Choosing The Perfect Bed For Your Dog
Dogs are active animals who enjoy exploring, sniffing and playing, but it's also really important for them to get enough rest. As dog owners, we can help our dogs get the important downtime they need by making sure they have somewhere quiet and comfortable to snooze without any disturbances. Dogs can’t tell their ‘paw-parents’ what bed is right for them or if they are uncomfortable, so it really is up to owners to get it right and ensure they are buying a comfortable dog bed with the right information to provide their dog with what they need. Even if you let your dog sleep with you (as I do Bodhi), every dog should have a bed of their own or two or three, actually.
Unlike the floor, a bed will keep your dog warm, support his or her joints, prevent calluses on joints and provide a safe space that they can have to themselves. I have a bed in a few rooms around the home so Bodhi can have the choice as to where she goes. Most of the time though, she will gravitate towards the bed which happens to be in the same room that I am in – No surprise there!
How To Choose A Dog Bed
There are many different types of beds available. If you watch your dog sleep, you'll notice they get into lots of different positions: stretched out, curled up, on their back - even on their belly with their hind legs stretched out, like Superman! Sometimes this can be trial and error, especially if you have a new dog. It is very much dependent on their size, breed and age. What size bed should I get?
It is very important to make sure you chose the right size bed for your dog. It should be large enough for them to be able to lie comfortably in all natural positions. Some beds might be big enough for your dog to curl up, but can they also stretch out their legs if they want to? They will need the support for fully stretching out comfortably, this is important to support their joints and for proper blood circulation to aid rest and recovery.
What type of dog bed should I get? Dog beds come in many different shapes and sizes. Here I will try to explain which dog bed will fit the requirements you have for your dog.
ROUND OR OVAL BEDS WITH RAISED SIDES: These are great for when your dog wants to curl up and these types of bed are perfect for dogs that enjoy having their heads or necks on a bolster. These are a perfect fit for smaller dogs like Terriers who enjoy being able to quietly nest away from any draughts.
MATTRESS/DUVET BEDS: These are excellent for when your dog enjoys sleeping stretched out and flat or on his side. Larger or older dogs seem to enjoy resting on these types of beds. Each dog will have their preferences but it's always best to give them a couple of options - that way you can be sure they'll always be comfy.
DONUT/CALMING BEDS: These have largely been associated with soothing anxiety for a calming effect and much like the round or oval beds, they provide a bolstered rim around the edge to allow your dog to curl up and sink in. These are great beds for small dogs. These however are not ideal for older dogs or dogs who need support on their joints.
CAVES/COVERED DOG BEDS: Dogs are believed to be den animals. This is the main principle behind the design of these beds, where the dog conceals himself whilst he is sleeping. This is the perfect solution for the dog that really enjoys snuggling whilst sleeping or for the dog with a shy personality who seeks a comfortable retreat in a peaceful and quiet environment, when things might get too much for them.
ORTHOPEDIC DOG BEDS/MEMORY FOAM: These beds are fantastic for most dogs young and old, but older dogs will benefit from these more than most. A memory foam bed will support each part of the dog’s body evenly and individually by spreading the weight across the bed’s surface. This can support the dog by relieving pressure from muscle tension as well as the lower back, hips and shoulders and support correct alignment, by not placing added pressure on the dog’s sensitive areas so he can experience optimal comfort. This is also very effective at promoting good circulation and promote recovery.
WATERPROOF DOG BEDS: These beds are extremely versatile and can be placed inside the home or outside during the summer months. The great thing about these beds is that you get all the benefits of a dog bed, with a ‘wipe-down’ clean way of maintaining them and very easy to keep your dog and the bed dry and comfortable. Most waterproof dog beds are made with very tough high denier fabric, which makes them extremely robust and often serves as an anti-chew material as well. These beds can be taken into the garden or camping and placed in the rear of vehicles if required.
A dog bed is something that should be invested in, in the same way that you would spend the time choosing the right bed for you. After all, our pups have no way of letting us know if they have had the right amount of rest, or whether they are comfortable or not. They rely on us to make the best decisions for them.
What material should my dog bed be, and how can I wash it?
Dog beds should be sufficiently, generously padded and made from a comfortable material. The material should be sturdy and well stitched to prevent chewing. They should also be easily washable and feature an easy no nonsense way of keeping them clean or stripping and placing in the washing machine with the ability to dry and keep its shape. The majority of well manufactured dog beds will allow you to place the entire bed into the washing machine and air dry.
Where is the best place to put a dog's bed? Place the bed somewhere warm near to a radiator and draught-free and give them options. You could place one bed in a quiet part of the house where they can rest undisturbed and one in a room where the family spends time so they can be in your company whilst relaxing or snoozing in a comfortable spot.
Important To Note
None of us like being disturbed when we are trying to catch forty winks and dogs are no different. Make sure everyone in the family, including children, know to leave your dog alone while he or she is in his bed - this is an important part of keeping children safe and dogs happy. How can I get my dog to not chew his/her bed?
How To Train Your Dog Not To Chew His Dog Bed
When Bodhi was a very young pup, she liked to chew as all dogs do. When I first introduced her to her new bed outside of her crate, this for her was like giving her a giant chew toy with lots of new places to mouth and chew. I’ve had so many dog owers ask me ‘how can I get my dog to not chew at his bed?’ and the answer I always give is simple – Teach and show them not to chew and give them an alternative item to chew whilst you correct them. For example, when Bodhi started to nibble on her bed, I would instantly use the ‘ah-ah’ noise and give her a chew toy immediately instead with my other hand. The exact moment her mouth went onto the chew toy instead, I would say in really happy and pleased voice ‘good girl’ so she was soon very able to make the distinction clearly for herself and learn. With consistency and a bit of concerted effort for 20 minutes or so each time we did this, she soon realised that the bed was not for chewing, but her toys were.
We can’t expect our dogs to know what they can and can’t chew or do without us showing them. The main key to getting this right is to supervise your dog when he uses the bed until he can be trusted not to tear it apart. The bit you have to do, is consistent training and trust me, it won't take long before your pup understands what it is you are expecting of them - It takes a bit of time and patience.
The same behavioral correction goes for slippers and other items they may be partial to chewing. This simple technique worked a treat for Bodhi, the key here is firmness and consistency. No need to raise your voice, you want them to trust you, listen to you, but most of all feel safe in the haven of their bed. Just a firm ‘ah-ah’ or whatever appropriate noise you use to correct your pup with, and just like showing a human child the right way of doing things, divert that correction immediately to something they can chew instead and praise that with lots of positivity high pitched squeals of positivity. - Trust us, this really works!
Let us know what bed your pooch sleeps in! Even if it is your bed! Comment below to connect with us.