How To Choose A Dog Bed: A Comprehensive Guide

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Have you ever gone to a pet store and found yourself overwhelmed by the number of dog beds available? Big ones, small ones, ones with hoods, ones that look like couches… it’s enough to make your head spin!

Choosing the right bed for your furry friend can seem daunting, but never fear! This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need so you know how to choose a dog bed.

Choosing a Dog Bed

Large Dog Resting on Pet Bed


The first thing you need to consider when choosing a dog bed is what type of functionality you need from it. Do you have an older dog who needs extra support? Are you looking for something to keep your dog cool in the summer? Or are you simply looking for a comfortable place for your pup to rest his head?

Knowing what type of functionality you need will help narrow your choices and make the selection process much more manageable.

Consider Your Dog’s Sleep Styles

Next, you need to think about your dog’s sleeping style. Does he like to curl up in a ball when he sleeps, or does he sprawl out like he owns the place? If he’s a cuddler, look for a bed with raised sides that will give him a feeling of security and better quality sleep. If he’s a sprawler, choose a flatbed or one with low sides.

Another essential factor to consider is your dog’s sleeping habits. If your dog is a restless sleeper, you’ll want to choose a bed with raised sides or bolsters. If your dog is a cozy sleeper, a plush mattress-style bed will be perfect for them.


Cute puppy yawning in dog bed

It should go without saying that you’ll need to consider your dog’s size when choosing a bed. You don’t want to end up with a bed that’s too cramped or one that your dog can barely fit into. Conversely, you also don’t want a bed that’s so large your dog feels lost in it.

The best way to ensure you get the right size is to measure your dog from nose to tail while he’s standing upright. You can also use a dog bed sizing guide.

That will give you a good ballpark range for what size bed you should look at. Dog beds come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. The size you choose will depend on the size of your dog.

  • Small: Small dog beds are best for dogs that weigh up to 25 pounds. Examples of small breeds include Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, and Toy Poodles.
  • Medium: Medium dog beds are best for dogs that weigh between 26 and 50 pounds. Examples of medium breeds include Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, and Border Collies.
  • Large: Large dog beds are best for dogs that weigh over 50 pounds. Examples of large breeds include Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds.


If you have a dog who likes to chew (or simply one who’s hard on his things), it’s important to choose a bed that’s durable enough to stand up to his abuse. Look for beds made of tougher materials like nylon or canvas rather than softer fabrics like cotton or fleece.

You may also want to consider getting a reinforced or waterproof liner if your dog is prone to accidents or has incontinence issues.


With style, there is a range of choices in dog beds: mats, pillows, and nesting beds. Mats are thin and usually made of some fleece or fabric. They’re easy to transport and work well for small spaces, but they provide little cushion or support.

Pillows are like mats, but they’re usually thicker and more padded. Nesting beds are the plushest option and feature walls or bolsters around the perimeter for your pup to snuggle up against for hours of sleep.


Cute Dog in Pet Bed at Home

For materials, two main types of fabrics are used in dog beds: synthetic and natural. Synthetic fabrics, like polyester and nylon, are cheaper and easier to clean than natural fabrics, like cotton and wool.

However, they’re not as breathable as natural fabrics, which means they might not be as comfortable for your pup during warm weather months. Natural fabrics are more expensive but are also more durable and offer superior comfort for your pup year-round.

Consider Fill Material

Once you’ve decided on the outer material for your dog’s bed, it’s time to think about fill material. One option is memory foam, which contours your dog’s body and supports joints and muscles.

Another popular choice is microfiber filling, which is soft, and plush but also springy and supportive. There are also environmentally friendly options like recycled plastic bottles or buckwheat hulls.


It is no surprise that pet beds can range significantly in price. You can find some beds for as little as $30, while others can cost upwards of $200. Finding a balance between quality, price, and dog bed benefits is important.

You don’t want to spend too much on a bed that will only last a few months, but you also don’t want to skimp on quality and end up with a bed that’s uncomfortable for your dog.

Types of Dog Beds

Dog napping on orthopedic bed

There are several main types of dog beds: memory foam, orthopedic, and standard pillows being among them. Each type has its own set of benefits that can make it the perfect choice for your dog.

Memory Foam Dog Beds

Memory foam is a type of material that conforms to your dog’s body and provides support for their joints. It’s especially beneficial for dogs with arthritis or other joint problems. They usually make memory foam dog beds with an antimicrobial fabric cover that helps protect against bacteria and allergens.

Orthopedic Dog Beds

Orthopedic dog beds are like memory foam beds in that they offer support for your dog’s joints. However, orthopedic beds typically have a thicker layer of foam that gives them extra comfort and support. Most orthopedic beds have a waterproof cover that helps protect against accidents and spills.

Standard Pillow Dog Beds

Standard pillow dog beds are the most basic type of bed on the market. They don’t offer any special features or benefits, but they’re usually the most affordable option. If you’re looking for a

no-frills bed at a budget-friendly price. A standard pillow bed is probably your best bet.

Raised Beds

Cute Little Chihuahua on an elevated Dog Bed

Raised beds are elevated off the ground, which can help keep your dog cool in warm weather and make it easier for them to get in and out of bed if they have mobility issues. This bed gives better airflow, so your dog stays comfortable in warmer months.

Nest Beds

Nesting beds are cozy little caves that give your dog a sense of security and privacy. These beds usually have high walls and a soft cushion, making them ideal for dogs who like to burrow when they sleep. A nesting bed might be an excellent option if your dog is shy or anxious.

Choose A Washable Cover That Suits Your Needs

You want to pick out a cover for your dog’s bed. If you choose a removable lid, look for one that is machine washable for easy care. If you’re looking for extra warmth, choose a bed with a fleece cover.

And if you want something stylish that will complement your home décor, pick out a cover in a neutral color or pattern that will blend in with your furniture and give your dog exceptional comfort.

Ease Of Cleaning Is Important Too!

Let’s face it—dogs are messy! That’s why choosing a bed that is easy to clean is important. If you select a bed cover with removable covers, you can toss them in the washing machine whenever they need a good cleaning.

Orthopedic beds are also easy to clean since they don’t have any stuffing that can get matted down or stained. However, they are more expensive than other types of beds.


We hope this guide has helped narrow your search for the perfect dog bed! Remember to keep your pup’s specific needs in mind when making your final decision. And don’t forget about style—after all, you’ll be looking at this bed every day, so it might as well be something you’re happy to see in your home!

What kind of bed does your dog like? Are they dapper with style? Is it comfortable? Please leave us your thoughts in the comments below!

Meet our writer

Karen is a former pet business owner with 17+ years of experience in training and taking care of pets. She currently owns three dogs (a greyhound, saluki, and golden mix) and has gone through several types of programs to further her education in the pet world.

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