With over hundreds of dog beds to choose from, one probably has to wonder, “It’s only a dog bed, right?” But the important reality is that no two dogs are the same, even if they are of the same breed.
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes–which is why you’ll run into a half-dozen shapes and sizes of beds in your search. To find the perfect dog bed, you must understand the anatomy of your dog. Are they a tall, 30 lbs, or a short 30 lbs; or are they a medium-height, 100 lbs; or a king-size, 100 lbs? Why do these measurements matter so much? Well, for one, dog beds have weight limits. Weight limits are used to give dog owners an idea of how much comfort and support a bed can provide for its surface area.
For example, a Standard Poodle who is 24″ at the shoulder and weighs a healthy 40 lbs will need a bed that is twice the size for that of a 40 lbs English Bulldog. Knowing this, you’ll want to pay close attention to weight limits and dimensions the manufacturer provides so that the bed can not only contain your dog but also provide your dog with years of total comfort and support.
Ever notice dogs that constantly get up from one sleeping spot and move to another? Or dogs that sleep belly up? Or maybe you own a dog that pants at night and can’t figure out why? These are things dogs do to keep cool. Dogs with shaggy coats will overheat laying on overly-plush surfaces. Carpet flooring is enough to overheat certain dogs on a hot night. Avoid overly plush beds that help preserve body warmth as this will be one of the reasons your dog doesn’t sleep on their newly purchased dog bed. As comfy as the bed may be structurally, certain features can make dog beds intolerable for breeds who keep warm with their own fur.
Like humans, dogs all have a sleeping preference. Don’t think it’s true? Observe your dog closely: they either nest, lay out flat, or lounge with limbs in all directions.
Dogs that love to lay out flat should not be forced to curl up and nest. And dogs that love the security of nesting and cuddling up against a wall will prefer a nesting bed over a flat rectangular bed. It’s not rocket science.
Types of beds
Bolster dog beds feature what may resemble a couch arm-rest wrapped around a dog bed. These bolsters–sometimes called bumpers–allow dogs to prop their heads or simply cuddle and nest against them. They are the best of both worlds for dogs who love to lounge and nest against something at night.
Rectangle dog beds
Rectangle dog beds are your traditional, pillow style dog beds. They are flat on all sides, and are perfect for dogs who love to occupy a space from toe-to-toe.
Round dog beds
Round dog beds are great for dogs who love to curl but no so much cuddle against a bolster. Similar to rectangle dog beds, they are flat on two sides, except now we’re dealing with diameter dimensions. The best way to measure a dog for a round dog bed is to measure them from their nose to their rear. Understand, round dogs beds need to be large enough to contain a dog should they decide to lay out flat, too.
Cave dog beds
There are also cave dog beds. While these are not the most popular of the four, the idea and concept looks neat. These beds will suit dogs with very strong urges to den. If you own a dog that loves sleeping under bedding or inside a pile of dirty laundry, then a cave dog bed would be a great choice.
Orthopedic memory foam dog beds are beneficial for dogs of any age and any size. They are especially beneficial for dogs ailing from arthritis or those recovering from surgery. Large breed dogs who are prone to hip dysplasia and other bone related diseases do best on memory foam support–as does any dog suffering from muscleskeletal problems.
Memory foam – This is the highest form of bedding used in orthopedic dog beds. There are many grades of memory foam, so be sure to research on the quality of memory foam being used to construct a dog bed before spending hundreds of dollars. You want a memory foam that has a good lbs/square foot rating. You basically want good density for the given area. For example, an XXL dog bed, which may be for a Bull Mastiff, needs to have high density memory foam that can keep this massive breed elevated in the foam, while small to medium size dog beds may use medium density foam for dogs who may not weigh as much.
Convoluted foam – This is the second most popular form of bedding in orthopedic dog beds. Not to be confused with memory foam, convoluted foam is a very open-cell foam used commonly as a base or topper. Convoluted-only beds do not make good orthopedic dog beds because they do not provide long-lasting support. Convoluted foam has a tendency to “bottom-out” in a matter of months of use. In short, this foam works best in conjunction with other bedding.
Some dogs just never learn to differentiate their toys from their bed. For those pesky chewing-dogs, there are chew-proof dog beds to end this horrible habit. These durable beds feature impenetrable fabrics and impeccable stitching so that dogs give up on their fight against their dog bed. The overall design of a chew-proof dog bed should make it difficult for a dog to grasp the idea of turning their bed into manageable pieces.
Stain-resistant features for a dog bed is great for dogs that tend to slobber all over the place. Fabrics which are stain-resistant have a very tight weave pattern and, or, dipped in safe liquids that form a protective-barrier. These beds keep odors and moisture from penetrating the filling and are easy to clean with a damp cloth or spot cleaning solution.
Eco-friendly and organic
With millions of consumers being more conscious about manufacturing practices and the environment, dog owners are now doing their part more than ever. Every style of dog bed imaginable is being manufactured from 100% post consumer waste. Organic farming has made hemp and cotton the most popular fibers used to construct some of the comfiest and safest beds available in the dog market.
Plastic bottles are also putting in their share. Manufacturers have found ways of transforming plastic bottles into 100% safe and resilient fiber to be use as an inner-fill.
And for dogs with sensitive skin, there are even natural dog beds made using only 100% natural dyes and fibers–synthetic dyes and certain nylon fibers are known to cause allergic reactions in dogs suffering from skin disorders. Many of these beds come with a certification of being 100% safe of harmful substances.
No matter how cool a dog bed may look sitting in in your living room area, you never want to sacrifice the functionality and durability of a dog bed over its presentation. We all want a dog bed to flow with our existing decor in our home, but understand dog beds are going to be functioning pieces in which dogs recharge and revitalize for the day ahead.
Washing and care
Washing and caring for your dog’s bed will require meticulous attention–way more than you think. Dogs are no strangers to crawling insects and dirt; this eventually tracks onto everything they touch.
If you’re going to invest in a good dog bed, you want every component to withstand machine washing and drying. The bed should feature some way of disassembling–should it be zippers or industrial velcro to get the covers off–and constructed durable enough to withstand a handful of machine washes.
If you’re going to be buying the best bed possible for your dog, you want to make sure replacement parts are readily available. Being able to order a replacement inner-pillow or cover is something to look into if you’re spending some good change because dogs will be dogs.
Having an extra dog bed cover you can use while you wash a dirty one isn’t a shabby idea, either.
Don’t buy cheap
Buy nice or buy twice! That’s what I always say.
There are manufacturers who make quality dog beds that can last for years at a time. Sometimes a lifetime. A quality dog bed can provide even level support and look great because they were manufactured with dogs in mind. Don’t settle for cheap, dandelion fluff, because you’ll be opening up your wallet in no time for a replacement bed.
Some dog owners spend thousands of dollars in a dog’s lifetime replacing beat up dog beds. So, why not, buy one and be done? Again, if you buy from a manufacturer who designs products with the safety and over-all well-being of dogs in mind, you’ll be much happier than buying products from companies only trying to get a piece of the 53+ billion dollar pet industry.
Dogs need their beauty sleep
The amount a dog sleeps will differ from breed to breed and dog to dog. Puppies and older dogs tend to sleep a lot more, while others not so much. Nonetheless, sleeping is a dog’s life. Dogs tend to sleep the majority of the day though their longest periods of sleep take place just as everyone around them goes to sleep.
A dog’s bed is literally an investment in your dog’s happiness and overall well-being, because no one loves sleeping on a hard floor.