Common Considerations Before Purchasing a Dog Bed
I am sure that you, as most dog owners, do your best in trying to make your dog happy, feeding your pet the best you can, making it exercise and giving it love. But there is one thing you may not particularly think much about and that’s your dog’s sleeping area.
The sleeping area gives dogs a sense of their own space in the house. So if you need to choose a dog bed keep in mind that this important item needs to provide your pet comfort, quality sleep and also a sense of protection.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR DOG
Puppy. If you have a puppy you must consider his playing activity and chewing behavior. You will want a bed that:
Is strong and well made, with a base that will support its permanent playing and movement, with enough room to put its toys, water resistant that you can entirely wash, especially if your puppy is in “potty training”, non toxic stuffing (never leave your puppy unsupervised in its bed), no zippers or anything hanging out the bed that he/she could pull out, chew or bite. You can check more tips about how to choose a dog bed for your puppy here.
Adult Dog. You will need a bed that:
Is strong if your dog is a chewer, it can handle the activity level of your dog, it gives your dog enough support according to its size and weight.
Senior dog. Look for a pet bed that:
Supports its joints and bones, easy accessibility, with a foam mattress or memory foam mattress base, warm to keep its joints relieved. If you have an elderly dog, you may want to check some tips that will help you to decide what to get for your old furry friend.
2. How Your Dog Sleeps
Dogs, as people, have their own preference when it comes to sleep. Watch how your dog sleeps to determine what’s the best type of bed for him/her.
If your dog likes to sleep on soft, fluffy and mushy areas: Get a bed made from soft materials such as faux sheepskin, plush, sherpa, etc.
If he/she loves to sleep on elevated surfaces such as beds or couches: In this case you can find pet sofas, mattresses or bolsters that are as good as your own bed or couch. When choosing one, make sure the material of the bed is similar to the place your dog likes to sleep on.
If your dog does not really care that much where to sleep: If your dog sleeps on a rug, on the carpet or simply on the floor, you can get a bed with less cushioning such as a pad or a pillow that you just throw on the floor. These pieces are easy to wash and keep clean. The advantage of getting this type of bed is containing the dog’s fur in one place instead of everywhere on the floor.
If your pet likes the security of soft blankets over its face and body: If your dog loves blankets on its face or if your little guy knows how to wrap him/herself with a blanket, the cave or “cuddler” type bed could be a good choice.
Your dog curls up when sleeping and likes to rest its head or chin over something: Get a round bolster or a donut. These beds are good also for dogs that like to watch you when you are doing your daily activities.
If your dog leans its body against something and sprawling out: Get a rectangular mattress with bumpers.
If your pet needs good support for its body and he walks in circles before going to sleep get a round orthopedic mattress.
If your dog sleeps semi-curled up or curled up in a ball: Get a round bed with a diameter of your dog’s body when curled up, especially if you want to keep him/her warm and give it support for its body. Consider that if you pick a round bed that will exactly fit your dog when curled up, your dog won’t be able to play inside or walk, it will be just a sleeping bed.
If your dog is injured, overweight, with arthritis, if he/she got Lyme disease or if your pet has allergies, you need to make a well informed decision when it comes to their bed.
For example, an overweight pet most likely will suffer from joint problems. In this case, you need to get a bed with a strong base and cushioning, a foam mattress or memory foam mattress. The same if your dog has arthritis or hip dysplasia. Arthritis can be caused by many factors such as Lyme disease, hormonal issues, degenerative joint disease, fractures involving the joint, etc.
When dogs have allergies to elements, such as pollen, food, insect bites or dermatitis by contact, they usually show the allergy on their skin. You will notice if your dog is allergic if you see him/her rubbing its face and body on the couch or carpet, over scratching its sides and belly or chewing on their feet until they get irritated and red. They also have red spots on their skin, gaps in their fur and hair loss as well. They may even develop chronic ear infection.
If your dog is allergic avoid pet beds made from fabrics such as wool, polyester, nylon or any plastic material and try to get a Non-Allergenic Dog Bed. They are usually made from soft organic cotton and natural fabrics.
Also, another good option for allergic dogs is a cot type bed which stops your dogs from overheating, keeping its body fresh and cool.
If your dog is injured you need to choose a low bed with an easy access and with support on sides. The best must be supportive but soft.
Some breeds such as German Sheppard, Retrievers, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Spaniels and Pugs are prompt to develop hip dysplasia. If your dog belongs to one of these breeds and you want to invest in a pet bed that last a long time, make sure to get a orthopedic mattress or at least a foam base pet bed, just to avoid future expenses so you don’t have to replace it so fast.
Very big breeds and “pushed in” faced dogs such as Pug, Terrier, Boston, Pekingese, Bulldog, Boxer, Shih tzu, etc, often struggle to keep their body cool in the heat. If you have a giant breed or a “pushed in” faced dog, try to get a bed that will keep your dog cool in summer.
You can find various types of dog beds with different suitability according to the dog’s breed. It’s a good idea to choose a type of pet bed that fits the best your dog’s breed and lifestyle.
