Dog Bed Styles
There are many styles of dog beds to choose from, and some dogs prefer one style more than others. Consider the following:
• Mat Beds – Made to be flat and low to the ground, much like a mat you'd use at the gym. Good for areas where dogs like to hang out briefly, but not ideal for long-term sleeping areas.
• Pillow Beds – Oversized pillows for dogs, available for all size breeds. These are very versatile and can be used just about anywhere in your home. Just note that some dogs like to rip up loose-filled beds like they would stuffed animals or throw pillows, so they may not be ideal if your dog is not well trained.
• Couch or Dish Beds – Cushioned beds with plush rims around the edge for your dog to lie against. These work especially well for puppies because the warmth from the walls mimics the feeling of a momma dog and siblings. Most "luxury" brand dog beds are made in this style.
• Hammock Beds – Stretched fabric slightly elevated off the ground. These beds are very easy to clean, but they don't offer much padding for your dog to rest on. Most shelters use these in their kennels because they are cheap and simple to wipe down.
Consider Your Dog's Current and Future Size
Obviously your dog bed needs to be a size that is proportional to your dog himself. You may be able to get away with a small bed in the puppy stage, but you also need to be prepared for a larger bed later on if necessary. Most dog beds will be labeled for small, medium, or large breed dogs, so you can choose the one that's perfect for your pooch.
Get Something You Can Clean
Most small dog beds can fit into the washing machine, but larger dog beds need special care. If you have a large breed dog, get a bed with a removable cover so you can wash it off once a week. If you get a hammock-style dog bed with cloth fabric, make sure the hammock itself is machine washable. This will help you keep the dog hair levels low, and it will reduce the risk of fleas that like to live on dog beds.
PRO TIP: Potty Training Dog Beds
If you are potty training your puppy or you have a dog with a bladder condition, get a waterproof cover for the dog bed. This will keep messes contained, and it will make it much easier for you to clean up the mess.
Dog Beds for Senior Dogs
If you have an older dog, you may want to invest in a bed with extra padding on it. You could even go as far as to buy a memory foam dog bed, which will contour to the shape of your dog's body. Senior dogs, much like senior humans, have sore, aching joints that need extra support while they sleep. They also have less energy than young dogs, so they spend more time in their beds. Get a bed with side support, and make sure there is an open area in the front for him to walk through. A full barrier all the way around may be difficult for your old dog to walk across.