I was pretty taken aback when I discovered the sheer number of different types of dog beds there are out there in the market. Each type of dog beds has specific purposes and functions catered for specific breeds or age, and other variables to form many other permutations. It is not just a dog bed you are buying. I quickly realised that buying a dog bed should be an investment and not just a purchase. That implies the need for much thorough research to get the bed that you will need.
There are 10 different types of dog beds within the realm of my knowledge. To say the least, there may be more out there and I will update this blog post as I unearth more. I will go through each bed’s specific features and contemplate aloud the considerations together with you to help you decide whether to purchase this certain type of dog bed or not. But first, let us go through them!
Cave Or Covered Dog Bed
Eponymous to its name, the cave dog bed consists of a shelter. It is just like a kennel, a cosy little house for your dog. But unlike a kennel, it is made with soft material for the purpose of providing your pooch with a good sleep, so it stands no chance whatsoever against nature’s elements of wind and corrosion. It is mainly meant for indoor usage.
This kind of beds consist of more material due to the need for a roof. Therefore, they tend to be on the pricier side.
This is the best kind of bed for dogs that are not biologically adapted to the cold climates. The shelter traps the heat within the pseudo cave that it produces by virtue of its structure, keeping your dog warm and cosy. This is probably the main reason why it has a roof but is not meant for outdoors, other than probably aesthetic purposes.
The Best Pet Supplies Corduroy Tent Bed for Pets does look aesthetically pleasing in my opinion and I can see how it will fit in certain interiors of the house. It also has a loop at the top to hang the bed in mid-air, and my creativity tells me that I should probably double the bed up as a playground as well. This bed, however, is not the bed option to take on your travels. It is not collapsible and not as portable as the other types which we will cover in a moment. That being said, I probably would not recommend it due to its limited practicality unless you have extra cash to spare.
At this point of time, I believe I should address the definition of a cave dog bed. Some products, like the Snoozer Luxury Cozy Cave Pet Bed, as shown above, composes of a mere pouch that is defined as the “roof” of the bed. I personally do not consider such a bed as a covered dog bed as it is a mere blanket over your bed. In fact, due to the rigidity of the “roof”, you might be better off getting a dog blanket because it beings modularity for you to can adjust its position, wash it, change it etc. totally decoupled from the rest bed itself.
Donut And Bolster Dog Beds
One such dog bed that you can use together with a blanket as a combo is the donut or bolster dog bed. It comes with an elevated cushioned support running around its circumference. Some dogs like to have a head support, whether during their fiesta or just resting time, and they will love this kind of bed the most.
How would you know if your dog will like that head support? Well, before you decide to make your purchase, I recommend setting up a pseudo pillow at the designated spot for your dog to sleep in your house. It can be made of clothes or blankets tied together in some way. Observe if your dog uses the “pillow” at all. If it uses it frequently, make it love you more by getting it this type of bed.
What is the difference between a donut and a bolster bed?
A donut bed has the pillow running the full circumference. The AmazonBasics Pet Bed is one such example, as shown above. You can see the full circle formed by the elevated cushion.
On the other hand, a bolster bed does not complete that circle. As shown, the Furhaven Pet Dog Bed have only part of its edges installed with the bolster.
More measurements and considerations should be if you intend to get a donut dog bed as it restricts the amount of space your dog will have. I call it the “real sleeping area”, and you want to make sure this is of a bigger size than your dog will ever grow into.
Finding the optimum dog bed size for your dog is a science within itself. I cannot squeeze all the information in it here, so I have written another blog about it. Read more about how to get the ideal dog bed sizes right here.
This is a good time to introduce the nesting bed as well. It is easily confused with donut beds as they also have elevated parts encircling the perimeter completely. The main difference is that the “pillow” does not provide any form of support for the head at all. It either merely disappears under any load or are too thin to rest anything on it comfortably at all, or are mere sheet of barrier.
For example, the Couture Orthopedic Cradle Pet Bed from MidWest Homes for Pets has a wall that is too thin and too high for your dog to rest their head on comfortably.
Another example is the Hollypet Self-Cooling Pet Bed where the walls so flimsy that it just crumbles under the weight of your dogs head, not being able to provide any form of support whatsoever.
