As a dog owner, I’m sure you’re aware of the endless choices of dog beds on the market today. They range from $10 beds that can be picked up at the supermarket to actual couches and mattress-like beds that cost over $1,000. In a nutshell, the choices can be overwhelming. Here are a few quick tips to help you sort through the endless selection of beds and hopefully choose the bed that suits you and your dog.
First, you’ll want to consider the size of the bed. The bed should be at least as long as your dog measures from the tip of his nose to his rear end. The width is important too. The bed should be as wide as the length of your dog from his withers (shoulders) to his paws. Also consider how your dog likes to sleep when choosing the bed. If your dog likes to stretch out, you might want to think about the next size up to accommodate his or her sleeping position.
Next, and this is very important, is the cover. People change their bed sheets pretty frequently and it should be no different for your dog. A washable and removable cover is key to your dog bed choice. Make sure you find something that is easily removed and can hold up to numerous washes over time. If the cover isn’t removable, look for a bed that can be thrown in the washing machine. Obviously, this won’t be an option if you have a large dog, but will work for smaller beds. It’s not essential, but if you have a drooling breed, dog with incontinence issues or a pet that’s kind of messy, a waterproof cover will greatly increase the longevity of the bed by keeping moisture off the cushion or foam.
Look for a fabric color that is as close to your dog’s coat as possible. If your dog has a dark coat, you’ll want to purchase a bed with a dark cover. Conversely, if your dog has a lighter coat, you’ll be looking for a bed with a lighter cover. This will help to keep the dog hair from being overly noticeable on the cover.
Finally, choose the right cushioning for your furry friend. Cushioning options can range from hammock style beds that suspend your dog above the floor, loose fill to the same orthopedic foam used in high-end mattresses. Since, most dogs sleep nearly 18 hours per day, you’ll want to get a dog bed that’s comfy and will last as long as possible.
Hammock style beds are easy to keep clean and generally very affordable, but they don’t offer much in the way of support or cushioning. These are best for younger dogs in warmer climates, but aren’t always the best option in cold climates because they offer little in the way of warmth or insulation.
Loose fill beds take more maintenance due to their construction. These beds are typically filled with a shredded polyester fiber or sometimes the same type of beans found in beanbags. These beds are prone to clumping of the polyester fill, so make sure these beds have a removable cover and that the inner chambers are baffled
The baffling of the inner chambers helps keep the cushioning somewhat in place, but they still will require fluffing of the fill to keep the bed comfortable.
Memory foam or egg crate style beds are one of the best options, especially if you have a larger dog and need a big dog bed. The basic, entries level bed in this category is an egg crate bed. These provide some orthopedic support, but tend to become less firm over a short period of time. They can be effective with younger, smaller and medium sized dogs, but provide little support for arthritic or large dogs.
Memory foam dog beds are made from the same material found in high-end mattresses like Tempurpedic. This foam is also known as visco-elastic foam. It has a “memory” which allows it to pop back to its original shape over and over again. Memory foam also has hypoallergenic qualities, which is worth keeping in mind if your dog is allergy prone. They also have great insulating qualities too. These beds are ideal for large breed dogs for their support qualities and generally have the most longevity of all the dog bed options available. Watch out for beds that claim to be made from memory foam, but are actually made from shredded and recycled memory foam. These beds are similar to loose fill polyester beds and tend to be made from inferior memory foam. Look for a memory foam bed made from at least 4 lb memory foam, which is a superior foam compared to the 3 lb memory foam. It provides greater support and will last much longer. Never buy a bed that is 100% memory foam top to bottom. Memory foam needs to have solid support foam under it to work and provide the proper orthopedic results.
Overall, just make sure the dog bed you choose is safe, fits you and your dog’s needs and provides the most bang for your buck