Dog barking near their kennel.

Dog Kennel Bedding Ideas

Written By Olivia De Santos | Canine Coach, Professional Writer & Video Content Creator.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | Double B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 3rd June 2024

So your dog loves their kennel? Why not make it even better with some plush dog kennel bedding?

If you’re wondering what you should use as bedding for your dog’s kennel, you’re in the right place.

Today we’ll discuss why kennels need bedding, the available options, and how to choose the right option for your furry friend.

Let’s dive in!

Why Does Your Dog Need Dog Kennel Bedding?

So you’ve got your dog a kennel. It’s a simple resting place, perhaps for outdoor or indoor use.

Does your dog even need bedding inside a kennel? Yes. Here’s why:


The first reason to invest in kennel bedding is comfort.

If you love a soft bed to rest on, so does your pup! Bedding material keeps your dog warm and cosy. When given the choice, most dogs will prefer to sleep on a softer, warmer surface than a hard or cold one.

The cushioning protects your dog's joints from hard surfaces and prevents musculoskeletal issues from developing in the future.

This is particularly important for elderly or disabled dogs who need that extra support on their joints.


It might sound counterintuitive as kennels tend to be made of easily washable materials. But bedding can help you keep your pup’s kennel clean.

For starters, if you have a puppy that is still potty training, a good waterproof kennel bed can absorb urine and prevent lingering odours.

You also need to take extra precautions for incontinent elderly dogs.

Regardless of “accidents”, proper bedding can help trap dirt too. As most kennels are outdoor, your dog is more likely to sully their kennel with muddy paws than their indoor beds. So having an easily washable base keeps the space cleaner for longer.

Temperature Regulation

Bedding can both warm up your pup and cool them down. It all depends on the materials you choose.

If the kennel is completely outdoors, bedding that can provide insulation during colder weather is essential or your dog could suffer from hypothermia. (1)

Likewise, during super hot weather in the summer, a cooling mat can be a literal lifesaver, helping your pup keep their temperature down.

Stress Reduction

The jury’s out as to whether dogs are denning animals. (2)

But one thing’s for sure – a dog needs plenty of calm spaces they can call their own to rest whenever they are stressed.

Kennels and crates do wonders for that. One of my former dogs, Max, adored his kennel as a place to escape and relax.

But it’s even better when the kennel is cosy with fresh, comfortable bedding.

By adding bedding to your dog’s kennel, you create a sanctuary they can run to whenever they are experiencing stress and anxiety.

So now you know why kennel bedding is important. Let’s look at the different types of bedding available so you can buy the right one for your pooch.

Types of Dog Kennel Bedding

If you Google “dog kennel bedding”, you’ll likely get a smorgasbord of items that could fit the bill.

So below I’ve outlined all of the possible products you could choose complete with pros and cons. Let’s dive in!

Crate mats and pads

Crate mats and pads are probably the most obvious candidates for kennel beds.

Typically, they are made from foam or memory foam, providing your dog with a comfortable surface to lie on.

They are also relatively affordable and come in various sizes. So you can quite easily find a crate mat to match the size of the kennel.

Best of all, crate mats are pretty indestructible (if well-made).

If your dog tends to chew or scratch their bedding, we highly recommend looking into a crate mat. Crate mats are durable with tough exterior materials and therefore resistant to damage.



  •  Comfortable
  • Not the best option for dogs with mobility issues
  •  Easy to clean
  • Durable
  •  Available in various sizes including XXL

Blankets and towels

It’s pretty common for dog owners to use old blankets or towels as kennel bedding.

After all, it’s not your dog’s primary bed so why spend a ton on bedding when a couple of old sheets would do?

Well… they will serve their purpose, and this method will save you money. But it’s not the most practical option.

For a start, blankets and towels don’t tend to be very thick. So they aren’t as comfy as a proper crate mat or kennel bed.

They also don't provide much insulation during the cooler months.



  • Budget-friendly
  • Doesn’t provide insulation
  • Easy to wash
  • Not the best for dogs with mobility issues
  • Not the best for dogs with mobility issues

Crate beds

Crate beds are specifically designed to fit snugly inside your dog's kennel.

