Introduction: Build a Dog Cot for Around $10

Picture of Build a Dog Cot for Around $10

Build an effective, durable cot for your dog for around $10

Step 1: Materials and Supplies

Picture of Materials and Supplies

· PVC pipe 1-inch (inside diameter determines the size) schedule 40 (thick wall). Can be purchased at Home Depot for about $2.48 for a 10-foot stick.

· Three way corner pieces (1 inch) item # F100W3W. Can be purchased at C & S Plastics 1550 5th. Street SW, Winter Haven, Florida 33880. Phone number 863-299-6639. Cost about .99 cents each if purchasing 240 count. This is a furniture grade specialty item that cannot be found at many places.

· Open weave plastic mesh marine upholstery fabric (similar to Phifertex) is the best choice to use. Awning fabric (similar to Sunbrella) can also be used, but it is not as easy to disinfect or dry. If only doing a few beds ask your local boating upholstery shops for scrap pieces. If needing fabric in bulk search the Internet for best prices.

· Buildex Teks Lath Screws #8 X 1/2" can be purchased at Home Depot for about $5.49 a box with 260 count. If needing screws in bulk contact Fastenal located at 295 Lewis Street, Fort Walton Beach, Florida or call at 850-302-0285 can be purchased for about $1.53 per 100 count. Ask for part number 32142.

- Cordless drill with variable clutch settings

- Screwdriver Bit

- Screwdriver Magnetizer (optional but very helpful if doing this alone)

- Rubber mallet
- Ratchet type PVC cutters

- Safety Glasses

- Tailor's chalk for marking fabric

- Fine Tip Sharpie for marking PVC

- Heavy Duty Scissors

- Stiff ruler


Step 2: Cutting Instructions

· Small Cot

o Cloth size needed 36" X 29"
o Cut two pieces of PVC at 18.5 inches long
o Cut two pieces of PVC at 25.5 inches long
o Cut four pieces of PVC at 4 inches long
o Finished dimension is 22" X 29
o One stick (120”) of PVC = one small cot with 12 inches of scrap.

· Medium Cot

o Cloth size needed 34.5” x 38.5”
o Cut two 24” pieces of PVC
o Cut two 28” pieces of PVC
o Cut four 4” pieces of PVC
o Finished Dimensions is 27.5” x 31.5”
o 1 stick (120”) of PVC= 1 medium cot with no scrap. This Size is most efficient use of your PVC.

· Large Cot

o Cloth size needed 36” x 45”
o Cut two 25.5” pieces of PVC
o Cut two 34.5” pieces of PVC
o Cut four 4” pieces of PVC
o Finished Dimensions is 29” X 38”
o One 10 foot stick + 20” of PVC= 1 large cot

Step 3: Assembly Instructions

Picture of Assembly Instructions

 Assemble the main frame. Make sure there are equal lengths of PVC on opposite sides to produce a frame that measures finished dimensions. 

Step 4: Continued.

2. Now, take a rubber mallet and pound each corner piece joint with medium force to secure them in place. If you find the joints are loose and turn easily, reinforce with a small piece of duct tape placed on the end of each piece to make the connection tighter.

Step 5: And More

Picture of And More

Center the frame on the cut fabric. Use a ruler to measure around
      the outside edges making sure the frame is centered on the fabric

Step 6:

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 Fold each corner and slip the folded corner under the edge of the
  frame with out moving the frame out of center.

Step 7:

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On the long side of the frame fold the cloth edge over about ½ inch and then fold a second time (double fold). The fabric should line up in the center line of the PVC on the bottom side of frame

Step 8:

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Attach one screw through the fabric at the mid point of the PVC
making sure that the screw penetrates all layers of fabric.



Step 9:

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 Add a total of about 7 to 9 screws (depending on the size of the
cot you are making) on this one side to secure fabric to PVC.

Step 10:

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On opposite side of cot stretch fabric by pulling tightly. Add first screw at midpoint, then add the final screws evenly spaced.

Step 11:

Repeat steps 6 through 9 on the short sides of cot.

