Our pets are an integral part of our lives. More people are adopting four-legged friends as they recognise the therapeutic and calming effects they have on their lives. With this surge, the market for pets has also grown substantially. Pet shops offer everything from dog shirts to socks, brushes, treats, various coats and harnesses and shampoos. While some of these products are certainly novelty items, there are some that may appear pointless at first but can be very useful.

Dog beds fit this description. Your dog probably sleeps with you at night and lounges on couches and chairs during the day, then why get a bed if there are other cushioned surfaces around? In short, does your dog need a bed at all?

For starters, dog beds fulfil a number of purposes. Dogs like having certain spots in the house that are their own. They are territorial animals and need a space that they identify with. A well laid-out bed does just this - it is a place for the dog to retire when it is tired or feeling lazy. 

Just like us, dogs like having some time to themselves to catch up on sleep and unwind. Another advantage of a cushioned bed is that it is more comfortable than lying on the floor, and some have raised corners that allow dogs to elevate their heads on, if they like. If it is really hot, there are cots that are slightly raised and made from light fabric so that heat doesn’t remain trapped.

To make your dog’s bed more comfortable, put some familiar smelling sheets and pillows on it. Your dog will take to the bed faster if it smells more inviting. Also, remember to wash the extra sheets and pillows often - getting rid of hair and mites is essential.

  1. Types of dog beds

Dog beds are a safe refuge for your pet that makes sure they are comfortable. Further, if your dogs are in their shedding season, limiting them to the bed may also prevent an excessive amount of hair ending up in other parts of your house. It is one of the ways you can make your life easier in terms of maintaining cleanliness.

But how does one about picking a dog bed? Different types of dogs will be more comfortable in different types of beds. Study how your dog sleeps before deciding on a bed - does he tend to curl up or lie straight or flat on his back? Does he like a particular spot in the house? Usually, a cool, dry spot that is close to your own bed is a good place to keep the bed. 

If your dog is still a pup, you may want to buy a larger bed for when it grows up. Otherwise, you can improvise and use sheets and cushions until your pup feels secure enough to sleep in a separate bed.

If you have more than one dog, see how they behave around each other. Some dogs don’t mind sharing and will happily cuddle with each other. Others will like their own space so you will have to buy individual beds for them.

Here is a list of bed types along with what type of dog they are best suitable for.

Also read: How to bathe and groom your dog

The standard flat bed

These are perhaps the most common types of dog beds because they can be improvised as well. They don’t have raised corners or boundaries. It can be thought of as a dog pillow with a little more padding.

This type of bed is good for larger dogs that like to stretch out and sleep straight. It is a little more challenging to find enclosed beds for larger dogs, so this is often the best option. Also, some dogs feel claustrophobic in more enclosed spaces, so for them an open bed will work best. 

These beds may come as a single piece or with a cushion that fits into the bed. The latter are usually easier to clean, so take that into consideration. 

Putting a sheet over the cushion is also a good idea, since this fabric is easier to clean and you replace the sheets as often as you consider relevant.

Read more: Allergies in dogs

Circular bed with raised edges

This style is well liked for its versatility. More suitable for medium and small breed dogs (unless your local shop has larger sizes), these beds have the added comfort of your dog being able to rest its head on its raised edges. Usually, there is an entrance at the front so your dog has easy access to it. When buying these types of beds, remember that the size is key. Too big may put your dog off and too small won’t be comfortable. Generally speaking, pick a bed that is around a foot longer than your dog so that he has enough space to adjust.

Hardened orthopaedic bed

For dogs with joint pain and injuries, it can be difficult to get into beds that are slightly raised. Mattresses solve this problem as they can simply be walked on. Orthopaedic mattresses are made of foam and are more firm than standard cushioning. This contours the dog’s body and provides support to any aching or sore spots. While most dogs will appreciate this type of bedding, senior dogs will be especially grateful.

Certain breeds are prone to back injuries, like Dachshunds. They might hurt themselves trying to get on to raised beds, so flat mattresses are a good idea.

Also read: Fractures in dogs

Standard foldable mattress

This is a no-nonsense option that works for most dogs. The foremost advantage of a foldable mattress is mobility - you can roll and stuff it into a corner of your car or even a bag when you are travelling. This way your dog will have a familiar bed to tuck into wherever it is. 

Even at home, if you are sitting out on the lawn, you can place a thin mattress next to you so that your dog can relax next to you as well.

Raised dog bed (cot)

Raised beds or cots are especially beneficial for small to medium sized dogs that like to sleep on elevated surfaces like on a couch or a bed. Climbing onto a raised bed can be easier for smaller dogs as human beds can be high for some breeds. Even for those concerned about hygiene, a raised bed makes a lot of sense as it allows the human beds and couches to remain clean, besides giving your dog the satisfaction of sleeping on a raised platform.

Elevated beds also allow pet owners to be able to clean the floors of the house easily as one can simply vacuum or mop the surface underneath without having to move their dog.

Covered bed

Covered beds are interesting additions to households because they are more aesthetically pleasing. They are designed to look like dog houses and have an entrance leading to an enclosed space. Small or toy breeds are supposed to like covered beds more. If socialized from the beginning, most dogs will return to retire to their tiny ‘homes’ and feel comforted by the darkened, cool surroundings.

Larger dogs generally prefer open beds, though. There are also some dogs that will feel trapped by these kind of beds and it is not suitable for them.

It is important to keep covered beds clean. Since we may not always see what lies inside, it is all the more reason to inspect the cushions often and get them cleaned. Dirty cushions will increase the chances of your dog getting skin infections.

Read more: Things to consider before adopting a dog


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  2. Canine Journal. [Internet]. Cover Story Media®, Inc.; Best Dog Beds For Every Breed & Need (Our Top Picks By Category)
  3. Fetch by WebMD. [Internet]. WebMD LLC.; Pets in Your Bed
  4. American Kennel Club. [Internet]. AKC Inc. New York.;Should I Let My Dog Sleep With Me?
  5. Bradley Smith et al. A Multispecies Approach to Co-Sleeping. Human Nature. 2017 Sep;28(3):255-273. PMID: 28639123
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