You may think that dog beds are just a comfortable place for your pet to sleep, but they serve more than that purpose alone. Actually, the best type of dog bedding provides numerous psychological and physical benefits to your Fido. Not to mention it will benefit you too!
A dog bed will give your pooch a comfy space that is all hers. Although your dog is a social creatures by nature, she still enjoys resting by herself now and then, particularly when she's sleeping. Having her own bed gives your dog a place to relax when she wants some space, time alone to chew a bone, or just to enjoy watching the hustle and bustle of your family.
Physically, the best type of dog bedding is extremely beneficial for your pet. Although some types of dog beds are better than others, they all keep your dog up off the cold floor and give her bones and joints a little bit of cushion. Laying on the bare floor puts unnecessary pressure on dogs' joints, which is especially important for senior dogs.
And, let's not forget about the benefits that providing proper bedding will have for you: if your dog has her own space to rest, she will be less likely to climb on your furniture. Most experts agree that a dog crate and a dog bed are some of the most essential dog supplies pet owners should invest right after dog food.
Today, with so many different varieties of dog beds: indestructible dog beds, orthopedic dog beds, beds for small dogs and large dogs – all of which are very different from each other – it may be difficult to know which one to pick. In this article, I will shed some light on the types of dog bedding and how you can choose the perfect one for your Fido.
The What and Why of A Good Night’s Sleep for your Dog
Dogs spend around 50% of their day sleeping and another 30% resting, meaning they stay inactive but not actually fall asleep. Puppies do tend to sleep more than adult dogs; about 18 hours a day for puppies and 12-14 hours for adults and seniors. Since a vast majority of their time is spent asleep, you need to be sure that you provide them with comfortable, supportive bedding.
Much in the same way that a human might wake up with a sore back after spending the night on an uncomfortable couch or in a too-thin sleeping bag, dogs can feel discomfort if they don’t sleep on a surface that fits their body appropriately. Humans have Memory Foam beds, back pillows, and even massage chairs—but what do our furry friends get?
Actually, a lot. There are several different types of sleeping and resting equipment that your dog can use, including dog mats, dog beds, dog pillows, and dog sofas. You should pick which type your dog will use based on what keeps them the most comfortable.
Below we'll discuss some of the important aspects of dog beds, picking one and how to know which dog bed type is right for your specific canine. For a more thorough guide, read the one linked below or watch our video.
Consider your dog’s size, shape, and physical needs when choosing her bedding.
You'll also want to take into consideration:
Your dog's sleeping style – Does your dog sleep curled up in a ball or sprawled out with their her stretched out? Does she like to lie on top of something or lean against something while she sleeps? Taking some time to observe how your dog sleeps will give you a good idea about what her typical sleeping style is.
Your dog's shedding and activity levels – If your dog sheds a lot you may want to consider getting pet bedding with some kind of removable, washable cover. Likewise, if your dog enjoys being outside, having an easily removable cover that can be thrown in the washing machine will help with cleaning up the mess that muddy paws leave behind.
Your home's décor – You'll want to keep your own personal style in mind because you'd probably like to choose bedding that matches the other furnishings in your home and doesn't stick out.
Your budget – Although you may love the look of a more expensive style, you need to keep your budget in mind. You could spend hundreds of dollars on a dog bed, but that may not be in your price range.
Best Type of Dog Bedding
What Are Your Options and When to Use Them?
1 Flat Dog Mats
One of the most frequently used types of canine bedding are dog mats. Dog mats are versatile pieces of bedding for pets that are often used when your dog is in her crate or kennel, either for traveling or when she is left home alone.
Dog mats are made with a variety of fabrics, ranging from recycled fibers to thick padding composed of terrycloth, polyester, or any number of other strong, reinforced fabrics.
Flat mats can actually be very comfortable, though they don’t have the plush fluffiness of a soft dog bed. Generally, dog mats are sized to fit the crate or kennel, so they’re not overly large (you’re not buying a carpet) and can be up to several inches thick.
The benefits of these easy-to-use mats are numerous. They are very convenient and, as aforementioned, they are great for traveling and using with a crate or kennel. Most are easily washable. They’re beneficial for dogs that have back problems or are sensitive to stiff surfaces.
Oftentimes, crating or kenneling is unavoidable, so it’s important to provide a surface for the dog that isn’t a hard, bare floor. Sleeping on such an unforgiving surface can be strenuous on the joints. Mats are durable and won’t shift so if your dog changes positions a lot while she sleeps, the mat won’t move around and slide out from under her. Also, if you take it in the car it won't slide around while you're driving.
Dog mats are also great for training your dog to stay or lie down. Dog owners frequently make dog mats the “go to” spot for the commands “lay down” or “sit.” Once dogs get a pattern of going to their mat, that’ll make training much easier.
A few examples of popular sleeping mats for dogs:
- Reversible Paw Print / Fleece Pet (Dog / Cat) Bed
- Precision Pet 1000 Sleeper 18 in. x 13 in. Chocolate
- Pet Magasin Thermal Self-Heated Bed for Cat, Pack of 2, Small
2 Regular Dog Beds
A second, more common type of bedding used are actual dog beds, which is the most popular type of dog bedding that people purchase for their pets. There are a wide range of dog beds, all of which are specified to fit the individual canine’s needs. Dog beds can be hooded, doughnut-shaped, raised, orthopedic, or even temperature-adjustable.
