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Dog beds are a necessity. Your dog needs his own bed for the same reasons you do. Dog beds give your dog their very own place to sleep, a place to relax and watch the world go by and a retreat when life is a little too exciting. As an extra bonus, having a designated sleeping area also helps contain hair and dander for easier cleaning. And, of course, it gives you a place to send them to when it becomes necessary to remove them from being underfoot.
The best beds depend on your dog’s size and age. There is a multitude of beds on the market today. Buy a bed large enough for your dog to comfortably stretch out and roll over. A good rule of thumb is to have a minimum of six extra inches all the way around your dog’s body when they’re completely stretched out. As for what kind of bed to purchase, there are quite a few options.
First, the outside: make sure the material is washable and tough. You don’t want to buy a bed and be unable to wash it properly. The cover should be removable for ease of cleaning. What kind of cloth is mostly personal preference, so simply buy whatever you like best. The one exception is if you have a dog spending a great deal of time outside. In that case, you’ll want a tougher fabric designed to withstand the outdoors, moisture, and wear and tear. There are water-resistant beds made specifically for the great outdoors.
Dog beds typically come with foam inserts, cedar chips, pillows, and actual mattresses inside. If your dog is older and needs extra joint support, purchasing an orthopedic bed can provide relief just like it does for your own bad back. And if your dog likes to rest his head on a toy or the arm of the couch, there are plenty of beds with a raised edge so he can continue to do that. The best beds are simply the ones best suited to your dog’s individual needs.
Buying a dog bed should be right up there with buying a leash and collar. As well as giving your dog his very own corner of the household to call his own, the bed provides a soft cushion between him and the hard floor and removes the need to jump on and off other furniture. If possible, take your dog with you to try them out. Whether you buy cedar for its scent and flea-repelling qualities or foam for its soft-yet-firm surface, your dog will thank you. Beds are an important basic necessity for your dog, and you may find that once you have one that you need even more around the house so he can rest nearby no matter where you are.
Choose based on how your larger dog likes to sleep. If your dog is older and stiff or has joint problems such as arthritis or hip dysplasia, choose a support bed. A dog bed with support is typically a mattress with a washable slipcover. Some don’t like how firm they are, and if that’s the case, try slightly softer beds until you find one your dog likes. Or, if your dog is younger and often seen lying on their back or enjoys sleeping on your bed, buy a cushy bed often referred to as a lounger or pillow bed. These are large dog beds designed to offer plenty of room to stretch out and are usually very soft. These one-piece beds, donuts, or rectangular frames with foam or pillow inserts are a common dog bed because so many dogs are well-suited to them.
Of course, if your dog likes to sleep curled into a ball on the couch or carefully paws his blanket into a circle to sleep inside, a nesting style may be one of the best dog beds for him. These are tall beds with firm sides and soft, cushy middles so your dog can curl up in the center, just how he likes.
Small and toy breeds are unique. They tend to like feeling protected and safe, and there are options out there that are the best dog beds for these little dogs. Cave beds have pockets to burrow inside or raised tops to sleep under. Many little dogs love these types of beds. The base of these beds come firm or plush, so no matter what your dog’s needs are, you’ll be able to find one that’s just right.
If you have a Poodle or Chihuahua who know they’re the king or queen of the castle, a sofa bed might be perfect. These are literally tiny sofas, and some small dogs love to sit regally on these miniature pieces of furniture while they survey their kingdom. One other dog bed your little one may enjoy is another form of nesting bed. With high, firm sides raised up as much as a foot higher than the inside bottom of the bed, your little dog will feel secure without needing a cover over his head. Whatever dog bed you choose, make sure it’s the one your dog wants, not the one you think is cutest.
Above all else, take your time. Pet stores have limited supplies, and if you go in expecting to buy a dog bed no matter what, you may leave with the wrong one. In order to choose from the dog beds available, you may have to go online.
