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Shopping Guide for Best Dog Beds

You love your dog. Whether he’s a best friend to your children or your sole housemate, he’s part of your family. Naturally, you want your canine companion to be as happy and comfortable as possible as he curls up to sleep at night.

Purchasing the right dog bed is a vital part of ensuring your best friend’s happiness.

From memory foam doggy mattresses to raised cots, you can choose from many kinds of dog beds. Picking the right one can be tough. To help you make the best choice for you and your pup, we at BestReviews have done the hard work for you.

We've examined a host of dog beds, trawled through customer data, and consulted our own canine expert, Nicole Ellis.

We’ll help you find a bed that your precious pooch will love!

If you're ready to buy right now, the product matrix above features our top five dog bed picks.

However, if you need more info on dog beds and how to select the correct one to suit your furry friend, you'll find everything you need in the following buying guide.

Dog beds aren't "one size fits all," literally or figuratively. When picking a dog bed, consider the size of your dog, how he likes to sleep, and more. Don’t just choose the one with the most appealing look.

Types of Dog Beds

With all the different dog bed types on the market, how do you pick the right kind for your four-legged friend? Our expert Nicole says that "understanding your dog and how he prefers to sleep can help you find the perfect bed."

Dog bed types

Orthopedic Dog Beds

Orthopedic dog beds are designed to keep your dog's spine properly aligned while sleeping and are easier on the joints. They tend to be made of thick, comfortable materials like memory foam.

If your dog is older, has joint pain, or often shifts around at night and can't seem to get comfy, he may benefit from an orthopedic bed.

Nicole Ellis
EXPERT CONSULTANT

Nicole has been training animals for over 15 years, from bears and tigers to household dogs. A member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, she has been certified by the American Kennel Club as a Canine Good Citizen evaluator and she focuses on positive reinforcement methods so that training is always fun. Every year, Nicole attends SuperZoo, the largest pet product showcase, to research new pet products from cat litter to electric dog toys and she loves sharing what she finds with other pet parents.


Nicole Ellis  |  Professional Pet Trainer
Dog bed types

Raised Dog Beds

Raised beds are elevated, resting on legs with space between the bed and floor. Most raised dog beds consist of a frame with a fabric or mesh, cot-like sleeping platform. They're great for keeping dogs cool, as air can circulate all around, and they're also comfy, as minimal pressure is put on the joints when lying down.

If your dog likes to nap outdoors, a raised bed will keep him off the ground, which could be too hot, cold, or damp.

DID YOU KNOW?

Raised cot-style beds don't have stuffing or a plush outer layer but are still comfortable. They can be perfect for avid chewers who destroy stuffed beds.

Dog bed types

Doughnut Dog Beds

Doughnut beds are round or oval with raised sides. They can either be made of soft or plush materials with integrated padding or rigid plastic, so you can add your own soft bedding to the center.

If your dog likes to sleep curled up, a doughnut bed provides the support he needs to stay comfortable.

EXPERT TIP

Being elevated outdoors helps keep ants and spider webs off the bed and makes hosing it off easy.


Nicole Ellis  | Professional Pet Trainer
Dog bed types

Mattress Dog Beds

Pillow- or mattress-style beds are flat and rectangular. Pillow beds are usually stuffed with hollow fiber filling, whereas mattress beds are more like a human mattress – they tend to be made from materials like memory foam, regular foam, or a box spring construction.

If your dog likes to sleep flat on his side, a pillow- or mattress-style bed will give him the most space to stretch out.

Plastic dog beds aren't the best main beds, as they're not very comfortable for overnight use unless you add plenty of bedding. They can be good as a second bed for outdoor use — if your pup likes to take naps in the yard — since they're waterproof and easy to clean.

Staff
BestReviews
Dog bed types

Cooling and Heating Dog Beds

Some dog beds are specifically designed for heating or cooling. Some have integrated heating or cooling pads, while others are just specially built to help keep your dog extra warm or cool.

For instance, a heating dog bed might have raised sides and lots of extra padding to trap warm air and keep your canine companion snug.