These names tend to be used interchangeably in various marketplaces like Amazon and many of the articles out there on the Internet. I might be nitpicking here, but it is always good knowledge to understand the different types of dog beds out there to know what you are paying for and not be swindled by improper or vague marketing terms.
Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Beds
Are you a perpetual victim of stiff neck or back aches in the morning? You may be the owner of a mattress with memory foam and you probably can tell what difference it has brought to your life. If so, you probably need to further introduction on orthopedic dog beds are. These morning symptoms are not limited to us humans. They can happen to your dogs as well.
The effects are probably more significant on the “sprawlers”, dogs who sleep flat on the ground, especially on their sides. The dog’s shoulder does not form a gentle gradient with the head when they sleep, resulting in a bad posture that purveys sufferings once it wakes up. This is pretty much the same for us humans too.
The memory foam basically caves in upon pressure, providing a uniform reaction force on each part of the dog’s body in contact with the foam. This ensures each part of the body is given ample support and not strained for the whole duration of the sleep, thus giving your dog a good night’s rest and a tomorrow to look forward to with energy.
Such a bed do not come cheap. You are paying for the technology and all the hours and resources spent on the research on its ergonomy, from the materials to its design, after all.
The best seller on Amazon, the Friends Forever Orthopedic Dog Bed easily costs in the range of 100 bucks. So it really boils down to exactly how much you love your dogs.
I personally recommend these beds for senior dog where bodily pain and aches are more common. This technology will help them greatly and make their life much better. In particular, breeds with elongated bodies like the Dachshunds (sausage dog) or the Corgis will benefit most from these beds. This is because their bodies tend to pile up a lot of pressure on their backs due to their body shape. It worsens exponentially as they age and their spines weaken. An orthopedic dog bed will greatly help them overcome their biological mishap.
Elevated Dog Cot
This is probably best described using a picture. The GigaTent Elevated Pet Cot shown above is … elevated, as its name suggests. I use this bed in my backyard or when I go camping with my dogs. The elevation ensures dryness, cleanliness and coolness from the terrain elements on the ground, providing your dog with a comfortable bed to rest on.
Some brands sells a canopy along with the bed, like the SUPERJARE Outdoor Dog Bed as you can see right above. It provides shade for your dog and is the exact choice for camping or a summer visit to the beach.
Since it is outdoors, you might want to take note of its capability to fold and collapse for portability reasons. More on other buying tips later.
This is the analogy of mattress with respect to beds in the human world. These minimalist dog beds serve their purpose just like any other dog bed and they are the cheapest you can find.
The most common use case for this is to use it in crates to make your dog crates comfortable for your dogs. Or simply put it on top of an elevated dog bed increase the comfort of it.
Inflatable Dog Bed
These dog beds can be inflated and are used in particular to stay afloat in water. I tend to use this when relaxing in the pool with my dog.
As it is inflatable, it is also easy to carry around, making it an important choice to consider for traveling with dogs.
The natural nemesis of an inflatable dog bed is the claws of your pooch. Make sure you trim your dog’s nails before using it or it can be easily destroyed!
Roll Up Dog Bed
Another kind of portable dog bed are those that can be rolled up. These are really compact, as you can see from the image of the Kurgo Waterproof Dog Bed shown above, and are my favorite kind of beds to take on camping trips because they eat up so little space.
Backpacking Dog Bed
This is also known as the sleeping bags for dogs. They are the perfect choice for hiking and camping with your dog as they are lightweight and extremely portable. The downside of it is that they do not provide as much comfort as the other kinds of beds, but you cannot expect much anyway when you are camping out in the wild.
They are plainly a sheet of fabric to cover your dog and shield it from dirt on the ground when you sleep. Some backpacking dog beds are thicker, filled with materials to keep your dog warm if you are camping in the mountains which can get pretty chilly. The Mac Sports Pets Sleeping Bag is one such example.
