Are Orthopedic Dog Beds Good & Worth It?

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Lately, a lot of owners are looking into making the expensive purchase of an orthopedic bed for their four-legged companion.

But the big question is, are orthopedic dog beds actually worth it?

By Allison Salonko.

Allison is a Veterinary Technician in the state of Indiana. She graduated from International Business College and Vet Tech Institute of Indianapolis with a degree in Animal Science and Technology in 2011.

There are thousands of dog beds online to choose from. It can honestly be overwhelming just trying to decide and pick one.

Orthopedic beds – are they worth it?

Many factors such as price, size and material play a role in the decision-making process.

The quality of the bed that someone sleeps on, even a dog, can have a lot to do with how they feel in the morning.

If your bed is uncomfortable and hard and doesn’t allow for any relief of pressure points then it is unlikely you will wake up feeling refreshed every day.

The same goes for our dog companions.

Orthopedic dog beds are made of several inches of foam that provide relief and cushion for dogs with sore joints and bones.

What about the price?

An orthopedic dog bed, while they are expensive and quite large depending on the size of the breed, can be very beneficial for your pet’s sore and painful joints.

Honestly, most dog beds, even the ones that aren’t specifically orthopedic are going to be expensive, so don’t let the price be the only thing that makes your mind up about which bed you choose.

Choosing a bed that is more expensive and of higher quality is simply a good investment.

As long as your dog isn’t a big chewer or destroyer of beds then it is something that will last your dog hopefully close to a lifetime.

Orthopedic vs other materials

Most beds that aren’t orthopedic are made up of just standard polyester filling, cotton or some other kind of foam padding.

Just because something has foam in it doesn’t mean that it is orthopedic.

Memory foam

Typically an orthopedic mattress will be made up of memory foam padding.

This way it helps alleviate pressure on the joints when they sleep.

This foam padding will often improve symptoms of arthritis and other joint pain in our canine companions.

Polyester filling

The standard polyester filling that many of the less expensive dog beds and non-orthopedic types are made of is fine, but will not be as beneficial for your pet’s joints as one that is made of memory foam.

Does an orthopedic bed help the dog’s joints?

The answer is simply, YES.

Especially, if you have a large or giant breed dog.

Many owners of German Shepherds, Lab or Goldendoodles or Great Danes will tell you that the super comfy orthopedic bed is their dog’s favorite thing.


Age and arthritis can affect a dog’s quality of life quite a bit eventually.

Making sure that your pet has a place to sleep that is comfortable and easy on their old and achy joints is crucial for their daily energy and pain levels.

After all, everyone knows that getting older is rough.

Even for dogs.

Hip and elbow dysplasia

As much as bed companies like to advertise that they can “prevent” or “fix” canine hip dysplasia and arthritis with their dog beds, the reality is that they actually cannot.

However, a high-quality orthopedic dog bed can certainly improve the pain and discomfort of our dogs with poor hips and joints.

Orthopedic beds are best for the older and achier dogs

Orthopedic dog beds win by a mattress landslide when it comes to which ones are best for aging dogs.

If you are looking to upgrade the old worn-out dog bed your pup has slept on for years, then choosing an orthopedic one as its replacement is the clear and obvious choice.

They are known to improve the overall condition of your pet’s joint pain and symptoms of arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia.

How do you decide which dog bed is best for your pup?

There are a few different details to consider when looking online or at the pet store at dog beds.

The size of your dog, the way they sleep, their breed and age will play a large role in which one you should choose.

How does your dog like to sleep?

Knowing your dog and how they like to sleep is an important detail when looking at purchasing your pup a bed.

  • Do you have a large dog that likes to stretch out and have plenty of room?
  • Or do you have a pooch that prefers to curl up with his nose tucked under his tail?

All of this information is key in helping you decide what type of bed your dog will benefit from the most.

And having the best and most appropriate bed for your companion will truly improve their overall joint health and comfort.

Size of the dog

Clearly, the size of your dog is an important factor when purchasing a dog bed.

You wouldn’t want to get a bed that’s meant for a Shih Tzu if you have a Labrador.

Making sure that the size of the dog bed is appropriate for your breed of dog is necessary for your dog’s comfort.

Large and giant breeds

Our large and giant breed dogs often are the ones that typically deal with hip dysplasia and other joint issues.

These dogs benefit greatly from having an orthopedic bed with memory foam to ease their sore German Shepherd hips and elbows.

Whichever the breed may be, if they have a tendency to have obvious aches and pains, providing them with a soft and comfortable orthopedic mattress with memory foam will surely alleviate some of their discomforts, giving them that youthful strut again.


Most puppies are full of life and energy and don’t need an expensive orthopedic dog bed.

Honestly, most puppies will chew up the first one or two dog beds that you buy them.

They’re just destructive little monsters sometimes.

As your dog ages, you will have to purchase new dogs beds every few years, assuming they last that long.

This is usually just because they become worn out or your dog simply needs something more substantial for their aching and aging body.

Different types of orthopedic dog beds

There is no shortage of styles and designs of dog beds, even the orthopedic ones.

Some are flat like a standard mattress, some are round, some shaped like sofas.

Not to forget about all the different types of fabrics and materials that they come covered in.

Choosing the right style of bed for your dog is also crucial in ensuring their comfort level.

You wouldn’t want to purchase a round bed for your dog who prefers to sprawl out or a giant bed for a dog the enjoys closer spaces.

Elevated orthopedic beds

Some orthopedic beds come in an elevated frame for either decoration or practical intentions such as cleanliness.

Unfortunately, this elevation to the height of the bed may be an issue for some of our older pets with more severe joint and arthritis pain. 

This type of bed would not be ideal for a dog that struggles at all with any kind of steps.


Believe it or not, there are dogs out there that are somewhat picky about the type of bed they sleep on.

Most of the time it is due to the material that the bed is made of.

Some dogs would like a fuzzy and warm fabric and others prefer a cooler type of material.

A husky wouldn’t need a very warm bed considering they have a quadruple coat, but a small thin coated dachshund might prefer one that is warmer or fluffy.

Warmer beds

Sometimes a dog won’t be interested in a particular type of bed because it is either too warm or not warm enough for their liking.

If you know that your dog likes to be cozy and snuggled under blankets then purchasing one that has a cover that makes them feel confined would be the pick for them.

Orthopedic dog beds – they are worth it

Purchasing your dog an orthopedic dog bed is always a wise investment.

Your aging canine companion will surely be thankful for the comfortable, pain-relieving and revitalizing sleep that their mattress will provide them with.


Photo by Brooke Cagle