How to Choose the Perfect Bed for Your Dog

Foam, egg-crate foam, memory foam and mattress beds: Some of the most expensive beds you can find are in this category, but they’re all not pricey. An egg-crate foam bed, a tried-and-true choice, can be found pretty reasonably priced in most big-box retailers. When you get into brand name bedding for big dogs, though, you should be prepared to shell out hundreds of dollars, especially if high-end design (to match high-end décor) is also part of the deal. While the relative firmness of a human-style mattress may not make them the best choice for your dog — younger dogs are usually fine with less-expensive offerings in firmer beds, and older dogs need some “give” to sink into — the introduction of memory foam really is a nifty advance. The biggest concern about any foam, however, is outgassing of potentially harmful chemicals, especially since dogs spend more time sleeping than people do. As such, it may be prudent to reserve these beds for a dog’s senior years, when their supportive properties really make a difference in quality of life.

Best for: Older or arthritic dogs.

For dogs who need more help maintaining body heat — small dogs, thin body types (such as Greyhounds), lightly coated pets, or older, chronically ill or arthritic dogs — adding a heating element to any bed will be appreciated. Make sure it’s pet-safe and UL-approved, and always follow directions for its use.

Sharing Is Good Too

Getting your dog a bed of his own doesn’t mean you have to keep him off yours. Here are two simple options that make sharing a bed with your dog more pleasant for you both.

Steps will help small dogs, long-backed ones (who are prone to back injuries and shouldn’t be jumping) or older, arthritic ones, get up and down off your bed safely. These come in plastic or wood and metal, the former with treads molded in, the latter with carpet or other material added for good traction.

A sheet or light blanket can be used to protect bedding and furniture from dirt and wear. For older dogs or “leaky” pets, look into waterproof throws for better protection.

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