We pet parents really love our dogs. We want to buy the best that we can afford of everything our dogs want or need.
Of course, not all dog products on the market are really necessary.
It begs the question, are dog beds just another unnecessary product saturating the market, or do dogs really need dog beds? Let’s discuss:
Does my dog really need a bed?
Yes, every dog needs a dog bed. Even if your dog is allowed on your furniture and sleeps in your bed every night, there will be occasions when he feels like laying on the floor or all the seats are taken.
A bed is better for a dog’s joints than laying directly on the hard floor. In circumstances where your dog already has joint problems, this is an absolute necessity, and this also helps to maintain joint health as a dog ages.
Why do dogs need beds?
If you are on the fence as to whether or not your dog really needs a bed, here are some reasons why they do:
- Instincts. A dog who is provided a bed with a blanket on it will create a nest for himself by digging at the blanket, similar to how a wild dog would dig to create a comfortable place to lay down.
- Creature comfort. Providing a dog with a comfortable place to nap or rest where they feel safe contributes to their comfort, happiness, and quality of life. Most dogs love having a special bed and will use it daily.
- Special needs. Dogs who have certain special needs especially benefit from a bed. For example, a dog suffering from arthritis or hip dysplasia may struggle to get up onto furniture as a result of health issues and may choose to lay on the floor due to the pain they feel when trying to get up onto furniture. It is better for their joints to lay on a bed rather than the hard floor.
- Manners. If you want to train your dog to stay in an area of the house, putting a cozy bed in a specific location will significantly help them learn because they will want to be there.
- Boundaries. Everyone likes to have their space sometimes, and everyone has “their spot” on the couch. Dogs share these feelings with us; their bed is their spot, where they can be comfortable and have their space if they need it. Really, we should be envious; in a single dog household, they do not have to worry about someone taking their spot like we do if we get off the couch!
How do dogs with special needs benefit from dog beds?
When given the right type of bed, dogs with certain special needs will enjoy a better quality of life. For example:
Hearing or vision impairment. Dogs who cannot see or hear well may feel uncomfortable when trying to take a nap during a busy day in their home. By providing them with a donut-style bed with a high back and strategically placing it in a corner, they may feel more secure and have less anxiety about taking a nap. Providing great comfort to your sweet dog is priceless.
Joint conditions. Dogs of any age may suffer from joint issues such as hip dysplasia, and seniors suffer from arthritis. These conditions are exacerbated when a dog lies on hard surfaces. Dogs with joint issues have a very legitimate need for a thick orthopedic bed; they often are unable to jump up onto furniture where they would be able to be most comfortable.
If crated for hours without a proper bed, a dog who suffers from joint issues will become very stiff, resulting in further discomfort, pain, and additional movement impairment from becoming stiff.
Recovery. A dog who is recovering from a surgical procedure and needs to remain still needs a comfortable place to rest. By creating an appealing nest with a comfortable dog bed and soft blankets, you may give a dog more incentive to rest where and how you want her to.
How do I choose a bed for my dog?
There are so many options for dog beds it can be difficult to choose which one! Consider the following when choosing a bed for your dog:
Sleep position. How does your dog sleep? If your dog sleeps flat on her side, she would like a pillow or mattress-style bed. If your dog sleeps curled up in a ball, he would like a donut, bolster or cuddle cup-style bed.
Size. A dog’s bed should provide them enough room to spread out when they stretch. Always go up a size if you are unsure.
Care instructions. Always go for a dog bed that is easy to wash; if your dog has an accident on the bed, you want to be able to clean it up without any hindrances. Consider if the bed will fit into your washing machine, and consider how easy it is to take apart to clean.
We do have a post all about how to wash a dog bed.
Budget. When dog bed shopping, you will encounter budget-friendly options and high-end options. Sometimes this is comparable to furniture shopping; you must pay more for good quality furniture. However, if the bed cannot be easily washed, you may end up having to throw it away due to a particularly terrible accident that is too rough to properly clean.
Preferences. Consider what your dog is drawn to; does she like fleece blankets, sweatshirt material blankets, faux fur blankets, or fuzzy blankets? When shopping for beds, choose something with a comparable texture to ensure your dog will want to use her bed.
Are there any circumstances in which my dog would not need a bed?
All dogs should have a dog bed so that they have a comfortable option if they want to lay on the floor, but there are two foreseeable scenarios in which skipping a bed might be acceptable:
King or Queen of the castle. If your dog rules the roost, they probably receive the royal treatment on a daily basis; such as being carried or lifted onto comfortable furniture. If your dog is on the couch with you 99% of their lounge time, a bed may not have to be on your shopping list, due to the minimal amount of time they may choose to lay on the floor.
If your dog is crated for more than an hour most days consistently, they should be provided a mattress-style bed with blankets to prevent stiffness and joint discomfort in their crate.
Chewers. If your dog has proven to be destructive, tearing up toys, pillows, etc, leaving them alone with a plush bed might result in the bed becoming their next target. This wastes money on purchasing a bed that would be destroyed and also poses a significant health risk.
If your dog consumes the bed as he destroys it, he has the potential to require emergency veterinary care to have pieces of the bed surgically removed. Some beds are stuffed with strips of fabric, not plush stuffing, which poses a choking hazard if your dog tears it open and wraps it around his neck.
To keep a super chewer comfortable when crated, provide layers of thick blankets instead of a dog bed.
Dogs need beds because they need their own special spot to feel safe, warm, and comfortable, and to contribute toward their overall comfort and joint health. When shopping for dog beds, consider your dog’s size and preferences, as well as your ability to effectively clean the bed.
Does your dog have a dog bed? What kind?