Dogs are active animals that are bursting full of energy, whether it be running, playing or sniffing. You may be surprised to learn that dogs need between 9 and 15 hours of sleep each day  per 24 hour sleep cycle, in other terms they spend 50% of the day sleeping. This time inflates when you consider puppies and seniors who tire more quickly and require even more rest to cope with the world and all of the stimulation.
If a person gets a bad sleep then we usually see grouchy, snappy and irritable behaviour, so its understandable that dog attitude and behaviour is impacted by the amount and quality of sleep that they receive too. With a small amount of research and consideration its possible to match your companion with the perfect bed.
The size of a bed plays a large part in how suitable the bed will be for your pup. Too large and it’ll take up too much room, too small and your dog may not be able to spread comfortably. Each dog has their own styling style, so you may find that your dog likes to curl up into a small ball in the middle of a bed or that they like to stretch out completely.
As a rule of thumb we recommend you get a bed that is 1.5x the length of your dog. We find that this allows the dog to lay flat and spread its legs but remain comfortable, even if you have a dog that prefers curling up its great to give them the option to sleep stretched out. Your dog’s sleeping style may also change over its lifespan.
Many dogs like to scratch and scruff their beds to get comfortable, so naturally its important to find a bed that is durable enough to survive a few rounds with your dog’s nails. It is a fine and delicate balance between the material being robust and durable to last but soft and supple enough for your dog to enjoy. Try and avoid material that is too thin or light and also material that is too plastic so it remains breathable.
Another consideration is how easy the material is to clean. Its inevitable that at some point the bed will become dirty, whether it be through muddy paws or an unfortunate toileting accident. Look for beds that can be wiped and washed easily for keeping on top of the bed cleanliness day to day, and also that can take a machine wash without falling apart when it comes time to fully wash the bed.
The inner material of the bed tends to be less exposed than the outer material so we can be slightly less concerned about durability. However, comfort is king when it comes to inner material and there’s a range of padding each that has different strengths. At the one end of the spectrum there’s foam and synthetic fibre that tend to be basic but affordable materials up to memory foam.
This is one area where your pet’s characteristics come into play, for example if you have a very old or young dog then a material such as foam or memory foam with orthopaedic properties will excel. On the other hand, in the middle you have shredded memory foam that provides a balance of firmness and softness. Lastly stuffing and synthetic material tends to be very soft and as a result you will find it does not hold its shape. If you’re seeking a bed for medical reasons then always remember to consult your vet first to discuss the most appropriate needs for your pet.
In general do look for material that is washable so if it becomes soiled then it can easily washed with the outer fabric that we covered in the section above. Also ensure that you’re happy with the mechanism of removing the inner material from the outer, common methods are zips or buttons. If you have a dog that enjoys biting or chewing then you need to be aware of the risks of both of these fastenings. Ideally a bed with ‘hidden’ opening and closing works best – out of sight and out of mind!
Lastly lets look at styles, typically beds come in two varieties. We have flat beds and nest beds. Which bed is best is very much on your dog’s preference and the space you have available.
Flat beds are incredible for dogs who like to sprawl and lay out flat, sleep on their sides or back or curl up into a ball to sleep. The lack of edge generally means more room to stretch. A flat bed is incredibly versatile as you can place it into a crate and easily store it away if necessary. Many dogs enjoy sleeping under things such as tables, desks, beds, sofas which again marries very well with the flat bed.
Nest beds are similar to flat beds but have edges on each side. These types of beds are really great if your dog naturally tends to look to rest its head in an elevated position or hang their head over the side, or if you dog likes to push up and into the side of the bed to relax.