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Dog beds might not be the most essential part of dog furniture for canine companion, but they certainly improve your pet’s level of comfort and overall well-being.

All dogs need a bed for the same reason that we humans do: beds are great for the optimum comfort while resting and sleeping. Without sleep, functioning and getting through the day is nearly impossible. Not only are dog beds important when it comes to rest, but they also are necessary for preserving your dog’s physical health.

According to a recent survey of pet owners by the American Pet Products Association…

…nearly half of dogs sleep in their owner’s beds. 62% of small dogs, 41% of medium-sized dogs and 32% of large dogs sleep with their owners.

Most dogs like to be where their humans are, and chances are you probably don’t spend most of your time in your bedroom. Some owners like to provide their dogs with a pet bed somewhere in a central location of the home, most likely the living room or family room, or whichever room your pet loves to sleep and relax in the most.

When talking about why your dog needs a dog bed, you have to understand that your pooch won’t solely use his dog bed for sleeping—the bed will also be used to rest on and relax in general. When picking such an important piece of dog bedding, there are several things to consider in terms of your dog’s health and physicality.

Bedtime Basics - Why Your Dog Needs a Dog Bed
Photo: Armarkat / Amazon

Be sure to take note of your dog’s breed and shape. Whippets, for example, are thin and bony dogs that might need extra cushioning under them in order to prevent discomfort. Dogs with more coat padding may not require as cushy a bed.

This type of pet furniture also assist in alleviating pain from joint and bone conditions as well as preventing serious health problems in dogs such as arthritis. Typically these conditions affect senior dogs, but in some cases young pups have hip, bone or joint issues as well.

Canine osteoporosis and canine osteoarthritis are two most common examples of bone and joint conditions that can afflict a dog. Dogs with meat-only diets are especially prone to osteoporosis. By providing a bed for your dog that matches his needs, you can make sure he is as comfortable as possible, lessening the risk of further damage or even preventing the initiation of new damage to his joints and bones.

Bedtime Basics: Why Your Dog Needs a Dog Bed

As with many other types of pet supplies, dog beds come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes that each fit different sizes and breeds of dogs. Some pet beds for dogs are even specially made for canines with certain health conditions. There are dogs beds to give your Fido extra support, beds for dogs that like to nest, and soft plushy beds for pooches that enjoying lounging.

Other types of dog beds include:

  • Cedar filled
  • Bolster beds
  • Orthopedic
  • Simple padded
  • Cots
  • Caves
  • Corner beds
  • Nests
  • Heated and cooled beds

…and the list goes on. For an in depth look at the most common types of dog beds you can check out our column Types of Dog Bedding: Mats, Beds, Pillows, and Sofas. We offer an in-depth look at product reviews, news articles, and featured articles about dog bedding often, so be sure to check Top Dog Tips frequently for the most up-to-date information.

How to choose the right dog bed

Bedtime Basics - Why Your Dog Needs a Dog Bed
Photo: spexpet / Amazon

Your pet’s breed is not the only characteristic to take into consideration when selecting a proper dog bed. The way in which your dog sleeps can also be used to determine what bed you should purchase. If you’re unsure of how your dog sleeps, take some time to observe him and get to know his sleeping style before you purchase a bed for him.

RELATED: Top 5 Chew Resistant Dog Beds

If he tosses and turns while asleep, that can mean that a larger bed would be a wiser purchase than a smaller one. Much in the same way that a human who moves around a lot while asleep would be uncomfortable on a tiny twin bed, a large breed of dog that moves around often is better off with a bed that can match their size and sleeping habits.

For specific information on choosing a pet bed, you should read How to Choose the Best Pet Bed for Your Dog. This article will provide you with more details on what you should focus on before buying a dog bed, including the different types of beds and what they are best suited for, the different materials dog beds are made from, and how to select the best bed for your dog’s needs.

Top 5 best selling cheap dog beds on Amazon

  1. Coolaroo Elevated Pet Bed
  2. Regalo My Cot Bed
  3. Midwest Quiet Time Bolster Pet Bed
  4. AKC Casablanca Round Solid Pet Bed
  5. Armarkat Pet Bed Mat

Types of dog beds and why your dog may need them

Standard Dog Bed

The most commonly used type of dog bed is the standard dog bed. The reason this form is so common is because it is suitable to any breed of dog, and they are usually the cheapest pet beds you can buy. A standard dog bed is essentially a giant pillow that can come in a variety of different shapes (round, square, rectangle, etc.)

The bed has no definitive edges on it and can accommodate dogs of many different sizes. Occasionally, the bed will be filled with cedar wood chips or some other material designed to reduce any insects or odor that could make its way into the bed.

However, that aforementioned problem is unlikely, considering that the standard dog bed is generally very easy to clean and store. Typically these types of beds are machine washable. Whether they have washable or removable covers or an easy-to-dry stuffing, standard dog beds are convenient for any owner looking to combine comfort with practicality.

Doughnut-Shaped/Bolster Bed

Aside from the standard dog bed, there are more specific types of beds that cater to canines that need a different, less “one size fits all” form of bed. Dog beds with sides to them (sometimes referred to as “bolster” dog beds) and doughnut-shaped dog beds are two variations on the standard bed.

