How to Choose a Dog Bed

How to Choose a Dog Bed

If your dog is anything like most other dogs, they probably spend more time on their dog bed than any other place (except for your furniture, if you let them). Most dogs spend half of their time, or more, sleeping and resting. This makes choosing the right dog bed an important decision for you and your pet. After all, you don’t want your loving companion to spend half of their day being uncomfortable.

In addition to choosing a dog bed that is comfortable for your dog, try to pick one that matches your home’s style. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time looking at their dog bed, so you’ll probably want to pick one that goes well with the rest of your furniture. Fortunately, there are almost countless styles, colors, fabrics, and textures to choose from when purchasing a dog bed.

However, what exactly should you be looking for in a dog bed? What size do you need? What type is best for your dog? Does your dog have any special considerations that will affect what kind of dog bed you should choose?

We’ve put together the following overview guide to help you understand what the different types of dog beds are, and which ones are the most suitable for your pet based on their size, sleeping style, age, and other considerations.

What is Your Dog’s Sleeping Style?

The best way to choose the most comfortable dog bed for your pet is by using their sleeping style as a guide. There four different major types of sleeping styles for dogs. Most dogs will fall into one of these categories or change between two of the main styles.

If you’re not sure what sleeping style your dog has, watch your dog the next time they are resting and observe how your dog positions their legs and body while lying down. Their position will indicate what makes them comfortable, and will provide you with information on what type of dog bed your dog may be the most happy sleeping on. The four primary dog sleeping styles are:

  1. My Dog Likes to Stretch Out

    Many dog prefer to stretch their whole bodies out while sleeping or resting. These dogs feel comfortable when their legs and bodies cover as much area as possible. Dogs like this need a dog bed that is large enough to accommodate their sleeping style. Whether your dog is large or small, if they like to stretch and spread out, they need a dog bed that they are able to fully stretch their body out in. A good choice for dogs who prefer this sleeping style are rectangle dog beds. These beds come in a wide range of sizes to fit any size dog, and they don’t have any sides or edges to stop your dog from letting it all hang out.

  2. My Dog Likes to Curl Up in a Ball

    Another popular sleeping style for dogs is to curl up into a ball while sleeping. These dogs prefer the feeling of safety that comes with curling themselves into a tight little ball. This is similar to people who sleep in fetal position. Dogs who like to curl up are more likely to prefer a donut dog bed or pillow dog bed, because these types of dog beds are ideal for making a comfortable nook that feels cozy and secure.

  3. My Dog Likes to Lean Against Something

    A less often seen sleeping style is preferring to lean against something while sleeping. Dogs who display this sleeping style can often be seen with their head and neck propped up against the arm of a couch. These dogs only feel comfortable when their body is leaning up against something firm. Because of this, bolster dog beds are an ideal choice for dogs who like to lean. Bolster beds have walls or sides that create a firm edge for your leaner to prop themselves against.

  4. My Dog Likes to Burrow Under Something

    Other dogs like to burrowing in or under while sleeping. These dogs feel the most comfortable and secure when they are completely surrounded or buried. If you often find your dog completely buried in your covers or a blanket, they might prefer this sleeping style. Nesting dog beds are one of the best beds for dogs who love to burrow. These dog beds are made with flaps or overhangs connected to the bed, allowing your dog to partially or completely burrow into the bed.

Does Your Dog Have any Health Problems?

If you have an older dog, or if your dog suffers from any health problems that cause pain, there are dog bed options which you might want to consider. Dogs with joint or other pain can often be made more comfortable by choosing a dog bed which is specially suited for their needs.

  1. Low-Profile Dog Bed

    Many dogs (especially dogs who are a bit older) suffer from painful joints and limited mobility because of various conditions. These conditions include issues like arthritis and hip dysplasia. Having these types of health conditions can make it very hard for dogs to be able to step up onto something. Fortunately, there are low-profile dog beds made for dogs with these problems. These beds have no sides and are much thinner than standard dog beds, making them more accessible for dogs who have limited motion or pain.

  2. Orthopedic Dog Bed

    Just as with people, some extra support while sleeping can be very helpful for relieving pain. There are various dog beds available that give extra orthopedic support to dogs who suffer from pain. These beds include a mattress composed of dense foam or memory foam. They are often a bit more costly than standard dog beds. However, they do provide significant support for dogs suffering from various types of pain, and can improve their mobility and quality of life.

  3. Heated Dog Bed

    Heat can be both comforting and healing, especially for chronic pain. There are heated dog beds available for pets who have consistent pain due to arthritis or other painful conditions. Similar to a heating pad, these dog beds contain a heating element that transmits heat to the sleeping surface. Regularly sleeping on a heated bed provides healing warmth that can markedly reduce pain and improve mobility in many dogs.

Choosing the Right-Sized Dog Bed

Most of the time if you have a bigger dog, you will need to get them a bigger bed. Of course, if you have a smaller dog that likes to completely stretch out, they may need a bigger dog bed than a larger dog who prefers to curl up.

When choosing a dog bed size, measure the length of your dog, and then take into account their specific sleeping style to determine how much sleeping area they need. If you’re not exactly certain, but a bigger sized dog bed. Having extra space is usually better than not having enough.

If your dog is especially big or strong do not cut corners and buy a cheap bed. A cheap bed won’t be able to stand up to a dog like this and you will probably need to replace a cheap bed many times throughout your dog’s life. On the other hand, a solid, high quality dog bed with a thick cover will likely last the lifetime of your pet.


Many dogs spend most of their time on their dog bed, so it is important that you make sure you are picking a bed for them which makes them feel the most comfortable, secure, and happy.

Final note: A dog’s bed provides them with a sense of consistency and security. When you find a good spot for their bed, try to keep it in that location. Your dog will be happier having their own special spot in your home.

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