Types of Dog Beds With Pros & Cons
There are so many types of dog beds! Once you make the decision of buying a pet bed for your dog and start comparing types and prices, you realize this task is not as easy as you thought.
There is a huge variety of dog beds with different designs, materials and purposes, and it’s really hard to decide which bed will give your pet comfort, support and a bed that your dog will love to sleep on.
Here we give you a simplistic analysis of different types of dog beds with main features and Pros & Cons.
Important Things to Consider:
In the following list you will see eleven types of dog beds. Even though the design of each type is different, most dog beds use soft and mushy fabrics inside, such as fleece, faux sheepskin, sherpa fabric, etc. to give the dog extra comfort. Independently of the type of bed, a general “Con” for very soft fabrics is that some dogs consider them as a toy to chew on, so if your dog plays with plush toys, I would not suggest to get a soft bed. This is especially important when it comes to choosing a bed for your puppy because soft fabrics can be ingested by your pet with serious consequences.
Another “Con” of soft fabrics is the fact they get too warm on hot days so they may not be suitable to be used on summer days for long haired dogs or dogs breeds that tend to overheat.
Now let’s check type of dog beds with Pros and Cons of each:
1. CLASSIC STANDARD BED
These beds look like cushions, pillows, and in general, any basic dog bed that features a cover with some type of stuffing that will give some support to the dog’s body. Classic dog beds don’t have any type of rims or wedges and that is one of their main characteristics.
You can find many types of classic dog beds with different thicknesses, fillings, shapes, sizes and qualities. Also, they are a good alternative if you need an affordable bed for your dog. However, you can find standard dog beds with higher prices too, usually offering a thicker cushioning, better quality and even designer versions.
The best type of classic standard bed is the one with removable zippered cover for washing. This way is easy to keep the unit clean and odor free. Classic standard beds are available from small sizes up to XL sizes for large breeds.
Main Features: It consists of a cover filled with some type of stuffing. The bed does not have rims or bumpers.
Padding: Poly fill, foam, cedar, cotton, down.
Shapes: Rectangular, oval, round, square.
Cover: Microfiber, treated nylon, soft polyester, fleece or sherpa fabric, flannel, faux leather, faux suede, denim.
Pros & Cons and Suitabiliy of Classic Standard Dog Beds
– Simple design, no assembling needed
– Adaptability and portability, you can throw the bed wherever you want
– Most standard dog beds have an affordable low price
– Easy to keep clean if featuring removable cover
– Most standard dog beds don’t offer thick cushioning or support
– The bed tends to flatten and lose padding after use
– If the cover is not removable, the stuffing tends to ball up after several washes
– They don’t offer good support for old dogs, overweight dogs or pets with mobility problems.
Suitable for: Small and medium sized adult, healthy dogs.
Not suitable for: Dogs that sleep leaning against a support, or that like to rest their head on something or dogs that play with lots of toys in the bed.
2. PAD OR MAT / CRATE PAD BED
Pads or mats are the cheapest alternatives in dog beds. They consist of a soft cover stuffed with some type of filling. The amount of stuffing it’s on the thin side, so pads aren’t thick. Usually, the cover is not removable.
They are used mostly for crates, but people also use them for pet houses, vehicles and couches. Also, they are used as a simple bed when the dog likes to sleep on the floor to confine its hair in one place.
However, thin beds are not recommended for skinny breeds with pronounced bones or breeds that tend to develop dysplasia, because they don’t provide a lot of support to the pet’s body.
You can find all sizes of pads or mats, from small to extra large. They are more suitable for small to medium sized dogs.
Main Features: It consists of a cover filled with some type of stuffing, with thin padding.
Padding: Poly fill, cotton, poly/cotton, foam.
Shapes: Rectangular, square.
Cover: Acrylic fleece or sherpa fabric, plush fur, faux sheepskin, faux leather.
Pros & Cons and Suitabiliy of Pads/Mats Dog Beds
– No assembly needed
– Portable and adaptable to other uses, such as crate, vehicles, dog houses and couches.
