How to choose a Dog Bed
While dogs are often happy to lay their heads down in a multitude of places throughout your house, including your bed, it is important that your dog have its own space for napping and resting at night. The choices for dog beds can seem endless, however, so it can be overwhelming when you try to pick one out. Think about your dog’s needs before you shop. Consider any health issues, your dog’s age, and its personality when choosing a bed. Additionally, don’t forget your own concerns, such as the bed’s size and price, as well as whether the bed fits with your décor.
Method One of Three:
Considering Your Dog’s Needs
Watch your dog sleep. Thinking about your dog’s sleeping style is an important part of selecting the right bed. Dogs that sleep stretched out completely need a big bed. If your dog likes to cuddle up on itself, however, it will need a smaller bed with sides to lean on. Similarly, look at your dog to see whether it tends to be cold or hot while sleeping. Different shapes and styles of beds can help your dog regulate temperature, and some beds come with heating or cooling pads.
- Consider if your dog tends to chew. If you know your dog is prone to chewing and destroying things, consider going for a simpler, cheaper bed without extra features like heating or cooling, and won’t cost as much to replace. After you see how your dog treats its bed, decide if you think it can handle a different kind.
Measure your dog while sleeping. You want to give your dog enough space to lay down comfortably at the end of a hard day. A good rule is to measure your dog from its nose to its tail while it is sleeping. Then, add between 8 and 12 inches to determine the length or diameter of the bed you choose.
- Keep in mind whether your dog is fully grown when measuring. If it isn’t, you may want to select a bigger bed than you need, so you won’t need to replace the bed as quickly.
- If your dog is a puppy and you don’t want to buy a small bed now and a larger one later, you can add blankets or padding to a larger bed to help your puppy feel secure.
Think about special needs. Your dog’s age or health issues can play a role in the type of bed you select. Orthopedic beds cater to dogs with sore joints or arthritis, while those with cooling pads can be good for long-haired dogs.
- Orthopedic beds made of high-density memory foam conform to your dog’s shape and offer comfort and support for easing your dog’s aches and pains.
- Memory foam tends to hold on to odor, so make sure you cover a memory foam bed with a waterproof, washable cover.
- For dogs in warmer climates or those with thick fur or long hair, beds that offer a chance to cool off are essential. Long-haired dogs or those with thick fur tend to overheat easily while sleeping. They do well with cots, since they are typically made of mesh, and air flows beneath the dog as it sleeps.
- Beds with cooling pads are also available if your dog isn’t comfortable sleeping above ground.
Choose the best material. Dog beds are available in a variety of materials that can help you deal with issues such as incontinence, odors, or allergies.
- Waterproof beds are ideal if your dog is older and incontinent. If your bed isn’t waterproof, such as a mattress-type bed, purchase a waterproof cover to place over it.
- Cedar-filled beds not only repel odors, but they also can transfer a pleasing scent to your smelly dog. The more your dog rolls around in its cedar bed, the better it will smell in the morning.
- Hypoallergenic dog covers that you stuff yourself are also a good option if your dog is sensitive. That way, you can try several different fillings to see which works best for your dog.
Method Two of Three:
Understanding Different Types of Beds
Buy a mat for the easiest solution. Mats are a good choice if your dog is the type to sleep just about anywhere. They can be used to cover and protect upholstery if your dog sleeps on a couch, or they can offer a bit of warmth if your dog typically likes to sleep on the floor.
- If your dog sleeps in a crate, you can get a dog-specific mat for inside it. Alternately, you can also use a bath mat inside the crate to offer softness and comfort.
Pick a pillow bed for a large dog. These oversized pillows featuring a loose filling are good for dogs that stretch or sprawl out while sleeping. Large dogs especially tend to stretch out as much as possible while sleeping, so the freedom offered by a rectangular pillow bed or large pad will suit your pup.
