Choosing the best bed for you and your dog.
While you may love to cuddle your puppy on your knee, or even let it share your furniture, it is very important to give your dog a place of its own – a bed.
Perhaps surprisingly, often the best place for this bed is inside a crate or puppy pen, but wherever you put the bed, it must give a degree of privacy, relative quiet, and comfort. Remember, dogs are bred to have a den, and the bed must take this into account.
If you have a new puppy, then the first bed should be made for a puppy, and there are several to choose from on this site, but as your puppy grows, it will need a new bed which caters for its own personality and body. So, watch your dog as it sleeps. Take note if it curls up, or stretches out. Does it like somewhere to rest his head? It may even lie on its back with his paws in the air! Whatever the position, the bed must be chosen with these needs in mind.
Decide on the sleeping position in which he looks the most comfortable, and measure his length. Then add a few inches (on bigger dogs as much as 12 inches extra) to be sure he has plenty of room. We all like a bit of room in bed – your dog is no different.
If your dog curls up into a ball, then a circular donut type bed may suit.
If it stretches out, then perhaps an oval bed may be better.
If it lies on its stomach, then often a rectangular bed will be a good choice.
BUT, these are guidelines only – each dog can impose its own personality, and may prefer a cushion or raised side for its head.
If the sleeping area has a cold floor, or if there is a draft, or if the dog feels more secure by being higher than its immediate surroundings, then a cot-style “Camper Bed” will be ideal. You can put a traditional bed on the camper for added comfort if that is practical.
Vetbeds are a fleece type of bed, often sold from the roll, or in sizes cut to fit snugly within your crate or playpen. They are fully washable and can be tumble dried. Vetbeds are a best seller for us, and this is an achievement based on merit – they are, without doubt, a great product which your dog will love.
In the colder months, then FLECTABED is a great idea. This is a comfortable mattress, with a special filling which reflects the body heat of your dog and keeps him really warm and comfortable. The small extra cost of the Flectabed is usually worth it, and you can put the Flectabed inside the normal bed or dog crate for that added degree of luxury.
As your dog gets older, its joints may become a little stiff and it is here that an orthopaedic bed will fully justify its purchase price, as it moulds to the specific contours of your dog, thus giving full support.
No matter how comfortable or attractive the bed may be, your dog may need a little encouragement to recognize it for what it is. Properly introducing him to the new bed is the key. As we mentioned above, dogs are naturally a den animal, so there is no doubt they will enjoy the experience, but they may take a little convincing that this luxury is for them!
‘Positive Training’ helps here, so get into a routine – especially at night – and encourage bedtime by a command such as “To your Bed” and perhaps reinforce this with a small treat of a doggy chocolate drop or two (remember DO NOT feed human chocolate to your dog) plus a cuddle and stroke. If he gets up from the bed as you leave the room, use the “stay” command. It is important that your dog has a good night’s rest in a comfortable bed, and that he knows where he should be during the night. It may take a little time, but you will both benefit.
Finally – how often should you wash the bed? As with many things – moderation is the key. The bed obviously should not be filthy, but it is important that it smells right to your dog, and he can recognize that smell as his own. So don’t over-do it, sit back and enjoy your leisure time together.