– Easy to wash as a whole-piece
– Thin cushioning, it does not offer a thick padding to protect the dog’s body from the floor
– It may slip on hard floors or with dogs that move a lot
– Pads tend to flatten after washes and use
Suitable for: Small or medium sized dogs. Dogs that like to sleep on the floor. To use as padding for crates.
Not suitable for: Skinny breeds with pronounced bones or breeds that tend to develop dysplasia. Overweight dogs, elderly dogs or pets with mobility problems.
3. BOLSTER OR COUCH TYPE BED
Bolster beds offer a good support for the dog’s body and head. They look like a mini couch with bolsters on the back and sides and with a cut on front for easier access. The padding of bolster beds is thicker than standard beds and it’s usually a thick foam base. Most bolster beds feature orthopedic foam base which is extra support for old dogs or pets with arthritis.
This type of bed is a good option for dogs that like to lean against something when sleeping and that like to sprawl out. Also, if your dog likes to sleep on the couch, bolster beds are a good option. Pets really appreciate the back bolster to support their body and the side where to rest their head or chin.
Bolster beds consist of a cover with a foam base or similar and bolsters that get assembled inside all together.
Main Features: Bolsters on the back and sides to give support. It looks like a couch.
Padding: Memory foam.
Shapes: Rectangular, oval.
Cover: Canvas, twill, acrylic fleece or sherpa fabric, plush fur, faux sheepskin.
Pros & Cons and Suitabiliy of Bolsters or Couch/Type Dog Beds
– Bolsters provide support for the dog’s body and head
– Usually base is made from thick memory foam, offering the best padding
– It gives dogs the feeling of sleeping on a couch
– Cover is removable for easy washing
– Bolsters, cover, base, need to be assembled
– Bolsters take space from the sleeping area, reducing it
– The bed is bulky (larger sizes) not good if you don’t have enough space
– The whole bed can’t be machine washed since it’s big unit with a thick foam base.
– They are more expensive than classic dog beds
Suitable for: Small, medium and large and extra large sized dogs. Dogs that like to sleep on the couch. Overweight dogs that need support for their body. If orthopedic, for old dogs or pets with arthritis or bones problems.
Not suitable for: Dogs that like to sleep in flat areas and sprawl out without support on their head. Houses with reduced space for bulky beds. Dog owners that like an easy washing of the pet bed.
4. NEST BED
The nest bed is basically a bed with a cushioned base and high padded walls to give the dog the feeling of sleeping in a “nest”. Nest beds are mushy and provide dogs a very comfortable area where to sleep and rest. The high walls provide good support for the dog’s body and head. Some nest beds have sturdier and higher walls than others, depending on the quality and price.
The are 3 types of nest beds. The foam type which has a foam inner structure consisting of a base and walls, protected by a simple cover made from soft, fluffy fabrics. Sometimes this cover is made from a soft and fluffy fabric on the inside and a more solid fabric on the outside to give it sturdiness. Another type features a cover that comes with incorporated sewn stuffed walls and a removable pillow base.
The last variety is a nest bed with stuffed base and walls which are all individually zippered with their own liner and all get assembled by the external zippered cover.
Main Features: Bed with stuffed base and padded high walls.
Padding: Foam, poly fill, poly-cotton fill, cotton.
Shapes: Rectangular, oval, round.
Cover Inside: Acrylic fleece, sherpa fabric, plush fur, faux sheepskin.
Cover Outside: Canvas, faux suede, kennel plush, soft velvet.
Pros & Cons and Suitabiliy of Nest Dog Beds
– Very comfortable and soft mushy bed
– High walls provide dogs a good support and place to rest their head (if sturdy enough)
– It gives dogs a feeling of privacy and protection
– Most nest beds have removable covers for easy washing
– Affordable price
– Some units need to be assembled
– Certain nest beds don’t have a very thick padding, in comparison to a memory foam bed.
– Some covers with stuffed sewn walls need to be washed as a whole-piece
– They don’t offer enough support for large and extra large dogs.
