Does a dog even need a bed? When I was growing up, the dogs my friends families’ had were often lucky just to make it inside the house, let alone offered some luxuriously soft place to sleep. Covered with toys no less. But research has proven that improvements to a dog’s nutritional standards and level of comfort not only improves the quality of life, but his longevity as well. Buying a dog bed today has become the norm standard for raising a happy and healthy pup who sticks around to love for many years to come.
A dog’s bed also becomes his “place.” Just as the rest of his pack has a place to call their own space, giving your dog his own space allows him to have a spot to recoup when things within his pack are unsettling. An argument, a serious illness, or a new addition to the pack can all be very stressful for your guy. Giving him his own place allows him a clear understanding of not only his rank, but his belonging in the pack. This means he feels more secure in his pack role and is less likely to start challenging for better places in the pack.
Dog beds are especially comforting for dogs with physical difficulties such as back or hip issues, arthritis, or degenerative bone or disk diseases. Keeping them off the floor allows them a better night’s rest and helps maintain a certain level of daily comfort. Just like a human with a bad back wakes up feeling stiff and sore, our pups can as well. How likely are you to sleep on the floor knowing your back is going to feel like a freight train ran it over in the morning?
The process of buying a dog bed should be a simple one. You just head to the store and pick up something comfy, right? That used to be the case, when dog beds were more the rare treat than the norm. However, over the last ten years or so, dog bed design has become anything other than the norm. In fact, you can drop anywhere from about $15 to a whopping $400 on a dog bed, and that’s just the mattress.
Most of the dog beds that one will find in the run of the mill chain stores are going to be fairly predictable. There are those cute little ovals with an entryway cut out along one side, there are flat beds, flat fluffy beds, beds with pillows, and beds that essentially are just pillows.
Designer dog beds are becoming more popular these days as well. There are beds that look just like a small sofa, as though you are offering your little guy some consolation for being banned from the most comfortable dog bed in the house; your couch. There are those that look like little rhinestone studded people beds (usually in some shade of pink) and those that even come with matching puppy slippers.
Most of know that we tend to humanize our dogs a little too much, but we accept this because that’s part of what makes them so lovable. After all, most of us would pay a handsome fee just to spend one hour inside our dogs’ minds understanding what on earth goes on there. Some of us admit that would just be way too confusing. Part of the humanizing factor is purchasing items for the dog that we know they don’t need, that remind us purely of their human qualities, and that make us feel good because it’s cute or cool or very unique.
Dog beds are no different. Is there any harm in buying a bed that for the dog that resembles a sofa? Of course not, as long as it provides ample support for the dog, is well sized for the dog, and it is reasonable enough in design so that the dog will use it.
Most dog beds are lacking in support. Even small dogs tend to weigh more than the pressure of our hand, and when we push down on a bed that gives too easily, we are not keeping them off the floor. Fluffy but firm is the key to buying a dog bed that is comfortable for your dog. You want them to be able to curl up in their natural sleeping positions and remain far enough off the floor that they are receiving back support. A bed that is too fluffy and firm will simply encourage your dog to tumble off the bed if he moves his position.
It may take more than one try to buy the perfect dog bed. However, you shouldn’t plunk down tons of cash on a bed for a dog that has never had the option to sleep in one. There is ironic frustration in purchasing a $200 dog bed that looks good, feels comfy enough, and alleviates your guilt after you’ve booted them from your own bed only to have them refuse to use it. Start simple and realistically inexpensive while maintaining comfort. If your dog religiously uses it, then there is a high likelihood that he will use a more expensive bed should you purchase one. Some dogs just won’t. That’s their choice and that means that you have nothing to feel guilty about when you deny their adorable antics in their desperate attempt to rekindle his love affair with your sheets.
When buying a dog bed the simple use of common sense will go along way. You want your dog to use it, and you know your dog. Is he easily frightened by new experiences? Then stay away from overly gaudy designs. Is he happy go lucky with an innate sense of self pride? Then step up the design just a bit if you choose. Match the style of the bed with the comfort level, the size of the dog, and his personality and there shouldn’t be anything standing between your dog and a good night’s sleep.