Like so many things in your senior dog’s life, you may need to look at different features to find him the perfect bed. Even if your dog’s (and yours!) favorite sleeping place is at the foot of your bed, the aches and pains of aging could make it a less comfortable place to sleep. We will point out some things you might want to look for in a good bed for senior dogs.
Senior years occur at different times for different dog breeds. Generally, smaller breeds become seniors when they are ten to twelve years of age. Large breeds age faster and tend to have a shorter lifespan. They may be considered old at seven or eight years of age.
Choose the Right Size
Don’t just guess at your dog’s size. Measure him from nose to rump and add an additional foot to give him room to move around. Beds may be sold in sizes small, medium, large, etc or they may list the breeds they are designed to fit. It is best if you can get a bed based on your dog’s measurements and weight for the ultimate comfort.
Look for an Orthopedic Bed
Expect to invest more in an orthopedic bed than you would for one stuffed with polyfill. These beds are made with a foam core that may be egg-crate style or memory foam. The latter is the best choice because it conforms to your dog’s body. Another benefit is that your dog’s body temperature will cause the foam to soften so that it gives just enough support without being too harsh against sensitive skin or aching joints.
Dog beds come in a wide range of styles, fabrics, and thicknesses. Tradition beds are round, oval, or rectangular shaped while some modern styles have unique designs to suit different personalities.
Elevated Hammock Style - These beds are elevated and they resemble a small cot. Some dogs love these beds because they give them full-body support and allow air to circulate around them to keep them cool. Other dogs prefer beds that are more cuddly and warm. These beds are a good choice for outdoor dogs where a traditional bed isn’t a good choice. Just make sure that climbing up onto the bed won’t be a problem for your senior dog. Consider whether your dog likes to “sprawl out” while he sleeps or if he is more of a cuddler.
Pet Sofa – This style is like a regular dog bed except that it has a “headrest” around three of the sides. Sometimes considered a type of “donut” bed, this is a good choice for dogs that like to lay their head on something while they sleep. It is also good for those who enjoy snuggling up in the corner. Just make sure you consider the headrests in the overall measurements.
Cozy Cave – These beds get their name from the cave-like cover that keeps your pet covered and pretty much out of sight. This is the ultimate choice for a dog that likes to snuggle up in blankets where he can keep warm.
Heated Dog Beds – Older dogs have more difficulty maintaining a comfortable temperature. Cold temperatures can cause them to become stiff and ache, especially if they have arthritis. A heated bed will give your dog the added warmth he needs and make him more comfortable during any weather. If your dog is still a chewer, look for a bed that has a pouch for the cord or that has a chew-resistant cover over the cord.
Waterproof Beds and Bed Covers – It is obvious that dogs need waterproof beds outdoors but older dogs may have problems with incontinence that make waterproofing necessary indoors too. Some beds are made with waterproof fabrics that you can wipe clean. Another option is a waterproof bed cover that can be removed and cleaned or replaced whenever needed.
In some cases, dogs may be happier when they share a bed with another pet. If you will have two dogs sharing the same bed, make sure you get a size that is big enough to support each one comfortably. When you choose the right bed for your senior dog, it will provide a secure place where he knows he can always be comfortable.