Which Dog Bed Should I Buy? ‘How To Choose A Bed’ Checklist + Type, Size & Price Considerations

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Which dog bed should you buy?

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

We’ve aimed to make this guide as simple and easy to read as possible in helping you pick a dog bed that suits you and your dog.

We’ve listed each type of dog bed, what to consider with sizing, and what the different price brackets may generally mean about a dog bed.

You can run through the simple checklist in this guide to narrow down your dog bed choice and make it much easier to pick something.

Let’s get to it!

 

Which Dog Bed Should I Buy? ‘How To Choose A Bed’ Checklist + Type, Size & Price Considerations

 

Summary Of Things To Consider When Deciding Which Dog Bed To Buy

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

1. Do I Want A Cheap Dog Bed?

If cheap is your priority, keep in mind that you are going to usually sacrifice quality support for your dog’s joints and body (with cheap dog bed fill inside the bed), and/or the bed won’t last as long as more expensive dog beds with heavier duty materials.

Some cheap and popular dog beds are:

 

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.

Some popular outside dog beds are:

– Also available with Kuranda Reversible Fleece Pad (on Amazon)

Others are:

Kuranda PVC Dog Bed on Amazon – Mid Range Outdoor Dog Bed 

– Available with Kuranda Reversible Fleece Pad (on Amazon)

Quick Shade Pets Outdoor Instant Pet Shade Shelter & Bed (on Amazon) Outdoor Dog Bed With Shade/Shelter

K&H Manufacturing Original Pet Cot (on Amazon), with K&H Manufacturing Pet Cot Canopy (on Amazon)Outdoor Dog Bed With Canopy & Shade Cover

K&H Manufacturing Foam Orthopedic Lectro -Soft Outdoor Heated Bed (on Amazon) – Outdoor Heated Dog Bed For Cold Weather

 

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

Orthopedic memory foam dog 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.

You want to make sure you get a bed with solid and high quality memory foam, preferably made in the USA.

Some popular orthopedic memory foam dog beds are:

There’s also a headrest version of this dog bed – Big Barker 7 Inch Orthopedic Foam Dog Bed With Headrest (on Amazon)

Big Barker also have in our opinion one of the best performing and highest quality waterproof internal dog bed liners on the market

 

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.

A popular bolster dog bed is 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.

A popular bagel/donut dog bed is the:

Majestic Pet Suede Bagel Dog Bed (on Amazon) – Bagel Shaped Dog Bed

 

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

When it comes to heavy duty dog beds for destructive dog s and 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:

– Also available with Kuranda Reversible Fleece Pad (on Amazon)

 

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

Got a puppy, older dog or a dog with incontinence issues? You might have trouble with a dog that wets the bed!

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

Check out these guides:

 

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, and rated for their weight.

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

There’s also a headrest version of this dog bed – Big Barker 7 Inch Orthopedic Foam Dog Bed With Headrest (on Amazon)

Big Barker also have in our opinion one of the best performing and highest quality waterproof internal dog bed liners on the market

 

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:

 

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:

 

11. Do I Want An Eco Friendly Dog Bed?

Eco friendly dog beds 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:

 

12. Do I Want A Heated Dog Bed?

Self Heating Dog beds or heated dog beds are good for colder climates. Check them out here:

 

13. Do I Want A Self Cooling Dog Bed?

Self Cooling Dog beds or cool gel dog beds are good for warmer climates. Check them out here:

 

14. 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:

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

 

Additional Tips and Considerations

  • 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?
  • 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 Next

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

 

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 won’t 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.

 

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