Pets and Animals

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie….on the Right Bed

Many aspects need to be considered when keeping pet dogs: where to get one, what to feed one, how to train one and, yes, how to choose a bed for one. Dog beds come in different shapes and sizes and are made from a variety of materials. Choosing the right bed can be done by considering a few details regarding the canine and the prospective bed.

Size and Shape
Pet beds are designed to accommodate certain weights and lengths. Thus, it matters how big the pet will be that uses the bed. An assessment of the height and weight of the animal can be compared to the manufacturer’s recommendations on the bed. When the animal and dimensions of the bed are appropriately paired, the pet will experience the most comfort and the product will last longer.

Type of Coat
A dog’s coat matters when choosing a bed. Some beds made of plush material intended to help keep the animal warm will not be suitable for some breeds. Dogs with a thick, shaggy coat, for example, will be at risk of overheating while sleeping on a warm, plush pet bed in hot temperatures.

Favorite Sleeping Position
A bed should not necessarily be bought prior to checking into the puppies for sale. When selecting puppies, ask the owners about the animal’s typical sleeping position. If the dogs for sale were not observed closely enough to note this, then take the puppy home and watch it nap for a few days. A preferred sleeping position will become evident. A pet that enjoys stretching out will opt to avoid a nesting bed which caters to a pet that sleeps in the curled-up position. A flat, rectangular bed is much more accommodating. This should be taken into account when choosing a bed. Of course, a new bed may need to be purchased as puppies outgrow the smaller bed.

Different Bed Options
Dogs that prefer to sleep curled up into a ball will probably want a round bed. In addition to height and weight, a measurement from the dog’s nose to its tail will help determine the diameter needed for a round bed. If a curled-up pet enjoys sleeping pressed up against something, then opt for the bolster bed, which provides a bump for it to rest against or put its head on while sleeping.
For the pets that stretch out when they sleep, a basic rectangular bed will suffice. Ranging in plushness from a comfortable rug to a deep pillow, this bed accommodates a dog that wants to take advantage of every available space.

Bed Cushioning
Some type of foam is usually inserted into the pet beds to increase comfort level. The heavier the dog is, the denser the foam should be. Quality memory foam, though costly, will provide the best support. A large breed dog will require high-density foam padding with a larger square footage.
Convoluted foam, another choice for cushioning a pet bed, lacks the durable comfort of good memory foam. The open-cell foam will flatten and provide little to no support after a short period of use. Replacement foam will need to be purchased regularly, or the pet owner may want to invest in a higher-quality memory foam bed.

Bed Features
Once the style of the bed and the quality of the foam have been decided on, pet owners can consider what additional features they would like the bed to have. Some background research on the breed of dog can help narrow down which features may be most beneficial to look into. Individual dog personality can also influence whether or not certain features will be necessary.
For example, a very anxious dog that may shred the bed when left home alone will need a chew-proof variety that can withstand some nervous chewing and biting. Likewise, a “mouthy” dog can have a tendency to turn everything into a chew toy. This dog may try to entertain itself by shredding the bed. Shredding can also happen when pets are simply trying to fluff the bed as well. Thus, a durable, impenetrable fabric will protect the life span of the bed against chewing and pawing.
Pets inevitably shed fur and track dirt and other particles wherever they go. Pet beds need to have easy-to-remove covers that can withstand going through washing machines for periodic cleaning. Beds made of stain-resistant material or that have been treated with protective chemicals offer additional ways to make caring for the bed easier for the pet owner by minimizing dog odor from penetrating the filler of the bed and allowing spots to be wiped away with a cloth.
A dog bed should be as functional as possible. Though understandable that a pet owner would want an attractive piece for the home, it is more important for the dog bed to be effectively serving its purpose, which is to provide quality support while a dog is sleeping. Taking steps to ensure that the bed fits the needs of the dog will prove more beneficial in the long run for the dog itself and the longevity of the bed.
Durability is key to investing in a good pet bed. Research the product before buying to ensure that replacement parts are available to avoid purchasing whole new beds more often than necessary. Similarly, verify that the overall quality of the bed is designed to last a long time, perhaps even the average lifetime of a dog.

The Bottom Line
Looking after dogs requires preparation before bringing the dog home and consideration of its future needs as well. A dog sleeps a lot, particularly during the night when its owners sleep. Providing a comfortable, durable place for the dog to rest is just one aspect involved in pet ownership. Careful consideration of the dog’s individual characteristics, including breed, size, sleep preference and personality quirks, will be the best guide to choosing the right bed.

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