When you lay down in your bed at night, do you ever look over at your dog, curled up on a patch of floor in a ball or on a pile of old blankets, trying to find the softest place to sleep? Your dog deserves the best of everything, including a comfortable bed to sleep on. But how do you go about making sure they get the best one?
There are a lot of options available for what style of dog bed to get. Finding the best dog beds is all a matter of knowing what your dog needs. Read on to find a guide to selecting the best bed for your dog.
One of the simplest solutions for a dog bed is to buy your dog a mat. These tend to be cheap options and good for getting your dog off the floor. They provide a little bit of warmth and some padding to help protect their joints.
Mats can be good for use in crates, where you may not need a lot of extra padding or fluff. You’ll want to take your dog’s needs into account, however. For many dogs, a mat will not work well, as it won’t provide enough support.
The next step up from a dog mat is a dog pillow. These are more or less what they sound like – large floor pillows that your dog can lay on. They offer more padding than plain dog mats, but they are also usually quite affordable.
Dog pillows come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses, so make sure you find one that’s big enough to allow your dog to stretch out on it. You want to also get one that you can wash easily, as they tend to start smelling the more your dog uses it. Read reviews to find beds that will be sturdy enough to stand up under long-term use. Pillows do tend to break down over time, however, and they can become lumpy and uncomfortable. They can also gather bacteria and start to smell as they age.
If your dog likes to lean against things or snuggle up against the arm of the couch, a bolster bed may be a good option for them. These beds are similar to the basic pillow, except that they have “arms” and a “back” on the edge of the bed. This provides enough space for your dog to stretch out, but still gives them something to curl up against.
If your dog tends to startle when you approach it from behind, it may love a bolster bed, too. The support of the back adds a sense of security and safety. It will feel to them like curling up against the back wall of their den, safe from any predators that may want to sneak up on them. But bolster beds may not work well for larger breeds, as they may not give them enough room to stretch out. It's sort of the doggy equivalent of trying to sleep on a love seat; there's no comfortable place to put your head, and your legs get cramped.
Donut dog beds are structured a little differently than bolster beds with some of the same benefits. These beds are round with raised sides, similar to a donut with a bad sewed onto the bottom. This type of bed may work best for small or medium-sized dogs, as they tend to fit a little better in these beds.
If your dog tends to hang out curled up in a ball, they’ll love the structure a donut bed provides. These beds are also a good choice for anxious dogs since the walls wrapped around them on all sides will provide feelings of comfort and safety. They can also help dogs stay warm while they sleep, an advantage for dogs who live in very cold locations. However, donut beds do not allow your dog to stretch out while they sleep, which can be bad for their muscles. They may constrict and cause painful movement when your pooch wakes up.
Nest beds are somewhere in between bolster and donut-style beds. They have a similar rounded donut shape and supportive sides, but rather than being a perfect circle, nest beds are more ovular and have a dip at the front as a sort of “entryway.” They provide less constrictive security than a donut bed does, but more structure than a bolster bed.
Nest beds are, as their name suggests, good for dogs that like to nest into things. If your dog is always digging at the carpet or at their pillow, having the structure of the high side may give them something more to snuggle into. These may also work well for large dogs, as they often come in larger sizes than the donut beds do. Nest beds have the same muscle constriction problems that donut beds do, however. Your dog needs to be able to stretch when they sleep, and the sides of the bed don't allow for that.
If your dog really likes to nest and often digs under blankets and such, a cave bed can be a great option for them. These beds are a donut- or pillow-type bed with a cover that stretches over the top. This cover can be supported, to provide a sort of igloo structure, or not, to give them a “blanket” to nest into.
Cave beds are great for short-haired dogs who get cold easily, as they are great for keeping warm. They can work well for terrier breeds since they mimic the feel of the dens they might naturally dig into. You’ll have an easier time finding these beds for dogs under 20 pounds since they don’t often come in larger sizes. It is important to note that while cave beds provide an extra sense of security, they don't provide much spinal support for your dog. This is especially important in older dogs and breeds like labs that are prone to hip problems.
If your dog is getting older, they may have some arthritis, hip dysplasia, obesity, or joint problems. These issues need special support, and orthopedic beds provide that. They are typically made of medical-grade foam that provides plenty of support for your pooch. Look for beds that are specifically made to provide medical-grade support. These will often be made of memory foam, as it cradles pressure points and supports the areas that need it. These beds will often be pillow-style, though other bed styles may be available, too.
Find the Best Dog Beds
Finding the best dog beds for your canine friends is a matter of assessing your dog and your needs. What behaviours does your dog naturally exhibit, and what will make them feel most secure? Read reviews, look for beds that are durable and easy to wash, and find something that will make your furry friend feel right at home.
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