How to: 100% Washable Dog Bed

The Problem: Meet our dog, Big Margo (Fig. 1) weighing in at 150 pounds not counting the drool that is always hanging from her jowls. Hobbies include repeated licking and slobbering on our small sofa and her own dog bed. Her first dog bed was blue and probably purchased at Target. The cover could be washed, but not the filling, which still smelled like an enormous animal (for good reason, see figure 1). The filling also quickly became very lumpy and squashed and it took increasingly longer for Margo to turn around in circles and lay down on the bed.

washable dog bed

Fig. 1

The Solution: A 100 percent washable dog bed, liner and stuffing, and where the stuffing would not so easily spread out and become lumpy. Numerous internet searches were completely fruitless. The words “100 percent washable dog bed” came up in numerous searches but clicking the link revealed that only the cover was actually washable at all. False advertising!

Enter the Husqvarna Emerald 116 sewing machine that I received for Christmas. I took matters into my own hands.

Step 1. Purchase a cheap-o comforter from somewhere cheap-o. This comforter does NOT have to look good. I chose an ugly floral pattern which I purchased at Savers for $6.

Step 2. Cut comforter in half. Fold each half in half again and sew edges together (Fig. 2). Note that your edges do not have to look nice nor does the thread have to match (Fig. 3). This item will spend a lot of time under your dog’s butt, so don’t stress out.

washable dog bed

Fig. 2

washable dog bed

Fig. 3

Step 3. (optional) Repeat on more comforters if you love your dog a lot and want to make the bed extra soft and nice. I did not repeat for Margo’s bed.

Step 4. Sew a “pillowcase” that’s just a little bit bigger than your two comforter squares. The width of my “pillowcase” was about the same, but the length was somewhere around 2 inches longer to accommodate a fastening. You can use whatever fabric you want. I used a plain cotton, but if your dog is Big Margo I suggest using something more sturdy (see Step 7 and Fig. 5).

Step 5. Hem the edges of your giant pillow case and sew on Velcro (Fig. 4). If your dog is huge like mine, it’s very important to purchase sew-on Velcro in particular. My first attempt used stick-on and failed miserably.

washable dog bed

Fig. 4

Step 6. Put comforter squares into the “pillowcase” and Velcro those edges shut. Ta-Da!

Step 7. Stare in dismay as you return home a mere few days later to find that Big Margo has ripped huge holes in your lovingly created bed (Fig. 5).

washable dog bed

Fig. 5

Step 8. Repair holes. I ironed on some backing stuff that the women at Jo-Ann’s told me about, and then decided to make cute dog bone patches out of some leftover fabric (Fig. 6). I sewed these on with a zig-zag stitch all around the bone shape. Next time, I would definitely just buy some iron on patches.

Washable dog bed

Fig. 6

Step 9. Watch huge dog relax on bed (Fig. 7). Whew! To wash, just take out the comforter squares and wash them and the cover. Now you have a truly 100 percent washable dog bed! No more dog stink.

washable dog bed

Fig. 7

Cost Breakdown:

comforter from thrift store: $6
fabric from Jo-Ann’s: $10
washability: priceless
Total: $16


  1. Hi! I just followed you over from Young House Love and I just had to say that Big Margo is absolutely gorgeous! I just love that big squishy face and I want to smooch her… Precious.

  2. Thanks Oonafey! She’s a sweetheart.

  3. I’m excited about trying this out, I have 2 big English bulldogs and man does their beds stink! I actually took them out to air out and walked outside to get them back in and gagged, no wonder my house smells horrible and i blamed it on the poor doggies ( well actually it is their fault but not their fault that i can’t wash them without them tearing up). Now if I can find someone with a sewing machine I will have a project for them LOL

    • Hope it works well for you once you find a sewing machine. 🙂 I would always be surprised how “doggy” gross the house smelled after I’d been gone for awhile like on vacation or someting! The things we do for those dogs. 🙂