5. Activity Level
For very active dogs try to get a cooling dog bed that will keep him/her fresh and with a natural absorbing fabric to handle a sweating body. This is especially important during summer.
Also, for a very active dog get a bed with strong sewn seams inside to handle the dog walking, jumping or moving around without the inside of the bed getting ripped.
If your dog spends a lot of time outside, it’s a good idea to get a bed with a removable cover that can be easily washed in the machine.
A good option for an active dog is a bed stuffed with poly fill, cotton fill or down fill, with a cover made from natural fabric, with a zipper for easy removal. Another good alternative is a cot bed that absorbs humidity or a bed filled with cedar, which neutralizes odors and keeps fleas or other bugs away.
If you prefer foam beds, make sure the mattress features a protective liner that won’t allow perspiration to get to the foam and develop bacteria.
6. Adaptability & Bed’s Portability
Some dogs like to carry their bed from one room to another or maybe you want your pet to give you companionship so you bring its bed to your room. Maybe you want to put your dog bed in the car to go somewhere or placing it on the terrace on nice days. If you want your bed to be portable, you need a bed that is not heavy or too bulky.
Also, if you want a pet bed that you can place on the floor, over the couch, in the car, inside a crate, etc, you need certain type of beds that can be adapted to all these uses. Cushioned pads with bumpers are a good choice here.
The adaptability and portability won’t be an important criteria if you want the bed for a determined spot in the house that you won’t move.
7. Choosing the area where you will put the bed
The sleeping area is very important for your dog. In this area he/she feels protected and gives it a sense of ownership of that space. For this reason, the bed needs to be placed in a quiet area free of excessive human traffic.
If you need to buy a big bed you need to designate a good spot for this unit and know the exact dimensions before buying it. If you have limited space in your house, you can choose a corner bed which accommodates in any corner of your house.
If you live in an area with dramatic changes of temperature it’s important to choose a bed that can acclimate to these changes. You have to consider the predominant temperature in the area you live and start from there.
If you live in areas where the predominant climate is hot, get a cooling pet bed, cot type or a water bed. There are orthopedic foam beds that are made from advanced gel that keeps dogs cool. Water beds are filled with water to keep the dog fresh, but they are too much work for cleaning and end up leaking. The other type is the cot pet bed that is made from breathable fabric that allows air go through and around the bed, cooling your pet’s body.
On the other hand, if you live in a predominantly cold area, give priority to a warm fluffy and cushy bed with high walls to protect your pet’s body. Also, you can get a heating pet bed that will keep your dog warm no matter how cold it is.
9. Type of Filling
The bed filling will determine the support for your dog’s body, comfort and durability.
Usually beds stuffed with poly-fill, plush or any fluffy fiber offer less support and cushioning than a bed combining memory foam, orthopedic foam and polyfill for the best comfort and support.
Poly-fill means polyester fiber filling. Pillows, pads, mats and other types of beds use this filling for cushioning and insulation. Some poly fill fibers are made from recycled plastic bottles which offers the advantage of providing very soft padding and it’s a good option for people ecologically friendly.
Poly fill can be re-recycled several times so you will find first and second grades of poly fill. You can see this quality in the color of the fiber, the darker, the more times the fiber has been re-used. This fact is seen in the price of the bed.
The other type of cushioning is the baffled polyfill, which is a special type of polyester fiber filling which construction is made from poly-filled tubes, individually chambered which help to keep the internal fibers in place, avoiding shifting and bunching and giving dogs the best comfort and support.
Foam. Provides a solid base to the dog bed, supporting its body and providing a durable and consistent cushioning. The best option in foam base beds are the memory foam beds which are specially recommended for big breeds, overweight dogs, old dogs and any dog that need special cushioning and support for its body due to a health condition.
Cedar. There are beds filled with cedar which is a good stuffing to neutralize dog smell, making them suitable for indoor/outdoor dogs. Also, cedar does not nest fleas. Make sure you or your dog will like the cedar smell before buying this type of bed. Beds filled with cedar don’t provide as much padding on hard floors.
10. How you want to keep it clean
If your dog is outdoor or indoor/outdoor you have to make sure to keep its bed free or smell and bugs so you need to get a bed that can be entirely washable or at least with zippered covers that you can remove and wash.
Smaller dog beds with Polly fill filling are usually entirely machine washable while memory foam beds use special covers to protect the mattress which can be washable as well.
11. Budget vs Bed’s Lifespan
Prices in dog beds have a wide range from less than $10 to hundreds of dollars, depending on the type of bed and size.
You need to make a decision if you want a long lasting unit that provides the best support and comfort for your dog (and bite the bullet) or to replace the bed every few months and spend less. Anyhow, you must consider the level of comfort your dog needs according to its age and health condition.
12. How it will match your decor
The last but not less important is how this pet bed will match your home decor and style. The importance of this point will depend whether you want the unit just look like what it is, a simple dog bed or if you want it to be a piece of furniture in your living room or terrace.
Any style you choose, always consider the color of the bed trying to match the color of your dog’s fur, avoiding black colors in general, unless your dog is black.
Consider all these factors carefully and make a good and well informed decision. Good luck!