First, visit the stores so your dog can try a few out and give you an idea of what to look for. If you’re looking for large dog beds, you’ll probably have no choice but to go online. Make sure you measure your dog from head to toe and nose to tail, adding six inches to each, in order to know how big the bed needs to be. Unless your dog is magically clean all the time, your bed needs to have a washable slipcover. And if the bed will be placed on a hard, slick floor, look for one with rubber grips on the bottom to stop it from sliding. Your dog will be sitting pretty in one of the best dog beds around in no time.
One of the greatest challenges of finding large dog beds is literally that. There is a limited supply of beds for dogs over seventy pounds, let alone over one hundred pounds. With a little shopping around, you may get lucky and find a suitable bed in a pet store. Otherwise, you’ll have to shop online. So how are you supposed to know if the bed is right for your large or giant breed? And how do you know if you should buy a regular plush bed or take a look at orthopedic dog beds?
There are two main issues with dogs’ large beds. First is size, as in length and width. Measure your dog from their paws to the top of their head, and from their nose to their tail. Add about six inches to those measurements, and you should have a good idea what size of bed you need.
Thickness is your other consideration. If the bed is not thick enough or firm enough, your big dog’s weight will cause their elbows and hocks to press right through the padding and into the hard floor. Since a major part of using large dog beds is to protect your big dog’s joints, you need to make sure they don’t sink too much. As nice as it would be to buy one of the fluffy plush beds, truly large and giant breed dogs usually need firmer beds. This is also where orthopedic dog beds come into play.
If you are truly unable to take your dog with you to test out dog beds, and your own weight is somewhat close to your dogs (or maybe your 10-year-old’s the right weight) you yourself can stretch out on the dog beds. Just make sure the bed is firm enough to support your dog’s weight. Beds considered orthopedic simply have greater support than the average dog bed. However, if your dog is elderly or has sore joints, the extra bit of support may be exactly what he or she needs,
Finally, once you’ve figured out pad size and thickness, decide what to do if you cannot find any large beds that fit your dog. One simple solution is to buy a twin-size mattress for your dog. A nice bonus to using an actual mattress as a dog bed is that you can buy a wide variety of fitted sheets, and in twin sizes, they come in every color of the rainbow as well as every cartoon character or animal known to man. Of course, if you’re crafty, you could sew your own dog bed cover. The one drawback to sewing is that it’s hard to make a handmade bed thick enough, let alone firm enough.
You can buy foam for inside your creation at your local home improvement or craft store and even use two pieces for extra thickness. If you stack foam, make sure the cover you make is snug enough to prevent slippage. You can also buy filler from craft stores or website; if you do, make sure it is pet-friendly. Large dog beds are a bit of a challenge to find, but not impossible. With a little persistence, your big dog will soon have his or her very own bed.
An orthopedic dog bed provides great support, and here’s how to know what to buy. There are several reasons to get your dog an orthopedic dog bed, with arthritis as the leader. Osteoarthritis and joint disease are the most common causes of chronic pain in dogs. According to the Arthritis Foundation, 1 in 5 dogs in the United States suffer from arthritis, and those are only the dogs being diagnosed. But it isn’t just older dogs that need support. Young dogs and dogs spending time in dog shelters like Dogloos or wooden houses can also benefit from beds that provide greater support than typical pillow-style beds.
The average bed either requires your dog’s body to conform to its shape or, more often, simply collapses under their weight. Conversely, an orthopedic dog bed is designed to provide firm but gentle support. There are two basic kinds: a conventional support bed, which is meant to provide even support without putting extra pressure on any specific body part, and contour beds, which conform to your pet’s shape. Unfortunately, many so-called orthopedic beds on the market for dogs are not what they claim to be. Since basic dog beds are nothing but big pillows, manufacturers think putting polyfill or foam into a bed makes it orthopedic, but it doesn’t.
Memory foam, originally created by NASA, is considered the golden standard for orthopedic support. You’ve probably heard of a little Swedish manufacturer called Tempurpedic. They make the top-rated memory foam beds for people, and you can also find dog beds made by them. Memory foam works by responding to body heat and contouring appropriately, becoming softer where needed but firmer over sharp joints for better support. There are three different grades of memory foam: 5-pound, the best possible density, and fairly hard to come by; 4-pound, which most human beds are made with, and which you can find for your dog with a little effort; and, lastly, 3-pound, which is low-quality and frequently loses its contouring abilities.
