Arthritis is an unfortunate health condition that plagues many of our beloved pets. Many people associate the condition with elderly dogs, but that's not always the case. In fact, 80% of dogs show signs of arthritis by the time they're eight and 20% of dogs will show signs as young as one year old.
Dogs who suffer from arthritis can have difficulty sleeping due to the pain they experience. However, this issue can be alleviated by choosing specially made dog beds for arthritis. The beds are tailored to joint conditions and will offer your furry friend a better night's sleep.
In this guide, we'll go over how to best help dogs that have arthritis and the different types of beds you can choose from to give your pup a comforting night's sleep.
What is Dog Arthritis?
If you start noticing that your dog seems stiff, tires easily, or has problems getting up, arthritis could be the problem. Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of canine arthritis. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, don't hesitate before contacting your veterinarian to have them evaluated.
When the cartilage that protects the bones of a dog's joint is destroyed, that causes osteoarthritis. The cushion surrounding the joint is gone, resulting in:
- Decreased mobility
- Friction between the bones
- Spurs (bony growths) formation
Cartilage doesn't have any nerve supply, meaning damage can occur in your dog's joints with no outward symptoms. They'll only begin showing signs of discomfort once the lubricating fluid isn't able to protect the surface of the bone anymore. At this point, the joint is also severely damaged.
Inflammatory joint disease is a less common form of arthritis in dogs. The cause of it is usually a fungal or bacterial infection or tick-borne disease. Inflammatory joint disease is also caused by an underlying issue in your pet's immune system, which is often hereditary.
What Causes Arthritis to Develop in Dogs?
There are a few factors that can contribute to dogs that have arthritis. These include:
- Hip dysplasia or other congenital joint disorders
- Elbow dysplasia
- Old injuries
- High activity levels
- Repeated trauma to injuries
- Diabetes, Cushing's disease, or other metabolic diseases
Based on your dog's symptoms, your veterinarian can diagnose arthritis. They'll also look at your pet's medical history, age, and conduct a physical exam.
Some additional symptoms of arthritis include:
- Limping after resting
- Unusual weight gain
- Loss of appetite
- Sleeping more or inactivity
- Reluctance to run, climb stairs, or walk
- Behavioral changes including irritability
- Unusual urinating in your house
Your veterinarian may also want to take X-rays of your dog's joints to determine how severe the problem is.
Various Ways to Address a Dog's Arthritis
There are ways to help reduce the symptoms and discomfort from arthritis for your dog.
To help keep stiff joints mobile and supple, implement some light or moderate exercises to your dog's daily routine. What exercises you choose depends on your dog and your vet can help you figure out which ones would be best for their condition.
Anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes of light exercises twice a day is what's usually recommended for dogs. One 40-minute exercise session isn't typically recommended for an arthritic dog. Low-impact activity, like swimming, helps improve a dog's muscle mass without overstressing its joints.
Extra weight on a dog's frame can put additional stress on its joints. That can cause more severe arthritis and additional joint damage. Losing weight can help minimize additional joint damage in your dog.
Don't necessarily pay attention to the feeding guidelines that come on your dog's food bag. Those amounts are based on adult dogs who are active. There are different ways to determine the caloric intake your pup needs but speak to your vet regarding the amount of food you feed them.
Feeding your dog quality food will also help them maintain a healthy weight. Make sure their treats are made from quality ingredients as well, like fruit and fresh veggies.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is an omega-3 fatty acid. It's shown to reduce inflammation and the symptoms of arthritis. It also helps limit damage to your dog's cartilage.
Find foods that have high levels of EPA in them to feed your dog.
Some private practices and academic centers have certified rehabilitators that can work with your arthritic dog. Rehabilitation therapy can include the following treatments:
- Ultrasound therapy
- Underwater treadmills
- Electric simulation
- Cold and heat application
- Range-of-motion and stretching exercises
These treatments help increase muscle strength and maintain joint health. They can promote tendon, ligament, and cartilage health, as well as relieving pain.
Depending on how intense the pain is for your dog and the joint damage, your vet could recommend surgery. Surgery can improve your dog's function and movement, and reduce their pain.
Some of the surgeries can remove cartilage debris from the joints. Other forms of surgery can rebuild joints, replace them, and/or repair bone deformity. Your vet will recommend the right surgery for your dog if they feel it's necessary.
Joint supplements can help reduce inflammation, slow joint damage progression, and improve overall joint function. Chondroitin and glucosamine are common supplement ingredients that both dogs and humans can take.
They work to help increase water retention in the cartilage, which gives more cushioning for your dog's joints. It also promotes healing for any damaged joints.
Green-lipped mussel (GLM) is another supplement ingredient that is beneficial for dogs. It's an anti-inflammatory that preserves joint function and decreases pain. When you first start noticing arthritis signs in your dog, implement a supplement into their diet to help slow the progression.
