A quality dog bed is one of the first dog care accessories you buy when you get a new dog or puppy. A dog's bed offers him a safe, personal space, and you the freedom to stretch out in your own bed without his nightly presence. If you have visited a pet store lately or even the pet care aisle of the supermarket, you likely discovered rows and rows of dog beds in various shapes, sizes, and colors. How do you choose the best bed when the options seem unlimited? Check out these three things to remember when selecting a dog bed.
Size the dog bed for your sleeping dog and your space. My dog weighs 60 pounds and can stretch to a length of about five feet. This does not mean I need to buy the largest bed in the pet shop. Most dog beds have height and weight recommendations to guide you in your purchase. Remember that your dog's sleeping style significantly impacts the bed size and style needed for your home. When my dog sleeps, he curls into a ball, wraps his paws around his face, tucks in his tail, and uses a fairly small space. He still requires a large bed for comfort, but not a bed so large that it fills my bedroom floor. A donut shape is a better fit for both Max the dog's sleeping position and my bedroom than a large, rectangular bed similarly sized for his length and weight.
Consider your dog's health and age when buying a dog bed. Your dog's needs change over time. As she ages, she may suffer from arthritis or other health conditions that affect her mobility. During his later years, my Pomeranian benefited from a heated, therapeutic bed that soothed his arthritic knees and back. As with most pet products, health claims and benefit labels are not regulated in the same way as labels for human products. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog's individual needs and ask for his trusted recommendations. Remember, though, that your dog's bedding needs will change through the years and you will need to help her find a bed to suit those changing needs.
Buy a dog bed that fits your lifestyle and needs, too. While you would probably love to buy your dog an enormous, chaise lounge style bed with all of the bells and whistles, it may not be realistic or even suitable. You can find a perfectly acceptable dog bed in a variety of budgets, styles, and colors that offers the support and space that your dog needs. As you choose a dog bed, do not forget to consider things like ease of cleaning and portability. My dog spends hours on hiking trails and far fewer hours in the bath. He also enjoys hanging out with the family in various rooms of the house. I need a dog bed that I can clean frequently and easily and move about the house without calling in extra muscle.