What’s the difference between a crate bed and a crate mat?

Simply put, crate beds, tend to have raised sides. They are a bed within a bed.

So a decent crate bed is a cosy spot for your dog to curl up and rest their head.

They are typically made from a variety of materials, including polyester, plush, or even orthopedic foam for older dogs.

The downside? Quality crate beds are pricier than a bunch of blankets. But you can always repurpose a crate bed for travelling purposes.



  • Designed to fit kennels and crates perfectly
  • More expensive
  • Comfortable and supportive
  • Not the best choice for chewers
  • Available in different styles and materials

Related: The Best Bed For Crates -  Available In Australia

Orthopedic mats

Orthopedic mats are similar to crate mats but with a twist. They have orthopedic bases that provide extra support and comfort.

These are excellent for dogs that require joint support, such as older dogs or those with arthritis.

But all dogs can benefit from a bit of extra luxury padding in their bedding.

Like crate mats, orthopedic mats often feature a non-slip bottom to keep them in place within the kennel.

However, this is not a budget-friendly option. Ortho dog beds in general are quite pricey.

They also don’t come in the same range of sizing options as regular crate beds.



  • Excellent support for joints
  • More expensive
  • Thick and comfortable
  • May not be ideal for heavy chewers
  • Made of premium durable materials
  • Not as many sizing options available

Related: The Best Orthopedic Dog Beds Available in Australia

Elevated beds

Elevated or raised dog beds are designed to keep your dog off of the ground.

They consist of a frame with a mesh or fabric sleeping surface.

These beds provide excellent ventilation which are great in hot weather. They come in a wide range of sizes that could fit snugly in a kennel.

They are also resistant to moisture and super easy to clean.

However, they aren’t naturally cushioned. This can be better for some long-haired dogs who prefer the extra ventilation.

Because of the lack of cushioning, elevated beds aren’t great for cold weather.



  • Great for hot weather
  • Not cushioned
  • Easy to clean
  • Not suitable for cold weather
  • Durable
  • Suitable for kennels of all sizes

How to Choose The Right Bedding for Your Dog

So many options aren’t there? How do you choose the right one for your furry friend?

Here are five factors to consider:

1. Your dog's size and breed

It’s a bugbear of mine that there simply aren’t the same amount of bedding options for larger dogs as there are for smaller dogs. So some bed types – like elevated dog beds – are simply harder to find for larger dogs.

Long haired dog breeds may also prefer kennel bedding with less cushioning so they don’t get too hot. So consider your dog's specific needs and preferences.

2. Age and health

If you have a senior dog or one with health issues like arthritis, opt for bedding that offers extra support, such as orthopedic mats.

3. Chewing habits

If your pup is a chewer, go for kennel bedding that is harder to destroy. Crate mats and elevated dog beds are great for chewers.

4. Climate

Consider your local climate before you buy. If you live in Northern Australia where the temperature is pretty toasty all year round, you might want a cooler option. Elevated beds are great for hot weather, while thicker, insulated options are better suited for colder southern regions.

5. Cleaning and maintenance

Choose bedding that is easy to clean and maintain. That means machine-washable and durable materials like nylon.

My Final Thoughts

To wrap up, there are plenty of options when it comes to dog kennel bedding.

The right fit for your pup is the one that fits their sleeping style, age, and health, as well as your local climate.

I hope this article was helpful to you!

Want to learn more about dog kennels? Check out our other articles:


What kind of bedding do you put in a dog kennel?

There is a wide range of bedding options for kennels including elevated dog beds, orthopedic mats, crate beds, and even old blankets. For the most comfort and support, crate mats and beds are usually best.


  1. Coates, J. October 20, 2021. “Dog Hypothermia”. PetMD. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  2. Sen Majumder, S., Paul, M., Sau, S. et al. (2016). “Denning habits of free-ranging dogs reveal preference for human proximity”. Scientific Reports 6, 32014 (2016).

Olivia De Santos

Olivia De Santos is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach, Professional Writer and Video Content Creator.

Olivia has over 10 years of experience writing professionally and is a dog Mum to Pip, her Podengo and Blue, her Flat-coated Retriever. She loves writing pieces to help people to be better dog owners.

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