Which Dog Bed Should I Buy? – Buyer’s Checklist


How do you choose a dog bed, and which one should you buy?

There’s a pretty wide range of dog beds on the market, with many different dog bed types, prices and sizes, so it makes sense if you’re struggling with one to pick.

They also come with different features.

We’ve aimed to make the process of picking a dog bed more simplified by putting together a checklist of considerations.

We’ve listed each type of dog bed, what to consider with sizing, and other relevant factors relating to dog beds.

Let’s take a look!


(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)

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Which Dog Bed Should I Buy? – Buyer’s Checklist (Bed Types, Sizes, Features, & More)


Run yourself through and answer the following questions to narrow down your choice of dog bed:


1. Do I Want An Affordable/Cheaper Dog Bed?

If cheap/affordable is your priority, keep in mind that you might be sacrificing quality support for your dog’s joints and body (with cheap dog bed fill inside the bed), and/or the bed might not last as long as more expensive dog beds with heavier duty materials.

Some affordable dog bed options might be:


2. Do I Want An Inside Or Outside Bed?

Most dog beds are inside dog beds unless they are stated as outside dog beds in their product description.

Outside dog beds are designed to be left outside in the elements, and are usually the framed dog beds with knitted fabric which is easier to clean.

They are usually the elevated/raised dog beds.

Some popular outside dog beds are:

More Affordable Beds


More Premium Outdoor Beds


3. Do I Want An Orthopedic Memory Foam Bed With Support and Comfort?

There’s generally three types of foam used in dog beds:

Polyurethane foam (cheapest foam)

Memory foam

Solid and certified orthopedic foam

*Polyfill padding can also be used on top of foam in some beds for additional cushioning


Solid and certified Orthopedic foam dog beds (as well as therapeutic foam beds) provide the best level of comfort and support for dogs and their bodies/joints. 

This is especially important for extra large and older dogs.

Sometimes foam made in countries like the USA with manufacturing standards or certifications are better than cheaper foams made overseas without standards.


Some of the best foam beds for small through to large dogs might be:


One of the most popular orthopedic foam dog beds for large and Giant dogs is the

Big Barker currently has some of the highest quality foam support amongst dog beds in the market.

Read a Big Barker Dog Bed Review Guide here.


4. Do I Want A Dog Bed With Bolster Sides?

Bolster side beds allow dogs to either put their head and shoulders up against the bolster for dogs that like to nuzzle, or might provide a safe and enclosed environment for dogs that like to nest.

Some popular bolster side dog bed are the:


5. Do I Want A Different Shaped Dog Bed Like A Round, Bagel or Donut Shaped Dog Bed?

Round, bagel and donut shaped dog beds are good for dogs that like to curl up in their sleep or like to sink into the dog bed.

Some popular donut and bagel dog beds are the:


6. Do I Want A Heavy Duty Dog Bed For Chewers?

When it comes to heavy duty dog beds for dogs that are heavy chewers, we think it’s best to stay away from soft foam or fill dog beds altogether.

The best dog beds in our opinion are the ones with metal frames, and ripstop or heavy duty vinyl fabric which is recessed to prevent dogs getting at it.

They also have no zippers to rip or chew off.

We’re talking about the K9 Ballistics and Kuranda dog beds again:

You can read a comparison guide of these dog beds here.


7. Do I Want A Waterproof and Washable Dog Bed?

Sometimes puppies and older dogs can have bed wetting issues.

In this case, you’ll want to look at washable dog beds, as well as waterproof liners and covers.

Check out these guides for some potential options:

Best Washable Dog Beds and Dog Beds That Can Be Washed Easily

Best Waterproof Dog Beds For Puppies, Older & Incontinent Dogs

Best Waterproof Dog Bed Liners and Covers


8. Do I Want A Dog Bed For Extra Large and Giant Dogs?

Extra Large and Giant dogs not only need support, but they need a dog bed physically big enough (length and width wise), and rated for their weight.

You might like to check out these options if you have an extra large or giant dog.


Other options are:


Read more about dog beds for XL & Giant sized dogs in this guide.


9. Do I Want A Dog Bed For A Dog Who Is A Burrower Or Like To Be Covered In Their Sleep?

Some dogs are burrowers or nesters and like to be covered in their sleep, usually under blankets, but you can get dog beds that emulate this.

A popular cave type dog bed for burrowers is the:

Look at more dog beds for burrowers and nesters in this guide.


10. Do I Want A Dog Bed Which Looks Like Furniture, or Will Match The Sofas And Lounges In My House?

There’s some designer type dog beds which match into a high end home interior better than others.

These dog beds might be made of faux leather or shaped like furniture.

Check out these guides to see these dog beds:

Best Dog Beds That Look Like Sofas, Lounges and Couches

Best Dog Beds That Look Like Furniture

Dog Beds Designed To Match Home Decor, Or To Look Like Rugs


11. Do I Want An American Made Or Sourced Dog Bed?

Some people prefer a dog bed that is American made or sourced.

