Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds
Comfort is absolutely key when choosing a new dog bed. From traditional wicker dog baskets to soft beds, thick mats or plastic beds, you'll have to consider your options carefully in terms of size, style and where the bed will go. Because, let's face it – your dog will let you know if you've made the wrong choice!
- Size and material
- Bed type
- Quality and comfort
- Dog temperament and preferences
How to choose the right dog bed
Dog beds have come a long way in recent years to provide your furry friend with the greatest possible comfort. From traditional baskets to soft beds or mats, there is no end of options out there and plenty of materials to choose from.
In order to choose a suitable bed for your dog, you'll need to think about the size of your dog. If you have a puppy, think about how big your four-legged friend will be once they've reached full size. If your dog tends to be destructive it might be best to forego any products filled with stuffing and instead opt for a thick foam mattress or even a plastic bed. Remember – if you don't want your pooch to chew up your house, it's up to you to provide them with a variety of more suitable chewing materials!
Crates and kennels do not constitute dog beds in themselves. These are simply structures designed to be filled with different elements. You wouldn't have a bedroom without a bed and the same goes for a crate or kennel!
Standard dog baskets and beds
Wicker or plastic dog beds are the most traditional bedding option for our canine companions but they are gradually being replaced in favour of softer beds and mattresses. Dog baskets come in all sizes but they tend to feature a standard shape with a raised back and an entry point at the front.
If you go for a rigid bed or basket, you will also have to purchase a soft mat or cushion to fill the base. The base of the basket may take the form of a specially designed cushion, fleece, an old blanket or even layered up towels.
The most important thing is to provide a comfy dog bed that is properly matched to their size, whether they be a large or small dog. If the bed is too small, joint issues and chronic pain can set in as the dog will be forced to bend unnaturally or to press their head or paws against the edges.
Dog beds tend to come in the following basic sizes: S, M L or XL.
Some dogs that enjoy chewing will destroy wicker baskets or chew up the edges of plastic beds. It's up to you as the owner to make sure the dog has all they need to chew on in the form of chew toys. You must also check the condition of the bed regularly.
Dog mats, pads and mattresses
These accessories can be used to fill a dog basket or bed or used on their own. Designed with the comfort of your dog in mind, this type of product allows you to prevent joint pain by offering an additional place to rest to active or elderly dogs.
The most important criteria to consider when choosing a soft bed are as follows:
- The size of bed, pad, or mattress must be suited to the size of your dog.
- It may feature a removable cover for easier care.
- Memory foam (to limit pressure points) or classic stuffing.
- The cover material (to limit hair sticking, noise, sliding, etc.).
- The style of the mat (plain colours, such as grey, patterned, etc.).
- The shape (round, square, rectangular) with edges of varying height.
- Hidden zips to avoid injuries.
- Thickness of the mat.
Classic stuffing tends to spread unevenly throughout the cushion meaning you have to shake it out daily to put it back into place. To avoid having to do so, be sure to invest in well-padded bedding.
Cushions and rugs that do not feature a removable cover can sometimes be machine-washed. However, they will have a fairly limited lifespan as the interior foam can start to break down and will no longer offer an even surface for your dog to lie on.
Dog mattresses can be a good option for all ages and sizes of dog. Covered with a bed pad, the mattress simply needs to be wrapped in a sheet which can be changed when dirty to help your dog get an extra cosy snooze! Rectangular shaped mattresses will allow your dog to stretch out or curl up as they sleep. However, mattresses do not have edges meaning your dog won't be able to hide or feel as surrounded as they would in a basket or bed with edges.
Quick tip: if your dog likes to scratch the surface of a bed before sleeping, you will have to provide a hard-wearing cover or cloth (such as micro-fibre) able to withstand daily clawing.
Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds, 122 guides
With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends. I am both manual and cerebral (yes, it is possible.), I learned the basics of DIY and the customization of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from sander to varnish. I have two favorite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the trash that will become a friend’s centerpiece. I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications, I constantly research low-cost, test ideas.