Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Is Straw Good for Dog Bedding? Benefits & Maintenance

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

Beautiful portrait of greyhound dog resting over a straw bed

Is Straw Good for Dog Bedding? Benefits & Maintenance

When setting up an outdoor doghouse, it’s important to line it with good bedding. Bedding helps dogs stay warm and dry and can keep moisture from soaking into the floorboards of the doghouse. Straw is one of the more common types of bedding, and it generally works well with outdoor dog houses when you use it correctly.

We’ll go over the advantages and disadvantages of using straw and how to maintain straw bedding. Once you weigh the pros and cons, you’ll be able to decide if straw is the right type of bedding for your doghouse.

dogster face divider

The Benefits of Straw Bedding

Straw is a natural byproduct of cereal grasses. It’s the dry, hollow stalk that remains after the grains and chaff have been removed from the grass. It’s commonly used for bedding for different livestock like cows, sheep, and pigs.

Straw is a considerable choice for dog bedding for several reasons. It’s one of the more affordable types of bedding, and it’s eco-friendly. By using straw, you’d be reducing your carbon footprint by making use of a natural, biodegradable byproduct of grains.

Straw also acts as an insulator and can keep dogs warm. It can absorb a little moisture but will have to be replaced after rain or snow. Therefore, it’s usually more ideal to use in drier climates.

Closeup of alaskan malamute dog sleeping outdoor on straw bedding
Image Credit: Olha Pashkovska, Shutterstock

Difference Between Stray and Hay

It’s important not to mix straw with hay, as they can look similar. Both are also sold at animal feed and supply stores. The main difference between straw and hay is that straw is used for bedding while hay is used for food. Straw is the dry and hollow husk that remains after grains have been harvested, while hay is dried grass or legumes that are used as animal feed.

Choosing the Right Type of Straw for Dog Bedding

Different kinds of straws have advantages and disadvantages. In general, wheat straws tend to be the most brittle and break easily. Barley straw lasts longer, but oat straw tends to be more absorbent. Since you have several options to choose from, think about your budget and the climate that you live in to determine which type of straw would best fit your circumstances.

When shopping for straws, make sure to choose a variety that feels softer and supple. It should have a moisture content that’s between 15%-20% for good absorbency. Avoid straw that feels dry and brittle. Not only are they uncomfortable, but they can also cause difficulty breathing or respiratory issues due to dust from any breakage.

a puppy Rhodesian Ridgeback livernose sitting on a bed of straw
Hanna Dymytrova-kaihila, Shutterstock

How to Maintain Straw Bedding for a Doghouse

When using straw as dog bedding, it’s important to replace it regularly. Straw can trap moisture and cause odor and mold, especially when it’s hot and humid or rainy outside. Straw is mainly used as exterior insulation for dog houses. A thick layer of straw can be tucked underneath elevated dog houses to help retain heat inside.

In some cases, you can use straw as an interior bedding. However, it requires more maintenance, as leaving it unattended will make it susceptible to mold, fleas, and mites. You can mix cedar shavings to help keep pests at bay, but it’s not safe to use for pregnant dogs and puppies.

It’s also recommended to fluff straw bedding inside the doghouse daily. The frequency of switching it out will depend on the type of hay you use and the climate. Some straw bedding can last several days, while others need to be replaced every other day.

dogster paw divider


Overall, straw is a considerable option for dog bedding. It’s affordable and eco-friendly, and it works well as exterior insulation for a dog house. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if it’s not maintained properly, it will cause mold and attract pests. Straw is easier to maintain if you live in warm and dry areas that get little rain. It’ll take more effort if you live in places that are humid or get a lot of rain or snow.

Featured Image Credit: j_rueda, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.