How to Choose a Dog Bed

litter of terrier mix puppies in a blue dog bed

You may let your dog up on the furniture and on your bed, but do they have a bed of their own? It’s a good idea for your dog to have their own bed, so they have a space that is theirs. Here’s how to choose a dog bed:

Why Your Dog Needs a Dog Bed

Your dog sleeps a lot. Even high-energy dog breeds need to sleep throughout the day. There may be plenty of places around your home where they can take a nap, but they should also have their very own dog bed.

Your dog’s bed becomes a safe place they can retreat to when they want time to themselves. Their dog bed becomes a place where they know they will be comfortable and secure. Plus, it gives them a much softer and more supportive alternative to the floor and may help keep them off of furniture you may not want them on.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Dog Bed

Narrowing down what type of dog bed your dog might need is just one step towards finding the perfect fit. Here are some things to consider when choosing a dog bed:

1. Size

Your dog needs to be able to fit in their dog bed. So, you’ll need to consider the size of your dog when you’re choosing a dog bed. It’s also a good idea to think about how your dog normally sleeps as well. Some dogs prefer to curl up while others stretch out.

Depending on your dog’s sleep style, you may need to upgrade to a larger dog bed to meet their needs. This will also help you pick a bed style, whether it’s a standard donut bed, a large square pillow, or something else.

2. Type of Dog Bed

The type of dog bed that’s best for your dog will depend on their sleeping style, how much padding they need, and more. Here are the main types of dog beds:

Loose-Fill Beds

Loose-fill beds are your standard, popular pillow-type dog bed. These are basically pillows stuffed with filler and they range from low-end to high-end varieties. Depending on the type of filler, it may bunch up or break down and cause the bed to become lumpy and misshapen over time. The most common types of filler are polyester fiber, cotton batting, buckwheat, foam beads, and cedar chips. Some dogs may show sensitivity to cedar. So, if you’re considering dog beds filled with cedar chips, make sure to test some with your dog first to make sure they will be fine or pick a bed with a different filler.

When considering a loose-fill bed, make sure you look for beds that come with removable covers or slipcases that allow you to regularly wash your dog’s bed cover and keep it clean. Similarly to the sheets on your bed, the cover of your dog’s bed needs to be washed too. Even if the instructions say you can wash the whole bed, you do want to be careful about washing the whole dog bed as this can just increase the rate at which the filler breaks down. You’re usually better off regularly washing the cover. You can also look for a bed built with inner baffles, which will help prevent clumping and will help the dog bed maintain its shape over time. You can also purchase extra filler at a craft store and re-stuff and fluff your dog’s bed as needed.

Hammock Beds

Hammock beds are elevated dog beds. They’re easy to clean, but they also don’t have a lot of padding either. Because these beds are built to be sturdy and are attached to a framework, they tend to be durable and tend to require little maintenance.

They may not have a lot of padding, but they will give your dog a better option than the floor when they want a nap. Since there’s is not much padding, these beds are better suited to warmer environments or dogs with thicker coats that prefer colder weather. A hammock allows them to stay cool without having to sleep on the hard floor.

Cave Beds

Cave beds are enclosed dog beds. They are usually smaller in size and are a good option for dogs that like to sleep in tight, protected spaces. Larger sizes of this bed are available, but they are less common so will require some research in order to track them down.

This type of bed is usually popular with small and toy-size dog breeds, especially those with a lighter coat and those that like to burrow into their beds. Because this dog bed is enclosed, it is not usually easy to clean. If you think this dog bed might be the perfect fit for your pooch, make sure you get one with a removable, machine-washable cover.

Foam Beds

Dog beds made with an egg-crate foam are one of the most popular types of dog beds. Also in this category are foam beds, memory foam beds, and mattress beds. Depending on the type of foam, craftsmanship, and size of the bed, you could be getting into some more high-end, expensive options.

These dog beds tend to be a great option for older dogs or dogs with arthritis as it gives them a lot of plush support without being too firm. You can also add a pet-approved heating element for small dogs, dogs with thin body types, lightly coated dogs, older dogs, or other dogs that need a little boost in maintaining body heat.

Mats or Crate Pads

Mats or crate pads offer the least amount of support, but are a great option for double-coated dogs that don’t want to overheat. Crate pads offer a little more padding and support for your dog than the floor or bottom of the crate without being so plush that they cause overheating.

These are also great to have on hand for furniture protection, for something cushy when the regular dog bed is in the wash, for travel, and more. Plus, they’re usually easy to clean and tend to be considered “wash-and-wear” bedding for dogs.

3. Material

You’ll also want to consider the material of the dog bed. You’ll want something that helps reduce odors and is easy to clean. If your dog uses their dog bed daily, you’ll want to plan to wash it once a week or at least a few times a month to keep it clean. Dirty dog beds not only smell bad over time, but they can also become a beacon for pests like fleas.

Depending on the filler of the dog bed and the size, you may not be able to wash it. For example, you can wash memory foam by hand, but you usually can’t wash cedar chips and some other organic materials.

You can usually throw a small dog bed in your home washer, but a large dog bed may require a commercial-sized washer. But, you can wash slipcovers. When you’re checking out dog beds and slipcovers, check the washing instructions to make sure you can wash them easily at home and don’t need a dry cleaner.

Getting your dog a good dog bed ensures they have a safe, comfortable place to get a good night’s rest, take a rejuvenating nap, or just relax.