A dog’s bed serves a few different functions for your dog. The primary, and most obvious, is that it keeps a dog from feeling direct pressure from the floor. A bed insulates them from the elements and keeps your dog warm and comfortable. It provides support for arthritic joints and gives them a place they can have all to themselves.
A dog feels safe in a place they can call their own. Even if your dogs like sleeping with you at night, having a place during the day is beneficial. We all need a place to getaway. For some dogs, excessive activity in the house such as visitors or kids and their friends can be a major stressor. When dogs have a place of their own, they have a place where they can get away from it all. A place to feel safe and a bed provides a haven where they can go and feel comfortable that they will be left alone to nap, play with a toy, or enjoy a treat. A bed should not be used as a place of banishment or punishment, they should always feel safe in their bed. If you're placing the bed in a crate, yes it makes it more comfortable, but it doesn’t mean you should leave your dog in their crate for more than 6-8 hours at a stretch. We use a bed in our crate, but we leave the door open and our dog uses it often, on her own, to get away and de-stress. It is obvious that she feels calm and relaxed having this space to herself.
A good bed also provides your dog with proper support. Orthopedic dog beds can help ease pain and discomfort from skeletal ailments or joint diseases such as hip dysplasia and arthritis. Older dogs are more prone to these conditions, but orthopedic beds should also be considered for younger dogs as a preventative measure to avoid later in life issues.
Two factors should be considered when choosing an orthopedic bed. The first factor is the weight of your dog. Regardless of how big your dog is, you should never be able to feel the floor through the bed. An easy way to test this is to get on the bed yourself. The second factor is the quality of the mattress. Please note that all foam is not created equal. Foam density plays a big part in the support a foam mattress will provide. Cheap foam cannot withstand heavy compression while maintaining its support, comfort, or shape over time. This means orthopedic properties are lost and the mattress can no longer protect sensitive pressure points. K9 Ballistics CertiPUR-US, American made mattresses are made with a foam density chosen specifically for a dog’s anatomy, pointy elbows and weight concentrated in the shoulders and hips. Beware of the cheap, Chinese made dog beds that may seem like a great buy at first glance. Once you get them home and your dog uses it, it will quickly flatten. There is no way around the expense it takes to manufacture foam with the appropriate density that provides proper support, but rest assured that quality foam will last. K9 Ballistics offers a 10 year no flatten guarantee on their orthopedic mattresses. Shopping for large dog breeds is not always as simple as heading down to your local big-box retailer. What they call XL doesn’t come close to being suitable for the largest dogs. K9 also offers a 7” thick version of their orthopedic beds for the largest breeds that may require an extra bit of support
A bed or crate mat is also a great way to make your dog feel comfortable if you like to travel together. It affords them a place to sleep that feels familiar and smells like home.