Install Ramps and Non-Slip Flooring
It's hard for senior dogs or any dog suffering from arthritis to navigate hardwood, tile floors, and/or stairs. Install cubes or ramps into various areas of your house where your dog has issues. They'll help them get off of high surfaces or deal with stairs.
If you have slippery floors, place carpets or rugs around. It'll make walking and running much easier for them.
Having your dog groomed may not seem like a common treatment for arthritis. However, arthritic dogs sometimes have difficulty cleaning themselves, especially in areas that are hard for them to reach.
A senior or arthritic dog should be groomed regularly. You want to ensure their quality of life is at its best. Ensuring their coat is clean and free of tangles is one way you can make your dog happy and healthy.
A dog-lift harness or sling can help with your dog's mobility around the house. It wraps around their body, removing weight from one of the core pressure points and assisting with movement. Finding a quality dog-lift harness can be difficult.
Consider the following things when purchasing one:
- Durable, flexible, and strong material that provides cushioning for the dog
- Multiple carrier points or adjustable height
- Tailored fit to your dog's body
If your dog is elderly or extremely injured, a dog-lift harness can help you care for them easily. It can provide them with additional support and joint relief.
Give Them a Supportive Bed
Orthopedic dog beds help support their bones and joints. Ensure it's made from quality memory foam. Your dog needs a comfortable spot to rest that will alleviate some of the symptoms it's experiencing and a bed can do just that.
How to Choose the Best Dog Beds for Arthritis
There are a few items to consider when looking to buy the best dog bed for arthritic dogs. As a dog gets older, they'll spend more time in their bed. You want to give your pup a comfortable place to rest their weary joints.
Waterproof or Water-Resistant
Since arthritis is most common in older dogs, picking out a waterproof bed is important. Incontinence, or bedwetting, is another issue that plagues our older friends. Arthritis doesn't do anything to help older dogs and getting up to go to the bathroom can be difficult.
If your dog begins to suffer from bedwetting, a waterproof or water-resistant bed will make cleanup a lot easier.
The support a bed provides for your dog is one of the top features to look at when selecting a bed. Memory foam is a common component of orthopedic dog beds. However, don't purchase a memory foam dog bed just because it mentions it in the description.
The thickness and type of foam in the bed are important. There are a few types of memory foam:
- Traditional: Designed to decrease stress on the joints and provide support
- Open Cell: Decreases heat retention in the body while giving your pet the benefits of traditional memory foam
- Gel: Reduces motion transfer and pressure points
Out of the three memory foam options, gel and open-cell are the top choices. Gel is also known to be hypoallergenic, making it a great option if your pup suffers from allergies.
Size of Your Dog
You want to pick a bed that is big or small enough to comfortably fit your dog. While they are laying down, measure them. Try to get a measurement when they have their legs extended and are fully stretched out.
Add around five inches all around the dog so you get a properly sized dog bed. You want them to have enough room to stretch out while continuing to be supported by the bed. If the bed is too small, the dog will have joint pain from being confined and cramped.
Made from Safe Materials
You want to ensure the dog bed is made from fabric that is nontoxic. There aren't a lot of conclusive studies on specific fabrics that are harmful to dogs. It's best to opt for fabrics that are made from natural materials and not man-made.
Cotton is a great choice because it's been around for centuries and is known for not being irritating for all skin types.
Gentle on Skin
There are other things to consider besides arthritis with an aging dog. As a dog gets older, their skin gets thinner and more fragile, much like humans. Look for a bed that is gentle, soft, and doesn't crinkle when your pup moves around on it.
Beds for large dogs with arthritis or even small dogs can cost a pretty penny. You can find one for under $100 but then others go for several hundred dollars. While you want to give your dog the most comfortable place to rest, spending $300 or more on a dog bed doesn't always fit into the budget.
Know what your budget is before looking for beds and only look for beds within that price range. Read the reviews and ensure that the bed has all the features you're looking for before you make your purchase.
The Best Dog Bed for Arthritis
Now that you know what to look for when shopping for a dog bed, let's go over some of the best options out there.
Original Bully Bed
The Original Bully Bed hits all of the main features of a quality dog bed -- it's washable, waterproof, and orthopedic. It's made for big dogs, with sizes starting at medium and going all the way up to XX-large. It also comes in tan, chocolate, or gray.
Some other features of the Original Bully Bed include:
- CertiPUR-US certified foam that's free of hazardous chemicals
- The foam is specifically designed for large dog beds
- Comes with a 20-year guarantee
- The large, X-large, and XX-large beds are 7" thick
- The medium bed is 4" thick
- All the materials, including the fabric, are made from hypoallergenic and non-toxic materials
The Original Bully Bed ships to your home for free. It's made with orthopedic memory and support foam, providing comfort for your Great Dane, Mastiff, or any other large breed of dog.
