As any dog owner knows, dogs like to spend a good amount of their time lounging around and sleeping. For this reason, it’s important that they have a comfortable area to rest and relax and providing a dog bed that’s appropriate to their size, habits and temperament should be a consideration. There are many styles from which to choose and I’ll offer some tips here on which might best serve your needs. Even if your preference is to have your dog sleep at night on your bed, he should still have his own “private space” where he can go to chill out during the day. Having his own, personal special spot will give him a needed sense of security and privacy.
Several factors come into play when selecting a dog bed, including:
- Shape & size
- Interior composition
- Exterior material
- Extra functions, such as temperature control or enhanced orthopedic support
Most dog beds are advertised for use with specific sized dogs and are often available in multiple size options. The problem, however, is that size usually refers to a dog’s weight but not his width or length. A properly sized bed should allow your dog to lie comfortably without his legs or rear end hanging over the sides.
Observe your dog to learn his preferred sleeping position. He may like curling up, lying flat on his belly with his hind legs going back or on his side with his legs straight out. The trick is to measure the dimensions of his normal sleeping space and getting a bed just slightly larger than this area.
Select the Style
If he likes to curl up when sleeping, a round or oval bed might be best. Padded or bolstered sides will add to his feeling of safety and security. If he likes to sprawl out when sleeping, a rectangular bed or mat is probably best. If he likes to jump up onto the furniture, maybe he needs an off-the-ground hammock bed. These also allow for increased air circulation.
Many beds have removable covers for easy laundering and this is important. Dog beds pick up a lot of stuff like hair, dander, dirt, etc. They should be washed often and you want a removable cover made from an easy to maintain material.
Beds are available with a heating or cooling function that you may want to consider. Some beds are for indoor use only while others may be taken outside and are usually waterproofed (which makes cleaning even easier). Some are made for travel while others have special interior foam or filler meant to provide orthopedic support for older dogs with joint problems or those with hip dysplasia.
The bottom line is for the dog bed to be comfortable, the correct size, durable and easily maintained. Once he claims ownership, it will likely become his favorite spot of all.