If you feel that a dog bed would be right for your pet, you can read our column about How to Choose the Best Pet Bed for Your Dog. It will tell you everything you need to know about why you need a pet bed, the type of bed to choose, and the different options that you'll have to choose from.
The reasons to use a dog bed are equal to the choices that you'll have in front of you. Because there are so many varieties to pick from, pretty much any dog’s needs can be met with the appropriate bed that you can buy from any big online pet products retailer, such as Amazon or Petco.
The thick foam of the bed molds to your dog’s shape and prevents callouses or sores from building up. These are especially useful for lean, bony dogs who would otherwise have a terrible time sleeping on the floor.
One of the most popular, high quality orthopedic dog beds is made by a famous brand called The Big Barker. We have previously reviewed several of their beds. Take a look at one of the videos of the review:
Heated dog beds (on the left) are also beneficial for older dogs or those with joint soreness, and these are especially useful if you live in places where it's much colder.
Some of those heated dog beds will have self-warming materials that will automatically radiate heat back to your pooch. There's no electricity involved in the construction of such beds so as to avoid any potential disasters. These beds are always very easy to wash as well.
Conversely, cooling dog beds (on the right) are great for young dogs that run and play hard and are afterwards at risk for overheating. The most popular options are flat dog cooling mats that are self-recharged within 3 hours, and are most often used in summer to provide relief from the heat.
Obviously, this type of bedding is especially appropriate for warm climates. Because dogs don’t sweat, they need a way to lower body temperature. After a hot day or a long game of fetch, lying on a cooling dog bed is a great way for the dog to keep her body temperature stable and at comfortable levels.
Best selling pet beds for dogs on Amazon:
- The Original Elevated Pet Bed By Coolaroo
- Regalo My Cot Portable Bed, Royal Blue
- MidWest Deluxe Bolster Pet Bed for Dogs & Cats
3 Dog Pillow Beds
Dog pillows have no bed-like edges — they’re contoured like a pillow (hence the name). They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and are suitable for pretty much any dog breed. Often, they are made with a plushy fabric in order to maximize your pet’s comfort.
Dog pillows are generally very soft and versatile — a dog can take her pillow pretty much anywhere with her: in the car, on vacation, in the crate, etc. In addition to being versatile, dog pillows are generally easy to maintain, cleaning-wise, either by putting them in the wash or by spot treating them if they get dirty. Because of their simple structure and flexibility, they are also very durable and will sustain a lot of damage.
Tip: Never buy dog bedding that doesn't have an option for easy cleaning.
Dog pillows assimilate to fit your dog’s shape. Their softness relieves any muscle aches or pains that can come from walking or sitting on hard ground. Skinny dogs, like Whippets or Grey Hounds, will likely find dog pillows most helpful, as their bodies have little padding and are prone to discomfort because of their thinness and protruding joints.
Best-selling dog bed pillows on Amazon:
- PetSafe ScatMat Indoor Pet Training Mat
- Indoor Pet Training Mat for Dogs
- The Green Pet Shop Self Cooling Pet Pad
4 Dog Sofas and Couches
Perhaps the most luxurious option for dog bedding is a dog sofa. Not to be confused with a giant piece of furniture that would force you to move your entire living room just to fit it in, the best dog sofas are a convenient way to provide luxury bedding for your dog. They are shaped like a little sofa, with high edges, a back, and a cushy bottom to lie on.
The sofa cushions the muscles and joints and prevents chafing or blisters. Normally, this is a great advantage of this type of bedding. But the downside to this is that if you don't buy the right dog couch, it can be hard for senior dogs or dogs with joint issues to get up out of it after they will sink into it.
Most types of dog couches can be beneficial for an older dog if you purchase one that is orthopedic. These dog sofas can help with any arthritic problems your dog may have. Painful arthritis is not conducive to a good night’s sleep and lack of rest only worsens everything when it comes to physical problems. Having the comfort of a soft bed is a relief to old dogs who otherwise would be up and in pain when they should be resting.
One thing to remember about dog sofas is that although they are the most luxurious option, they are also the most expensive. They usually fit the decor well, and are made of high quality materials and in stylish design.
If your dog isn't housebroken, tends to chew her bed a lot, or scratches more than is acceptable, you may want to wait until she is properly trained before buying any couches for dogs to avoid paying twice.
Similarly to dog beds, mats, and other types of bedding for dogs, owners can find dog sofas made out of different types of materials. Even for dogs, their sofas will be made out of leather, synthetic fabrics, standard soft fabrics, even Crypton, and so forth. The fabric you choose for your pet's bed is arguably the most important part to ensure comfort for the pooch.
Here are 3 best sellers on Amazon in the dog couches category:
When you believe you've selected the right type of dog bedding for your canine companion, remember these tips:
- If you travel a lot you may want to consider a bed that would be easy to take along on trips and vacations. You may also want to choose one that fits easily in your car.
- Look for eco-friendly options that will reduce your carbon paw-print. Every style of dog bed is being manufactured by 100% recycled materials now a days.
- Is the filling durable? If not, are you able to add more? For example, many outdoor dog beds are stuffed with cedar chips because they are a natural mosquito repellent. These chips compress quickly, but are very easy to refill.
- Like anything else, you get what you pay for when purchasing dog bedding. Cheaper isn't always the best option.
A good night’s sleep should never be unattainable for any creature, human, canine, or otherwise. By providing your dog with the appropriate type of bedding for her physicality, you’ll be able to guarantee that she has a peaceful rest without any pain or complications.
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