You would never consider your bed a luxury rather than a necessity, and the same is true for your dog’s bed. Dogs spend much more of their lives sleeping than we do which leads some vets to believe that finding the perfect bed could be even more important to dogs than it is to people. Choosing the right bed can seem intimidating with all of the types, sizes, shapes, and colors, but we’ve narrowed it down to make it easy for you to confidently choose the perfect one for your dog!
Quality beds give your pet support, a sense of comfort, warmth, and relief. Dogs love to lounge on the floor or on the sofa, but getting your pet his very own bed provides a sense of security. When the bed is kept in the same spot it gives your dog a cozy place that he knows is special. Dogs are naturally territorial and appreciate a place to call their own. You can assess what kind of bed will be best for your dog based on his health, habits, age, and size.
Step 1: Make Sure It’s Washable
Vets believe that “the most important element to any dog bed can be summed up in a single word: washable.” Always choose a washable bed or a bed with a washable cover. It is essential for controlling odors, dirt, and fleas. All of our beds are either washable or have a washable cover.
Step 2: Measure Your Dog for Size
When your dog is sleeping or lounging in her favorite position, measure the length of your dog and add 5 inches. If it’s too difficult to measure your dog while she’s laying down, you can measure her from the base of the neck to the tail and add 5 inches. This will allow for extra “wiggle” room so she feels comfortable in her new bed.
Step 3: Assess Your Dog’s Age and Level of Health
Older, arthritic, aching, or sick dogs require more features from a dog bed than a young puppy. These include orthopedic, memory foam, and heated options. You need the bed to support your dog’s joints, and an orthopedic, foam, or heated bed is essential for dogs with dysplasia or arthritis. Choosing the right bed can help alleviate pain and make your dog more comfortable.
Orthopedic: Orthopedic beds have a mattress-type padding to provide support. These are perfect for older dogs with joint pain or thin dogs that need extra cushion to alleviate painful pressure points. Orthopedic beds are also usually roomy which is great for dogs that like to spread out when they sleep.
Memory Foam: Soft memory foam beds support the skeletal system of older dogs and minimize callus development on your dog’s elbows. It also retains heat which eases the pain of arthritis. Memory foam provides comfort, warmth, and support.
Heated: Heated beds are a great choice for older dogs because they help relieve aches and pains from arthritis and joint discomfort because they sooth and reduce stiffness. Dogs become less and less active the older they get and need the help of a heated dog bed to keep them warm and comfortable.
Step 4: Determine Your Dog’s Sleeping Habits
Some dogs like to sleep spread out, curled up in a ball, hidden and burrowed, or leaning against something for support. Watch your dog and observe the positions he prefers to sleep in. This will help you determine the best bed style to match your dog’s sleeping style.
Dogs That Like to Spread Out: A Pillow or Cushion style bed is great for dogs that like to spread out when they sleep. It leaves them with a wide-open space to flop around without any restrictions. They will love the free and cozy feeling.
Dogs That Like to Curl Up, Lean Against Support, or Have a Pillow: Bolster beds, bumper beds, and pet sofas have a cushioned bottom and a raised side, which is great for dogs that love to feel the security of leaning against something. Dogs who like having their head rested on a pillow also love bolster beds. The shape helps retain body heat naturally, which smaller and older dogs appreciate.
Dogs That Like to Burrow: If your dog likes to crawl beneath the bed, sleep under the table, burrow under the blankets, or find secluded areas in your house to sleep, he may enjoy the hooded cozy cave pet beds rather than the traditional open beds. They provide a sense of security that they can’t get from a traditional open bed. Humans probably couldn’t imagine sleeping on their beds without a blanket, so imagine how your dog feels sleeping on his bed without any covers. Small dogs, dogs with light coats, or thin body types like Greyhounds really benefit from cozy cave beds.
Dogs That Get Hot When They Sleep: We’ve all seen the fluffy dogs that just can’t seem to cool off after play time or on a hot day. It can leave us feeling helpless seeing them panting trying to get relief from the tile floor. If your dog is a hot sleeper there are great solutions available.
Cooling Beds: Cooling beds are great to have indoors as well as outdoors during hot summer months. Sometimes the cool floor isn’t enough to give a hot dog relief. You can also get a cooling gel pad to use on top of your dog’s existing bed or cot.
Mats: Useful for dogs who prefer the cool tile rather than a typical bed but still provides some cushion or protection from hard floors or bare crate bottoms. If your dog loves to sleep in bed with you or on the furniture you can use a mat to add a layer of protection to keep your furniture from getting damaged or worn.
Cots: Easy to care for and clean but aren’t as padded as some alternative bedding. Perfect for dogs who just want to be up off the hard floor. They are very durable and can last for years with very little maintenance or upkeep. A simple spray-cleaning and air dry will do the trick. Ideal for dogs living in hot climates or young dogs who don’t require padding.
Step 5: Decide If Your Dog Needs An Outdoor Bed
An outdoor dog lives a very different lifestyle than a dog that spends all of his time inside. These dogs require outdoor types of beds to go along with their adventurous tastes including waterproof beds, heated beds for the winter months, cooling beds or cots for the summer.
Waterproof Beds: If your dog likes to hang out or sleep outside, he still deserves a cozy bed to relax on. A traditional indoor bed will get ruined quickly outside, but our waterproof outdoor/indoor beds are perfect for a dog that likes to explore.
Heated Outdoor Beds: Smaller dogs lose body heat easily and can greatly benefit from a heated bed. If you live in a colder climate a heated dog bed is a must, especially if your dog lounges outdoors. You can buy pet bed warmers to place inside your existing pet bed or add a heated kennel bed to an existing crate or dog house.
Cooling Outdoor Beds: It can get brutally hot in the summer, and any dog that stays outside is at risk for heat stroke unless its owner takes precaution. Large and brachycephalic breeds have a hard time staying cool and benefit from the cooling relief of a cooling dog bed.
Cots: Cots are perfect for dogs that love to lounge outside because they are raised off the ground. This keeps your dog feeling cool in the summer and warmer in the winter. Cots have a waterproof fabric, which makes them extremely easy to clean. The sturdy framing makes them great for bigger dogs. The cots have heating and cooling mats available as accessories.
If the idea of buying a pet bed for nighttime makes you uneasy because you love sharing your bed with your dog and can’t let go of that quality time you have together, there is the option of purchasing pet steps which will make sleeping in your bed much easier for your dog. Pet steps are a necessary accessory for smalls dogs, long-backed dogs who are prone to back injuries and shouldn’t be jumping (such as Dachshunds), or older, arthritic, and ill dogs who need help getting in and out of your bed safely and comfortably.
Once you have established your dog’s unique sleeping habits and health concerns, you can easily blend features and find the perfect bed for him. Many dogs require more than one feature from a bed. Some will need an orthopedic bed with a heating feature, a hammock with a cooling feature, or a cozy cave with memory foam support. Once you’ve established what features your dog requires in a bed, you can find the perfect one from our selection that combines the features you are looking for.