If your pup has an accident or the bed needs a freshening up, no sweat. Easily remove the microfiber cover and toss it in the wash. The cover also has beautiful accent piping.
The microfiber cover has a heavy-duty zipper around the edge, making it resistant to dog chewing. The base is non-slip, so don't worry about your pup slipping as they get on and off their bed.
Orthopedic 3 Sided Bolster Bed
If you're looking for a dog bed that has bolsters, look no further than the Orthopedic Three-Sided Bolster Bed. Your dog can comfortably lean against one of the three sides or have something around them that's secure against their sides or backs.
The bolster bed comes in a variety of sizes, starting at medium and going to XX-large. It comes in chocolate or gray.
The bolster bed comes with many of the same features as the Original Bully Bed, including:
- 20-year warranty
- Removable, washable cover
- Waterproof liner
- Made from non-hazardous memory foam
- Chew-resistant zippers
- Made from hypoallergenic and non-toxic materials
- 5 lb density orthopedic memory foam
- Non-slip base
Whether you have multiple dogs that like to share a bed or one pup that likes the comfort of the bolsters, this bed is an excellent choice for your dog suffering from arthritis.
Round Sherpa Top Bolster Bed
Is there anything more snuggly than sherpa? Our Round Sherpa Top Bolster Bed is one of our coziest beds. It's perfect for your dog to curl up in or share with another furry friend.
The bolster runs half the width of the bed, making it ideal for dogs to curl up against. It has heavy-duty fabric and a soft, sherpa top. You can easily remove the top and throw it in the washing machine without worrying it will get ruined.
The sherpa bolster bed comes in Large, X-large, or XX-large. Choose from gray, chocolate, or blue.
Like with all of our beds, the sherpa bolster bed ships for free. The non-hazardous, orthopedic foam is specially designed to support the hips and joints of your dog, reducing their discomfort. The bed gets up to 6" thick on the side with the bolster.
Infrared Dog Bed
Have you ever heard of an infrared dog bed? Ours is made in the United States and is the first and only dog bed that's received FDA medical certification.
Our infrared dog bed comes in large, X-large, and XX-large sizes. It currently comes in gray and is the perfect shade to complement any home's decor.
So, what's the benefit of an infrared dog bed? Our bed uses your dog's body as its power source. The infrared ion advanced ceramic-coated fibers reflect far-infrared ray (FIR) that are emitted naturally by the dog's body heat back into their skin.
The FIR then dilates the dog's blood vessels, temporarily increasing their blood circulation and enhancing their tissue oxygen levels. The dog's tissue absorbs the infrared emissions, providing them with reduced discomfort and increasing recovery time and energy. The fabric of the bed also reflects the FIR, allowing any extra heat to escape, cooling the bed, and making it easier for the dog to sleep.
The infrared technology of our dog bed will soothe your dog's arthritic symptoms, speeding up their recovery time. It's designed with their comfort in mind. You can also remove the bed cover to wash in your washing machine.
Keep These Things in Mind
Once you've picked out the best dog bed for joint pain, there are a few things you should think about when placing it in your house.
Consider the following items:
- Place the bed on non-slip flooring
- Ensure the non-slip flooring extends past the bed so they don't slip when they get out
- Place the bed in a non-drafty/warm location in your house
- If the bed is in a crate, make sure it's large enough so they can stand up, stretch out, and move around
- If your dog sleeps on your bed, have stairs or a ramp leading up to your bed so they don't have to jump off
Taking all these considerations to heart will guarantee your dog is living a more comfortable life.
Family-Owned Company With a Mission
We named our company, Bully Beds, after Bull, our 150-pound Cane Corso mastiff. While Bull is no longer with us, our company is built to honor his memory and maintain his legacy.
Bull was a therapy dog that would visit local veterans with disabilities and special-needs adults. He made a connection with every person he visited, despite his intimidating size. Bull touched many lives and made a lasting, permanent impression on those he met.
Unfortunately, Bull began to experience hip discomfort in 2015. We learned from our vet that his bed can significantly improve his quality of sleep.
Throughout our searches, we couldn't find a bed that lived up to its therapeutic or orthopedic claims. None of the beds we used for Bull provided adequate support for his large size and began to sag quickly. This led us to design our own orthopedic dog beds that provided support for large dogs.
Over the years, we've researched and developed the right configuration and combination of foam to create supportive beds. We wanted to make a bed that alleviated a dog's discomfort, giving them a comforting place to rest.
Bull passed away in 2016 and we named our company in his honor. We're a family-owned company that's committed to selling a product that benefits large, aging, or arthritic dogs . Our beds improve a dog's quality of life.
Find the Best Dog Bed Today
No matter how old your dog is, finding the best dog beds for arthritis is vital to ensuring they can rest comfortably.
There are many things you must address with an arthritic pet and ensuring they have a nice place to rest is one of the easiest things you can do.
To read about how our beds have helped countless furry customers, check out some of our testimonials.