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Best Dog Bed - A Guide

Updated on July 23, 2012
The best dog bed - according to Hamlet.
The best dog bed - according to Hamlet. | Source

Dog Beds

Looking for the best dog bed? If you have canines, you probably have dog beds. If you don’t have a special place for your pooch to nap and rest, you might want to think about providing one. After all, the average canine spends about twelve or so hours a day sleeping. Most dogs like having their own “nest,” although this isn’t true for all furkids. We have two Great Danes – Hamlet and Grendel. Hammie is mine, and Grendel supposedly belongs to hubby. Grendel has his own leather sofa, where he almost always sleeps. Hamlet, on the other hand, almost always snoozes next to me, wherever I am. If I’m on the computer in the office or in my recliner in the living room, he lies on the hardwood floor. If I’m in my bed, he’s right there next to me. If I’m in the pool and he’s outdoors, he lies on the deck, at the edge of the pool. I’d have to have a very portable dog bed for him because I’d be moving it all the time. And yes – we’ve tried dog beds with him, and they just didn’t work out. If the bed was placed an inch or two farther away from me than he wanted it to be, he chose the cold, hard floor, instead. Hammie is an exception, however. All the other dogs I’ve known benefited from having the best dog bed their humans could find.

My Hammie-Boy likes his creature comforts.
My Hammie-Boy likes his creature comforts. | Source

Best Dog Bed

What’s the best dog bed? I think that largely depends on the individual pet. I’ve read that many veterinarians prefer a raised dog bed for their patients and boarders. I called our vet to get his thoughts on the matter. He said that he uses raised dog beds in his practice, but he doesn’t necessarily think they’re the best choice for every single pooch. I was glad to learn that he and I are in agreement on this topic.

I’ve had years of experience with a multitude of dogs and dog breeds. I’ve bred, hunted with, trained, and owned a lot of canines, representing a wide range of dog breeds. Each dog, just like each human, is an individual. Every dog has its own ideas of comfort, just as people do. For example, I like an extra-firm bed, while my husband prefers a medium-firm mattress. My best friend has always liked a super soft mattress. Dogs have their own preferences, too, so there really is no best dog bed that addresses the needs of all of dogdom. Yeah, I just made up that word.

Obviously, some points of choosing the best dog bed are pretty cut and dried. For example, my Great Danes wouldn’t be comfortable on a tiny bed that was designed for toy breeds. Other aspects might not be so easy to figure out without some careful observations. To get a better idea about choosing the best dog bed for your furkid, notice how it sleeps and naps. Does the pooch like to stretch out, or does it prefer curling up into a ball? Does it have one favorite spot for snoozing, or does it “sleep around”? Assessing your pet’s sleep behavior will help you pick the right bed.

Think about temperatures, too. Even though I’m sticking to indoor bedding here, you need to take your home’s average temperature and your pet’s tolerance level into consideration. Some dogs, especially small dog breeds with short coats, often seem to stay cold all the time, even at temps in the seventies. On the other hand, if your pooch has a long or thick coat, it might get hot easily. In that case, a “slick” bed without long nap of excessive stuffing might be best.

When shopping for dog beds, learn about the fill material. One you might be interested in is cedar. Beds stuffed with cedar shavings help eliminate odors and repel fleas. Remember, though, that the cedar will need to be replaced periodically, so make sure if you choose such a bed, it has a way to remove the old shavings.

Think of yourself, too. Do you want a bed for your pal that’s easy to move around, or do you prefer one that’s super sturdy, even though it might be heavier? Do you prefer a doggie bed that can easily be wiped down for cleaning, or had you rather have one with a cover that can be thrown in the washing machine and dryer? These are very handy, and if you select this type of bed, buy an extra cover to fit. That way, you’ll always have a clean one on hand.

Samantha likes taking a toy to bed with her.
Samantha likes taking a toy to bed with her. | Source

Small Dog Beds

Small dog beds are designed for breeds like Chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers, dachshunds, beagles, pugs, toy poodles, Maltese, papillon, shih tzu, and others. Because small dog breeds are so popular, you’ll find ton of choices. Dog beds for small dogs should be just slightly larger than the dog. A petite pooch would be totally lost in a big, fluffy dog bed.

If you have two tiny canines, you’ll have to decide on whether to get two small dog beds or one medium-sized bed. Much of that depends on how close the dogs are. We once had two Chihuahuas that refused to sleep apart, even though each had her own comfy basket. They’d both pile into the same bed, while the second bed was completely ignored. We finally gave up and purchased a larger bed so that they could sleep together comfortably.

Match the bed's size to the dog's size.
Match the bed's size to the dog's size. | Source

Dog Beds for Large Dogs

Dog beds for large dogs are meant for breeds like Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, German shepherds, collies, Belgian malinois, Alaskan malamutes, and other big dogs. How do you know whether your big pooch needs dog beds for large dogs or extra large dog beds? The best way is to measure the dog when it’s lying on its side. Measure from the tip of the nose to the farthest point of the hip, then add about a foot. Match the measurement to the dimensions of available dog beds, and go from there. If you can’t find a dog bed exactly the size you need, opt for the next size up. It’s better to have a little too much bed than to not have enough.

Dog Beds for Large Dogs:

Grendel - sitting on his "bed."
Grendel - sitting on his "bed." | Source
Grendel in full snooze mode.
Grendel in full snooze mode. | Source

Extra Large Dog Beds

If you have a four-legged giant or two, like I have, you need to be looking at extra large dog beds. Giant dog breeds include the Irish Wolfhound, the Borzoi, the great Pyrenees, the mastiff, the Saint Bernard, the Newfoundland, the Leonberger, the Scottish deerhound, and others. My favorite breed of all dog breeds, the Great Dane, is also included in this category.

