Your Guide to Dog Beds

Medically Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on January 23, 2022
3 min read

If your dog spends too much time on your sofa or in your favorite chair, or if you find your lovable friend climbing a little too close when it's time to hit the sack at night, it might be time to get that crafty canine of yours their own bed.

Research says you may sleep OK with a dog in the bed, but people sleep better with their dog off the bed and in the same room.

Sleeping -- a lot -- is a big part of a dog's life. On average, your pooch sleeps somewhere between 12 and 14 hours a day. If yours is a puppy, they may need 18-20 hours a day.

Dog beds, like dogs, come in all shapes and sizes. Finding a good one can be tricky. Dog beds, like dogs, are an awfully personal thing.

There are some things to consider when picking out a dog bed.

After you decide to buy one, the next step is to measure your dog from head to tail. This will make sure that you don't get a bed that's too small for your buddy.

A dog bed should be big enough so that your pet can lie down in a natural position. Sure, when they're balled up, the bed might seem fine. But what if your canine companion wants to stretch out?

Many dogs chew. Young dogs may do it to ease the pain of teething. Older dogs may do it to clean their teeth and keep their jaws strong.

Or maybe your dog's just hungry, stressed, or bored.

When it comes to beds, though, chewing can be destructive. What's more, it can be dangerous if one of the pieces they chew ends up stuck in their stomach or intestines.

If you have a chewer, fabric beds filled with foam pieces or other cushioning might not be the best choice. Beds built with PVC pipe or aluminum and covered with a canvas-like fabric may be a better option for the "gnawy" dogs out there.

Many of these beds are elevated, too. That lets air flow underneath, which might be nice for a bigger dog or one with a thick coat that may naturally run hot, even if they don't have a chewing problem.

Remember to consider ease of cleaning, too. Your dog's bed will need it sooner or later. Cot-like beds fit that bill, as do machine-washable options, particularly ones with a removable cover that you can throw in the washer.

The best advice on what material to choose for your dog's bed probably comes from watching your pet. Do they have achy joints, or hip dysplasia? Are they old or young? Do they have lots of fur, or not much? How does your dog like to sleep, normally?

Beds with memory foam, for example, may be a good choice for an older dog with balky joints. Some have cooling gel.

Other, fluffier beds may be the pick for younger or smaller dogs. Plush beds can keep a smaller, less-fluffy dog warm.

Heated dog beds can be good for some dogs on cold nights, especially ones without big fur coats and older dogs who deal with things like hip dysplasia, arthritis, or joint or circulation issues. Be sure to find one with a cord that's resistant to a chewy dog.

Orthopedic beds can help older dogs who have problems getting around.

Keeping your loved one comfortable in a nice bed is just part of being a good pet parent. Remember, beds are important for more than sleep. They can become a "safe" place for a dog with fear or noise aversion issues.