The Greeks had an old proverb: ‘Know thyself’. But when it comes to buying the perfect dog bed then it is important to adopt the principle ‘know thy dog’.
Of course size and breed are important factors in your decision-making. But beyond this each dog is unique and you should consider your dog’s habits, age, personality and any medical issues.
Does your dog have arthritis or stiffness in the joints? Is your dog prone to drooling or an inveterate chewer? Is your dog through age or breed particularly susceptible to the cold?
Ask yourself all of these important questions before researching and finally investing in the right dog bed. The reviews of the product should enable to identify if this bed has been the right bed for dogs with similar issues.
Also remember that for a dog a bed does not just mean a good night’s sleep. They also, in general, sleep a good part of the day. On average dogs sleep for around 14 hours a day. A playful young pup who has burnt off all their energy can even sleep for up to 20 hours per day.
Beyond this a good bed is not only important for a dog’s physical welfare, but also for their mental well-being. Many dogs sadly suffer from separation anxiety when left alone. Providing both a very comfortable bed for your dog while you are out can help your lonely pooch feel secure and comfortable.
It might take a little time to do the research, but your dog will thank you for it. But to save you some time please find a check-list of things to consider in this important purchase:
Size of the dog
This is the most obvious consideration, but even here it is important to think about how a dog reposes into sleep. It is important to measure the length of your dog, but consider that when buying a mattress for yourself, you would never purchase one exactly the same height as yourself. This would be uncomfortable and not allow natural movements as you fall into sleep.
The same is true of a drowsing dog. So always add a good few inches to your dog’s length to allow this extra comfort as your canine companion stretches out in preparation for their nap.
Comfort and Support
Memory-foam beds have the advantage of tailoring themselves to all the contours of your dog’s body giving not only added comfort but also support to dogs suffering from injuries or conditions relating to joints and ligaments.
Large breeds of dogs are particularly vulnerable to conditions such as hip dysplasia, arthritis and wobblers syndrome which inflicts head and neck pain. In order to offer extra support both to prevent and help relieve these conditions ensure that reviews report that the bed is robust. At no point should a large, heavy dog awkwardly splayed on the floor by a bed which is not strong enough. Nor should the bed sink, but spring back to mould itself around the contours of your dog’s body.
This will mean that no further strain is placed on pressure points that might exacerbate soreness and discomfort and even lead to further injury to your canine pal.
If your dog likes to lie on their side then also consider a bolster bed, or one with a pillow. This will mean extra support and comfort to your prone pooch.
How washable is the bed?
Even die-hard dog enthusiasts will have to acknowledge that it not always possible to keep our dogs clean. Scent-Hounds such as Beagles and Dachshunds, and Sporting Group dogs like Golden Retrievers and Labradors love to roll around and chase in the messiest of places.
Also, sadly, even the most conscientious of owners will not be able to fend off fleas all of the time.
There are also a number of very adorable breeds which have the tendency to drool. If you have a large Mastiff type dog, or any of the brachycephalic dogs with shortened muzzles, like Bulldogs, then you will certainly need to factor a regular cleaning of the bed into your decision.
Whether it be mess or mites that soil your dog’s bed, having one that is easy to clean proves an absolute godsend, and even more importantly, makes it easier for you to offer both a comfortable and hygienic night’s sleep. This means you will be ideally looking for covers which are machine-washable for a quick turnaround so that your tired pooch enjoys a clean and comfortable. It is even better if the bed supplier offers spare coverings that you can rotate.
Your chosen bed should come with removable covers that are washable. Even better if any zippers are unobtrusive so as to avoid your dog feeling any discomfort or even hazardously chewing on them.
Durability – A bed built to last
Unfortunately a good bed becomes for a dog more than just a place to sleep. In fact it becomes a den where they will tear, scratch and dig. This means that you must prepare yourself for the fact that your dog throw everything that a dog can possibly throw at your thoughtfully considered purchase.
But try not to get frustrated at this, because if your dog is engaging in these apparently destructive activities it is her way of showing appreciation for you providing this little home within the home
This is not even mentioning dogs that have a tendency to chew everything or any condition that makes them more likely to soil or pee on their bed.
Ensure you check that the liner in the bed is waterproof. Additionally, particularly for dogs who drool or might soil their beds or have some form of bladder leakage. Look out for whether the bed manufacture offers reasonably priced replaceable bed covers to add further longevity to the bed.
A warm, cosy bed
It is important to remember that some breeds are more prone to feel the cold than others. Also you may live in a generally cold climate. If so you could consider a thermal or heated bed to ensure that your tired pooch will not be shivering in the middle of the night. These clever beds have layers of foil in their padding to reflect a dog’s natural body temperature and keep them snug.
There are also cave-like beds with an arched covering that acts like a comforting blanket and is perfect for a dog or pup who likes to burrow into a cosy sleeping spot. This will also suit a more nervous dog who likes to feel safe and hidden in a little dog cave when they are resting or asleep.
This should be choice considered for those with dogs of a particular breed. The Doberman Pinscher, for example, may be a tough, stoic dog but there single-coat means they are more susceptible to chilly nights. Other breeds that really feel the cold include the biggest dog on the plate, the Great Dane, the smallest, the Chihuahua.
Also if your dog is arthritic or suffering joint pain, a warmer sleeping environment will help relieve the pain. The only problem your dog might encounter is keeping any cats in the household from stealing it.
A cool temperature reducing bed
The idea of a bed providing comforting temperature control, also works the other way.
If you live in a particular warm climate and have longs spells of hot weather, then cooling dog beds are available help your dog remain completely chilled out as they sleep.
Overheating can be serious for dogs, and there are certain breeds that can be particularly vulnerable to it. Once again this can be of particular concern to brachycephalic breeds, due to their short muzzles not being as efficient in helping a dog cool through panting.
The English Bulldog, and related breeds such as the French Bulldog, Pug and the Boston Terrier all fall into this category and therefore you may want to look at a cooling bed to keep them snug and safe during the dog days and nights of summer.
Multiple dog households
Talking of keeping warm, if you are in a multi-dog household, members of your little pack may want to sleep together for both warmth and comfort.
If so, you may not need to purchase two beds, but simply a bigger bed in which these dogs can cuddle up. This will be particularly pleasant for your dogs if they are left alone. As gregarious animals having the comfort of a canine pal lying next to hem will help them feel relaxed, safe and comfortable and less likely to suffer acutely from separation anxiety.