How to Choose the Right Dog Bed for Your Dog

How to Choose a Dog Bed Based on Size, Breed, and Age

Dog parents buy stuff for their fur babies all the time. I know I love to look at new collars and clothes for Maggie, even if I can’t always buy them.

Some purchases are easier than others though. You might buy a leash because it’s cute, but a chew toy has to be more durable than adorable.

That means researching brands and reading reviews, which gets complicated for bigger purchases.

Dog beds can be confusing to shop for, even after you’ve done your research on specific brands.

Check out this guide on how to choose a dog bed for your dog. You’ll narrow down your options and get the best bed for your pup before you know it.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dog Bed

Your dog’s comfort and health should also be concern, especially if you are getting them a bed so they get out of yours.

How to choose dog bed how many pets sleep with ownerUp to 62% of small dogs sleep with their owners, according to the American Pet Products Association[1], so finding the right alternative option isn’t always easy.

You’ve likely spent tons of money and time choosing the right items for your canine buddy – from leashes to collars and of course toys, nothing has been spared.

Choosing the right dog bed can be daunting though, and we’ll hopefully dispel some of the myths and disinformation out there so you can get your best friend the best bed possible for the best naps possible.


Your dog should be comfortable in their bed, so take a good look at their size.

Get them on a scale for an accurate weight measurement, which is a great place to start.

Most dog products are labeled for the weight of the intended canine consumer.

How to size dog bed for my dog proper measurement instructions

Most dogs aren’t the “If I fits, I sits!” type, but your dog may be different!
Photo by Marianne Perdomo (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Dog beds are no different.

After you discover your dog’s weight, measure them from head to tail and side to side[2]. All you need is a tape measure and something to write the results down with.

You’re not likely to find dog beds with dog size measurements attached but the measurements of the beds themselves will be on the product description or tag.

Your dog’s measurements will help prevent you from buying something too small.

You can look for a bed that matches your dog’s weight and size, but when in doubt, trust your dog’s measurements for the most accurate fit.


Dog breed bed size suggestions for proper sizing

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Your dog may be an adorable puppy at the moment, but their breed is part of what determines their eventual size.

Use their breed as a guide to determining a long term bed solution.

If you adopted your dog and you’re not sure which breed they are, compare them to the largest breeds to see if they resemble any[3].

Your dog’s breed will also determine things like how much they shed.

Owners of dogs who shed constantly may look for a dog bed with a cover so the hair can be removed all at once with a quick shake.

Knowing the sleeping tendencies of your specific breed can help you not only find a bed they will sleep in, but love you more for it – definitely a win-win situation!


How old your dog is has a lot to do with what kind of bed they need.

Puppies will need something that will withstand their teething phase and doesn’t stain easily.

Washable covers get dog bed bonus points too, especially when a puppy or older dog may have bladder issues.

Older dogs often have joint issues as well.

They might struggle with getting up and down from the floor. An uneven surface caused by cotton filling could be uncomfortable for them, especially if it flattens easily and they can feel the floor beneath them.

Dogs older than five or six will enjoy an orthopedic bed, especially since it will last them well into their older years.

They come in a variety of sizes and heights, depending on how easily your dog can lay down and get back up.


Let’s face it:

Sometimes your dog just has odor issues.

Whether it’s temporary or a prolonged issue, you probably don’t want them cuddling up to you at night.Cedar dog fed filling stuffing fights odor fleas controls bad smells

The good news is, there is a solution for this!

By getting a cedar filled bed – either loose-fill or another type that uses cedar shavings as filling – you’ll wake up to your dog smelling fresh and inviting instead of unpleasant. The more your dog rolls around, the better he’ll smell when he wakes you up in the morning.

Of course, if you notice your dogs horrible smell is consistent and not the product of a random adventure in the mud, you may want to have this checked out by a local vet.

Often times, unpleasant smells can be due to some natural reasons, but according to experienced canine vets, issues like yeast infections are also common and can cause horrible smells in dogs[4].


Keep in mind your dog’s comfort is super important. You love him to death anyways.Raised dog bed cot helps keep long haired dogs cool circulates air

So it’s only natural that dogs with thick, heavy coats of hair need a cooler place to sleep that prevents them from retaining their heat.

The solution to this is an elevated cot-style bed that allows airflow to cool down your dog at night and sleep at night comfortably.

You can often detach the fabric portion and wipe it down or slip it into your washing machine if necessary, making removing pet hair, odor and even fleas effortless.