An extra large dog bed takes up a lot of room. Grendel can take up over six feet of sofa when he’s fully stretched out. Before you choose a bed, decide on a place to put it, out of the way of traffic in your home. Orthopedic dog beds often work well for giant dog breeds because such breeds are often afflicted with arthritis. Their massive weight can cause a lot of stress on pressure points, too, even in the absence of bad joints. Because Hamlet insists on lying on the floor so much, he has calluses on both elbows.

Orthopedic Dog Beds

For canines with arthritis or any type of bone or joint pain, orthopedic dog beds might be your best bet. These are often the best choices for older dogs and for heavy dogs. They’re also beneficial to thin dogs that have little fat cushioning to protect bony projections. Most examples of these have extra-thick cushioning for protecting pressure points like elbows and hip bones. This cushioning is often in the form of a foam pad, and it might be covered with another layer of soft material. Orthopedic dog beds come in a variety of sizes and configurations.

You’ve undoubtedly heard about memory foam for human bedding, right? Well, now you can get a memory foam dog bed, too. This type of bed uses the same concept as its human-bed counterpart and is super easy and supportive on the joints. The foam also provides a lot of insulation, so it holds in the dog’s body heat, providing warmth. Even if your pooch doesn’t have joint issues, if it likes sleeping on its back, the memory foam dog bed is a good choice.

Chew Proof Dog Beds:

For puppies, chew proof dog beds are a good choice. Not only is chewing destructive, but it can also be dangerous. Ingesting materials like soft bedding can cause intestinal upsets, and some, like blockages, can be deadly. Of course, there’s also the problem of choking. Teething puppies aren’t usually very discriminating about what they chew on, which sometimes gets them into trouble.

Some chew proof dog beds have a rigid frame and a suspended cot, sort of like a hammock. The frame might be made of aluminum or PVC. Other chew proof dog beds might be mat-type beds or pillow-type beds that are made of a special ballistic nylon, which is extremely tough and durable yet lightweight. Other features might include heavy duty thread and extra stitches at stress points, along with stain resistance and odor resistance.

Donut dog bed and Sophie
Donut dog bed and Sophie | Source

Donut Dog Bed

If you have a furry companion that likes to curl up when it sleeps, think about buying a donut dog bed. The round shape is perfect for “balling up.” A donut dog bed might be round or oval in shape, with or without a supportive bolster. The covering might be available in a wide range of fabrics and colors, and some are quilted or tufted, making the sleeping surface extra soft and cushiony. Although these beds are available in all sizes, they’re especially preferred by owners of small dog breeds. Since they make sort of a “nest,” small dogs feel secure in these beds, and the ones with rims or bolsters also hold in a lot of heat. This is an important consideration, as some small dogs have trouble generating sufficient body heat. These might be the best dog beds for small dogs like toy breeds.

Covered Dog Bed

A covered dog beds usually looks like a little house, with a bottom, side walls, and a roof. Some are soft all over, while others have a soft bed but sturdier top and sides. A covered dog bed has a couple of advantages over other types. For one thing, they’re almost totally enclosed, so the pooch will feel extra safe and secure. If your dog is easily frightened, this type of bed can provide a great place for peace and quiet.

Another good point about these dog beds is that they’re totally adorable! They come in lots of bright colors and cute patterns, including some whimsical motifs. They work especially well for small dogs, but I don’t think they’d be the best dog beds for large and extra large dogs. The soft-sided versions could easily lose their shape when confronted with constant use by a big pooch.

Kuranda Dog Beds

Kuranda dog beds are often considered to be the best dog beds by veterinarians, animal shelters, rescue groups, kennels, and boarding facilities. The company manufactures several different types and styles, but the most popular are the raised dog beds. A raised dog bed sits up off the floor, usually on a frame. The frame is usually constructed of resin, aluminum, or PVC. All Kuranda dog beds use fasteners made of stainless steel, and the cot fabric is chew proof. The company offers fabrics that are waterproof, stain resistant, and easy to clean.

Elevated dog beds like Kuranda dog beds can make it easier for physically challenged canines to get on and off their sleeping spot. This is especially true for medium sized, large, and giant dog breeds that might experience joint pain and stiffness. For small dogs, however, elevated beds might not be the best dog beds. It might be somewhat of an effort for them to get on and off the bed, depending on its height.

Baskets with some cushioning can be used as small dog beds.
Baskets with some cushioning can be used as small dog beds. | Source

Cheap Dog Beds – Discount Dog Beds

You’ll probably notice that several discount dog beds are offered for sale here. They’re all good choices. If you want really cheap dog beds, however, you might want to make your own or recycle something else into a dog bed. For small and medium-sized dogs, old sofa cushions are an option. If you don’t have an old sofa on hand, check yard sales and thrift stores. Heck, my mom always used a basket with a cushion for her little dogs, and for very small doggies, a throw pillow can make a great perch. If you can sew, making a dog bed is a cinch. Just measure your dog and decide what size bed it needs. Make a circle, oval, square, or rectangular pattern in that size, using a tough fabric with a tight weave. Place a zipper in the cover, along one side, and fill the mattress or pad with foam, cedar shavings, or other material. You might prefer to do this the other way around – find an appropriate foam pad first, then make the cover to fit. Either way, you might very well be able to make the best dog bed for your pet yourself!


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