Anyone that has spent the night on a futon or an old fold out sofa bed knows how important a comfortable, supportive bed is for a good night’s sleep. Without it, you’re in for a sore back and a cranky disposition.
While it seems that dogs and cats can sleep almost anywhere, in most any position, as they age, a comfortable, supportive bed is important to help ease the discomforts of arthritis or other ailments.
If you don’t let your pets sleep on your bed with you, (about 45% of Americans let their dog sleep in the bed with them) then it’s on you to find the right bed for them.
Take a look in any pet store, sporting goods store or even furniture retailers and they will have a line of dog beds. They come in all shapes and sizes from a tiny little pouch that fits in a backpack to a huge 5’ lounger. But how do you figure out what bed best suits your dog?
A dog bed can be a big investment as they can cost up to several hundred dollars, and with so many options, it’s best to make an informed decision based on a little research. To help you, we’ve gathered some expert opinions on what to look for when choosing a bed.
- Check how your dog sleeps. Do they curl up in a small ball, or do they stretch out? Do they like their head elevated? Do they like to feel cradled and make a nest? If you have more than one dog, do they like to sleep together, or do they need their space? Understanding the answers can help you decide on the type of bed, its location and its size and support.
- Measure your pet from the tip of their nose to their butt and then add 3-5 inches depending on their size. Use that measurement to help get the right sized bed. It’s always better to default to a little big than too small.
- Determine where you are going to put the bed and measure that space to ensure it will fit.
- Read the care instructions. Unless you want to be buying new beds frequently or spending money on drycleaners, you REALLY want a bed that with a removable cover that comes apart easily and allows you to throw it in the washer and dryer for cleaning.
- Style and color. This is your preference of course and beds nowadays come in all sorts of fabrics, colors, prints or stripes. Your dog probably doesn’t care, but you probably don’t want a frilly pink bed in a black leather bachelor pad.
- Support. Determining the correct amount of support is probably the most important decision when choosing a pet bed. Pet beds can be made out of simple loose-fill pillow stuffing, foam, or high-end memory foam. The heavier and older your dog, the more they need something that can support their weight or comfort their joints. Donut beds or beds with bolsters are great for pets that like to curl up when they sleep – this shape also helps them stay warmer as it tends to retain heat longer.
- Heated or cooling mattresses. Yes, you can buy heated beds and cooling pads that can be heavenly for your pet depending on the season. These options can keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Your dog is likely to have several beds over the course of their lifetime and it may take a few tries to get just the right bed for them, but it’s important for them to have a space of their own, a comfy, cozy corner where after a long hike, they know they can get some much needed shut eye.