Do Dogs Really Need Beds? Your Ultimate Guide

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Puppies can sleep for 18-20 hours a day. Therefore, they spend tons of time in bed! However, you might have wondered if it’s even necessary to give your dog a bed. After all, they are typically fine sleeping on the ground or on a sofa. Plus, beds can be pretty expensive.

So, does your dog really need a bed or is it just useful to have? In short, yes, but of course, there are tons of exceptions. A dog bed can be soft, provide comfort & support, and prevent painful conditions such as arthritis and hip dysplasia. However, beds can also be a nuisance as they are difficult to clean and can be expensive. 

We will discuss the benefits, drawbacks, and features of a good dog bed to understand why it’s not absolutely necessary to have a dog bed, but it is very beneficial. 

What is a dog bed?

Cute Funny Puppy in Dog Bed at Home

A dog bed can be described as any sort of soft surface that a pup sleeps on throughout the night or during the day. There are many types of dog beds on the market right now; they can be filled with cotton, orthopedic memory foam, fiberfill, or even cedar shavings! Pillow or Mattress-Style Beds are usually more common for older dogs or younger puppies.

This filling is stuffed in a cover, which is typically removable and/or machine washable. These covers are often super soft to increase comfort & relief for your pooch. Some materials that a cover is typically made of are suede, faux fur, cotton, and polyester. 

A dog bed serves as your pup’s personal space. On this piece of puppy furniture, your pooch knows they can rest relaxed & unbothered, which is really important for their mental state.

Pros of a Dog Bed

There are many paw-sitives aspects of dog beds for your canine companion. 

  • Prevents Calluses: If heavy dogs lay directly on the floor, this can lead to the formation of calluses. This is because your dog’s weight will push directly through the bony joints like the hip joint or elbow. These joints have little to no padding fat, which means that it is prone to calluses. 
  • Prevents Joint Pain & Hip Dysplasia: For dogs with arthritis or dogs who suffer from poor joint health, sleeping on the hard floor can aggravate pain symptoms. A good quality dog bed can also prevent joint issues from arising in young puppies by providing joint support.
  • Better Sleep… for you and your dog: It can get very uncomfortable to have a huge dog on your Twin Sized bed! That’s why pushing your dog to sleep on his own large-sized bed will ensure that you have a good night’s rest. Plus, sleeping by himself will also give your dog a great night’s rest because he won’t wake up for every slight movement that you make. 
  • Provides Comfort: A good dog bed has a plush & comfortable outer cover that is soft to the touch. This could be made of faux fur, suede, or polyester. Puppies find these materials very comforting because it reminds them of their mother’s fur. Therefore, sleeping in a dog bed can reduce your pup’s stress levels because of how relaxed they feel in their soft bed.
  • Easy Fur Cleanup: If you have a dog that sheds a ton, then you know how difficult it is to collect all of the furs that they leave throughout the house! Therefore, if they spend a good portion of their time sleeping in the bed, it will be super easy to collect the loose fur from there. 
  • Helps Teach Boundaries: A well-behaved dog understands that some objects & places are simply off limits. Therefore, you must ensure that your dog will not jump onto your bed if you don’t want him to. This instills values that will be very beneficial for more rigorous training.

Cons of a Dog Bed

Cute Dog Lying on a Dog Bed at Home

There are some drawbacks of dog beds that can make them hard to take care of. We recommend weighing these against the benefits to see what works best for you. 

  • Hard to Clean: Dog beds can be very difficult to clean, due to the plush material. These fabrics stain very easily & also hold on to smells, so no matter how often you clean them, they could still have a very offensive odor. Plus, it’s common for things to dry on the bed and become crusty. 
  • Expensive: Some beds can be set at a very high price point for seemingly no reason. Although the best dog beds are at a very affordable price, some companies overcharge greatly for a basic dog bed design. It’s difficult to find a good quality product at a decent price while furniture shopping. 
  • Easy to rip up: A few years ago, I spent almost $100 on a top-of-the-line dog bed for my puppy. It was a state-of-the-art memory foam bed with a fleece blanket cover. I thought this would be my pooch’s forever bed. He tore it up in under 20 minutes! The thing is since dog beds are so soft and comforting, that also means that they are really easy to chew up. It’s really annoying for pet parents to see that their pup has ripped up yet another pricey dog bed! 
  • Refusal to sleep: For some reason, certain pups absolutely despise sleeping in a bed. They might be scared of the beds, which is why they never use them and they might even bark at them. It can be super annoying to buy an expensive bed & have a pup who’s scared of it. 

Who needs a dog bed?

the hunting dog lying in a dog bed

So, if you’ve analyzed the pros & cons, you might be wondering if your pup even needs a dog bed. For some dogs, a dog bed is an absolute necessity. For others, it’s a great way to give them quality sleep, but it isn’t required.

These are the types of dogs who shouldn’t be sleeping without a bed or some other form of cushioning.

