How To Choose The Right Dog Bed For Your Dog

In this series, we will examine the different aspects that go into choosing the right bed for your best friend. Choosing the right dog bed is an important decision not only for you and your family, but of course, your beloved dog. There are many factors that go into this decision such as knowing how big your dog is, knowing how they like to rest, and understanding the different types and varieties of dog beds on the market. The following information is designed to help you make an informed decision so your furry friend can start getting the best rest possible.

Know Your Dog’s Weight and Measurements

Knowing your dog’s general weight and measurements is a logical first step. Not to say that a Dachshund wouldn’t love to get submerged in an XL dog bed or perhaps your 100 pound Labrador Retriever wouldn’t mind flopping over a more medium sized dog bed. But to determine what size is best, you should first observe how your dog sleeps. Do they curl up in a ball? Do they like to stretch out to the max? Is your pup more of a flopper with their head hanging over the bed or couch arm? All of these factors should influence your decision on what type of dog bed to buy in terms of size.

The most common size on the market is a large dog bed, measuring 42 inches by 28 inches by 4 inches. These perfectly match the dimensions of a 42 inch standard dog kennel. Extra large beds usually run about 48 inches by 30 inches and medium dog beds about 30 inches by 19 inches. Measure your dog from nose to outstretched legs or the tip of her tail, whichever extends furthest. Again, depending on how your dog sleeps, a dog bed that is equal to or greater than the fully stretched out pup is likely the safest bet.

Determine Where Your Dog Will Sleep

Where your dog will sleep is an important factor in your decision of what style and type of dog bed to purchase. If your dog is going to sleep in a dog kennel, then logically you would select a dog bed that perfectly fits the dimensions of the dog crate. However, if your dog is going to sleep on the floor in your living room or bedroom, then it is better to match the bed to the size of your dog.

If your dog is going to sleep on the couch, then you may consider a simple 2-inch thick dog mat (or dog pad) as a way to provide some additional comfort, but more importantly to protect your furniture. Options for outdoor dogs include a more heavy-duty bed that fits a doghouse, or innovative ideas like a dog cot with a mesh underside where you could put the right-size dog mat for colder nights. No matter where your dog will sleep, it’s important to pick the dog bed that will be most comfortable to them.

Different Types of Dog Beds and Pillows

There are many options when it comes to the type of dog bed, but most fall into the following general categories:

  • Dog Beds – Regular dog beds are typically the most popular option for our furry friends. These beds typically range from small beds to medium beds to large beds to extra large beds and can be filled with cotton, memory foam, or other types of filling to give them comfortable cushion.
  • Dog Pillows – Just like the name, dog pillows are usually over-stuffed pillows that are optimal for dogs to lounge on. They are fluffy, comfortable pillows that any dog would love to sprawl out on.
  • Dog Cots – Dog cots are great for outdoor use. When there’s dirt on the ground, or you have a grassy backyard, it is not ideal to lay a big fluffy dog bed out. Dog cots are raised off the ground and provide support and comfort for your pup.
  • Orthopedic Dog Mats – Orthopedic dog mats are best used for dogs with arthritis or other orthopedic problems. These dog beds usually have memory foam to help soothe joints and support your dog’s body.
  • Dog Mats – Dog mats are ideal for the dog that loves lying on the furniture, but for the owner that doesn’t want their furniture getting covered in hair and dirt. Lay a dog mat out on the couch or bed and provide a little extra comfort for your dog so they can lounge comfortably near you.
  • Dog Bed with Bolsters – Dog beds with bolsters are ideal for the dog who loves to nuzzle in and nest into their bed, or for the dog that likes a little bit of pillow support. If your dog likes to rest their head on the arm of the sofa or uses pillows like a human, a dog bed with bolsters is perfect for them.

Dog Bed Features That are Important to You

Many features on the market:

  • Removable Cover – Having a dog bed with a removable cover is ideal for when your dog has an accident, or if you just need to take it off to wash it and freshen it up.
  • Washable – If your furry friend enjoys frolicking in the mud or tends to have an accident here and there, you should highly consider a washable bed that is safe to put into the washing machine.
  • Type of inner filling or foam – Higher quality dog beds usually have memory foam, but dog beds can also be comfy if they are filled with cotton or other types of filling and foam to give your dog support.
  • Top fabric – Dog beds vary with the types of fabric used, but high quality fabrics include smooth suede for warmer days and extra soft Sherpa for cool nights.
  • Overall look of the bed – The design and look of the bed is dependent upon the owner’s taste. Whether you prefer a simpler bed or one with more of an exotic design, there is something out there for everyone!

Dog Bed Features That are Important to Your Dog

Small, big, old, young, double coat hair or hairless, all dogs have different types of needs at different stages in their life.

  • Puppies – It’s no secret that puppies have a tendency to chew on things. Therefore, it’s important to have a durable bed that can’t be ripped to shreds when taking on the responsibility of a pup.
  • Crated Dogs – if your dog is crated, it is best to have a dog bed that fits perfectly into the crate so that they do not slide onto the side of the bed. Whether your dog is small, medium or large, you want to make sure they have ample amount of space and comfort if they are going to be spending long amounts of time in the crate.
  • Anxious Dogs – A dog bed with bolsters is ideal for anxious dogs. With the bolsters wrapped around them, they feel a sense of comfort that calms them and helps them fall asleep rather than act out from their anxiety.
  • Large Breeds – Larger dogs tend to enjoy sprawling out, so you should ensure you have the correct size for them. If you have a large dog that likes to spread out, consider getting an extra large dog bed that they can feel ultimate comfort on.
  • Aging Dogs – Older dogs often deal with arthritis and joint pain. Because of this, it is important to consider getting them an orthopedic dog bed. No matter their size, they will enjoy the comfort of memory foam supporting their body after a day of play.

Remember, there is no such thing as a standard size dog bed for dogs. Even those labeled Large or Extra Large range in length and width from website to website and retail store to retail store. Make sure to take some time in your decision. You're probably going to keep his or her bed for a while, so put your best foot, or paw, forward in the effort.