- In less expensive models, the filling can clump or dissipate over time. Only buy the less expensive models if you can remove the cover to clean it, since washing the whole bed will decrease the lifespan of it.
- If your dog tends to chew pillows, select a pillow bed made out of durable materials.
- A variation on the pillow bed is a bean bag-type bed, which is a bit overfilled to offer even more comfort for your dog.
Select a donut bed if your dog likes to feel secure. Shaped like its name would suggest, a donut bed is round or oval-shaped with raised sides. These are great for small dogs that like to sleep curled up.
- Donut beds can also help your small dog stay warm while sleeping.
- Some dogs like to walk in circles a few times before laying down, and donut beds are a good option for these pups as well.
Purchase a nest bed for cuddling comfort. Similar to donut beds, nest beds also feature high sides. They help retain heat well, so they’re good for dogs that need a little extra help staying warm at night.
- Since the high foam sides of these beds usually prevent you from putting them in the washing machine, make sure they have a removable center pillow for ease of cleaning.
Buy a bolster-type bed if your dog is a leaner. These beds are like mini sofas, with a raised edge around it that your dog can rest its head on. Bolster beds are good for dogs that like big pillows and tend to startle when approached from behind, since the raised back provides a measure of security.
- Bolster beds can be expensive, since they tend to be very well made with durable stuffing.
- This style can also take up a lot of space, so make sure you have a good spot for it before shopping.
Look for a cave-style bed if your dog likes to burrow. These beds, with a cave-like arch, are also called tent beds. The semi-covered design is good for dogs that like to stay warm, covered, and cozy while sleeping. They can also be good for older dogs that have a hard time staying warm.
- Cave-style beds offer your dog a place to “hide away” if they get stressed out during the day, so they can be good for anxiety-prone dogs.
- These beds are typically designed for smaller dogs, those weighing less than 20 pounds.
Consider a hammock bed for ease of cleaning. Similar to human hammocks, these beds are elevated and made of a sturdy material affixed to a framework. They can be good if your dog is incontinent, since they clean easily and there is nowhere for the urine to settle in and cause odor.
- These beds do not offer much padding, so they are not ideal for all dogs.
- Some dogs may feel uneasy being elevated above the floor while sleeping.
Method Three of Three:
Taking Your Needs Into Account
Choose a bed that is easy to maintain. Perhaps the most important consideration when choosing a bed for your dog is to pick one that can be easily cleaned. Dog beds need to be cleaned often to control odors, fleas, and dirt. The outer cover should be washed every week or two.
Find a bed that fits well in your home. While you definitely want your dog to be comfortable in its new bed, you also don’t want this feature to dominate the room it is in. Dogs tend to prefer that their beds be situated in a quiet area of the house that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic. That way, your pet will be able to escape for some alone time when necessary.
- Many beds come in different fabrics or designs, so you can look for one that coordinates with your other furnishings.
- If space is a concern, you may be able to find a corner bed that you can tuck away in previously unused space.
Look for environmentally friendly features. If you tend toward an earth-conscious lifestyle, you can purchase beds made of used materials like recycled plastic bottles. Similarly, many dog beds and covers are now offered in 100 percent organic materials, so you can keep your eyes out for those as well.
- These types of beds and covers can be more expensive than other choices, but they are often highly durable so they last longer.
- Natural rubber is a common option for filling earth-friendly beds.
Determine your budget before you shop. It is easy to go overboard when buying a bed for your dog, since you want your pup to have the best of everything. If you don’t have a price in mind before you start to shop, you could very well end up regretting your shopping spree at a later time. Prices can range from $15–$30 for elevated pet beds to $115–$190 for nest-type beds.
- Look at big box retailers, small pet shops, and online stores to compare prices and features.
- Don’t forget you may need to periodically replace your covers or even your mattresses if they become excessively soiled or worn. Keeping this in mind while shopping can help you make a sensible financial decision.
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Your Devoted Kikie xx