Just like their owners, dogs need a bed that’s comfortable and suited to their needs. Dog beds come in a range of fabrics and styles, while dog bed sizes vary from tiny to extra large dog beds. While small dog beds tend to suit toy breeds such as chihuahuas, medium dog beds are better suited to breeds like Cairn terriers. Going up, large dog beds are ideal for breeds who need a little more room in which to roll over, such as bull mastiffs or lean and leggy Afghans.
Measuring your Dog
Getting the right size bed for your dog is as much about comfort as safety. Too small, and your dog could feel cramped. Too large - and smaller breeds risk getting swamped by fabric (which could be dangerous).
When deciding on which size of bed to buy, you’ll first need to find your dog’s measurements. The best way to do this is to measure them from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail.
Do this while they’re in a standing position and add an additional 15-30 cm to ensure they have a little extra wiggle room, should they need it (this will also give you the suggested width for your dog bed).
Weighing your Dog
Another measurement to take concerns weight (some dog beds are categorised by how much weight they will take - so take this measurement to be sure). Not all dogs like to be weighed, so to help familiarise them with the process you might want to try using clicker training to help them make a positive association with being on the scales.
You can weigh your dog in one of two ways, depending on size. If you have a dog that’s small enough to lift, you can hold them while standing on the bathroom scale. Subtract your weight from the total to get your pet’s weight.
If Fido is too large to handle, don’t risk putting your back out: you can either purchase specialist scales online or at pet supply stores - or alternatively you can ask your vet, who can offer to weigh them for free.
Be sure to use the same scales each time you weigh your dog, as different scales can vary by between 5-10 lbs, particularly if you are switching between digital and analog scales.
Consider their Age and Health
Health conditions and advancing age will both have an impact on the style and size of bed you decide on. If your dog has pain or mobility issues such as arthritis, it may be that they will benefit from a memory foam or orthopaedic bed that will conform to their bodies, helping to soothe creaky joints.
Heat can also be helpful for pain relief, so if your dog experiences joint pain, consider using a pet-safe kevlar blanket to lay down under their existing bedding. Bear in mind however that dogs respond differently to humans in terms of how much heat they can handle - so if you are unsure, consult your vet.
Just like humans have a preferred sleeping style, you might have noticed your dog has one too. Whether it’s flat out on their back or curled up in a ball, take this into consideration when choosing your dog’s bed.
It may be that they need extra room to stretch out in - or in cases of puppies, small dogs or dogs that prefer to sleep leaning against something, a high-walled bed can help them to feel extra cosy and snug.
Dog Bed Sizes
Dog bed sizes range from small to extra large. The size required will vary depending on your dog’s size and weight in addition to things like sleep style and medical needs. Here’s a brief size guide (length x width)
- Extra small dog beds (46cm x 33cm) are perfect for tiny toy breeds like Yorkshire terriers, pomeranians and chihuahuas, who all tend to be between 1-10 lbs in weight.
- Small dog beds (63cm - 90cm) tend to suit dogs weighing between 11 and 25 lbs, such as miniature poodles, Lhasa apsos, French bulldogs and West Highland Terriers.
- Medium dog beds (90cm - 105cm) are suited to breeds between 26 and 40 lbs, for instance beagles, miniature schnauzers or cavalier King Charles spaniels.
- Large dog beds (120cm +) are ideal for more sizable breeds weighing between 51-100 lbs, like basset hounds, Welsh corgis, English springer spaniels and boxers.
- Extra-extra large (XXL) dog beds tend to be best for the heftiest dogs weighing in at over at 91 lbs - such as Alaskan malamutes, Bernese mountain dogs or great Danes.
Types of Dog Beds
Just like dogs themselves, dog beds come in all shapes and sizes. There’s also a range of materials and thicknesses to choose from, including chew-proof fabrics. The array of options on offer can sometimes feel a little overwhelming (especially to new dog owners) - so to help narrow things down, here is a guide to the different dog bed styles on offer.
These stylish beds (sometimes resembling a sofa) usually have a rigid border ideal for dogs who prefer to sleep leaning against a raised surface while they sleep. A word of warning, however: if your dog is a “chewer” or dislikes feeling hemmed in, this might be one to avoid.
Round or Oval Shaped Beds
Lightweight, plush and usually filled with foam rubber or polyfill, these are best for small dogs, short dogs, short-haired dogs or dogs that like to sleep snugly. Avoid these if your dog likes to chew (as ingesting textiles can be dangerous to dogs). Also avoid it if they prefer to stretch out, or are in need of joint support.
Orthopaedic or Memory Foam Beds
This type of bed is designed for larger dogs, older dogs or those in need of joint support. If your dog sleeps curled up nose-to-tail, dislikes soft bedding or tends to overheat easily however, this might be one to avoid.
This type of bed is essentially a large cushion, often with a waterproof removable and washable cover. These are best for dogs who like to stretch out, switch positions frequently - or simply tend to come home muddy or dirty. Again, these aren’t the best option for dogs who like to chew (if chewing is becoming an issue you might wish to consider training them out of the habit with some gentle clicker training)
Usually shaped like an igloo or dome, these are perfect for pups who like to sleep covered up. Bear in mind that if your dog is of the vigilant kind (either due to guard dog tendencies or because they feel nervous), they might prefer something a little more open where they can have a good vantage point of the room from all angles.
Whichever type of dog you choose, make sure it meets your dog’s needs so they can get the rest they need to stay happy and healthy.