How to Buy a Dog Bed

Dog beds must be the right size and shape.
westie in bed image by Alan James from

A new dog bed can be an important purchase for pet owners. It not only keeps your dog comfortable while he sleeps, but it also gives him an alternative to your own bed, couch or favorite armchair. Before you buy a dog bed, you need to consider several factors, including your dog's size, health and sleeping style. With many options available on the market, your dog's bed can be as customized as your own bed.

Step 1

Select the correct size bed for your dog. Measure your dog's length with a tape measure while he's lying down in his typical sleep position. Add several inches to the measurement to give him a little wiggle room. Keep in mind that the size of the bed that you dog would choose if he could make the choice might not seem to you to match his body. Some big dogs like to curl up in small, cozy beds, while a small dog might like to stretch out full-length on a bigger bed.

Step 2

Determine what shape of dog bed you want to purchase. You can choose a traditional oval bed, a round bed, a square bed or a rectangular bed. Some dog beds look like little overstuffed armchairs; others look like small beanbag chairs, while still others are shaped like small sofas. Find a dog bed that both suits your dog's sleeping style and looks nice in your space.

Step 3

Decide whether your pet needs a dog bed with special features. Older dogs who suffer from arthritis often prefer a bed with memory foam padding, or a heated dog bed that will warm and soothe sore joints. Thick-coated dogs, however, might not appreciate an overly warm bed.

Step 4

Select a dog bed that comes with a removable, machine-washable cover. You want a bed that's easy to keep clean, especially if you have a heavy shedder or a dog who likes to get dirty. Older dogs sometimes have bladder leakage, so consider a bed with a waterproof covering if you have a mature companion animal.

Step 5

Test the dog bed's filling by pressing down on it with your palm. Only purchase a pet bed that springs back into shape immediately. Dogs with thin coats or low body fat might appreciate a thicker padded filling, but dogs who prefer to sleep on the floor might enjoy a mat with very little padding. If you worry about keeping your dog pest-free, buy a dog bed filled with cedar chips, which are a natural insect repellent.

Step 6

Think about the accessibility of the dog bed. You want to be sure your dog can easily get into and out of his bed. If you have an older dog, or one with short legs, look for a bed with low sides for easier access.

Step 7

Set your dog-bed budget. Dog beds can run anywhere from less than $20 for a simple, oval bed to more than $1,000 for a custom-made chaise lounge. Have an idea of what you want to spend before you start looking.


  • Don't buy a dog bed that's too small for your dog. If you do, your dog won't enjoy sleeping in it and likely won't ever use it.


  • If your pet store allows it, take your dog with you while shopping for his bed. That way, you can observe his reaction to the different types of pet beds.

  • If you purchase a cedar-filled dog bed, buy a few refills at the same time. Cedar chips lose their natural insect-repelling abilities after a time, so you'll need to replace them.

  • Buy at least one extra dog bed cover so your dog can sleep on one while you wash the other.

An Item You Will Need

  • Tape measure



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