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When you’re picking out a new bed for your dog, you may feel drawn towards getting as big a bed as you can find even if you have a Chihuahua, because wouldn’t you like to sleep in a super king size bed?
Unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward with dogs and this guide will tell you all you need to know about what makes a good dog bed, how to get the right one for your dog, and what their sleeping positions can tell you about how they are feeling about their new bed.
What Makes a Good Dog Bed?
Getting the right bed for your dog can have lots of benefits such as better joint support, sleep improvement, less odor, and of course more comfort. We will talk about the three main factors that you should keep in mind when you are looking for a dog bed before moving on to how these apply to your dog’s individual needs.
The shape of the dog bed can make or break it as different dogs like to sleep in different positions. For example, some like to curl up in a basket-shaped bed and others prefer a mattress shape that allows them to spread out freely. There are some dog beds that have combined these two features together so that your dog can prop their head up and feel supported whilst still being able to stretch out.
If you have a dog that gets overwhelmed easier than others, then you could think about getting them a bed that has a roof on it and a small opening so that they feel they are in their own little den. Unfortunately, these beds are only usually in small to medium sizes so if you have a large dog who you think would benefit from a little hideaway bed then a crate would likely do the job.
Some dog beds have the illusion of support with rims around the side but are too floppy to actually support any of your dog’s weight so they end up in an uncomfortable position which can affect their joints and give them an unpleasant sleep.
Dog beds that are higher up off the floor also make for a bad shape design because it can strain their joints having to climb in and out of it numerous times a day and if you have an older dog or one with existing joint issues it can make them feel stiffer.
However, having a dog bed on the floor can also put them at risk of hurting themselves if they were to fall out of the bed.
Dog beds come in a wide range of sizes and the one you get is dependent on the size of your dog. If you have a small dog, it is best to get it a small bed that gives it plenty of room to turn around in but still offers that support and warmth because if the bed is too big it can be extra drafty.
Some dogs also prefer to be tightly surrounded by a dog bed even if they are a bit too big for it which is okay as long as it is not too small and impacts their joints.
If you are not sure what size of bed is suitable for your dog, then you can try measuring them when they are curled up and when they are stretched out and bring the measurements as a guide for when you go shopping.
To measure your dog accurately you can do this by first measuring from their nose to the beginning of their tail and then measuring from the shoulder to the ground on their front legs and then doing the same for their back legs.
If you do not feel confident with getting the right measurements, you could also buy multiple beds to try out and then return the ones that your dog did not take to but make sure that the store accepts refunds before doing this!
One of the best things that a dog bed to be is easy to clean because after your dog has come in from muddy walks to settle in their bed, it can lead to a build-up of odors and marks which is not only unsightly but is not pleasant for your dog to sleep on and can also lead to an increased risk of infections and skin problems.
Some dog beds allow you to take the stuffing out so you can wash the cover in the washing machine which makes things much easier whilst others are made from a material that is easy to wipe down with a cloth.
You can also get plastic dog beds that are usually in a basket shape which is the traditional style of bed that is very easy to clean and as well as practically indestructible, but you must line the bottom of the bed with a cushion or blankets so that your dog is comfortable and does not develop problems with their joints or pressure sores.
As well as being easy to clean, you want a dog bed to be made from materials that will benefit your dog such as memory foam which is used in most orthopedic dog beds which supports painful joints. It makes for a very comfortable bed but is also easy to rise from which a lot of dogs with conditions such as arthritis find rather difficult.
Dog beds that are made from leather or even faux leather are perfect for dogs that are a bit rambunctious and see everything as a toy, including their bed. They are durable enough for dogs who squirm a lot and like to try out a few positions before settling on one to sleep in whilst still being comfortable. However, it is not the best material for dogs who have short hair as leather does not hold in a lot of heat but if you add a few blankets, they should be fine.
Whatever dog bed you get, make sure that the filling is not the type that gets lumpy because this can have an impact on the quality of sleep and makes it uncomfortable to sleep in after a while. For the external material, one of the best ones you can get for practicality is ripstop nylon because it can put up with a lot of wear and tear as well as being lightweight, soft and easy to wash.
The Right Bed for Your Dog
Even after following the advice in this guide, it still might be a mystery as to what bed is best for your dog but don’t lose hope because the perfect dog bed is out there. All you have to do to find it is to observe your dog.
Check where their favorite place to sleep is, if they are allowed on the furniture this task is a bit easier, but you should still be able to see if they like to prop up their head, where they like to be positioned in the room and whether they like to curl up or spread out.
You can use this information to have a better understanding of what makes your dog feels comfortable and then apply that to a dog bed that mimics the same position.
If your dog has any health problems such as orthopedic or heart conditions, then you should consult with your vet first to ensure that you get a bed that makes your dog feel as comfortable as possible and does not have any negative effect on their health.
Different Dog Sleeping Positions
Now that you have found the perfect bed for your dog, it is worth having a look at them as they sleep to decipher if they are happy and comfortable. Here are just a few of the common sleeping positions that you may find your dog in and what they mean.
Sleeping on Their Side
This is the most common position that dogs sleep in and it means that they are comfortable and feel very safe in their environment as it makes their vital organs vulnerable.
This is when dogs are all curled up like a little donut which means that they are not too sure about their surroundings, and they are protecting themselves, but it can also mean that they are a bit cold and this position keeps them nice and warm.
On Their Back
When you see a dog sleeping on its back with its legs in the air you can’t help but laugh. This position means that your dog feels very safe in its environment because it leaves its belly exposed and is in a position that takes longer to get up from. It can also mean that they are too warm and are cooling themselves down.
To round it all up, it depends on the dog on whether they like a big bed and getting the combination of shape, size, and material right can be slightly more complicated than you would initially think but once you crack the secret then your dog will benefit in numerous ways and will always be thankful that you get them such a comfortable bed.