Image via iStock.com/huettenhoelscher
By Victoria Schade
Every dog needs a space to call his own, and for most dogs, that means a cozy dog bed. But picking the best dog bed is more than just checking the price and finding a cute pattern. The average dog can sleep 12-14 hours per day, so it’s important to select a bed that’s aligned with your dog’s sleep preferences.
The following tips will help you find a doggy bed for your furry best friend that will guarantee sweet dreams.
Canine Sleeping Styles
All dogs have their own preferred sleeping position, so it is important to make sure you find a dog bed that accommodates your dog’s preferences.
Your first consideration is your dog’s size, although you might be surprised to discover that you don’t necessarily have to buy a super-large dog bed for bigger breeds of dogs. Some dogs like to sleep tucked into a tiny ball, while others stretch out until they’re fully extended. So, the size of the dog doesn’t always correlate to the sleep style.
That might mean that your Chihuahua that’s fond of dog-spreading across the bed needs a bed that’s two sizes longer than his body, and your snug-as-a-bug German Shepherd will fit in a dog bed that’s smaller than you might expect.
Most dogs prefer dog beds that have something to lean against or rest their head on while they sleep. A bolstered dog bed like the Helix durable bolster bed is a great option that blends canine comfort with durability. Similarly, the FurHaven curly fur plush donut bed allows dogs to nestle in and feel protected while they rest.
If your dog prefers to sleep burrowed under the blankets, opt for a dog bed with a cozy blanket top, like the Pet Parade pet cave deluxe. This type of covered dog bed mimics a den environment that can help dogs feel safe.
Special Considerations for Senior and Handicapped Dogs
Older dogs in particular need a soft space to rest that takes their physical capabilities into account. An orthopedic dog bed like the FurHaven quilted orthopedic sofa bed cradles older joints with eggcrate foam for comfortable napping.
Senior dogs can also be more susceptible to cold drafts, so an electric heated dog bed that gently warms, like the K&H Pet Products deluxe lectro-soft heated pet bed, can help to cut the cold. Please note that any dog using a heated bed should have the option to move off it, so don’t use it in a crate if the dog is closed inside. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for recommended usage—you do not want to create a hazard for you pet by leaving the device on for extended periods of time.
Dogs with mobility issues might benefit from an elevated dog bed that’s easier to get in and out of. Some senior or handicapped dogs have difficulty standing up after sleeping, and a platform-style bed—like the Frisco steel frame elevated pet bed— might make the bed more accessible.
The Best Bedding for Dogs and Home Decorating
A dog bed is a piece of furniture that you’re adding to your home, particularly if you’re investing in a large dog bed that can’t be hidden in a corner. But even the most fashion-forward pet parents can find a large or small dog bed that suits their home decor. P.L.A.Y. Lifestyle and You offers dog beds that have decorative prints and fabrics that mix canine comfort and good taste.
Keep in mind that even though some bed colors might coordinate perfectly with your color scheme, they might not be the best bet from a housekeeping perspective. Black dog beds will show every dust particle and white hair, and light-colored beds will catch and highlight every muddy paw print.
Fabric Care and Your Investment
It’s tempting to buy bargain-basement dog beds, but the low price might mean they’re impossible to clean and prone to rips. The best dog beds are made of sturdy materials like machine-washable microfiber and can be unzipped and taken apart for easy cleaning.
Remember to check the filler before you invest in a bed. Loose foam is difficult to re-stuff after cleaning, so look for a dog bed with self-contained “pillows” or solid foam pads inside the cover.
A well-made dog bed can withstand years of use (which includes dirty paws, the occasional sharp nail, teeth and lots of shedding) and the cleaning that goes along with it. Finding a chic dog bed that your dog also loves will help him get a good night’s sleep without jeopardizing your sense of style.