How To Choose The Best Dog Bed For Your Dog?

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Finding a dog bed for your dog can be somewhat tricky and probably time consuming if you are not sure what you are looking for. That’s when knowing which style and size of bed your dog needs will help narrow down your search options.

I have some helpful tips and other information for you to decide which bed to purchase for your beloved companion.

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.

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Are Dog Beds Necessary?

Some owners that take a more old school approach to raising dogs would say that a blanket on the ground is probably good enough.

While there are dogs that may find this fine and not care, all dogs can truly benefit from and should honestly have a nice, cushiony spot to lay down and rest.

So, are dog beds necessary? Absolutely!

Especially if you want your dog to have comfortable, pain free and restful sleep.

Choosing A Dog Bed: Things To Consider First

While this task seems like an easy one, there are a lot of factors that should go into what bed you end up choosing for your dog. Things such as their age, size, health, breed and sleeping habits should all be taken into consideration when looking at dog beds.

Why do these factors have such a big role in which dog bed your pooch needs?

Well, I’ll explain quickly why all of these considerations are important for you and your dog.


The size of the bed is obviously super important.

You wouldn’t want to get your 80 lb Labrador a bed only big enough for a Cocker Spaniel!

I have always said that you should measure your dog from tip of the nose to the tip of the tail while they are in their most common sleeping position.

Then add 8 – 12 inches of extra room to count for them sprawling out or stretching.


Older dogs need more cushion for their aging and achy joints. Not to mention some of them require elevated dog beds to help with circulation and pressure points.

Plus, having that elevation for a large or giant breed is much easier on their sore joints and muscles. When they don’t have to rise off the floor it is much easier for them.


Many geriatric dogs or dogs with orthopedic issues would benefit from extra cushion and support as well.


All dog breeds can benefit from a super comfy and soft dog bed. The larger the dog though, the more they need their own space.

Afterall, while it is fun to cuddle with your fluffy companion on the couch, it can be frustrating when there’s not enough room for the whole family. Actually, you can even get a sofa shaped beds for your dog that looks just like a miniature living room sofa!

Sleeping Habits

The way that your dog sleeps is one that, in my opinion, should really be taken into consideration.

How does your dog like to sleep?

  • Is he one who likes to curl up tight?
  • Does he prefer hiding under the covers?
  • Does he sprawl out with his legs in every direction?

This may not seem important, but you wouldn’t want to get a donut bed for a dog that prefers to stretch out and have more room.

Choosing The Shape Of The Dog Bed

The shape of the bed is almost as important as the size. It will have a lot to do with how comfortable your dog is while they sleep and every dog prefers a different sleeping position. Like mentioned above, this plays a large role in the type of bed that you should choose for your dog.

There are several shapes and styles of dog beds to choose from.

For example, my dog enjoys a round bed because she likes to sleep curled up often. But she also likes to sprawl out and have plenty of room to stretch so her round bed is quite large so she has extra space.

Round Beds

This shape of bed is ideal for dogs that enjoy curling up and feeling snug.

Dogs that enjoy burrowing or being covered up will really be pleased with a round donut bed with bolstered edges, such as this BedSure Calming Dog Bed (, or a round bed that has a cave style cover, like this Snoozer Cozy Cave Bed (

Calming beds, like the one mentioned above, are beds that shape around your dog as they sleep. Giving them almost a swaddling sensation, that “hug” from their bed is soothing.

It brings comfort to your dog as they sleep, allowing for a more restful and anxiety calming feeling.

Rectangular Dog Beds

Dogs that enjoy sprawling out or sleeping in whatever position suits them would truly get the most out of a rectangular dog bed.

They have the freedom to choose any pose or position that they want with a bed such as the Barkbox Memory Foam Platform Dog Bed (

Dog Beds With Bolstered Edges

Bolstered edges are just a raised side that allows for your dog to rest their head or lean against it. This couch-like, supportive edge is one that many dogs, big or small, benefit from.

As a matter of fact, I am going to get one for our dog to use while we are in the living room.

She loves to take up the couch but I think she will love this Furhaven Orthopedic CertiPUR Foam Bed ( even more.

What Dog Beds Are Best For Puppies?

When it comes to puppies, you know that they are going to go through a chewing phase.

It is almost inevitable that you will have to buy another bed once your puppy is full grown.

