I've tried them all. Hay, straw, rubber mats, wood, pine shavings, cedar shavings, dog beds with foam and without foam. After a week or so on the road, none of them are completely acceptable. For an occasional jaunt to the prairie for a few days on ditch chickens, almost anything will do, but my two to three week expeditions left me looking for a truly comfortable dog bed. I heard about a new dog bed, while pontificating around the back of the truck during a field trial this year. "Wetmutt", someone said. Visions of muddy, wet bird dogs jumping in the box after hours of busting rooters in North Dakota, or chasing Ruffs in Minnesota came to mind. "They are a new kind of dog bed", they said, "They are comfortable, keep the dog dry, absorb the bumps and shakes of dog box travel and the dogs don't like to chew them!", they said. "Right", I thought. How many times have I heard that before. I now own 8 of the beds, of various sizes. My dogs (Brits) prefer them to any thing else. They are soft and easy to clean. The holes allow any residual water to drain through, so the dog isn't lying in water. It also keeps him dry, if you were to have a dog that really needed to urinate. They are super easy to clean- I just hose them off- and I've had no problem with odor over the course of a long trip. I have one chewer in the group and, so far, he's left it alone. I did see a few bite marks on one corner, but he'll tear up any fabric I put in his crate or kennel, normally. I use the Ruff Tough Intermediate kennels in my truck and the WetMutts fit perfectly!
I use the DogDen2 insulated dog house in my kennels at home and the larger mat fits OK. It is perhaps an inch too large, but I push down the edges and let them curl up just a little. After I got my first kennel mat, I watched Ruby, the Queen Bee, choose her box for the night. Only one kennel had a WetMutt mat in it. She would get there before any of the other dogs and make them sort out the other kennels. She preferred the Wetmutt mat.
These mats aren't cheap. They are $50-$60, depending on size. The good thing is they last- at least mine have- longer than anything else I've tried. When I take them out and wash and sanitize them, they look as good as the day I bought them.
These are most definitely a BUY!
(As usual, I'm not endorsed by WetMutt and they haven't given my a thing.)