The doughnut-shaped beds in particular are best suited for smaller breeds or very thin breeds that are in need of extra cushioning because their joints aren’t padded as thickly those of larger dogs. The doughnut-shaped dog bed allows the dog to really sink in and curl up in the bed, ensuring a good night’s sleep with no joint soreness or stiffness in the morning.

Similarly, dog beds with raised sides on them are also more comfortable for dogs who want to lean against the side and have back support while they sleep (i.e., side sleepers). Some dogs may also like to lie with their paws or head on the side of the bed while they sleep. Little details like these are why it is so important for you to observe your dog’s sleeping patterns before purchasing a bed.

Orthopedic Bed

Why Your Dog Needs a Dog Bed - Big Barker
Photo: Big Barker / Amazon

If your dog has particularly sensitive joints, bones, muscles it may be a good idea to invest in an orthopedic dog bed. Dog arthritis can be a painful and even, in the most severe cases, debilitating condition. Orthopedic beds are made with a thick foam padding that conforms to the dog’s shape and adds support to areas on the dog’s body that need it.

Orthopedic beds can be tailored to fit inside a kennel or a crate, and they come in many different formats and versions in order to assimilate into the home. One of the key factors in helping alleviate the pain from canine arthritis is lessening the stress on the afflicted areas. An orthopedic dog bed is a way to do that not only just when the dog is sleeping, but whenever the dog feels that they need to lie down throughout the day as well.

Temperature Controlled Bed

Dog beds can be temperature controlled. Heated dog beds are also an excellent idea for helping to ease arthritis related discomfort that your dog may be experiencing. A heated dog bed is like an electric blanket or hot water bottle for a dog—the rush of heat provides relaxation and comfort.

Cooling dog beds are available for dogs as well. Obviously they would be well suited for pets living in warmer climates or to help your pup survive the summer heat, but they also have additional health benefits that you many not realize. Dogs that are recovering from an injury may enjoy the cool feeling of a temperature controlled dog bed. They may also be useful year-round for pets with heavier coats.

Regardless of your dog’s specific needs and characteristics, there is a pet bed out there for him that will vastly improve the way he sleeps.

Dog beds aren’t just for indoor pets either…

Bedtime Basics - Why Your Dog Needs a Dog Bed
Photo: K&H Manufacturing / Amazon

If you have a dog that normally hangs out outside, there’s a good reason to get a dog bed for him as well. Even though your dog lives outdoors, he still needs to be cushioned just as much as an indoor pet. There are different types of dog beds that can actually be placed outside the home. These beds generally have water and weather-resistant fabric that is durable despite the elements.

All dogs need a place to sleep regardless of whether or not they’re indoors or outdoors. If your pet is an outdoor dog, it is vital for them to have something to sleep on other than the cold moist ground. Sleeping on the ground can also do major damage to your pets’ legs, hips and joints.

The same can be said for dogs that are in a kennel. Whether indoors or out, you can find a dog bed that will fit comfortably in your pet’s kennel to give them a comfortable place to sleep. Think about how much better you feel at night climbing into your bed. Your dog deserves that same feeling no matter where they sleep.

Other benefits of dogs beds

There are secondary benefits to a dog bed besides comfort and health. Dog beds also assist in minimizing the amount of hair and shedding that spreads around your house. If you have a dog that is prone to shedding, giving them a place to sleep at night prevents them from going and camping out on the couch or on your bed and avoid all that dog hair on your furniture.

Not to mention, if the dog bed is easy to clean (and most of them are), the shedding will actually end up being quite manageable and concentrated in a single area. There are many ways to lessen the burden that shedding causes, but a dog bed is one of the more efficient tactics for doing so.

Additionally, giving your dog his own dog bed will ensure your pooch has his own personal space. Dogs love having their own place to retreat to when they get overwhelmed.

Bedtime Basics - Why Your Dog Needs a Dog Bed
Photo: K&H Manufacturing / Amazon

Especially in busy households with children and other pets, your dog will want his own space from time to time. It is best to let your dog be when he is on his bed. That way he will come to think of his bed as his own little oasis away from the craziness of everyday life. Having his own space will add to his feelings of independence and sense of security.

Now that you understand why your dog needs a dog bed, it is time to start researching. If you take the time to research dog beds and figure out the best style of bed for your pet, you will be doing him a huge favor. You will also quickly realize just how much your dog appreciates it. It will probably become his new favorite place. Remember that with most dog products, you get what you pay for when it comes to dog beds.

If you select a bed purely based on price and you go with the cheapest option, it will more than likely be made of lesser quality materials, be uncomfortable for your pet, and it may not be any better than sleeping on the floor. Your pet needs to be lifted up off the floor and provided with support to keep their bones and joints comfortable and healthy.

Be sure to observe your pet and choose the bed that will meet his needs. If you have additional questions or would like more information before making your decision, talk to your veterinarian and dog specialists at your local pet store. They may be able to help guide you to the right bed for your specific Fido.