You can read more about American/USA made and sourced dog beds in this guide.


12. Do I Want A Dog Bed With Eco Friendly Features?

Dog beds with eco friendly features utilize a range of eco friendly features like using recycled materials, using natural dyes or even being made of natural and organic materials.

Examples of eco friendly dog beds are:

P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle and You Lounge Beds for Dogs (on Amazon)

Beco Donut Dog Bed (on Amazon)

Eco Friendly Harry Barker Dog Bed Reviews


Read more about eco friendly dog beds in this guide.


13. Is There Anything Else I Want Out Of A Dog Bed?

If there is something else you are looking for in a dog bed that we haven’t covered above, check out this guide for more dog bed guides, comparisons and reviews:

Big Compilation Of Dog Bed Guides and Reviews

We update this list regularly with new dog bed guides, reviews and comparisons as we publish them.


Additional Tips and Considerations

Some additional considerations for dog beds might include but aren’t limited to:

Watch how your dog lays down and sleeps – do they have any particular behaviors or a sleeping position that might dictate what bed you get them?

Is your dog a big dog that needs joint support from a foam bed? Know the difference between polyurethane foam, memory foam, and solid and certified orthopedic foam. Also know the difference between foam made overseas and foam made in the USA or other developed countries with establish solid foam certifications.

Does your dog have any joint issues or pains that would be helped by having a foam bed?

Check that your dog’s weight and length and width fit the bed you pick

Choose between a foam and a polyfill dog bed

Choose between a 4 inch and 7 inch foam base bed if going for a foam bed

Choose between an inside and outside bed

See whether the dog bed you choose is fully machine washable, or just has a washable cover

If the dog bed is an elevated dog bed, how strong is the frame and fabric?

Does the dog bed match your home interior if that is your priority?

Can you buy replacement covers for the dog bed?

Can you buy waterproof liners of covers for the dog bed?

Does the bed come with a warranty or guarantee

Is your dog a chewer or a destructive dog? Consider a chew resistant dog bed and not a dog bed with a zipper and made of polyester or suede or a similar material

Would your dog benefit from a pad or mat for their bed?

Can the dog bed fit into your dog’s crate if that’s your priority?

Some dog beds have Crypton Fabric which is more odor, stain and moisture resistant that standard fabrics – it usually doesn’t need to be washed as frequently


What Type Of Dog Bed Should You Get?

Mattress Dog Beds

One of the most common and popular types of dog beds. They are simply a flat, usually rectangular mattress.

They usually have an orthopedic or memory foam core, or a core made of poly fill/stuffing.

An external cover that you can remove with a zip and wash is standard on most mattress beds. Some have an internal waterproof liner too.

Some that are made completely of cotton and poly can be fully machine washable i.e. you can put the whole bed in the wash.

You can read more about the best orthopedic and memory foam dog beds in this guide.


Who Are Mattress Dog Beds Good For?

Those who want cushioning as a priority for their dog

If the bed has orthopedic foam, then also those who want support of their dog’s joints as a priority

If the bed comes in neutral colors like cream, then also those who want a bed that fits in well with the inside of their house


Elevated and Raised Dog Beds

Elevated dog beds are usually a frame, with a light, thin but durable piece of permeable fabric wrapped across or recessed into the frame.

The frame can vary from cheaper powder coated steel, to PVC to strong aluminium.

The fabric varies from cheaper cloth fabric, up to more expensive vinyl, Kordura and patented rip stop ballistic fibre that stands up to damage and stress better.

They offer perhaps more durability and the ability to be be an outside bed, but with less cushioning than a mattress foam or polyfill bed.

You can read more about the best elevated and raised dog beds in this guide.


Who Are Elevated Dog Beds Good For?

Those who want both and inside and outside dog bed

Those who want a dog bed that is easy to clean – hose down or wipe down

Those who want a dog bed with ventilation – air is able to come from the underside of the bed

Those who want a lighter fabric dog bed that won’t trap as many smells, odors and mess, and if stationed outside, won’t emit those smells inside

If you get one of the aluminium frame and chew resistant fabric dog beds, elevated dog beds are good for those who want a bed that is good at resisting chewing, digging, scratching and destructive behavior 

Those who want a durable dog bed that will last a while


Bolster, Raised Side & Headrest Dog Beds

Bolster, raised side and headrest dog beds are essentially mattress dog beds but with raised sides or a headrest on the edge of the bed.

They can come with foam or poly fill, and usually a removable external cover that can be washed.

The Barksbar Orthopedic Dog Bed (on Amazon) is an example of a comfortable bolster dog bed.


Who Are Bolster & Raised Side Dog Beds Good For?

They are good for dogs who like to lay with their head on something while they sleep

Dogs who like to snuggle

Dogs who nest when they go to bed.

Dogs who need head and neck support,

Dogs who want to feel comfortable and safe


Enclosed and Covered Dog Beds, Tents and Caves

Usually a poly fill cushion dog bed with a cover or tent over the top.

