Choosing the right bed for your dog


When choosing a new dog bed, it’s important you get the right one. An uncomfortable bed contributes to a disturbed night sleep and is detrimental to your dog's well-being. Writes Toni Shelbourne...

Discover the best dog beds here. Here's an article about choosing right dog bed;

The best place to start is to observe your dog and work out his preference. You might notice he chooses a particular material or prefers a firmer surface to snooze on. Or maybe he likes to nap up high off the floor. His age will also be a consideration and needs to be a factor in your choice of material, shape, and size. Even the time of year will make a difference to a dog’s liking.

He may also have different sleeping places and positions throughout the day and require several beds in multiple locations. Dogs are polyphasic sleepers, meaning he can get restorative sleep at any time of the day or night. His daytime favourite bed may be different from this nighttime resting place. Some dogs, especially those with orthopaedic conditions, can even change locations throughout the night. He may need access to different areas of the house and various resting places depending on how he feels physically.

Choosing the correct size dog bed

Have you ever slept on a sofa or bed that was too small, then woken stiff and felt in discomfort for the rest of the day? It probably made you grumpy, too. Dogs are no different. Although he may (at times) curl up in a ball, your dog should also have the ability to lay completely flat on his side. Too small, and like us, he could wake up with a crick in his neck or stiffness in his body! Hard-sided beds are the worst for this. They may be easy to clean and keep drafts at bay, but they can prevent a dog from stretching out, so make sure you pick a size big enough if a hard plastic bed is the one you choose.

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Which material should your dog's bed be made of?

The material, especially the inner filling, must be safe for your dog. This is doubly true if you are seeking the best bed for a puppy that might chew. It must be comfortable but study enough to withstand wear and tear. Again, watch out for your dog’s preference. Does he like snuggling up in fluffy, fleecy material or choose a harder weave to sleep on?

Where is the dog bed going to be placed? If you want one that also acts as a garden bed, a waterproof bottom or raised hammock-type dog bed might be the answer.

Washable dog beds

If you have an older dog or one with a health issue which means he might soil the bed, an outer, waterproof washable cover would be ideal. A bed that comes with a spare cover is useful for cleaning.

Some soft beds come with a removable inner cushion which is small enough to fit in your washing machine but check you can also keep the main part of the bed clean too. If it’s too big to fit in your washing machine it may mean a trip to a laundrette.

Check washing and drying instructions before you buy. If it can’t go in the tumble dryer you might have a problem in the winter or if your senior dog or young puppy is prone to accidents or  the bed gets muddy and wet after walks.

Warm dog beds

You will be surprised at how many dogs become cold overnight due to the heating going off and their beds sitting on the floor. Older dogs particularly suffer from chills; they sleep for longer and can be stiff with arthritis in old age. Discomfort can be greatly worsened by sleeping in a draft.

Very young puppies can’t regulate their temperature fully yet either, so are also at risk from the cold. A bed slightly raised but not too difficult to get in and out of is needed for these vulnerable categories.

Short-coated dogs can similarly suffer from becoming chilled. Being cold disturbs sleep, so if you find he is waking you during the night, especially during the winter months, check to see if he has enough bedding to feel comfortable.

Some breeds like to dig and hide under material, so an igloo-type bed would be ideal for them. Others just like lots of material to move about and make a hollow to sleep in.

Flat dog bed or a dog bed with sides?

Again, this will be up to your dog’s preference. If you notice he always lies half in and half out of his bed or swashes the sides down, he may want a flat bed or one with just the back or end raised. Many dogs like their back against something, so having a comfy, warm, cushioned portion can be better than leaning against a cold wall.

You will also be surprised how many dogs like a pillow for their heads. If you had to sleep on a totally flat surface, it would be hard on your neck. Dogs, especially breeds with long necks like sighthounds, often find a higher area for their heads and necks to rest on. Many beds now have both these features built-in while still allowing a dog to stretch out.

Crate dog beds

If your dog sleeps in a crate, you can buy flat pads to fit the tray. These may be enough for the warmer summer months but might lack protection from the colder nights. You could protect your dog from drafts, and the cold with a cover for the crate, but extra bedding may be needed if you want him to sleep through the cold part of the night.

The fitted crate beds are excellent for traveling, too, providing a stable and often non-slip surface so he doesn’t slide around inside the crate.

Puppy beds

It might not be safe to give a puppy a heat source due to chewing, but a bed that helps retain a dog’s body heat can benefit young puppies who can’t quite regulate themselves. They grow up sleeping in a pile with their litter mates, and next to mum’s warm body, so once away from their siblings, they can really suffer initially.

Having an absorbent material that wicks wetness away from their skin is useful, too. These materials, like Vet Bed, are also easy to launder.

Puppy beds need safe, warm, but chew-resistant materials. They also benefit from support for their growing bones and for when they experience growth pains.

Elderly dog beds

Older dogs can start to struggle if their bed is too soft. If he has a touch of arthritis, the excessive movement under his feet and lack of support could make his joints feel worse. He may even stumble due to losing mobility.

You can purchase some great orthopaedic beds. Veterinary Surgeon Dr Hannah Capon founder of Canine Arthritis Management, an organisation dedicated to helping older dogs, suggests a firm but not hard bed. This is needed to support ailing joints. Make sure it has a wide entrance to ease your elderly canines getting into bed, and back out again. Hannah also recommends rugs just outside the bed so he doesn’t slip when first getting up when he may need a few moments to get his stiff joints moving. I’d also suggest placing his bed in a position that he doesn’t have to turn any tight corners to access his sleeping area.

Breed inclinations

Researching your breed’s general needs and tendencies can also be useful when choosing the right bed. Talk to other owners of your breed or research online for ideas. Huskies, for example, like to be up high. Other breeds, like some terriers, love to tunnel under blankets and be snug, so igloo-type beds can be their thing. Sighthounds love a sofa; you can even buy bed beds now that look like sofas! What is your breed generally choosing?

Multi-dog beds

If you have a multi-dog household, it is important to note all your dog’s favourite sleeping places. Some dogs love to snuggle up with friends. If yours cuddle up together, an extra-large dog bed may be needed.

Above all, your dog must feel safe, warm, comfortable, and undisturbed. The location of the dog bed or beds is important so your dog doesn’t feel isolated from you. However, he isn’t in such a busy thoroughfare that he is constantly disturbed.

Most of all ensure your dog gets adequate and quality sleep, It is essential for his overall well-being. 

Take a look at our list of the best dog beds and you may find the perfect dog bed!