Help in choosing dog beds

Just like us humans, dogs love a comfortable place to sleep and relax. However it is down to us to buy that bed for them and sometimes we can do with a little help and understanding of the dogs needs to enable us to make that purchase. There are beds in all shapes, sizes, colours and materials so Misty has prepared some notes to help you decide the best bed for your dog, and hopefully you will find this useful.

No two dogs are the same, so always remember that you are buying a bed for your dog, not just the type of breed as there will be other factors to consider that may be unique to your dog whether it is due to lifestyle or health needs. One of the biggest problem dog owners have is when their dog won’t  sleep in or on the newly purchased dog bed, and invariably the dog gets blamed when it’s most likely the bed, or more specifically the bed chosen by the owners, that is the reason!

First and top of the list is your dog’s habits

You need to observe carefully how your dog settles down for a sleep.

  • Does she puff up a cushion to nestle into?
  • Does she spin around in a circle a few times before settling down in a tight curled up position? This suggests that your dog is looking for warmth and security from her bed and would benefit from ‘bumpers’ around the sides, and so wrapping her up whilst providing maximum comfort. Without these your dog may not relax fully as their muscles could be tensed up to hold that curled position whilst they rest.
  • Does she like to sleep with her legs stretched out, and so needs a rectangular shaped bed to allow plenty of room to lie on? Make sure that the bed is large enough for her to stretch out fully ensuring that her head or paws are not hanging off the edge of the mattress, unless that is how she prefers to sleep.

Choose a bed which is washable

  • Just like our own bed linen the dog bed needs washing regularly, usually on a weekly basis, so careful selection during the purchase process for a bed that can be easily washed is essential.
  • If possible why not consider buying an extra cover for the bed, so that you can swop them over whilst one gets washed.
  • Some dogs are more prone to getting fleas than others making cleanliness of the dog, and their bed, good practice for their sake as well as your home.

Consider their age, health, behaviour and breed

  • Puppies and dogs from a breed that are well known to chew things should not be left with beds or blankets containing any type of stuffing, as putting aside the mess they would make, stuffing can cause intestinal blockage when ingested.
  • Older dogs and giant breed dogs can require extra joint support, and there are orthopaedic mattresses, memory foam mattresses, and warming beds available that can help them with this. Similarly there are breeds that can struggle to keep cool in the heat, so look out for beds that can provide cooling relief to them during warm summer months.
  • Don’t forget that a large dog often starts out as a small and cuddly puppy and can quickly outgrow their bed, so be ready to replace beds with larger ones or buy ones with an understanding of the dogs development in mind. In addition, some beds are not designed to take the punishment from the cute little puppy as it grows up and will soon lose the support it was designed to provide. It is important that the bed provides the support and comfort that is in line with the size and weight of the dog – just in the same way as we look for our own beds to do for us!
  • It is therefore essential that you understand the characteristics and needs of your breed of dog, so it is recommended you use the Kennel Clubs guide to help you with this process.

Where and what will you be using the bed for?

  • Whilst most beds are going to be used in the home, they may not necessarily be out in the garage, or spare room. Maybe you need a dog bed for a crate or cage, either in the home or whilst on the move. It may be stating the obvious, but you need to make sure the bed fits in there!
  • Do you go camping? Do you take your dog with you, and so need a bed that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, with particular consideration given to whether it is waterproof or not.

Other considerations include

  • Dog beds are available that are made with fabrics from organic and recycled materials, so if this is important to you, look out for them as I am sure our planet will appreciate your considerations.
  • Depending on which room the dog bed is going to be kept, you may need to consider colours and designs that match the décor.
  • Consider having more than one bed, so that all the dogs needs are catered for whether it be out on trips or at home, and for both summer and winter use.

Finally, as with any purchase the old saying, ‘You Get What You Pay For’ applies, so by spending that little bit extra now might save you buying several cheap beds over a period of time, and surely your pet dog, who gives so much, deserves that.