Not all senior dog beds are the same… which is just as well because every senior dog is unique too!
Your older dog might have arthritis or joint pain, he might feel the cold a little too much, or overheat too easily, he might pee while he’s sleeping….
…. or any combination of the above.
Luckily, whatever difficulties old age has brought with it, there’s a dog bed that can help him sleep easier and feel more comfortable.
And that will make both of you happier!
Orthopedic Dog Beds
So many senior dogs have bone and joint problems that comfy, supportive beds for older dogs are very popular.
The best orthopedic senior dog beds are made from memory foam because of it’s unique construction.
In fact, memory foam dog beds are unique in the way that they support body weight.
The foam is temperature sensitive and when it’s warmed by contact with your dog’s body it softens just enough to prevent painful rubbing, without losing firmness.
Senior dogs often have creaky elbows, hips, knees, shoulders or spines, and regular foam, cotton wadding, or cedar chips (which many beds are filled with) aren’t thick or firm enough to cushion these painful areas.
The main benefits of memory foam dog beds are:
- They’re VERY comfortable!
- Firm but gentle support eliminates powerful ‘pressure points’
The only practical disadvantage is that the majority of this type of bed aren’t water-resistant – although most are fully washable.
For a dog with ‘leaky plumbing’ this could be an issue – but you can easily overcome that by adding water-resistant dog-bed cover, a rubber-backed blanket, plastic/rubber sheet, or other waterproof fabric.
These can then be washed, or cleaned off whenever necessary.
Water-Resistant Dog Beds
Water-resistant dog beds are also a great choice for outdoors.
Senior dogs love to be right where their people are, but lying on concrete, wood or dirt isn’t good for old bones.
So if you’re enjoying time in the back yard or on the front porch, why not set out a comfy bed where Fido to take a nap, or just lie and keep an eye on his pack?
The only dog beds that are truly waterproof are the elevated beds I talk about in the next section, but there are plenty of other styles which incorporate water-resistant fabrics.
There are a variety of different fabrics, designs and fillings, so it’s easy to find a bed that works for your senior dog’s needs.
The benefits of senior dog beds which are water-resistant include:
- They’re ideal for older dogs with ‘leaking plumbing’
- Saves you money – you don’t need to buy a new bed if Fido has an ‘accident’!
- Also great for ‘drooly’ breeds
Elevated Dog Beds
These raised designs are ‘hammock style’ dog beds, usually consisting of strong PVC or nylon fabric stretched over a tubular metal (or heavy-duty plastic) frame.
The elevated design means that your dog’s weight is being supported several inches above the ground and this has advantages for older dogs…
- Circulating air gives better temperature control
- Consistent full-body support means no painful ‘pressure points’ on old joints
- Very easy to keep clean
- Ideal for outdoor use as well as indoors
The main drawbacks to this type of bed are:
- The potential difficulty of stepping up onto a surface that isn’t 100% stable
- They’re not ‘cozy’ the way fabric dog beds are, and some dogs don’t like this
- If your dog pees on the bed it may pass right through, but it could puddle
The first point isn’t a problem for 90% of dogs, but if Fido is wobbly on his legs, or his joints are very stiff, then getting onto, and off of, a raised bed might not be right for him.
Even if you use a different type of dog bed indoors, a raised bed on the patio or deck is a great place for your older dog to take a nap in the fresh air.
How To Choose The Right Senior Dog Bed
Although I’ve featured three separate categories of beds above, there’s a lot of ‘overlap’ between them.
You can get memory foam dog beds which are also water-resistant.
Most elevated dog beds also fit in the ‘water-resistant’ category and some are topped with memory foam.
But these features are just part of what you need to think about when you’re picking out a bed for Fido.
Take a look at the way he usually sleeps. Does he like to curl up and feel cozy and secure, if so one of the high-sided or ‘donut’ beds might be the best choice.
If he prefers to stretch out and have lots of space, a simple ‘pad-style’ bed can be a favorite, or choose a bed with bolstered sides but make sure it’s plenty roomy!
Consider the size of your dog too. A bed that’s too small isn’t going to be comfortable, no matter how well it’s constructed.
If your senior likes to curl up and feel ‘contained’ a bed that’s too big might make him feel anxious or restless.
Look at the care instructions too.
Does the design you like have removable covers? Is it washable or can it only be spot cleaned? Can you buy replacement covers or cushions? is there a warranty of any kind?
Finally, make sure you like the way the bed looks, especially if it’s a large one and is going to be in your living room or bedroom.
Most manufacturers offer a range of colors, styles and even fabrics.
A bed for a tiny senior can be tucked away under a coffee table or by the sofa, but it you’re buying an XL bed for an XL dog, it’s going to be in plain view, so make sure you like it too.