Most memory foam dog beds are made with 3-pound foam, which is why you need to check the quality before buying. Typically, manufacturers will let you know when the bed is made of high-quality foam. If the packaging or online description doesn’t say which grade an orthopedic dog bed uses, odds are it contains 3-pound foam, and you’re best off looking elsewhere.
When you buy an orthopedic dog bed, make sure it is not made of plain foam. Large and giant breed dogs benefit greatly from real memory foam dog beds. If you buy plain foam dog beds or cheaply made memory foam, they will not only fail to contour to your dog’s body, they’ll sag, break apart, and frequently begin to stink from the chemicals used in their cut-rate process.
If you’re not buying a well-known brand, do some research to make sure if it’s worth buying. Also, make sure you protect your orthopedic bed with a waterproof cover. If urine or other liquids get on the bed, it will be ruined. And as great as dog shelters are so your dog has their own little house in your yard, they’re not weatherproof. Any dog bed in a dog house needs to be completely sealed in a waterproof sleeve. Put a washable cover over the waterproof shield so your dog has something soft against their skin.
Buying a bed that provides good support will help alleviate your dog’s chronic pain, and your dog will thank you.
Dog kennels are a great idea if you have a dog that spends a great deal of time sleeping outside. They offer protection from the rain and wind as well as shade from the sun. If your dog is outdoors frequently, you should consider purchasing a house for them.
Dog kennels need to do more than just look cute, they need to be useful. Take your dog to the pet store to try some out, so you can at least get an idea of whether or not they will use it. You need to choose a house that is well-ventilated and easy to move, as well as offering good visibility so you can see your dog when they’re in it. You also need to consider why you want one. Don’t put your dog outside in a misguided attempt at solving behavioral problems, or because they shed too much. Some dogs enjoy spending time outdoors to run and play, but leaving them outside around the clock isn’t fair. Use a dog house as a sort of doggy playhouse for their outdoor time, not to provide kennel because they’re constantly outside.
Choosing what material the house is made of is simple. Metal and plastic both react poorly to extreme conditions, both absorbing heat and freezing with the cold. Although you may hear that plastic is great because it’s easy to clean, that’s really the only good thing about it. Wood is far better because it won’t turn into an oven or a freezer. Make sure the wood isn’t coated with any harmful substances such as stains or pressure treated because if your dog decides to take a taste of his happy home, he could become fatally ill.
If the house is safe for a child, it’s good for your dog. It’s absolutely possible to find premade dog kennels that are made with entirely safe materials, or you can make your own. There are a few features to consider, including windows that can be opened and closed according to the season, a raised floor to prevent flooding and bug infestations, and a removable roof for easy access to clean it.
Finally, you need to consider the size and, as they say in the real estate business, location, location, location. Your dog should be able to stand up and turn around easily, but kennels that are so large they can walk around inside are too big. Placement matters because if you put the house right next to a fence, your dog can climb on top, up and over the fence, and be gone. Additionally, your dog’s house should be inside a fenced yard.
A dog house is not a replacement for a proper fence. Neither should your dog be tied to their dog house for security nor should he be locked inside one; remembers, a dog house is not a solution for a behavioral issue. If you tie a dog to anything, they can easily become entangled or escape and it also causes a multitude of behavioral and training issues. Dog kennels can be great for the occasional outdoor playtime, but don’t use them as a replacement for proper care. Choose a safe, non-toxic wooden kennel, preferably with a raised floor and functioning windows, and put it somewhere in your yard where you can see inside as much as possible. Your dog will have a place to curl up if he gets caught outside in the rain, and you’ll have peace of mind.
When not writing about himself in the third person, Andy spends many an hour walking his mischievous, mixed breed rescue dog Mr Wox, aka Soxy Woxy. A leading authority on dog-related topics, Andy is highly respected, deeply appreciated and widely admired.