Buying a dog bed for a big dog can be a challenge sometimes. While your local pet store likely has a large selection of beds with all kinds of features, they often don’t have any that are big enough for the largest pup in your life. That either leaves your poor pooch without a bed or with one that they need to scrunch up on in order to lay on it. Having your dog laying half on the floor is obviously not ideal.
Large breed dogs grow quickly, and that leaves them vulnerable to serious health issues later on in life. That additional weight means more pressure on their joints and bones. By purchasing your dog a quality bed, you’re making sure that they are getting relief for their pressure points and giving them the chance to get better rest. This can be particularly important for breeds that are prone to bone disorders like hip dysplasia, such as German Shepherds or giant breeds that may have joint issues later in life like Great Danes.
If your dog is getting older, they may already have arthritis or joint issues that are causing them pain on a daily basis. Fortunately, it’s not too late to give them some relief, and purchasing a bed that fully supports the weight of their bodies is a great start. The problem is, that most of the beds sold in pet stores simply aren’t appropriate. A bed that’s too small will not support your dogs weight, and that means even a pricey orthopedic dog bed could end up being worthless for your dog’s health.
Pressure points and how they effect your dog
Why does your dog need a high quality bed, and how are they different from normal dog beds though? It all comes down to pressure points. In the image above we can see an illustration of pain points when we compare different beds. As you can see, a high quality bed gives total relief to a dog. For an older pup that is suffering from arthritis or bone disorders, this can help them rest through the night. If you’ve found your older dog is restless, then sleep related pain may be the issue.
The second image is for a decent quality bed. This will be a lesser version of the expensive products. While they do offer some support, it’s clear that they do not relieve all of the pain points. This is because they are not strong enough to hold the dog’s weight. Once your dog sinks into them, they will still be partially resting on the floor, causing them discomfort.
In our last image, we can see what a low quality bed does. These beds offer no support whatsoever. Normally these are polyfill beds, but in some cases the manufacturer will label them as “memory foam” to confuse consumers. If you see a bed that reads “shredded memory foam” in the description, this is what you’re getting. A sham product that offers no relief to your dog.
How to choose the right bed for your dog
When choosing a bed it’s important to accurately judge your dog’s weight. It’s important to match their weight to the size of the bed or it will not support their bone structure properly. Most manufacturers provide some guidelines to help pet parents in this department, but if your dog is not within the ideal weight range you may want to weigh them to be extra sure. The vet typically does this when you visit, and you can get this information from them.
Using the above chart as a rough guide you should be able to get an idea of what size bed you’ll need for your dog to be adequately comfortable. You’ll need to compare your dog’s breed to one of the ones listed above to figure out what size bed to get. This is typically easy enough for smaller dogs like labs or golden retrievers, but finding beds for dogs in the largest category is the most difficult, as not many manufacturers cater to them.
Considerations when choosing a bed
Not every bed is created equal! There’s a reason that the cheaper beds are so cheap. It’s because they’re made with inferior products or craftsmanship. If your dog could talk, he’d tell you, but he can’t, so it’s up to you to see through these facades and get down to the facts. Here’s what to look out for when you’re shopping for a new bed for your lovable pooch.
- Look for solid memory foam
Make sure that the bed you are buying is solid foam. Many cheaper beds are simply made of foam shreds, and they offer no support at all. This does not keep manufacturers from calling them “memory foam” however, and your dog will see no orthopedic benefits when using these products.
- Don’t buy anything that’s less than 4 inches high
Another way that manufacturers commonly save money is by reducing the height of the bed. Unfortunately, this also means that your dog’s weight presses into it so much that soon they may as well just be laying on the floor. Anything less than 4 inches in height will not be adequate to properly support the weight and bone structure of a large or giant breed dog. However, 7 inches is better, because pressure points can still be present with 4 inch beds.
- Look for a bed that won’t flatten
Some cheaper quality foam products quickly flatten and lose their shape. You may find that soon your cheaper bed is completely useless after your dog lays on it for a while. A good memory foam bed should retain its shape and quickly spring back into action after your dog’s weight is off of it. This is harder to test before buying but most higher quality beds will advertise that they don’t flatten.
