The old adage about laying down with dogs has a negative connotation. But today, so many pets are considered to be true members of the family that it would seem strange NOT to cuddle up with them. But even if you do allow your dog to sleep with you at night, it’s still important to give them their own personal spot in the house where they can retreat when they want some time or space to themselves.
For many dogs, the easiest solution is a crate. But for others, a dog bed will be the answer. This provides a comfortable spot for them to nap, as well as a “home base.” You can keep a bed in the room where you spend the most time, as well as one in your bedroom (if that’s where your dog prefers to spend the night).
Like leashes, coats and toys, dog beds come in almost all shapes and sizes, so it can be a little overwhelming to try to pick one. When you’re shopping for a bed, keep your own dog’s shape and size in mind to guide you on your hunt.
best for small dogs
Little dogs tend to get colder than their larger, furrier brothers. Try picking a bed that provides a “nest,” so that the surrounding cushion acts like a protective wall around your dog to help ward off a chill. Some beds for smaller dogs actually resemble a clam, with a little flat “roof” for maximum snuggle-ability.
best to keep outside
If your dog likes to spend a lot of time outside, raised cot-type beds pick them up off the cold ground and allow air to circulate under them when it’s hot. Many dogs prefer this type of bed, but because they generally don’t provide much padding, it’s best to save them for young, active dogs who don’t have joint pain.
best for most dogs
Loose-fill beds are just what they sound like—a rectangular (or sometimes oval), flat fabric case filled with any number of stuffing types. Some are like bean bags, some are filled with polyester or cotton batting and some are filled with wood shavings. They vary in cost and comfort, but the down side is that inevitably, the stuffing seems to clump inside the case over time. Still, though, if you find a good one, they can work quite well for all kinds of dogs, regardless of size or age. The exception is chewers, who, if given the chance, will unleash a hoard of bean bag beans all over your living room floor.
best for older dogs
Orthopedic beds are the best choice for geriatric pets. Not only do these guys spend the majority of their days and nights sleeping, but they also probably have joint pain. Lying on a bare floor, even if it’s carpeted, can be quite painful and will contribute to pressure sores. Orthopedic beds are generally constructed from high-quality foam, much like the foam bed toppers we use to make our own beds comfortable. Orthopedic dog beds are expensive, but you’ll feel better knowing that your golden oldie is enjoying a pain-free rest.
Once you’ve found the type of bed you think your dog would enjoy, the single most important thing to find next is the washing instructions. Trust me—you do NOT want a bed that can’t be easily washed at home in your own washing machine. The best time to find out a bed needs to be dry cleaned (or something silly like that) is in the store, so you can put it right back on the shelf!
Gone are the days where a few sheets of newspaper made a perfectly adequate dog bed, so resolve to get out there, explore your options and pick a nice, new comfy bed for your deserving pet.