  • Dogs with joint issues
    • Dogs with joint issues need extra support & cushioning when they sleep. If they lay on the bare floor, they won’t be able to snooze in comfort, because the hard floor will create calluses & aggravate the pain.
  • Dogs with arthritic pain
    • According to the Arthritis Foundation, one in five dogs suffer from arthritis. This means an astounding number of our canine companions have trouble with walking & climbing, and feel great pain even when laying down. So, I recommend using a bed so that your arthritic dog doesn’t feel painful pressure as he lays down.
  • Older Dogs
    • Older dogs are more prone to issues like hip dysplasia, arthritis, and joint pain. Therefore, even if they don’t have these issues now, you could prevent them by buying a high-quality bed.

Types of Dog Beds

Cute Dog in Pet Bed at Home

There are loads of different types of dog beds on the market, perfectly suitable for every type of pup.

  1. Orthopedic Dog Bed
    An orthopedic dog bed is perfect for older dogs as it can help manage their pain, as the foam will avoid putting too much tactile pressure on their fragile joints. Orthopedic dog beds are often made of memory foam to give your dog a comfortable spot to sleep. 
  1. Bolster Bed
    Bolsters are basically elongated, firm pillows that are placed on the sides of the bed. These provide permanent neck support for dogs whose favorite sleep position is to sprawl out. The bolsters are also rather durable & it’s hard to chew them up like they would with pillows.
  1. Donut Dog Bed
    A donut dog bed is perfect for pups who love to curl up while they sleep. Donut beds are circular with no bolsters. This very simple design is actually rather efficient for young puppies.
  1. Pillow Dog Bed
    A pillow dog bed is exactly what it sounds like; it’s a long, stuffed, rectangular dog bed that resembles a pillow. These beds are super soft and very comfortable. Pillow dog beds are a good option for smaller dogs because of how plush they are.
  1. Cot Bed
    Cot beds are a pretty unique design. They have a sheet of outdoor fabric suspended on a metal frame. Therefore, the bed is lifted off of the ground, which makes it nice and cool, and great for the outdoors.  

What are Orthopedic Beds

Orthopedic beds are beds that are filled with medical-grade memory foam. While regular beds may be filled with egg crate foam, orthopedic beds are often made of exclusively high-quality memory foam. 

Orthopedic beds can have many different designs, but they are most often found in the pillow style, bolster style, and donut style. You might also find a cot bed with an orthopedic topper to provide some additional comfort. 

Orthopedic beds are recommended for dogs with joint issues. This is because the memory foam bed provides joint support to an aging dog, specifically for the hip joint & elbow joints.

If you notice that your dog is getting along in years & he is having trouble getting off his bed, getting upstairs, and is very stiff, then chances are he could benefit from the additional support of high-grade memory foam. 

How many beds?

a white cute dog standing on the dog bed

It’s a very common question to wonder about how many dog beds a pup really needs. After all, the average person only has 1 bed. However, dogs sleep a lot more than we humans, so they probably need more spaces to sleep.

However, this isn’t the case. You should allocate one dog bed per bed, to avoid fighting & jealousy. You only need one bed as long as you properly train your pup to understand that this bed is the only place that they can sleep.

If you have a house with multiple floors, then you should have 1 bed per floor so that your pup isn’t tempted to sleep on the ground.

If your dog really enjoys napping, then I recommend buying multiple beds and leaving them throughout the dog. On the other hand, if you have an active dog who doesn’t sleep as much, then you only really need 1 bed. 

Should I Put a Bed in a Crate?

If your dog is currently in a crate, then you may be wondering about adding a dog bed into the crate to help with the transition from a crate to a bed. 

We would recommend adding a dog bed to the crate. This is because the bed will provide your pooch with some additional comfort, promote potty training, and also allow an easy transition from crate to bed.

Your dog will slowly get used to the idea of sleeping on this large, plush object, which can be a bit intimidating at first. 

Adding the bed inside the crate allows your dog to explore it without becoming too agitated. 

Do I Need Pillows?

two small dogs lying on donut beds

You really don’t need anything specific in a dog bed. You could add pillows, but if you have a young puppy, these pillows may just look a lot like fancy toys. You might come home after a long day of work & find that your pup has ripped them all up!

So, if your dog enjoys sleeping with his head elevated, then I would recommend getting a couple of heavy-duty pillows that are tear resistant.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, I recommend that you buy your dog a bed.

Even if he doesn’t have any ailments, a good quality bed can stop the onset of any age-related symptoms. Beds also keep your pet warm, provide comfort, and instill training values from a young age. However, they can also be hard to clean & expensive. 

Therefore, I recommend you weigh the pros & cons and see if you would like to buy a bed. However, keep in mind that if you have a dog with arthritis or joint issues, then a bed is compulsory. There are tons of styles & decorations that you can choose from; all that matters is that you select a comfortable & durable bed.

If you have any further questions, please leave a comment down below. Thanks for reading!!

Meet our writer

Anoushka’s love for animals began with taking care of the cows & chickens on her family farm. As she grew older, this love transformed into a love for dogs. She volunteers in a dog shelter, so she is well-versed in the care and comfort of all breeds of dogs.

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