Finding the Right Bed for Your Dog

Some dogs enjoy sprawling out on their sides on warm summer days.

Others like snuggling up like a donut. And some even like rolling on their backs, with paws leaned up against a wall or crate. Dogs—like us—are very much individuals when it comes to sleeping.

What’s key here is observing your dog’s sleep habits, as well as other needs he may have—for instance, are his joints an issue?—and narrow down the bed or beds that best suit him. Here are some dog types that can help refine your search for the perfect bed for your dog.

Runs Hot

Some dogs just run hotter than others. Is your dog large and double-coated? Does his breed originate from a colder climate like Germany or Alaska? Does he start panting when the weather hits 70 degrees? Does he run into shade on his walks like a vampire fleeing the sun? Then there’s a good chance he runs hot. Look for an airy pillow bed he can sprawl out on with a more breathable cover like canvas. Or better yet, consider a cot-style pet bed.

Runs Cold

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the dog who wants to snuggle in a warm blanket. For these dogs, you can actually throw a warm blanket on your dog’s bed. Also, try memory foam since it retains more heat than traditional beds. Look for soft, warm materials like faux suede in covers.

Achy Joints

If your dog has arthritis or other joint issues, you’ll definitely want to find him a good orthopedic bed. Often constructed from memory foam or box springs, these supportive beds are designed with achy joints in mind. Consider an orthopedic bed even if your dog’s joints are healthy but he is large and sleeps on hard surfaces. Keep in mind that memory foam beds can get hot, so if your dog runs hot, you may want to consider the box spring variety.


Dog beds can aggravate allergies in your pet by retaining dust mites or housing other allergens (wood chips that make up part of the fill, for example). While keeping an allergic dog away from allergens is always a bit of a challenge, you can try stuffing a hypoallergenic DIY dog bed cover with your own blankets and towels to help control what your dog is exposed to. I have also used memory foam beds with success.

Ear Issues

This might seem like a random category for a dog bed, but anyone who’s ever had a dog with ear problems knows they’ll try just about anything to keep their dog comfortable. For dogs that are prone to ear inflammation and infection, ventilation is their friend. My dog loves his bolster bed because he can rest his head on the elevated side, allowing his ears to breathe.

Doesn’t Like Beds

You spend hours observing your dog, figuring out his likes and dislikes and special needs… and you realize, he doesn’t like beds. Fortunately, there’s a compromise between a large fluffy pillow bed and no bed at all, and that is a mat. An added benefit of dog mats is they tend to be more portable, so you can take them on trips as well.

Clearly, there are many options when it comes to dog beds, and every dog has different needs. So take your time to find the right bed or beds for your dog. He will thank you for it.

Meet the Author: Jessica Peralta

Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.

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