an outdoor dog bed
Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn


When the mercury rises, you're not the only one who wants to recline in a shady spot—many dogs do too. "While not every dog seeks out a cool place to relax, it's critical for heavy-set and short-nosed breeds, which can overheat quickly," says Sarah Wilson, author of My Smart Puppy Guide. Once their body temperature increases, our furry friends regulate it by panting; they can perspire only through their noses and paws. Short-nosed breeds, such as pugs, bulldogs, and Pekingese, can't pant as efficiently as other breeds because of their physiology.
An elevated bed may be just the solution, lifting the dog off the ground so that air can flow below to help him cool down. The addition of a canopy provides shade from the sun's rays—important because dogs can get sunburned. We built the bed shown here using PVC pipe, joints, and couplings for the frame and covered it with all-weather fabric (Sunbrella's Manhattan Cobalt, about $32 per yard; for retailers). With a perch this comfy, you won't have to entice your pet to sit and stay awhile.

If your pet likes extra cushioning, add a pillow: Dog Gone Smart Rectangle Bed, about $99.

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    Tools List

    • miter saw
      Miter saw or handsaw
    • scissors
    • drill
    • tongue-and-groove pliers
      Tongue-and-groove pliers
    • tarp
      Drop cloth
    • iron
      Steam iron

    Shopping List

    (All pipe and fittings: Schedule 40 PVC)

    Bed frame; canopy frame and posts
    1¼-inch pipe for the bed frame. Get 5 feet.
    ½-inch pipe for the canopy frame. Get 5 feet.
    ¾-inch pipe for the canopy posts. Get 5 feet.

    Bed-frame fittings
    1¼-inch three-way side elbow. Get two.
    1¼-inch four-way side-outlet tee. Get two.

    Canopy frame fittings
    ½-inch side-outlet elbows. Get two.
    ½-inch 90-degree elbows. Get two.

    Canopy posts
    1¼-inch coupling. Get two.
    1¼-by-1-inch reducer bushing. Get two.
    ¾-inch coupling. Get two.
    ¾-by-½-inch reducing coupling. Get two.

    Awning fabric.
    2 yards from a 46-inch bolt

    Washer-head screws

    Heat-fused hem tape

    Adhesive-backed Velcro