Suitable for: Small and Medium size dogs that like to nest.
Not suitable for: Large dogs that like to rest their head on the edges of the bed. Old dogs or pets with arthritis. Dog breeds that tend to overheat.
5. DONUT & PUFF BEDS
As its name says it, donut beds have a donut shape and they consist of a very soft and cozy bed for the dog to sink in, featuring a pillow bolster rim around that provides support where dogs can rest their head.
Donuts are usually fully cushioned on sides and bottom, giving extra padding to the dog’s body. These are some of the softest and coziest dog beds on the market.
We have included puff beds on this type because they are also extremely soft and mushy pet beds, giving dogs good padding where they can sink in. Some puffs actually look like donuts the difference is the rim is much lower. In general, puff beds don’t feature a rim.
Main Features: Extra soft and mushy bed with bolster pillow rim.
Padding: poly fill, poly-cotton, cotton.
Shapes: Round, oval.
Cover: Microfiber, Acrylic fleece, sherpa fabric, plush fur, faux sheepskin, faux suede, poly-cotton twill, microvelvet.
Pros & Cons and Suitabiliy of Donuts & Puff Dog Beds
– Extra softness for the dog’s body
– They offer a bolstered round rim to give dogs support (except puffs)
– It allows dogs to sink in and get cozy and comfy
– Some of them feature a removable cover for easy washing
– Extra softness makes it hard for old dogs or pets with mobility issues to get in and out
– They don’t offer enough support to large dogs.
– Toy lap dogs may bounce around inside the bed because of their lightweight
– Soft and cushy donuts and puffs get too warm in summer.
Suitable for: Small to Medium sized dogs. Dogs that love to curl up and sink in beds to get cozy.
Not suitable for: Old dogs or dogs with mobility problems to get in and out from the very soft bed. Large dogs or dogs that tend to overheat.
6. CAVE BED
Cave beds as their name says it, offer dogs a “cave” where to hide and get warm and comfy. The cave bed is basically a padded base with a hood type cover that covers almost the entire base, with a side or front opening for the dog to get in. This top cover makes a kind of “roof” providing pets a soft material over their body so they can snuggle into the bed and feel secure. Some cave beds feature a removable bottom pillow.
Cave beds keep small dogs warm on cold days. Usually cave beds have a “pac-man” shape, but you can find a wide variety of designs.
There is a wide range of prices for cave beds, depending on the padding and construction. You can find the cheapest version made from thin padding, until more expensive options such as the cave orthopedic pet beds.
Main Features: Bed with a padded base and a hood cover.
Padding: Foam, poly fill, poly-cotton fill, cotton, poly-cedar.
Shapes: Round, oval, tend or igloo shaped.
Cover Inside: Acrylic fleece, sherpa fabric, plush fur, faux sheepskin.
Cover Outside: Faux suede, kennel plush, microsuede, microfiber, soft velvet, soft plush, poly-cotton.
Pros & Cons and Suitabiliy of Cave Dog Beds
– It provides dogs a soft enclosed area where to sleep
– It keeps the dog warm, covering its whole body
– Soft bed where the dog can snuggle in
– It provides pets security and privacy
– Cover needs to be re-assembled after washing
– Not good for warm days
– Not suitable for medium or large sized dogs
Suitable for: Small dogs that like to snuggle. Small dogs that usually hide in areas in the house.
Not suitable for: Medium to large size dogs.
7. COT BED
Cots are elevated dog beds consisting of a metal or PVC frame with a mesh or similar fabric. A special version of Cot beds are the “Canopy cot beds” that feature a roof for a nice, cool shaded area for the dog to rest outside.
Cot beds have many benefits such as lifting the dog sleeping area from the floor or the ground, isolating your pet’s body from heat, cold. dirt, water, grass or insects. Cot beds are highly versatile, being suitable for short and long haired dogs, for small, medium or large pets.
Cot beds are good for dogs that tend to overheat or for long haired pets because their elevation allow the circulating air go through the breathable fabric from under the dog’s body keeping its body cool and fresh. For short haired dogs some cot beds come with a fleece liner with elastic straps.
