While many dogs like to curl up in a fluffy dog bed or find comfort in an orthopedic dog bed, there are just as many pups that prefer the cool comfort of an off-the-ground dog bed.  A staple in animal shelters, elevated dog beds are given high marks for their simple design, durability, and ease of cleaning. Plus, they’re a great option for pooches that prefer firmer support and seniors with joint issues that make getting up off the ground challenging.  And you can’t beat the durability of lifted dog beds. They are tougher than plush beds and many have chew guarantees, which makes them a great choice for pet parents with destructive pups. But how can you make the right choice for your pup? 

What is an Elevated Dog Bed?

Two puppies on elevated dog bed in yard

An elevated dog bed gives your pup a place to rest while keeping him comfortably above the ground. Elevated dog beds resemble simple cots: they’re typically made with a strong metal or plastic frame and have a durable mesh “hammock” slung across the center for resting. Raised dog beds are at least three inches off the floor and can accommodate dogs of all sizes.

That said, elevated dog beds aren’t a fit for every dog. Some pups require a “getting to know you” phase with an elevated dog bed before they decide to nap. But elevated dog beds have advantages over traditional beds since they don’t absorb odors and they’re simple to clean just by wiping them down. Some are even built to stand up to hosing off in the yard.

The basic elevated dog bed design is standard across all brands with variations like the fabric type, the materials used for the support legs, and their durability. Some beds also have special features like all-weather materials for year-round outdoor use, or an easily collapsible frame for camping and other outdoor activities.  

Choosing the Best Elevated Dog Bed for Your Pup

Puppy outside on elevated dog bed in grass

Consider the following elements when selecting the best elevated dog bed for your dog:

Can it stand up to heavy use? The weave of the hammock portion should be strong enough to withstand your dog’s nails. If you plan to use it outside, it should hold up to the elements as well.

Will it support your dog’s weight? The best elevated dog beds don’t sag no matter how heavy the occupant.

Are there any hidden pain points, like protruding joints or center support beams? Some beds also have gaps in the fabric near the legs that might snag paws. 

Is it big enough to fit your dog’s entire body? It might be tempting to save a few bucks and pick a smaller size, but your dog should be able to comfortably stretch out on a lifted dog bed without body parts hanging over the edge.

Is it easy to clean? Most beds can be hosed off, but some need to be taken apart and put in the washing machine for thorough cleaning.

How We Ranked Our Favorite Elevated Dog Beds

After 20 years as a dog trainer, 6 years behind the counter of my pet products shop, and lots of time volunteering in shelters, I’ve worked with many elevated dog beds. Not only that, my own dogs and foster dogs have had the opportunity to try elevated beds over the years, including several of the beds ranked below.  Here are some of the things I looked for when choosing my favorite elevated dog beds:

Size range. In creating the following rankings, I first considered the size range and weight allowance of each bed. The winner in each category should be able to comfortably fit a variety of dogs.

Ease of assembly. As someone who hates dealing with complicated building projects, I also factored in the ease of assembly. 

Durability. While dog beds on legs are less likely to be a chewing target than plush beds, they still need to be able to stand up to sharp claws and chomps. Elevated beds with a warranty got extra credit points!

User reviews. And finally, customer reviews helped to give a snapshot of how each bed works in a variety of households and with different breeds.

Best Elevated Dog Bed: Overall Winner

Our pick: K&H Original Bolster Elevated Dog Bed

K&H elevated dog bed  

This K&H Elevated Dog Bed is an affordable option that incorporates the comfort of a raised dog bed with a popular pillow-style bed design feature—a removable plush bolster for leaning and head resting. This well-designed bed comes in three sizes and has metal legs and a mesh nylon hammock. This dog cot bed doesn’t require tools to assemble and was simple to put together within minutes. While it’s considered an indoor/outdoor bed, the removable bolster attachment might not hold up to the elements over time. K&H also has optional accessories for heating or cooling their elevated beds, as well as a detachable canopy for sun protection. The size pictured is a large, which probably isn’t big enough for giant breeds. However, removing the bolster offers more surface area. The center hammock area has a slight “give” to the nylon, which means that it might be more comfortable than rigid elevated beds. My dogs were eager to jump on this elevated bed, however, only my larger foster dog opted to rest on it.

Highlights

  • The added bolster provides extra comfort and support.
  • No tools needed for assembly and simple to put together.
  • The nylon cot area has some give and is comfortable for dogs. 
  • We like having the option of purchasing additional accessories. 

Things to Consider

  • This bed only offers a warranty on manufacturer defects, so if your dog chews it you’re out of luck. 
  • The ease of putting this bed together and the lack of screws or bolts holding it together means that an active dog might be able to jiggle the support poles out of the plastic joints.

Sample Buyer Review: “Very pleased with the quality of this bed. Needed a new raised bed for our two standard poodles who love to share a bed and cuddle – together they weight approx 90lbs. They both choose to lay on this bed rather than the couch which is great and they’re happy to snooze in it all day long.”

Best Elevated Bed for Large Dogs

Our Pick: K9 Ballistic Chew Proof Armored Elevated Dog Bed  

K9 Ballistics dog bed

Big dog pet parents know that they need products that can stand up to big dog attitudes, and the K9 Ballistic Chew Proof Armored Elevated Dog Bed fits the bill. This elevated dog bed sets the standard for durability with high performance indoor/outdoor waterproof fabric, a tough metal frame, and a generous guarantee that covers chewing and other canine-related damages for 120 days after purchase.

