How to Select a Dog Bed

We all love our dogs. They can be some of the greatest pets you could possibly ask for. And, naturally, because we love our dogs so much, we want them to have the greatest comfort possible.

One of the key elements of a dog’s life which brings him comfort are the conditions in which he sleeps. Depending on the bed that you buy and set up for your dog, it can drastically affect its quality of sleep, and, by extension, its overall health and mood. It is, therefore, quite important to carefully consider which bed is most suitable for your dog so that you can give it the best care and comfort possible.

When looking for the perfect bed for your dog, there are several things which you need to consider. These are related to both your dog and yourself.

Let us first start with your needs:

#1 – Maintenance

As wonderful and fun as dogs are, they are also filthy. When buying a bed for your dog, it is important to take into account how much effort you are willing and able to put into maintaining the bed. Typically, raised, thinner beds such as hammock beds are easier to maintain but they might inversely affect the comfort of your dog. Fluffier, thicker options such as donut beds are more comfortable but can sometimes be an absolute nightmare to clean. This is why it is recommended put a pillow or blanket on top of these more substantial beds so that you can clean those instead of cleaning your entire bed.

#2 – Decorum

As with any piece of furniture, it is important to take into account the design of your home when it comes to purchasing a bed for your dog. This includes picking a color scheme which will work with rather than clash with the environment, but it also involves placing the bed in an area of your home that does not have enormous amounts of traffic. This is so that your dog has some privacy and can nap by itself when it wants to.

#3 – Budget

Of course, one of the most important things to consider when buying anything is your budget. Not all of us earn the same amount of money, and our needs, just like those of our pets, vary widely. This is why it is important to keep money in mind when purchasing a bed for your dog. Usually, elevated, hammock-style pet beds are much cheaper than nest beds the price of which often reaches beyond a hundred dollars. One must also keep in mind the fact that dogs are animals which can soil or damage the bed or sheets, which means you will have to eventually replace them.

Before you make your purchase, make sure to look at both small and big retailers, and see what is offered online as well, so that you can make an informed and intelligent purchase.

#4 – Ecology

If you are an environmentally-conscious person, then it is understandable that you would like to make your purchase in a way that does not support polluting the planet. There are several options available if that is your wish.

You could, for example, purchase beds made of recycled materials such as plastic bottles. There are also beds made of 100% organic materials so you can keep your eye open for those.

One of the caveats with more environmentally-friendly beds is that they are often more expensive. This is understandable as they typically cost more to produce. However, beds made of organic materials also come with the added benefit of being relatively hypoallergenic, so if your dog has allergy issues they are much less likely to be exacerbated by a such a bed.

Your Dog’s Needs

Now that we have finished discussing your needs, let us talk about your dog’s needs. After all, it is the one who will be using the bed to sleep in.

Every dog is different, of course, and these are just some general rules that you can use to orient yourself, but it is crucial to keep in mind your dog’s unique physical and psychological characteristics when selecting a bed. Sometimes you may need to try out a few options at before you hit on your dog’s particular sweet spot. If this happens, do not get discouraged and keep in mind that it is all for the best in the long run.

In any case, let us discuss some of your dog’s needs which should be taken into account when purchasing a bed for it.

#1 – Sleeping Style

Of course, this should seem like a no-brainer when it comes to selecting a bed, but it is very important to take the time and observe the way your dog sleeps if you want to get it the best bed possible for him.

Things that you should watch out for is whether or not your dog stretches out when it sleeps or curls up. This will tell you whether you should focus on finding a larger/longer bed or a more compact option. Additionally, it is best that you actually measure your dog from nose to tail while it is sleeping. This will give you the most accurate picture. For the length of the actual bed, add eight to twelve inches to your dog’s measured length and—hey presto—there you have it! Keep in mind also that dogs do grow, and if you have a younger dog then you will also have to take that into account. It makes little sense to buy a bed which you will have to replace in a few months because it became too small for your growing dog.

Another thing to watch out for is if your dog is usually warm or cold when it sleeps. This is crucial as it can considerably affect your dog’s comfort levels during the night. Make sure to adjust your purchase accordingly so that you do not buy a very warm bed for your dog who actually has no problems keeping warm or vice versa.

Finally, be careful about chewing. If your dog has a tendency to chew things then it is obviously not to anyone’s advantage to buy an expensive, irreplaceable bed. Instead, if this is the case, consider looking for more inexpensive options or use sheets and pillows which can be easily replaced.

#2 – Special Needs

Some dogs might have special needs which have to be respected when making your purchase. These include allergies, physical ailments such as arthritis, or problems with regulating heat.

Orthopedic beds are available for dogs who are old or have otherwise have trouble with their bones or joints. When it comes to regulating heat, elevated, hammock-style beds or nest beds are effective at keeping your dog cool during the night, or if your dog prefers not to be elevated, cooling pads are also an option.

When it comes to materials, besides comfort you have to take into how hypoallergenic a material is. We have already mentioned this before. Of course, you need not fret over this in all cases. This is only something to consider if your dog is very sensitive.

Finally, keep in mind that orthopedic beds are made of high-density memory foam which easily retains moisture and odor. Therefore, if you buy an orthopedic bed for your dog, make sure to cover it with a blanket while your dog sleeps on it to protect it.

Understanding Different Types of Beds

Finally, in order to make a quality purchase, it is important to understand the different types of beds available. In this section, we will briefly go over what is available out there and which types of dogs or sleeping styles they suit the best. Keep in mind that these are quite general descriptions and that there is plenty of individual variation in the different categories.

Mats are the simplest type of bed and are very practical. You can either put them on the floor or on a piece of furniture your dog often sleeps on in order to protect it. Alternatively, you can get a specifically-sized mat to place in a crate if that is where your dog prefers to sleep.

Pillow beds are similar to mats but they are softer and therefore more appropriate for dogs who prefer a bit more comfort, especially if they are bigger or like to sprawl out when sleeping.

Donut beds, by comparison, are more suited for smaller dogs who like to sleep curled up. They offer a sense of protection and are quite cozy.

Nest beds are even more comfortable. On top of being soft and cuddly they are also good at retaining warmth, and so are good for dogs who tend to get cold while they sleep.

Bolster-type beds are great for dogs who like to lean their head on something while they sleep. They are quite comfortable—essentially like mini-sofas, and provide a certain level of security for dogs who are easily startled from behind by raising their backs up.

Cave-style or tent beds are great for dogs who prefer to feel cozy or safe above all else. They are also ideal for older dogs or any other dogs that have a problem with staying warm.

Finally, hammock beds are beds which, similar to human hammocks, are raised above the ground on a frame. They are the easiest to clean as there is nowhere for urine to collect. However, they are the least cozy of all beds (except perhaps mats), and therefore are not for all dogs. They also do not offer any heating advantages. In addition, some dogs might be uncomfortable being elevated while sleeping. This type of bed is a risky purchase but there is no reason why you should not buy it if your dog is okay with it.


So there we go. We have discussed all the different factors which should be looked at then purchasing a bed for your dog. The most important thing to remember when purchasing a dog bed is that every dog is different and it is up to you to determine which bed is most suitable for yours. After all, nobody knows your dog better than you do.

Regardless, it may be wise not to pour all of your money into your first purchase, but instead, wait until you are sure that the bed you bought suits your dog. Afterward, you can always purchase a more premium version.