What Are Dog Beds Filled With?

Do you know what kind of materials are used to fill dog beds? If not, don’t worry – most pet parents don’t, either.

In this blog post, we’ll break down the different types of filling, both loose fill and mattresses, that can be found in dog beds and explain their benefits. We’ll also “fill” you in on how to tell if a dog bed is safe and suggest a few of the more eco-friendly brands.

What are dog beds filled with these days? It’s all kinds of stuff – from recycled fiber fill to foam with traces of formaldehyde. So, read on to find out how to keep your pet safe even if he eats his way into the middle of the bed!

  • Are Dog Beds Filled With Safe Materials?
  • Solid Mattresses
  • Loose Fill
  • Dog Beds Without Fill
  • Frequently Asked Questions
dog bed

Are Dog Beds Filled With Safe Materials?

Are dog beds safe? Many consumers are asking that question.

The truth is not all dog beds are created equal. Some dog beds hide dangerous materials like formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, and mercury. These materials can be toxic to both dogs and humans.

How To Tell if a Dog Bed Is Safe

One way to tell if a dog bed is safe is to look for a CertiPUR-US or a MADE SAFE certification. These certifications mean that the mattress has been tested and found not to contain any harmful toxins.

It’s helpful to look for the guarantee instead of relying on the label, as foams and fills with similar names can be harmless or contaminated.

Eco-Friendly Brands

Another way to ensure you buy a dog bed filled with safe materials is to shop by brand. Many of today’s pet product providers are turning away from toxins like formaldehyde and to certified, non-toxic materials, including recycled and natural fibers.

Two that have been on board for quite a while are Nest Bedding and Brentwood Home. They’ve expanded their “people line” of bedding to include pet beds that are eco-friendly and made with natural products. Nest even uses cotton covers, ideal for dogs with allergies.

memory foam filling, dog bed fill

Solid Mattresses

Dog beds are either filled with a one-piece single, double, or triple-layer mattress or loose fill. While you can imagine all kinds of stuffing, solid mattresses aren’t made the same, either.

Some of the most used foams in dog beds include:

  • Memory foam
  • Convolute (egg crate) foam – a type of memory foam
  • Gel foam – a type of memory foam

Memory Foam

You’ll find memory foam in most orthopedic dog beds, as it wraps the joints to cushion them and spring right back after use. Most memory foams are hypoallergenic, and even though they have a shady reputation from the past, today’s pet providers are turning to safer materials. So, it’s not uncommon to see memory foam with a safety certification.

Memory foam has quite a few orthopedic benefits, but it also retains heat. So, if your pup doesn’t tolerate heat well, you can turn to a memory foam variation, like egg crate or gel.

Convolute Foam

Whether you call it convolute, egg crate, or open-cell, this particular variation of memory foam has little indentations at the top for better airflow.

Gel Foam

Instead of the little pockets built into convolute foam, gel foam creates cooling courtesy of tiny microbeads in the foam.

Eco-Friendlier Memory Foam

While today’s memory foam mattresses are safer than ever, they can still contain some chemicals that can be irritating, if not harmful. However, many manufacturers are now going greener by using soy or corn oil to replace petroleum.

TIP: Some off-gassing is present in all memory foams, but the odor is minimal in safer, greener foams. If you open a package and the smell is overwhelming, investigate, as it could have high levels of toxins.

dog in dog bed

Loose Fill

Like it sounds, loose fill is stuffing that’s shredded or beaded. Depending on how much is packed into the dog bed, it can shift or sag like a beanbag. Loose fill is more often in lower price dog beds, but premium brands, like L.L.Bean, also use it in some models.

3 Common Types of Loose Fill-in Dog Beds

  1. Poly Fill
  2. Shredded Plastic
  3. Styrofoam Beads

As a general rule, we recommend steering clear of styrofoam, but other stuffing can go either way. Those certifications, like CentiPUR-US, make distinguishing one product from another easier. It’s handy, as you could have one dog bed filled with contaminated polyfill and another with recycled and harmless fiber fill.

Nest Bedding, a certified eco-friendly provider, uses recycled plastic fill, and UGG dog beds are stuffed with animal-friendly polyfill.

Dog Beds That Aren’t Filled With Anything

Aside from dog beds filled with mattress or stuffing, you’ve got a third option – no fill.

Cot-style dog beds are taking the industry by storm. Manufacturers like Kuranda and Coolaroo specialize in them. But other brands are jumping on board, like FurHaven.

Elevated models are popular because they’re simple dog beds with canvas (or similar materials) stretched over a PVC or aluminum frame. Without a lot to chew through, they’re virtually indestructible and ideal for pets with allergies because most are mite, flea, and mildew-resistant. They clean with a damp cloth, or you hose them off, and these hammock types of beds will last for years.


How do you know if a dog bed is filled with toxic material?

It can be tricky to determine what dog beds are filled with, as a designation like fiber fill could be harmful or completely safe. So, the best way to assess toxicity is to look for a certification like CentiPur-US or MADE SAFE. You could also stick to eco-friendly providers, like Nest Bedding, Brentwood Home, or UGG.

Are memory foam dog beds safe?

Memory foam had a shaky reputation for years as manufacturers used petroleums and components like formaldehyde. But, if you purchase a dog bed filled with memory foam from a reputable (preferably green) provider with safety certifications like CentiPUR-US, you can find safe products with orthopedic benefits.

Is off-gassing common with dog beds?

You’ll experience some degree of off-gassing with dog beds filled with foam mattresses, and, in many cases, the foam is safe. However, an overwhelming pungent odor isn’t a good sign. Heavy off-gassing signals that the foam is likely toxic and shouldn’t be near you or your fur baby.