Either because they’ve gnawed holes in it, ripped the bedding out, gotten yucky stuff on it or just plain out grew the bed.

I usually suggest getting a bed that your puppy will be able to grow into for a few months. Even better, if that has washable covers.

I wouldn’t want to replace one every month for a large breed dog. Puppies can be destructive, so always consider that when purchasing their first bed.

Finding one with a waterproof liner, like the SIWA MARY Washable Dog Bed ( would be a good option for a puppy. I appreciate that it is inexpensive and can be thrown in the washer.

Can You Wash Dog Beds?

I figured it would be nice to follow up the puppy category with this question. Many owners would like the convenience of being able to wash their dog’s bed.

Especially puppies or dogs that are older and prone to accidents.

Let’s be honest, dog beds will get dirty and smelly eventually.

There are many beds that have a removable and washable outer cover, but I think that you should also make sure there is a waterproof liner that will protect the inner material that cannot be washed. If it is entirely cotton then it is likely that the whole bed can be thrown in the washing machine. How it will come out afterwards, I’m not sure.

When you are looking to buy a dog bed, just make sure that you check that it can be washed. Or at the very least has an outer cover and a waterproof liner!

When I spend time researching beds, that is usually one of the first things they will disclose after what the bed is made of. If they don’t say it pretty quickly, then it may be something that can’t be washed.

Should I Get My Dog An Orthopedic Bed?

So what makes a bed orthopedic anyway?

Technically an orthopedic dog bed can be classified as such as long as it has enough thickness and support to the mattress (approximately 2 inches thick at least).

Basically saying that your dog should not be able to feel the ground when they lay on it.

Avoid Cheaper Orthopedic beds

Cheaper beds will be stuffed with cotton and cedar chips, these tend to offer the least amount of support and comfort and should not be called ‘orthopedic’.

I suggest staying away from those.

It’s much better to purchase one of the more expensive beds at first than have to replace several bargain beds later.

Orthopedic beds are typically made up of some kind of foam interior.

Sometimes, it is a memory foam or “egg crate” foam, which has a little less support than memory foam. Some brands even use the CertiPUR-US certified memory foam that consists of a flexible and high impact polyurethane foam.

This material is commonly used in mattresses made for people as well as some brands of dog beds.

If you are looking for top of the line comfort for your pooch and yourself, you will want to look for the CertiPUR-US certified memory foam interior.

All dogs can benefit from having a comfortable and thick orthopedic mattress.

If you are unsure if it’s the thing to buy at the moment, I will list some symptoms of aging and health that may help you feel more informed before purchasing your dog’s new bed.

  • Is your dog slow to get up in the morning?
  • Are they stiff after getting up?
  • Do they move around a lot at night when lying on their bed?
  • Are they sleeping somewhere other than their dog bed?
  • Are they constantly trying to fix or scratch at the bed to get it more comfortable?

If you are seeing any of these signs in your dog then you should strongly consider upgrading their bed. They will surely love it!

If your dog has any of these health problems then you should also be getting your dog a new orthopedic bed.

  • Very old or skinny
  • Little muscle mass
  • Joint or any orthopedic problem
  • Back and hip pain

What Makes Elevated Dog Beds Good?

Elevated beds are nice for dogs of any age, but the older doggos really benefit the most.

The elevation allows for them to step up and down instead of hoist themselves off the floor.

Especially for large and giant dogs, this is a great asset.

Having to get up and down off of the low floor can inflame their already old and achy joints.

Not only is it good for aging bones and bodies, but elevated beds also provide better air circulation, keeping your dog cooler while they sleep.

Should My Dog Have A Bed In Their Crate?

If your dog is not a chewer and you are confident they won’t grow bored and destroy their bed then why not put one in the crate?

The bottom is surely hard and uncomfortable, so if your canine companion can control themselves and not tear it apart then I highly suggest having something in their crate. Especially for older dogs that have less muscle or are skinny.

Laying on their elbows, chest and hips for hours a day on a hard surface can cause pain and discomfort to them.

Dog Beds: Providing Comfort To Canine Companions

There are so many reasons for having a bed for your dog to sleep and rest on.

Not only are they good for their joints and other aging body parts, but it gives them their own space and it gives you your couch back!

Photo by Oliver.