Step 12:

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Set the frame on a level surface. If the frame is not square(wobbles) lay the frame on its’ side and face the bottom. Twist the frame until it is square.

Step 13:

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Add an additional screw on the back side to lock the corners to the rails as shown. This prevents the frame rail from turning which will cause the fabric to bottom out like a hammock and drag the ground. 

Step 14:

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Set the cot frame upright. Follow this method to get corner piece screws evenly spaced.

(Step 1) Add the first corner screws dead center of each corner top.

(Step 2) Now turn cot on its’ side and place a screw on each side of the corner pieces.

(Step 3) Now add 1 more screw evenly spaced between the first top screw and the side screw. You should end up with a total of 5 screws holding the fabric to each corner piece. See illustration for 3-step process. NOTE: IT IS EXTREAMLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU NOT LEAVE A FABRIC EDGE THAT A DOG CAN GET A GRIP ON WITH HIS TEETH. THE CORNERS ARE THE MOST LIKELY PLACE A DOG WILL BEGIN TO CHEW. PLACE SCREW HEADS NEXT TO THE EDGE OF FABRIC. DO NOT LEAVE A LIP OF FABRIC ON THE EDGE.

Step 15: Finished Product

Picture of Finished Product

Here's where all your hard work pays off!


Seapony21 made it! (author)2017-03-29

So go big or go home! Lol! So this was quite a bit more than 10$, but i doubled the size and had to add bracing! Thanks for the idea they love it!

sandyf818 made it! (author)2016-10-04

I made this! Got the outdoor fabric at Walmart for $4.97 a yard. Directions were easy to follow and I had no problems constructing this!

holly faye (author)2016-03-16

I saw a commercial pet cot on "coolaroo" and thought that looks doable. Theirs had the (nylon) fabric as removable for washing/replacement. I think they must have used velcro or as suggested previously, sleeves. Great practical comfort for pets of all kinds!

nightmaremaker023 (author)2015-07-25

I'm thinking of making a bunch of these for the animal shelter. do you think it'll work?

I work at a humane society and was wondering the same thing.Especially in regards to durability from wear and tear as well as being able to easily and effectively clean on a daily basis.

trevormates (author)2013-10-29

Very nice.

You can get the 3-Way Fittings cheaply and in a whole mess of sizes from You don't need to buy a 240 count of them either! :)

I also recommend their furniture grade pvc pipe, as a previous poster stated, as it won't degrade outdoors.

Great Ible!

atully-lund (author)trevormates2015-11-13

at Ace Hardware the 3-way fittings were $4 something.

atully-lund made it! (author)2015-11-13

$40, a trip to the doctor and three hours later we are done. Thanks

llittle4 made it! (author)2015-10-16

I made two with 1" pipe and one with 1/2". So far my Shepard likes hers my other big one for my ridgeback I need more cloth. The small one is for my chihuahua which he isn't to sure about yet. Thanks for the ible, was easy to follow and do.

hasselhoph (author)2015-09-02

What holds the pipes in the corner pieces? Just pressure fit? A different plan I saw used screws to screw through the corner pieces into the pvc legs. Seeing that, I thought that pvc glue would be robust enough. Or is there a reason to not permanently fix the legs into the corner pieces?

smendez7 (author)2014-04-30

I stumbled upon this site and thought "what an awesome project". I want my dogs to be comfortable but I hate smelly dog beds. I made 2 of them. I used 11/2 pvc pipes cause my dogs are heavier. I had to special order the corner connectors. I got real lucky and found the mesh fabric for .25 a foot. Both beds were made for under 50$. My dogs love their new beds and I love not having to wash any more smelly beds.

mbracero (author)2014-04-20

Hi, what fabric did you use to make the pockets for get into the pvc? Did you make it with a domestic sewing machine?



nmarshall6 (author)2013-08-03

Great idea, but defiantly not around $10. I could see around that price if I got scraps of fabric for free from a place, but I bought "duck" fabric.

phizz50677 (author)2013-05-05

I made a version of this this weekend. I made it large, really large, so it would fit snugly in the outdoor kennel. Final size of mine is 5' x 3' and 12" legs. I made it tall because I know he will get his toys under it and stand there and bark at them if he can't get to them. :) I used "duck" fabric which I am certain will rip out eventually. I had to order my 3 way corners off ebay, found the duck fabric at Walmart. Your instructions were awesome and easy to follow and I really appreciate finding this!! Thanks!