Most cots are used outside, but some versions are made to use them both, inside and outside. You can find a wide range of prices, depending on the quality of the construction and size.
Main Features: Elevated bed consisting of a metal or PVC frame and a strong fabric.
Padding: No padding
Cover: Mesh fabric, knitted fabric.
Pros & Cons and Suitabiliy of Cot Dog Beds
– Elevation keeps dog’s body isolated from the heat, cold and other elements.
– Mesh fabric offers a flexible area where dogs can sleep
– Frame provides certain sturdiness that other beds can’t offer
– Versatility, it can be used indoor, outdoor, for short or long haired dogs.
– It keeps dogs cool and fresh with air circulating around their bodies.
– The best Cot beds on the market are the closest to be indestructible dog beds.
– It needs assembling
– Mesh fabric does not provide a soft cushioned bed
– The bed is not portable or adaptable to use it in another places (car, couch, etc.)
– Elevation makes it difficult for some old dogs with mobility problems.
– It can’t be easily washed.
Suitable for: Small to Large sized dogs. Outdoor dogs. Dogs that need a flexible support for their bones. Dog with rush or skin allergies. Dogs that overheat or long haired dogs.
Not suitable for: Dogs with mobility problems.
8. CORNER BED
Corner beds are basically designed in a way to make them fit perfectly in corners. The corner bed is very useful for people that have a reduced space in the house or apartment. Also, these beds are a good option for dogs with anxiety or stress because they feel more protected sleeping or resting in a corner, away from busy areas.
The design and type of materials used in corner beds are wide. You can find padded beds, bolstered, nest, etc. The common feature is the triangle type design to make them fit in the corner of a room.
Main Features: Bed with a design to fit in a corner of a room.
Padding: Foam, poly fill, cotton, poly-cotton
Cover: Fleece, sherpa fabric, faux suede, polyester, microsuede.
Pros & Cons and Suitabiliy of Corner Dog Beds
– It offers dogs a good area for sleeping in a reduced space
– Good for dogs that need to feel away from living areas with lots of human traffic
– It needs assembling
– It does not give too much room for dogs to sprawl out
– It does not feature front bolsters for the dog to rest its body or head on.
Suitable for: Houses with a reduced space. Small to large dogs. Dogs with anxiety or stress.
Not suitable for: Dogs that like to sprawl out when sleeping. Dogs that like a bolster rim in front to rest their head or paws when relaxing.
9. HEATED & COOLING BEDS
Heated beds are made to keep dogs warm in cold environments. They are plugged in to an electric outlet and use a low voltage that keeps a controlled temperature of about 15 degrees above ambient air temperature, ensuring not to overheat your dog. Heated beds feature a metal safety coil around the cord to make it chew-proof.
Heated beds are a good solution for dogs that need to sleep in garages or basements. Also, heated beds give a solution to short haired dogs that don’t know how to wrap themselves or those that pull the blankets off the bed at night. Finally, they are a good option for old dogs to keep their joints flexible and relaxed.
On the other hand, cooling beds are made to keep your dog cool and fresh in extreme hot temperatures. Cooling beds are filled inside with non toxic cooling gel that stays cool when there is pressure over it. This is a good option for breeds that tend to overheat and for long haired dogs in summer.
You can find all sorts of designs and types of heated and cooling beds, from simple pads to memory foam bolsters.
Main Features: They provide warmth or coolness to the dog’s body.
Padding: Heating beds; Foam, poly fill, cotton, poly-cotton. / Cooling beds; non toxic gel.
Shapes: Rectangular, round, square.
Cover: Heated beds; Fleece, polyester, microsuede, thick nylon. / Cooling beds; thick nylon.
Pros & Cons and Suitabiliy of Heated & Cooling Dog Beds
– It provides extra warmth or coolness that dogs need
– Heated dog beds use electricity
– Some dogs may chew or scratch the cooling mat and get to the gel
Suitable for: Small to large dogs that need to stay warm or cool.
