December 2

Getting the Right Pet Bed the First Time


There are several important things to keep in mind when shopping for a dog bed. Just as you wouldn’t sleep in a bunk bed, nor would you expect your greyhound to be comfortable in a dog bed meant for a poodle. Likewise, you probably don’t want to sleep in a waterbed, unless you’re a seven-year-old. Neither does your Doberman want to sleep on a down pillow. Consider your dog’s size and sleeping habits, as well as fabrication and filler material, when searching for an appropriate dog bed. A little advance planning will make both you and puppy happy and may help prevent cat spraying from other pets.

Sizing Up Your Dog and His Sleeping Habits

In terms of size, most dogs fall into one of two categories. Put simply, dogs are either small or large.

Large dogs are defined as those weighing upwards of 50 pounds with a nose to hind quarters measurement of more than 24 inches. Small dogs, by contrast, are those under fifty pounds and less than two feet long. Of course, there are teeny-tiny “teacup” breeds and, now, what are called “espresso cup” breeds. Still, these are considered by most dog aficionados to be small dogs.

Weighing your dog is fairly easy. Either you or your veterinarian can do it. To determine your dog’s length the first step in shopping for a suitable dog bed measure your dog from the tip of his nose to the point where his hind quarters meet his tail and add seven to twelve inches. Do this while your dog is in a natural pose. With this information, you can begin your search for the perfect dog bed confident that you are on the right track.

Dog beds shapes also fall into one of two classic categories and choosing the right one is as simple as observing his sleeping habits. Often, your dog’s size will correspond to his sleep style. Most small dogs are “curlers”: “[They] tend to like round beds with all the foam and stuffing wrapped around them,” says professional dog-walker, Angela. These are commonly called nest beds. Large dogs, on the other hand, love to stretch their limbs this way and that. Referred to as “sprawlers”, large dogs usually prefer square or rectangular mattress-type beds that don’t confine or constrict them. Elderly dogs and those with joint and muscle pain, whether large or small, will have more specific needs. Look for an orthopedic bed that addresses your dog’s ailments.

Fabrication and Filler Fundamentals

Choosing the right fabrication for your dog’s bed is important not only for your dog’s comfort but for your sanity – it can be almost as frustrating as trying to learn how to clean cat urine. Climate, durability and easy clean-up are key factors in deciding what type of fabric will be best for both you and your pet.

If you live in a warm weather location consider a vinyl or cotton bed cover in a light color that reflects, rather than absorbs, light. In the dog days of summer, your pup will be sitting pretty atop a bed whose fabric cools his cumbersome coat. Do you live in a cold climate? If so, a dog bed covered in suede, velvet, flannel or corduroy is a great idea. These fabrics retain heat and keep your beloved pet toasty on even the chilliest winter day.

Whatever you decide, look for durable fabrics with long-lasting, double-stitched seems to decrease the potential for tearing and industrial zippers that insure easy removal and reapplication. Be sure, too, that your dog bed cover is stain-resistant and machine washable. You will have to clean your dog bed cover periodically but you shouldn’t be driven witless worrying about it. Remember, the goal is two-fold; happy dog, happy owner.

In terms of filler material, you have a couple of options solid foam or stuffing. Solid foam is used in mattress-type dog beds, a popular choice for large and healthy dogs. Here, firmness and density are important considerations. Where one dog may like a soft, pliable mattress, another may prefer a more rigid bed. Look at the places in your home your dog currently sleeps. Does he love your bath rug and snub the sofa? If so, a high density, medium to firm mattress is the best choice.

Stuffing is most often found in the pillow-like beds popular amongst small dog owners. Most indoor dog beds are stuffed with a synthetic material known as poly-fill. For more information on the unique fabrication requirements of outdoor dog beds, visit. Various types of poly-fill construction are available so be sure to choose one that can stand up to the weight of your dog.

The wrong stuffing will deflate after a few minutes, leaving your dog surrounded, rather than supported, by what is supposed to be a soft cushion. Look for high loft poly-fill with baffled chambers so stuffing is evenly distributed throughout your dog bed. This will insure that every nap is a comfortable nap for your dog

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