GUIDE: How to Choose the Perfect Dog Bed

how to choose the best dog bed

A new dog bed is a big investment, and with so many options to choose from the task can seem a little daunting. Dogs have become such an important part of the modern family, so if like us, you want to integrate your faithful friend into the heart of your home, a stylish, well-designed and durable dog bed is a must. 

To help you with your decision, we’ve put together a quick guide to choosing the perfect dog bed. Whether you have a Dachshund or a Dane, we’ve rounded up the best dog beds for all shapes, sizes and ages, including dog beds for large dogs, older dogs, Sighthounds and even design snobs. 

ps. Don’t forget to check out our dog bed checklist and measuring guide at the end of the post! 


BEST FOR LARGE DOGS

Size isn’t everything but it sure matters when it comes to your dog’s bed! Just as you wouldn’t be too comfortable in a baby’s cot, large dogs like Great Danes, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Pointers have special requirements when it comes to their sleeping arrangements. 

For one, they require a good quality mattress that will hold its shape, even with a big heavy pooch snoozing on it all day. Well made dog beds aren’t cheap because they are built to last, so before you rush out and buy a bed for your big furry friend, be sure to take the proper measurements (see our guide below). You also need to consider how you dog likes to sleep – do they curl up, or spread out, or both?

SCALA DOG BED MIACARA

Scala Dog Cushion by MiaCara

VERDICT:

The best dog beds for large breeds or those who love to sprawl out are pillow or cushion style dog beds. Unlike a box bed with a bolster around it, these have a flat surface so the dog can spread out and spill over a little if they need to. Donut beds can work well too if the outer bolster is soft and not too high. 

Shop pillow & cushion dog beds.


BEST FOR SIGHTHOUNDS & SNUGGLERS

Do you own a Sighthound like a Whippet or Italian Greyhound? Then you will know how much these slender dogs love to snuggle up, especially in winter when they need extra warmth and cushioning around their bodies. Or perhaps your dog is just a sucker for a good burrow under the blankets and loves nothing more than getting toasty under your duvet. 

charley chau snuggle bed

Velour Snuggle bed by Charley Chau

THE VERDICT:

Snuggle beds like those from Charley Chau (pictured above) are an excellent option for small to medium size sighthounds and dogs that love to burrow and nest. They provide a thick, cushioned mattress as a base, with a protective blanket covering on the top, all of which is lined with a beautifully warm fleece. So cosy you might find yourself wanting to climb in! 

Shop snuggle beds.


BEST FOR OLDER DOGS

Is your faithful friend in their twilight years? Older dogs have extra aches and pains often due to arthritis, and may also be a little incontinent. Plus your senior pooch could find it difficult to climb up onto a raised bed. You will need to look at their individual needs in order to choose something that will provide the most comfort, while also being practical. 

ralph and co memory foam dog bed

Memory Foam Dog Bed by Ralph & Co

THE VERDICT:

If your dog is still able to climb, then a raised bed is a good option to keep them off the cold floor or away any under-door drafts. If you dog needs something at ground level, opt for a pillow bed without high sides that is easy to get in and out of. Ideally choose one made from memory foam which moulds to your dog’s shape, and make sure you grab a waterproof liner for any accidents. 

Shop memory foam dog bedspillow & cushion beds and waterproof dog beds 


BEST FOR SMALL-MEDIUM SIZED DOGS 

Are you the owner of a petite pooch like a Boston Terrier, French Bulldog or a Dachshund? Or a medium sized dog like a Spaniel or Staffie? Luckily, you’ll have plenty of stylish options when it comes to beds. Often small dogs love to curl up against something to feel protected or might even like to take some respite away from all the household activity.

best dog beds for small dogs

Donut dog bed by Vackertass

THE VERDICT:

The best dog beds for small and medium size breeds include bolster, box and donut beds. You’ll be spoilt for choice with these popular styles, all of which come with a raised bolster around the edge which provides a lovely sense of security and a great place for dog’s to rest their heads when they sleep.

dog cave by singular pets

Pet Bubble by Singular Pets

If you think you dog would like their own little crash pad, you can also opt for a dog cave or pod. These egg-shaped dog beds are enclosed except for the entry and are usually fitted with a soft, high quality cushion. A much more modern take on the dog kennel! 

Bear in mind that if your dog is teacup size or a puppy, they may require a bed without sides so they can climb in. 

Shop stylish bolster and donut beds, and caves and pods.  


BEST FOR THE DESIGN SNOB

OK, this one is more for you than your dog, but why not!? Dog beds take a decent amount of room in your home, and if you plan to bring your dog into the centre of your living space, why not invest in a stylish piece of dog furniture that will be a major talking point, rather than an eyesore? 

Letto dog bed by MiaCara

Letto Dog dayBed by MiaCara

THE VERDICT

You’ll be drooling over the range of luxury dog furniture now on offer. From dog lounges and sofas to designer dog caves and baskets, each of these modern pieces have been conceived by leading designers and crafted by skilled artisans and furniture makers using the highest quality materials. 

Shop luxury dog furniture


DOG BED CHECKLIST 

Before you buy, ask yourself the following: 

  • Will my dog be able to access the bed at its current height? 
  • Have I taken my dog’s measurements to ensure I get the best possible size? (see our guide below)
  • How easy is this bed to clean? 
  • Do I need a waterproof liner? If you have a puppy or an older dog who is incontinent, this is a must! 
  • Is the mattress designed to hold its shape, even after lots of use? This is particularly important for large or very active dogs. 

MEASURING YOUR DOG FOR THE PERFECT BED

To find the perfect size bed for your pooch, measure your dog from their nose to the base of their tail (where it joins their body), as well as their height from the top of their head to the floor. It’s recommended that you then multiply each of these measurements by 1.25 to calculate a minimum recommended length and depth of the bed you require. This will allow enough room for your dog to curl up or stretch out, depending on how they like to sleep. 

Are you looking for a new bed for your dog or have you found the perfect one already? Tell us in the comments below! 

Sara is the Founder & Editor of StyleTails. A writer, design-lover and long-time animal-hugger, Sara launched StyleTails in 2012 to inspire people live a more beautiful life with their four-legged friends. Along with her canine sidekick George, a rescue Yorkie with a big attitude, Sara regularly commentates on luxury pet product and lifestyle trends and has been featured in Elle Decoration, BBC Radio, and is also an expert contributor to WGSN, the leading design trend forecaster.

5 Comments

  • Emmabearmanphotography@hotmail.co.uk'
    Reply March 4, 2017

    Emma Bearman

    A great article! Many people only focus on looks alone without considering what bed would actually suit their dog – Mine is definitely a snuggler!
    Emma & Alfie xox

    • Reply March 8, 2017

      Sara White

      Thanks Emma – yes, looks can be deceiving! Glad you’ve found your perfect match 🙂

  • christine.v.valentine@gmail.com'
    Reply September 19, 2017

    Renze of Dog Life Store

    Choosing the right dog bed for your pet is hard because of so many options. It also depends on how your dog and its size. There are some dog beds in the market right now that are very expensive and easily get damage. I really love this article. It features a lot of dog beds that you can choose from for your pets. Thanks for this one.

  • lucygibson4113@gmail.com'
    Reply September 28, 2017

    Lucy Gibson

    Sara, I really love your tip about looking for “snuggle beds” for small to medium sized dogs who like to burrow and nest. My husband and I have a pretty small dog and we feel bad that she just sleeps on a small pillow. We’d love to find a cute ped that also looks great. I’ll keep this in mind while I look.

    • Reply October 2, 2017

      Sara White

      Glad you found it useful Lucy! Good luck with finding a bed for your dog x

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