My wiener dog Possum Bean is a show stopper because of his unusual color. But all of the attention he gets has a downside because people have just about petted most of the fur right off of him. He shivers from even the slightest cold weather, so making a heated dog bed for him was the answer. Yes, I am kidding about about the petting part, he actually suffers from "Dachshund pattern baldness", probably because of his color, and he really does get easily cold, but lots of dogs would appreciate a nice warm heated bed.
Step 1: Supplies
- Small heating pad (available from most Drug Stores and online, but be sure that it does NOT have an auto shutoff feature, your dog will be ever so unhappy to be cold again after 2 hours. I like the ones with 3 heat settings but Possum Bean only likes the highest setting)
- 2 pillowcases, standard or king, but both the same size
- An old wool sweater or a piece of felt or wool about 2.5' x 1'
- Sewing machine
- Sewing stuff - scissors, pins, thread, seam ripper etc.
- Basket that is about dog sized (optional but it looks nice)
- Stuffing - polyfill, wool, old socks. Maybe the guts from an old pillow.
- Cold dog, less than the size of a standard or king size pillow
Step 2: Sew One Pillowcase Closed
Since you have two pillowcases, use the less nice one for this part because it will be hidden. The second (nicer) pillowcase is going to be used to cover this one so that it can be removed for washing.
Step 3: Making Your Pillowcase Into a Box Style Pillowcase
A box-style pillowcase allows for more stuffing in a better shape for a dog to sleep on, but it is by no means mandatory. It does make it easier to use your other pillowcase to enclose this one because when you are finished making it box-shaped it will be smaller.
Taking all 4 corners, one at a time, measure them about 5 inches or so perpendicular to each corner and mark with a pencil because you will be sewing right on that line. This is harder to explain than it is to understand - looking at the pictures will make it clear.
Step 4: Make a Hole for Stuffing
Along one of the long sides of the pillowcase, rip open a seam so you have a way to get the stuffing in. You don't need a way to get the stuffing out again because you are going to be covering this bed with the other pillowcase that will be coming off for washing.
Step 5: Stuff, Pin Seam Closed, and Sew Closed
Stuff it more full than you think it needs to be, it looks better and probably is more comfortable. If you put your head on it and it feels firm, it is probably the right amount of stuffing. I have found great stuffing in high-end pillows at thrift stores for very little money. The pillow cover may be out of date but if it's stuffed w/ feathers or down it will usually have a pillowcase with a zipper that you can unzip and read the label. If it smells good...well it can be cheaper than buying stuffing.
Step 6: Cut Away the Vinyl Covering to the Heating Pad
Mine was pretty old so the vinyl was discolored. I had some scraps of thick wool around to use as a cover for the heating element but you could use an old wool sweater or anything that can take the heat and not be a fire hazard or give off noxious odors when the heating pad is turned on.
Step 7: Make a Cover for the Heating Pad
Sewing the heating element to the cover is a good idea so you can see where it is when you sew it into a pocket later on, you won't be sewing across any wires because you will know where the outline of the element is. Fold the wool over and sew it closed. Remember to leave room for the cord to plug it into the wall .
Step 8: Stuff Your Box-style Pillow Into the Other Case
Place the wool covered heating pad between the two pillows. The wool case it's inside of will protect your pet from too much heat whereas just a thin pillowcase would not offer as much protection. I did try putting the wool covered heating pad underneath the stuffed pillow but it didn't transfer enough heat to warm Possum.
Step 9: Insert Dogs and You Are Done
Vote for me in the pet contest!