- Make sure your bed has a removable cover
If you buy a dog bed that does not have a removable cover that you can wash, then soon it will be the most hated item in your house. After a few months of being covered in dog hair and dirt you’ll regret your purchase. Do yourself a favor and make sure your purchase has a washable cover.
- Beds with a bolster are comfier for your dog
A bolster is essentially a built in pillow. When you’re searching, try to use this term. It gives additional support to your dog’s head and neck which gives them support for their spine. Sleeping without a pillow is no fun for anyone, pups included.
Where to get dog beds for big dogs
If you’ve made it this far through the guide then you likely know everything you need to know to get started purchasing a high quality dog bed. However, to give you a push in the right direction, we’ve made a list of our favorite dog beds which you can use to get started on your journey.
DogOnIt – The king of big dog beds
DogOnIt offers an excellent product for pet parents with giant breed dogs. They have one of the largest bed models around, and it can easily support up to 300 lbs, which is more than enough for any giant breed. These beds are also a whopping 7 inches high, which gives them superior support to pretty much every other bed on the market.
They’re actually constructed using several layers of foam, including a sturdy foam foundation, memory foam that won’t flatten, and a gel foam top layer which helps to keep your dog cooler than other similar products which may quickly get hot after they’ve been laying on them for a while. This company has been making these beds for 20 years, and they’re the cream of the crop if you’re looking to buy the best possible bed for your dog to help with their joint pain or arthritis.
- Supports up to 300 lbs
- 7 inches of foam
- Washable cover
- Made in the USA
- Eco friendly
- 3 year warranty
- Gel cooling technology
- Bolster pillow
- Water resistant liner
- Non toxic components
- Money back guarantee
- Extra tough denim cover available
Big Barker – Comfy beds for big pups
If the the first choice was a little too pricey, then the Big Barker offers a more attractive price without sacrificing on quality. Their bed can support up to 250 lbs, and it also features 7 inches of foam for superior support for big dogs. They also offer a 10 year warranty, which is better than the one Dog On It offers. If your bed flattens they will make it right for you.
While the Big Barker does offer 3 layers of foam, it does not feature the comfort gel layer of our previous entry. This may lead this bed to be a little hotter and possibly less comfortable for your pooch in warmer climates. Also, while this bed does feature a removable cover which is durable and can be washed, it is not water resistant. If you have a pup who has bladder control issues or is still young enough to have accidents, then this might be a problem.
- Supports up to 250 lbs
- 7 inches of foam
- Durable and Washable cover
- Made in the USA
- 10 year warranty
- Open cell foam (Cooler than standard foam)
- Bolster pillow
- Non toxic components
- No “chemical” smell
Kuranda – An alternative for destructive pups
While the last two entries are likely the best choices when it comes to support, that does you no good if your dog destroys his bed on a regular basis. To that end, our last recommendation is the near indestructible Kuranda dog bed. This is an elevated frame bed that features heavy duty vinyl or mesh as a sleeping surface. The beds are constructed in such as way that they are nearly indestructible, because there’s nothing for the dog to get his mouth around in order to chew on it, making it a good choice for even the most persistent chewers.
This bed does offer orthopedic support, and it will get your pup up off the hard ground, but it still won’t be nearly as good as the memory foam options. If your dog is older and suffering from joint pain, then it would likely be better to purchase one of those options for them. If they are younger and still tearing up everything in sight, then you could consider this option instead. It’s good for both indoor and outdoor use as it’s weather resistant as well. This bed is a pretty god mix between high quality and affordable, and if your dog does manage to destroy the vinyl then you can purchase an inexpensive replacement section from the company instead of an entirely new bed.
- Supports up to 250 lbs.
- Chew proof
- Durable and easy to wash
- Made in the USA
- 1 year warranty
- Indestructible aluminum frame
- Good for destructive dogs
- Good for kennels
- Indoor/outdoor use
- Repacement parts available
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