Dog beds guide Feature imageBy AnimalHackers

The average dog sleeps for about twelve hours a day. Puppies can sleep for up to twenty hours a day. If your dog’s going to spend that much time snoozing, you need to look for safe, comfortable and durable dog beds that allow them to wake up refreshed and ready to play again.

Adult dogs sleep at least 12 hours a day (puppies and senior dogs sleep much longer)

However, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” bed that works for all dog breeds and ages. Before you go shopping, do some research on your particular breed to see what they need to be comfortable. Senior dogs will have different bed needs than young dogs. Every dog bed has its own set of features; some are perfect for your breed, while others make it hard for them to get a good night’s sleep. Here’s a rundown of the different features that you should consider when you look for a dog bed.

What you will find in this article about dog beds:

Resistance and Durability

Comfortable, Pet-Friendly Design

Temperature Control

Features for Senior Dogs

Accessibility for Senior Dogs

Bed Size

Easy Clean-Up

Safe for Pets

Environmentally Friendly

Perfect Shape

Long Warranty

Safe Design


Extra features

1. Resistance and Durability

Let’s face it: your dog’s bed is going to get a lot of use. Some dogs can easily spend twelve hours a day lying in their beds. Your dog might also chew on it, tear up the fabric, track mud onto their bed and make countless messes during the bed’s lifespan. You’ll need a tough, durable bed that can withstand years of frequent use. A good bed is chew-resistant, tear-resistant, stain-resistant, and waterproof. Many dog beds intended to be outdoors will be made of waterproof materials which can add to convenience and durability.

Some beds are described as chew-proof or chew-resistant dog beds alluding to the fact that some dogs are “chewers”. Chewing behavior can be a sign of anxiety and can be prevented before 3 months of age through proper socialization or even later through access to appropriate dog toys. Some manufacturers use “ballistic” materials. Ballistic nylon is a common material used to make dog beds. It is called “ballistic” because it was originally designed for bullet protection. It cannot stop a bullet, but it is very resistant. Another tough material is ballistic polyester. Kevlar thread materials are actually used in bulletproof vests and some bed manufacturers go to the extreme of using this material in dog beds. You can expect a Kevlar fabric to be near to indestructible but remember that toys are more convenient to satiate dog chewing instincts.

If you go with a durable, tough bed, you won’t have to replace your dog’s bed every few years.

2. Comfortable, Pet-Friendly Design

When dogs sleep in the wild, they make a “nest” on the ground that surrounds their body while they sleep. Your dog might be domesticated, but those wild instincts still persist. Look for a dog bed that’s soft, comfortable, and cozy with a surrounding barrier that makes your dog feel like they’re tucked inside a nest. Nest-shaped beds can provide a sense of security and comfort to your dog and extra head and neck support while they sleep or rest.

Dogs love to make a nest of their beds to sleep so that they feel cozy and safe. On the image a dog is resting surrounded by a bed sheet
Dogs love to make a nest of their beds to sleep so that they feel cozy and safe

Some beds will be advertised as ergonomic, and this means they are just comfortable beds.

3. Temperature Control

Most dogs can tolerate cold weather better than summer heat. Since they’re covered in fur and only have a few sweat glands, they can’t tolerate the heat as well as humans can. Your dog needs a temperature-controlled bed that keeps them warm in the winter and won’t overheat them in the summer. Some beds come with a heating function for the winter months while others are specially designed to keep the temperature as consistent as possible. Either way, you’ll want a bed with light, breathable fabric that doesn’t trap heat in the summer months.

4. Features for Senior Dogs

As dogs get older, they tend to experience joint pain and inflammation. The technical name for this condition is Osteoarthritis. This condition is not exclusive, but highly prevalent in senior dogs. They may also suffer a form of mental deterioration similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans, called canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD). For this reason, senior dogs often have trouble getting around and spend more time in their beds. A bed for senior dogs isn’t just comfortable–it’s specifically designed to relieve joint pain while they sleep. Orthopedic dog beds support their aching joints without applying too much pressure. This can ease pain and stiffness, making it easier for your dog to walk around the house when rested and feeling better. In more detail, orthopedic beds provide targeted support to the back and joints (neck, back, hips, and leg joints), so that pressure will be just enough to preserve the shape of joints (including those of the back) while not pushing too hard against them (which otherwise would produce pain). This lowers the pain level in osteoarthritic dogs. That is why some beds are advertised as “easy on joints”

Orthopedic beds are easy on joints. This image shows the forces that affect the elbow joint in an orthopedic dog bed vs a regular bed
Orthopedic beds are easy on joints. When a dog is sleeping, the weight (mass) of the joints or pressure points, will go against the bed surface and an opposing force from the bed will go against the joint. In this example, the force from the bed that affects the elbow joint of a dog resting on an orthopedic dog bed (represented by an arrow pointing up) is smaller than such force in a regular dog bed. This can make a difference in comfort in senior dogs with osteoarthritis or injuries in joints or pressure points.

Orthopedic and good quality beds come with memory foam that aligns with the shape of your dog’s body for maximum support. Dog beds based on memory foam make a perfect match for older dogs.

