How to Make a Calming Dog Bed (NO SEWING REQUIRED)

Dogs that are prone to anxiety often respond very well to a calming bed.

This type of bed is usually soft and fluffy and has sides that come up and cuddle the dog, making him feel more secure.

You can buy a fluffy calming bed, but they’re pricey and you can get the same calming effect without spending a wad of cash.

Read on to get some ideas for how to make a calming dog bed on your own!

What is a Calming Dog Bed?

A calming dog bed is cuddly
Calming dog beds are designed to give dogs a sense of security and relieve anxiety.

The hallmarks of a calming dog bed are a deep, soft pad, fluffy fabric covers, and sides that cuddle the dog to help calm canine anxiety.

A calming dog bed may help you and your dog get the best sleep possible because it helps your dog feel safe and secure.

There are a lot of calming beds for you to buy, and they typically cost a lot of money. Instead of purchasing one, you can make a bed that will soothe and calm your dog.

You may even have the materials already!

Make a Calming Dog Bed From a Pillow (2 Versions)

If you have an old cushion or pillow that your dog loves to lay on you can turn it into a calming bed with almost no effort!

One of the best things about a calming bed is that it has sides that come up and cuddle your dog as he lays in it.

This type of calming bed works best with a very thick pillow or cushion.

If your pillow or cushion is rather thin but you have two that match, then double them up for your calming bed (instructions for double-pillow beds to follow).

1. Make a Single Cushion Calming Dog Bed

This type of calming bed really only works for very small breed dogs like Chihuahuas, Yorkies, and small Dachshunds.

  • If your cushion or pillow has a removable cover, then remove it and wash it if it’s dirty.
  • Using a sharp utility knife or scissors, cut some of the padding from the middle of the pillow, making an area for the dog to sink into so the sides come up and snuggle the dog.
  • Replace the remainder of the pad inside the cover. If desired, use the cut pieces to make a billowy area to serve as a pillow for the dog by tucking it up inside the cover before zipping the cover closed.
  • You can use a hot glue gun or a sturdy glue to keep the bits of foam right where you want them before zipping them up in the cover.
  • Cover the entire bed with a large fleece or faux fur blanket to make it extra cuddly.

We like to secure the blanket over the bed using large safety pins or diaper pins on the bottom so it can easily be removed and washed.

2. Make a Double Cushion Calming Dog Bed

If your cushions are rather thin but you have two of them, or you want an extra-large calming dog bed, then remove the covers and launder them if possible.

This type of bed will work for small to medium-breed dogs, depending on the size of cushions you use. Old couch cushions can easily make a calming bed for a dog up to the size of a Spaniel.

  • Cut the middle out of only the top cushion.
  • When you layer the two cushions, one will be the soft bottom cushion and the other will be a soft bolster top.
  • Replace the covers on both cushions and zip them closed. Stack the cut cushion on top of the solid cushion, then use a sturdy washable glue like E6000 to secure the two cushions together.
  • Because you have only glued the cushion covers together, you can unzip the covers, remove the pads, and wash the covers as needed.
  • Cover the entire bed with a soft fleece or faux fur blanket to make it feel comfy and cozy for your dog.

If you need to secure the blanket over the calming bed, you can use E6000 glue to secure strips of Velcro to the blanket to hold it securely on the bed.

Then you can remove and wash the blanket as needed.

Make a Cave Style Calming Dog Bed

Make a Cave Style Calming Dog Bed
A calming bed gives your dog a sense of safety and security so he sleeps more soundly.

A cave bed is a bed upgrade that small dogs, in particular, find to be very soothing when they’re agitated. They can climb inside and hide, increasing their sense of security and warmth.

If your dog already has a bed but you want to experiment with a cave bed to see if your dog will sleep better, you can easily make a cave bed on your own – no sewing required.

  • Get a faux fur or fleece blanket that will cover 1/2 to 2/3 of the top of your dog’s bed. If the blanket is very thin, then fold it over so it’s double thick.
  • Drape it over the bed, leaving enough space for your dog to go inside and scratch around to get comfortable. You want enough space to let your dog move, but not so much blanket that he gets tangled inside.
  • Once you have it fitted correctly, use baby pins, large safety pins, or a sturdy glue like E6000 to secure the blanket to the top edge of the dog bed, leaving the front open for your dog to get in and out of the cave.
  • Cut off the excess blanket or secure it underneath the bed to get it out of the way. Some dogs love to play in the blanket that trails on the floor once the bed is made.

The purpose of securing the blanket to the top of the bed is to keep your dog from getting tangled in the blanket or losing the blanket while sleeping.

We love to make this style of calming bed for our small dogs because it’s so quick and easy, and the dogs love it.

Make a Basket (or Suitcase) Calming Dog Bed

If you have a low container like a basket, half of a suitcase, or even a wagon bottom you can make a cute calming bed for your dog with or without a cave top.

  • Simply take the container you choose and place a very soft cushion in the bottom.
  • If the container you choose has hard sides, pad them with bolster pillows or cut pool noodles and fit the over the edges for padding.
  • Cover the entire bed with a soft, thick blanket made of faux shearling or faux fur and secure it around the top edge using a sturdy glue like E6000.
  • If you want to be able to remove the cover for washing, secure velcro to the outside top edge of the basket or suitcase and match it to velcro on the back of the blanket. This way you can remove the cover as needed.
  • If your dog enjoys a cave bed, take part of the blanket and loop it over the back of the bed, leaving the front open for the dog to climb in and out.

Secure the sides and back of the blanket cover to the top outside edge of the bed so it’s tight enough to allow the dog to get in without entanglement but loose enough to cuddle inside.

Make a Beanbag Calming Dog Bed

make a calming dog bed from a beanbag
An old beanbag can be quickly converted into a very cozy calming dog bed.

If you have an old beanbag, large or small, you can make a lovely calming dog bed. This only works well for medium to large breed dogs, because very small dogs can sink too far down into the bean bag.

  • If the beanbag you choose has gone very flat consider buying memory foam chunks as a replacement filler. These don’t break down like the styrofoam balls do, and they’re very comfortable for your dog.
  • Refill the beanbag as needed and sew the zipper closed. This is vital because a dog can tear into the filling and make a huge mess or even ingest some which could be life-threatening.
  • Use a soft blanket made from faux shearling or faux fur to completely cover the bean bag. Secure it with large safety pins, baby pins, or install snaps or Velcro to secure the cover.

Final Thoughts

You can make a lovely calming bed for your dog without spending a ton of money, especially if you have the supplies already at home.

We hope these ideas for how to make a calming dog bed have inspired you to look around for ways to make your dog a special bed that is unique and made with love by you.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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