Not suitable for: Chewers.
10. ORTHOPEDIC BED
Orthopedic beds are designed to offer a good support for elderly dogs or dogs with bones, joints or any other physical issue that will require the dog to sleep in a extra thick bed with the best support and softness for its body. You can find orthopedic dog beds in different shapes and designs: elevated, nest, bolsters donuts, but most orthopedic beds look like a thick bolstered mattress or simply a mattress. They are mainly used for large or giant sized dogs due to their weight, but there are also orthopedic beds for small and medium sized pets.
Orthopedic beds consist of an ultra thick memory foam base that gives these type of pet beds almost a human quality bed. Thanks to the thickness and materials that orthopedic beds are made from, dogs keep their body warm and comfortable, without receiving any impact or temperature of hard floors.
The terms “memory foam” and “orthopedic foam” are not quite the same. Memory foam is a high density foam that provides a solid support. Memory foam recovers its shape when the weight it’s released from it, providing an excellent cushioning. On the other hand, orthopedic foam has a special shape on the surface that provides massage effect and distributes the weight evenly, reducing the pressure points on the body. Good quality pet beds combined these two in one.
A less quality orthopedic bed consists of one thick memory foam base that does not offer the same orthopedic support. Even further, some foams are labeled as “memory foam” but leave molded hollows in the areas where the dog sleeps. Since these are expensive units, you need to do good research with reliable reviews before getting one.
Main Features: Made from extra thick memory foam base for best support.
Padding: Memory foam mattress
Shapes: Rectangular, round, square.
Cover: Fleece, microsuede, denim, microfiber.
Pros & Cons and Suitabiliy of Orthopedic Dog Beds
– It provides extra thick memory foam padding, offering the best support and keeping the dog’s body off the floor.
– It provides the best sleeping area to old dogs or dogs with arthritis or dysplasia.
– It keeps dogs warm and very comfortable.
– The best padding for giant breeds
– The bed is bulky and uses a lot of space
– The thick mattress is not washable. Only the removable zippered cover.
– The price is expensive
Suitable for: Small to large dogs that need the best support for their body. Old dogs or dogs with arthritis, bone pain or any other physical issue that requires the best padding, isolation and protection.
Not suitable for: Dogs that don’t need special requirements of extra support.
11. FURNITURE TYPE BED
This type of dog bed is basically a piece of furnishing. It looks like a human bed, chesterfield, sofa and any other design resembling people’s furniture.
The main characteristic of a furnishing type dog bed is having a wood or metal frame, which make them durable and sturdy. You can find dog beds that look like a couch, but they are stuffed bolster beds that look like a sofa without an inner frame, These aren’t considered a furnishing pet bed.
Furnishing dog beds are a good solution for dogs that like to sleep on your bed or on the couch, offering them their own sofa or bed where to sleep. They will do an easy transition since these pet beds look exactly like people’s beds or sofas, just on a small scale.
The other main purpose of these type of beds is the luxury; they serve as a piece of décor, blending with the home style. These type of beds are usually suitable for toy, small or medium sized dogs, but you can find few versions for extra large pets. Prices of these beds are on the high side.
Main Features: Designed as people’s furniture, with a wood or metal frame as internal structure.
Padding: Memory foam, poly fill, poly-cotton.
Shapes: Rectangular, round, square.
Cover: Microsuede, denim, microfiber, plush, leatherette, faux fur, leather.
Pros & Cons and Suitabiliy of Furniture Type Dog Beds
– Luxury style and beautiful designs
– Solid, sturdy and durable pet bed
– Elevated bed keeps the dog off the floor
– They are part of the home décor
– It provides dogs their own furnishing where to sleep
– Good support and cushioning
– Some are bulky and use a large space
– They are not machine washable, only spot clean.
– The price is expensive
Suitable for: Small to medium sized dogs that love to sleep on the couch or bed.
Not suitable for: Old dogs or dogs with arthritis. Giant breeds. Chewers.
Now you know all the types of dog beds with Pros & Cons so you can to pick the best for your dog!