their preferences. Others, like the K&H Pet Products Original Bolster Pet Cot, only come in one color option, meaning you are stuck between that color or not getting the bed, so it scored lower.
Thanks to weeks of the rigorous and thorough testing process, we weeded out the bad and mediocre to help you find the best elevated dog bed options for your canine friend(s). Whether you are looking for a durable outdoor bed, something to keep your furry friend cool on hot days, a raised bed for a pup with aging joints, or simply intrigued by the idea of a dog bed that rests above the ground, we hope this helps you find the right bed that suits you and your dog's needs.
— Sarah Sherman