5. Accessibility for Senior Dogs

Senior dogs also have more trouble crossing barriers and walking up and down the steps. A good dog bed is easily accessible at the floor level so your dog won’t have to step over any barriers. Beds for older dogs should also sit close to the ground so your dog can easily jump on and off. If your dog is used to sleeping or resting in your furniture you can consider buying a ramp specially designed for senior dogs (remember they will not be able to hop as when they were young). Dogs love to be at higher places. This is one of their basic instincts. When they used to be wolves in ancient times, this could give them the advantage of better spotting their prey in the distance.

6. Bed Size

This is where your dog’s breed really comes into play. You’ll need a bed that’s spacious and comfortable but not overly large or smothering. Most manufacturers offer different beds for small, medium, and large dog breeds. People very often look for dog beds for large dogs as they are not as easy to find as beds for smaller dogs. Beds for large dog breeds must be designed to stand a large weight while being comfortable.

7. Easy Clean-Up

Even the most durable beds can get a little messy sometimes. You’ll need a bed that you can easily clean and wash without much effort. Some beds can be thrown in the washing machine and dryer. Machine washable dog beds are very convenient. Others need to be hand-washed, but a good-quality bed is resistant to dirt, water, and stains. You’ll also need a bed that’s odor-resistant so it doesn’t develop that “wet dog smell.” If your dog tends to scratch up the furniture, look for a bed that comes with a removable cover that protects the bed from ordinary wear and tear.

8. Safe for Pets

Every pet owner knows that what’s suitable for humans isn’t always suitable for dogs. Before you bring a dog bed into your house, do some research to make sure that the fabric won’t irritate your dog’s skin or cause an allergic reaction. Dog beds in general should be skin contact safe to avoid contact dermatitis in pets and us humans. Look in your dog bed listing whether the materials it is made of are potentially cancer-producing. Although dogs are somehow protected by their fur, this is something we should check before buying a dog bed. Check this interesting article about health warnings on merchandise. We, humans, are obviously exposed when we get such materials into our homes. Some beds are made with antibacterial materials for extra protection.

9. Environmentally Friendly

This is what we usually call an eco-friendly dog bed. If possible, look for a bed made from sustainable, environmentally friendly materials. Eventually, your dog’s bed is going to end up in a landfill. A good dog bed will eventually break down into organic materials instead of sitting in a landfill for centuries.

Dog bed materials shouldn’t contain chemicals like lead, mercury (and other heavy metals) formaldehyde, ozone depleters, or hormonal disruptors like phthalates. Hormonal disruptors are chemicals similar to human and dog’s own natural hormones. Hormonal disruptors can upset our body equilibrium and bring many health problems.

An eco-friendly dog bed should emit low levels of VOC (which stands for volatile organic compounds) that can intervene with indoor air quality.

Dog beds should not have flame retardants like PBDEs. Although flame retardants can be a good thing in terms of security these chemicals have been linked with health problems in pets and humans. They can disrupt hormonal components in the body such as those functions controlled by the thyroid gland and the immune system.

Nowadays some dog beds are organic which means at least one material is organic. For instance, some foams used in dog beds can be made of organic plant materials or some parts may be made with organic cotton.

10. Perfect Shape

Dog beds come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some dogs prefer a rectangular dog bed that allows them to relax and stretch their legs like they’re reclining on a sofa. Other dogs prefer a round bed that creates a comfortable nest-like environment. If you plan on keeping the bed in a visible area, you might want to find a bed that matches your home decor. Some modern beds are designed to look like furniture, so they won’t detract from the rest of your living room.

11. Long Warranty

Look for a bed that has a long warranty. Some beds have a one-year warranty while others offer up to ten years of protection. If you get a bed with a warranty, you might qualify for a refund if the bed doesn’t work as well or is not as durable as the advertisement promised. The warranty usually promises that your dog bed won’t flatten during the time declared.

12. Safe Design

It might seem unlikely, but your dog could injure itself on a poorly made dog bed. A quality bed has a non-slip bottom, so it won’t slide across hardwood or linoleum floors. You’ll also need a bed with a strong frame that won’t collapse or tip over.

13. Convenience

Since you’re the one who’s going to be doing most of the work, you need a bed that’s as convenient for you as it is for your dog. A good dog bed is made from lightweight material that you can easily transport from one room to another. Most dog beds require no tools or lengthy assemblies: simply choose a room in your house and you’re good to go. You could also look for a bed that’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor use to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.

14. Extra Features

Depending on your dog’s breed, weight, and lifestyle, you might need extra features when you purchase a dog bed. Some top-rated dog beds are made with high-end memory foam that provides a comfortable cushion for your dog. Other premium dog beds have special features like faux fur covers that replicate the feeling of snuggling with another animal. You could also look for a bed that’s specifically made for your dog breed to ensure that they get the most comfortable, relaxing experience. Some dogs prefer certain fabrics and materials, so think about where your dog sleeps when they’re not in their bed.

We hope this guide will help you to find the most comfortable and durable dog bed that ideally fits your and your dog’s needs.

When you’ve found the perfect bed for your dog, they’ll enjoy a comfortable, relaxing night’s sleep for the rest of their life.

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