If your dog gets too hot or cold at night, he might benefit from a cooling or heating bed. Our expert Nicole also says, "A dog with arthritis may do better with a cool or heating bed or one that is orthopedic."

EXPERT TIP

A dog with arthritis may do better with a cooling or heating bed or one that is orthopedic.


Nicole Ellis  | Professional Pet Trainer

Dog Bed Considerations

Considerations

Size

The size of bed you need depends on the size of your dog. Our top tip: to get a correctly-sized bed, measure your pooch while he’s lying down.

Measure from the tip of his nose to the base of his tail and from the bottom of his paw to the top of his shoulder, near the base of their neck. Add a couple of inches to both these measurements – those will be the minimum dimensions of your dog be.

Remember, it's always better to size up than to size down.

If you have more than one dog and they don't stick to their own beds, it's best to pick beds of a suitable size for the largest. That way, you won’t have a 200-lb. Mastiff trying to squeeze onto a bed bought for a 60-lb. Labrador.

Staff
BestReviews
Considerations

Material

Dog beds come in different materials, depending on the type of bed. Soft beds tend to have plush cotton outer layers with foam, memory foam, or hollow-fiber fillings. However, you can also find plastic beds, mesh raised beds, and beds made from ripstop material, which are ideal for dogs who like to chew.

Considerations

Color

Most dog beds come in a range of colors. Some are available in neutral tones only, such as brown, black, or beige. Other dog beds can be found in bright colors and cool patterns. Your pooch won't mind what color his bed is, so just pick a design you like or one that goes with your decor. We do advise avoiding light colors, as they can stain and will show dirt more clearly between washes.

EXPERT TIP

With use, a lot of the cushier plush dog beds may compress a bit. For heavier, larger dogs, look for a bed that will support them after a lot of use.


Nicole Ellis  | Professional Pet Trainer
Considerations

Ease of Cleaning

Our expert, Nicole, gives this advice: "Think of your pet's activity level. A dog that runs around and gets muddy often will need a bed that's easy to clean and remove the cover from."

Plastic dog beds can be hosed right down, but it's not that easy for soft beds. We definitely recommend looking for a bed with a removable, machine-washable cover.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some dog beds come with a waterproof layer in the cover, which protects the bed from accidents.

Price

You can find dog beds available to suit all kinds of budgets.

Price

Budget Dog Beds

The cheapest dog beds start as low as $15 to $30. In this price range, beds tend to be thin and not all that comfortable. They're not very durable. They might make a passable day bed or somewhere to lounge while out in the yard, but very few budget-priced dog beds are comfortable to sleep on for long stretches of time, including overnight.

EXPERT TIP

While some dog beds seem a much better deal, it’s great to look at the quality of the bedding material. Often cheaper beds wear down faster. In the long run, if you have to replace it a month or two later, you really aren’t saving much money.


Nicole Ellis  | Professional Pet Trainer
Price

Mid-Range Dog Beds

Mid-range dog beds cost from $40 to $100. In this price range, you can find decent plush doughnut beds and foam mattress beds, and even some smaller and thinner memory foam beds.

Price

Top Tier Dog Beds

Top tier dog beds cost $100 or more. You can find some very comfortable orthopedic, memory foam mattresses from about $100 to $150, but the largest, thickest, and most comfortable orthopedic dog beds can cost more than $300.

Memory foam beds are especially good for older dogs who suffer from aches and pains, but dogs of any age will find them very comfortable.

FAQ

Q. Should I get my dog a bed with raised sides?

A. If your pup likes to lean against something while sleeping, or likes to prop his head up on cushions or couch arms, he may enjoy sleeping in a bed with raised sides. If he likes to lie out flat, however, he’ll probably prefer a mattress-style bed.

Q. What type of bed should I buy for a dog with allergies?

A. If your dog is allergic to common home allergens like dust, look for a hypoallergenic dog bed. It’s also helpful to have a bed that's easy to clean, either by hosing it down or sticking it in the washing machine.

Q. Do I need a waterproof liner for my dog's bed?

A. Most adult dogs won't need a waterproof bed liner, but if you have a puppy or a senior dog who's suffering from incontinence, a waterproof liner is a great idea.

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