It encloses the dog in the bed while they are sleeping, with an opening at the front of the bed.

Usually very soft and warm, with a removable cover.

The Snoozer Luxury Cozy Cave Bed (on Amazon) is an example of a comfortable cave type dog bed.


Who Are Enclosed and Covered Dog Beds, Tents and Caves Good For?

Puppies, small and medium dogs

Dogs that like to burrow

Dogs that like to nest

Dogs that like to feel warm and secure while sleeping

Dogs that like cover when they are sleeping


Bagel, Round and Bean Bag Type Dog Beds

Thick plump dog beds that are in the shape of a bagel, dish or bean bag.

Usually made of polyfill, with a waterproof external liner. They have lots of cushioning.

Your dog can sink into it and rest their head on the outside of the bed.

An example of a bagel bed is the Majestic Pet Suede Bagel Dog Bed (on Amazon).


Who Are Bagel, Round and Bean Bag Dog Beds Good For?

Dogs that need lots of cushioning

Dogs that like to nest and burrow


Dog Beds That Look Like Furniture – Lounges, Couches & Sofas

As the name suggests, these are dog beds that look like lounges and sofas.

They are usually made with a foam or poly fill core, with a wooden frame and a whole range of external surfaces.

Faux leather and leatherette are some examples, whilst suede is another.

They look really classy, but they are comfortable for dogs and have some level of support.

Read more about the best dog beds that look like couches in this guide.


Who Are Dog Beds That Look Like Furniture Good For?

People who want dog beds that fit in with their interior decorations – specifically lounges, couches and sofas and other furniture


Dog Pads and Mats

Not full dog beds, but these are cushions, pads and mats that can be used on top of elevated dog beds for example, or in dog crates.

They are usually made of either poly fill or a memory foam, and some are built specifically with dogs that chew in mind.

You can read more about the best dog pads and mats for destructive dogs here. You can also read about self warming mats and pads, and self cooling mats and pads for dogs in these guides.

Note that Kuranda does a reversible fleece pad for their elevated dog beds (on Amazon) too.


Who Are Dog Pads and Mats Good For?

People that want a pad for their dog crate

People that want a pad for their dog bed if it’s an elevated dog bed for example

People that want extra cooling for their dog’s bed

People that want extra warmth for their dog’s bed


What Size Of Of Dog Bed Should You Get?

There’s two main things you want to consider …


1. Measure Your Dog’s Body When They Lay Down To Sleep 

Measure your dog’s sleeping area (length and width) when they lay down next – make sure you get a dog bed that caters for this this sleeping area

Look at the sleeping area available on the dog bed minus any bolster sides or frames and make sure your dog will fit within this area


2. Weigh Your Dog

Some dog beds have a maximum weight of dog they can support – they should tell you in the product description what that is. Make sure your dog


Manufacturers and sellers should give you good sizing instructions on the dog bed product page – so make sure you read them before ordering too.


What Should You Consider With The Price Of The Dog Bed?

You can’t judge an individual dog bed just on price, but generally, dog beds that fit into the following price brackets might have the following profiles:


Cheap Dog Beds

Generally, the cheapest dog beds are going to lack support – they usually never have a proper supportive foam inside.

They might just have cheap polyfill or egg crate foam inside instead.

Cheap dog beds also tend to be made of cheaper materials that won’t last as long, and may not stand up to chewing or destructive behavior.


Mid Price Dog Beds

This is where you start to get SOLID orthopedic foam dog beds, and dog beds that might have some higher level of durable materials.


Higher Priced Dog Beds

The best orthopedic, chew resistant, outside and heavier duty dog beds are generally all over $100.

It’s worth it because they usually last years, and they will save you the time and money you would have spent replacing cheaper dog beds with less support and durability.

Also, because they are made of solid high quality orthopedic foam, you help protect your dog’s joints better.


How To Wash/Clean A Dog Bed?

Generally, the bed manufacturer should give you instructions on how to wash the bed.

It might come with a removable liner/cover that can be washed, and it might be simple to air out the foam/mattress.

Read more in this guide on how to wash/clean a dog bed.


Dog Beds For Crates

As mentioned above – a square or rectangular dog bed is usually best for dog crates.

Measure the floor dimensions of the crate, and make sure the bed dimensions are slightly smaller so it fits inside the crate surface area.

Read more about dog beds for crates in this guide.


Dog Bed Blankets

There’s many types of dog bed blankets available on the market.

A soft blanket that is also washable is a good option, such as the PetFusion Premium Pet Blanket (on Amazon).

Dogs that chew might not do well with blankets – they tend to tear them up pretty quickly.


Donating Old Or Second hand Dog Beds

If you are getting a new dog bed and your dog has an older one that is still in decent condition – consider donating it.

Places like animal shelters and adoption/rescue centers can sometimes use them along with sheets, blankets etc.

Give your local animal shelter a call to check.



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