If you’ve got allergies due to pet hair, controlling where they sleep is going to help you get a full night’s sleep.

Choosing the right bed isn’t just about what colors fit your décor as well as staying within your budget.

Indoors or Outdoors?

What does your dog do during the day?

They might be an indoor dog who loves to nap, which opens up the world of dog beds. Outdoor dogs are a different story.

Outdoor dogs generally love to run around and get dirty, which means their outdoor dog bed will get dirty too. In addition to being weatherproof or water resistant, you’ll want to find a dog bed that’s easily washable.Outdoor washable portable dog bed pad for travel backyard use

Cedar dog beds are great for outdoor dog beds because cedar naturally repels many pests like fleas, silverfish, and moths[5].

The weather affects a potential dog bed in more ways than getting it wet or dirty. Consider how cold it gets where you live.

If your dog likes to stay outside even in plunging temperatures, get the right dog bed after insulating their dog house.

They might enjoy a covered dog bed where they can curl up inside, completely covered.

That minor change from an indoor to an outdoor lifestyle makes a difference in what your dog needs from their bed.

Think about how your dog lives to decide which bedding features are the most useful and important.


Carhartt durable indestructible dog bed for dogs who chew and digIf your dog is an avid chewer, you’re going to be a bit more limited in your options unless you really enjoy shopping.

I’ve seen dogs tear through brand new beds within hours.

For these owners, an “indestructible” dog bed is your best bet.

These are made from much more durable materials to keep your pooch on the bed instead of in the bed.

Bed Location

Where will your dog use their bed? Placement first affects the size of the bed.

You might want to get your dog an extra big bed to spoil them rotten, but will it fit next to your office desk or at the foot of your bed?Omlet Fido Studio furniture style dog crate hide dog bed in decor

Check a potential dog bed’s measurements in your home to decide what would fit best.

You’ll also want the dog bed to look nice with the interior design of whatever room it’s in. A bright orange bed would be an eyesore in a pale blue living room.

Likewise, a fluffy, delicately designed dog bed would look strange sitting out in your backyard.

Depending on your dog, you could need to use the dog bed differently too. To help your older dog, you might get a raised cot that needs a bed for comfier lining.

Only certain sizes will fit the cot your dog needs, so don’t forget placement as you look through dog beds.


There’s also the shape of your dog’s bed to consider.

Do they sleep in a tight circle or stretch out on their side?Orthopedic pet bed for old dogs with joint mobility issues cushion shape

Only you know the answer to that questions, since you know them best.

Then there are many dog bed shapes that will match how your dog prefers to sleep.

Don’t make the mistake of getting something like a circular bed for a dog who sleeps on their back and will fall off it during the night.


You’re definitely going to need to control the odor and shedding that comes with having a dog of any size, and regularly throwing your dog bed in the wash is going to help immensely.

Having the ability to toss your pet’s entire bed into the wash on a weekly basis and not have to worry about it not surviving is definitely something you’ll appreciate.

Some have covers that are removable, but the ideal situation is that you can just chuck the entire thing into the washer and be done with it.

So when you’re roaming the aisles of your favorite pet store, keep in mind that this will need to fit in your residential washing machine and dryer, as well as be suitable for your dog to stretch out and nap on.

Finding The Right Bed Isn’t Rocket Science

The truth is that getting your dog the right bed, and getting them to sleep in it, can be a big task, but knowing what they like, and what’s actually best for them – and you – is definitely possible.Deep dish cuddler dog bed comfortable raised walls cushions

The most expensive beds aren’t always the best options.

Know your dog’s breed, their preferences and you can find him the perfect bed without messing around.

Once you have all these features in mind, you’ll have a checklist that the perfect dog bed will complete.

Think carefully about what your dog needs and they’ll love whatever bed you buy.


How Many Dog Beds Should a Dog Have?

That depends on your dog.

If they spend most of the day in the living room, a single dog bed out there should be fine.

If they alternate between the indoors and outdoors, one in each location would make them comfortable no matter where they are.

Are Elevated Beds Good for Dogs?

Elevated beds, or cots, are great for dogs with joint issues or allergies to something in your carpets.

The only thing to be careful about is potentially adding bedding on top to make it more comfortable.

What is the Best Material for Dog Beds?

You’ll need something durable and washable for your dog’s bed.

Nylon, canvas, and denim are good options.

If you want something softer, look for fleece and microfiber fabrics.


About the author


Architect by day, father, husband, woodworker, and dog lover by night.