Cooling Dog Bed And Pad
Some dog mat pads contain other functions rather than being just a mere cushion. The Chillz Cooling Mat For Dogs from Hugs Pet Products, for instance, has cooling capabilities that you dogs will fancy on a summer excursion. I personally like this one as it does not require charging or pre-freezing before use. These procedures they I tend to forget are not required. It is air cooled and it uses material science technology to absorb heat from your dogs upon pressure.
The same goes for bed. The Dogbed4less Memory Foam Dog Bed not only provide orthopedic support, it also keeps you dog cool to fight the heat during summer.
You may want to consider these beds and capability before your purchase if you live in tropical or desert places, where temperatures can soar in the day.
Considerations And Tips
It’s just a dog bed we are talking about here, yet it encompasses so much science and use cases that so many different types of dog beds spring up in the market, So what are the other things to look out for before purchasing a dog bed?
Portability And Storage
Reiterating from the points in the content above, you need to consider how easily it is to bring your dog bed around if you are traveling, whether you are camping overnight or going for a water activity. Certain types of dog beds are best left indoors although they may be barely portable. Consider collapsible or portable dog beds in stead for your travels.
You definitely don’t want to take your orthopedic dog bed along for your travels as the improper handling with all the twisting and turning to compact your belongings on a travel will mess up the memory foam. Neither do you want to bring along an elevated dog cot that cannot be folded for a road trip because it is going to take up so much space in your car.
Consider the climate you are living in or are traveling to. You may need a self warming bed like the K&H Pet Products Self-Warming Lounge Sleeper Pet Bed if you owe a hairless dog breed, like a xoloitzcuintle that I used to owe in the past, and winter is coming.
This brings me to talk about the dog breed you have.
Some dog breeds tend to shed a lot, like a husky. If you bed is made of a material that is furry, while it keeps your dog warm, it is going to give you hell when you clean it because it clings onto the fur of your dog, making it difficult to clean or remove the fur. The Donut Cuddler from Best Friends by Sheri is a best seller on Amazon, however I reckon this will not be the case for husky owners.
Again, as mentioned above, if you have a corgi or a dachshund, consider an orthopedic dog bed for the sake of their health.
Get the correct dog beds for the correct dog breed.
Usage And Activity
What activities are you participating in? If you are going for a trip in the rainforest, a dog bed that is waterproof will be critical, otherwise it will be sleeping on wet ground that is far from comfortable to say the least.
You also will not want to carry an elevated dog cot if you are hiking up a mountain to camp overnight. Sure, you dog will be enjoying it sleep in his throne up in the mountains come nightfall, but you will be so tired from carrying something so heavy that you cannot enjoy your trip at all.
Understanding the material used for the dog bed is also key. If your dog has a habit to chew, you will want to have a strong and chew-proof material for your bed, and avoid inflatable dog beds completely.
The material should not be toxic to dogs as well. The Green Pet Shop Dog Cooling Mat is exposed to be made by a gel that is actually toxic to dogs. Scientifically, I cannot prove that this is really the case, but do keep a look out for these reviews from the previous customers of the products on Amazon
Age Of Dog
Know how old your dogs and how much more it will grow is key to buying a dog bed. I personally recommend checking up the maximum size that your dog will grow into before getting a bed, only having to buy again when the dog outgrows its bed.
If you owe a senior dogs, an orthopedic dog bed will come in very handy.
Behavior And Health
Sleeping position or the tendency to chew, as described in the previous parts of the article are some behaviors that you should factor into your purchase decision of the type of dog bed.
Another behavior that I will like to mention here is its susceptibility to separation anxiety. You should avoid getting a cave dog bed for your dog as it can shut the light out of its world and pull your dog into darkness, instilling unnecessary fear in your dog. Ok, this would not happen, because your dog will not even want to sleep in the bed if that is the case! Get to know your dog more.
The health condition of your dog should also be a priority. If it tends to catch a cold easily, you should consider a self warming bed to alleviate its sufferings. Or if it has a sensitive nose, try to avoid those with furry materials that trap dust easily.
All in all, there are so many dog beds and I get really confused about what kind of dog bed is most suitable for what kind of situation. That is my motivation researching on this topic and writing this article. I hope I have given you a better idea of the types of dog beds out there and help to make better decisions to choose the dog bed that best suit your use case and your dog.