How to Choose the Right Bed For Your Dog

Medically Reviewed by Kathleen Claussen, DVM on July 15, 2023
3 min read

Your dog’s bed is a place where they do more than just sleep. It’s a place of refuge, where they go to rest and feel comfort. But in order to get the right one for your pup’s needs, you need to do some research and pinpoint exactly what those needs are. Size, materials, cleaning, and your dog’s age are all factors to consider before buying Fido his newest cozy spot.  

Dogs sleep for around 12-14 hours per day. That’s a lot of time for anyone to spend in one spot! The best way to find a durable, comfortable bed for your furry family member is simply to watch their behavior. Do they switch sleep positions frequently? Do they curl up in a cozy ball or love to luxuriously sprawl?

Choosing a bed is much more than the obvious things like choosing a fabric and size. To get a bed your dog will be happy and comfortable with in the long term, think of your dog’s specific needs, age, and what you know they like and are comfortable in.  You may even want to consider a chilling dog pad...not necessarily a bed. These can be really good options for pets in warm/hot climates, especially certain breeds (bulldogs)

The basic types of dog beds include: 

Mattress pad beds. These beds are a popular choice because the rectangular shape means your buddy can move around and change positions. They’re also easy to move and store. 

Orthopedic beds. Made from memory foam, these beds support the achy joints and bones of senior dogs, and sometimes have bolsters along the side to support the head and provide stability. 

Donut beds. These circular beds are soft and cozy for dogs who just love to cuddle. They also work for multiple small dogs or puppies who like to sleep in a pile. The covers are usually made with soft, furry material, so don’t forget to make sure it’s durable before you go all-in. 

Cave/tent beds. These beds can be great for nervous pups or dogs that get cold easily. They help retain warmth and give protection to a dog who values privacy. 

Elevated beds. Popular with extreme chewers, these beds are often made from the most durable materials. They usually have a metal frame with an elevated sleeping area made of canvas or other woven fabric. The elevated bed is also a good choice for dogs with heavy coats or who tend to overheat. The space between your pup and the floor will keep things nice and cool. 

There are more factors than just the type of bed to consider when buying your dog’s bed: 

Size. Dogs who stretch out when they sleep will need a longer, rectangular-sized bed to stay comfortable, while dogs who sleep curled up might love a soft, round bed. The size of your dog isn’t always the best indicator of what size bed they need. Some larger dogs prefer to cozy up and cover their nose with their tail, and some smaller breeds could be king of belly rubs and sleep stretched out on their back.  

Materials. Is your pup prone to chewing everything he gets his hands on? Or maybe you have a senior dog who needs extra cushioning for their joints. For dogs who love to chew, an elevated bed with woven material and a metal frame is chew-proof and claw-proof. A senior dog can melt into a memory foam bed with bolsters to help support the head. Pooches prone to overheating or who have hot spots will benefit from a bed made with cooling fabric. Any bed you choose should have a durable, machine-washable cover. 

Design. It can be tempting to go for a bargain bed, but you’ll end up spending more if it falls apart after the first wash. Some cheaper beds stuffed with loose polyester are hard to refill after cleaning the cover. Get a bed with a case that’s easy to remove and throw in the washer. You’ll be doing it more times than you think. 

Cost. Expect to spend $35-$150 on a quality dog bed, and it can be more depending on the design. The price can get steeper, but it is an investment into your pup’s long-term comfort, sense of security, and sense of home. The right bed will have them eating out of your hand in no time.