This bed comes in sizes from small to giant (in dog breeds that translates from Affenpinscher to Saint Bernard), and unlike most elevated beds, the height of the bed varies by size. That means the smaller beds only have a three-and-a-half-inch clearance from the floor, which makes it easy for petite pups to get on. 

The K9 Ballistic bed comes mostly preassembled (the legs need to be screwed in, but no tools are needed) as the edges of the fabric are encased in an almost impermeable metal edge, however, this might be slightly uncomfortable for dogs that sleep stretched out. The fabric is durable and waterproof, and fashion-minded pet parents have three colors and two prints to choose from.

One feature that I especially appreciate is that the beds are sized to fit inside most standard wire crates. It’s usually a struggle trying to find a bed that’s comfortable yet not a potential chewing target for bored dogs. The K9 Ballistic offers a comfy alternative to plush beds both inside the crate and out.

Highlights

  • There are plenty of sizes to choose from and the bed height adjusts based on your dog’s size.
  • The fabric is extremely durable, perfect for dogs that like to chew.
  • It can be used both indoors and outdoors. Plus, these beds can fit inside a variety of crates!
  • The 120-day warranty is a big plus.

Things to Consider

  • Although the feet are listed as skid-proof, larger dogs might cause the bed to shift when getting on or off. 
  • Strong chewers can get through the fabric.
  • The metal edge could be uncomfortable for dogs that like to stretch out. 

Sample buyer review: “We got this bed after trying another brand that dog was able to destroy within the first hour of having it. This bed is very durable and our not so little chocolate lab puppy is loving it!”

Best Raised Outdoor Bed 

Our Pick: The Kuranda Elevated Dog Bed  

Kuranda elevated dog bed

The Kuranda Elevated Bed is a no-nonsense staple at dog shelters throughout the country, including the one where I volunteer. Known for their durability and simple design, the Kuranda PVC Dog Bed looks right at home outside on your porch year round.

The breathable outdoor weave in the hammock part of the bed can stand up to the elements (much like patio furniture, the weave allows rain and snow to drain through) and is easy to clean with soapy water and a hose. However, this all-weather option means that the fabric can only take minor punishment from less destructive dogs. (Kuranda has a chew-proof warranty for their other fabrics but not the outdoor mesh option.) 

The sizes range from a 25 x 18 bed (which is the best option for my two small dogs) to 50 x 36, which easily accommodates a dog up to 100 pounds. 

Highlights

  • This is a great elevated dog bed for outdoor use.
  • It’s very easy to clean and is a top pick at shelters throughout the country due to its durability.
  • Can accommodate dogs of all sizes. 

Things to Consider

  • This bed isn’t exactly easy to put together, but it’s sturdy and easy to clean after assembly.
  • The PVC can be noisy when dogs move around on them.
  • The 1-year warranty doesn’t cover destruction from chewing. 

Sample buyer review: “Many a dog bed has been through my home. I have two German Shepherds, one of which lives to destroy toys and evidently she considers all dog beds her property! So far the Kuranda dog bed has proven itself. It is lightweight, seems pretty tough and the dogs seem to like it. I like it’s simple design and ease of cleaning underneath it when I sweep the floor.”

Best Elevated Dog Bed for Camping

Our Pick: Yep Hho Foldable Travel Dog Bed  

Foldable dog bed for camping

What’s the most important feature of an elevated dog bed for camping? Portability! While nearly every elevated dog bed can be taken apart, pet parents on-the-go with their pups want to be able to set up and break down their elevated travel bed quickly and condense to save space. The Yep Hho Foldable Travel Bed ranks high for its small portable size when folded down as well as for its ease of use. 

The bed comes fully assembled in a convenient travel bag with a shoulder strap. There’s nothing to put together—simply take it out of the bag and extend it to its full size. And while this bed doesn’t look sturdy, it can support up 60 pounds. (One reviewer stated that the bed supported a 90-pound dog!) However, this bed isn’t a great option for sustained everyday use (particularly outdoors) as it doesn’t offer the same level of durability and support as some of the other options.

Keep in mind that other “portable” elevated beds merely fold in half and are still large and cumbersome to carry. Because the Yep Hho bed folds down to about a quarter of its full size it’s a great option for people trying to conserve space when traveling, as well as for those who want to give their dog a comfy resting spot off the ground when out in the wilderness.

Highlights

  • Ideal for travel and camping! Folds into about a quarter of its full size. 
  • Surprisingly sturdy and can accommodate dogs up to 60 pounds.
  • No assembly required. Just unfold and you’re good to go!

Things to Consider

  • This bed doesn’t lock in place once opened which means it can be a little unstable.
  • It’s not as easily cleaned as some of the other options.
  • It’s not the best option for sustained, every-day use.

Sample buyer review: “My dog loves this bed. We take it camping with us and it keeps her from getting nasty laying on the ground.It seems sturdy and packs up nicely like a camp chair. Anyone who camps knows space is a premium in a RV or camper so it’s nice to have something that folds up small, but is still strong enough to hold a 65lb dog.”

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