Sturnl (author)2013-03-03

Nice job, i am looking for someting like this but then to take on a camping trip so mabey one without the legs!

vhosey (author)2012-12-25

What breed of dog is that in your picture? He/she is gorgeous.
And thanks! This is exactly what Ive been looking for.

cwyorkiex3 (author)2012-10-29

Thank you for sharing!Alot cheaper then in the store.

Lique (author)2012-03-18

Thanks for the tute. I found the 3way corner piece @ Lowes. I also found the open weave vinly @ Hancock Fabrics and it was $19.99 but I used a 40% off coupon to buy a yard.

Harborseal (author)2011-11-06

Also, another way to make a corner which is available where you bought the pipe and might be cheaper in small quantities is to use a T and a 90 degree elbow. The middle opening of the T points down to connect to the leg. A short segment (2.5 - 3") of the PVC pipe connects the T to the elbow and the elbow connects to the short side. The disadvantage of this is that pressure directly on the short side pipe can flip the bed. A T piece with leg reaching to the floor can be added in the middle of the short side to prevent this. That can make the 2 short sides uneven though. For my dogs (125 - 180 lb skinny Newfoundlands) I'd need 1 1/4 or 1 1/2" pipe. :)

Harborseal (author)2011-11-06

The lettering comes off with acetone easily, or rubbing alcohol with more effort.

dstellhorn (author)2011-05-29

Great article--thanks! I customized the size a bit to fit in one of the extra-large ASPCA dog crates, and the dog loves it! Just a note for anyone thinking about changes to the sizes listed--mine is 40" in its longest dimension, and the PVC flexes quite a bit under a 70 lb bulldog mix. If you're considering anything much larger, or for a heavier dog, you may need more rigidity in the frame.

friscojazzlvr (author)2011-01-28

My lab only eats beds/blankets in her crate so I used your great tutorial to make a crate one with a few EZ changes. Since she cant access the legs or the bottom once its in the crate this version is more forgiving for a rookie. Basically its a topper sitting on a folded blanket inside her crate--she luvs it!
*3/4 PVC cut to fit inside her crate (used the plastic tray from her crate as a guide)
*3/4 x 3/4 x 1/2" PVC Elbows for the corners (all basic stock @ Home Depot-under $2 each sold individually).
FYI: The 1/2" is threaded, the 3/4" sides are not--i did not find elbows with all smooth 3/4" sides
*1/2" threaded male risers (black cut-to-length PVC around 6" long in the Sprinkler/Irrigation Aisle-also cheap). You can adjust leg length individually by screwing in the riser as needed to level--just cut to fit. I wanted it short/more head room, so cut them 2" long--this gives you 1" high leg.
(You could also look for 1/2" white PVC male connectors + cut PVC pipe for legs.)
I folded her blanket smaller than the cot size then laid cot over it--its more padded & less stress on the cot fabric pulling on the screws since its not bearing all her weight. I removed the plastic tray that came with the crate.
I used black striped Sunbrella fabric from Jo-Annes Fabric store & cut the scraps into ribbons, then hot glued them onto the legs like a tube to cover up the white 1/2" PVC (remember she can't access the legs)--black legs blend into the black crate. Hope this helps :o)

marybarrow (author)2010-10-29

We made one of these types of beds for a dog that was incontinent but we used a mesh fabric. Instead of using screws, we made pockets that the pvc pipe slid into on all sides. Yours is a wonderful instruction.

jdege (author)2010-07-26

A Google search on "furniture PVC fittings" will return a number of sources for those three-way fittings. You might want to think about using furniture grade PVC pipe, as well. The plumbing grade PVC pipe degrades and gets brittle in sunlight, and has all that ugly lettering printed on it.

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