A question most dog owners ask themselves at some point is: Do dogs need a bed of their own? Most dog owners will have a bed of sorts for their dogs to rest on, but do dogs actually need their own proper bed? Some people have strict rules on where their dogs can sleep and others openly share their beds with their canine friends.
You may have noticed that your dog sleeps a lot – between 10 and 14 hours a day! While some dogs seem comfortable enough nestling on the sofa, snoozing on your bed, or stretching out across the floor, having a cosy bed that is theirs to use as and when they want is essential for their comfort, health and security.
So, what is the answer? Do dogs need a bed? This article runs down the pros and cons to help figure out whether dogs need a bed of their own or even at all.
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Are you looking for the perfect bed for your dog?
A common response to the question – do dogs need a bed – is this: Dogs never had beds in the wild, so they don’t need them now.
This answer is rather simplistic. The dogs we love today are very far from the wolves they were domesticated from thousands of years ago and so have different needs.
Our dogs have different shapes, sizes, diets, and lifestyles to wild animals so it makes sense that they have different sleeping needs as well. Another key difference is that domesticated dogs lead longer lives than dogs in the wild, and suffer from degenerative illnesses like joint problems.
This is in addition to illnesses some breeds of dogs get passed down to them. This is rarely a problem for dogs in the wild where they would not survive with these issues. Fortunately, we can care for our dogs and part of that care is a safe and comfy bed.
Curling up with you in your bed at night may well be a natural thing for you both. However, where does your dog take its daytime naps? Stretched across the floor? Your dog will benefit from the comfort and support that a dog bed offers, by relieving the pressure and stress on its bones and joints, that a hard floor may cause.
Along with sleeping up to 14 hours a day, dogs spend a lot of their awake time resting or napping (for instance after a walk or play-time). A dog bed will ensure your pup has a comfortable and snug place to relax.
Safety and Security
The safety of the dog should be considered when thinking if they need a bed. This is both how much danger they are in as well as how safe they feel. The latter is often more important than the former in most cases.
A bed gives a dog somewhere they are comfortable to sleep. It keeps them from sleeping somewhere dangerous, like too close to a hot stove or in a doorway. In this case, a bed is very helpful for both the dog and the owner. Knowing where your dog is when they are sleeping is also very reassuring for the owner.
Perhaps more important is that a bed can make a dog feel safe and relaxed. Of course, we would like to think our dog feels safe everywhere in our home, and they probably do.
But having a special spot just for them can make them feel extra safe, and can be a great place to escape to on the rare occasion when they need a rest from people (or other pets). Even the neediest dog will want somewhere quiet to relax once in a while, even if they do not actually sleep in the bed.
Your dog’s bed is a place for it to feel safe and secure; a place where it can go to relax when it’s feeling disturbed or upset.
Personal Space for Your Dog
As mentioned above, a good bed provides your dog with a space to be comfortable and relax. Fortunately, this also frees up some space for you to have some private time and personal space.
You can place your dog bed in your bedroom if you wish to keep your dog close to you, but having a little personal space is good for both of you. This doesn’t have to affect the bond the two of you share, it just means you can enjoy your time together more!
A domesticated dog will naturally seek out a place to rest that is cosy and secure. Even if your dog doesn’t have a bed of its own, it will probably try to make one; blankets, pillows, laundry or even rugs are all good bed making items! Failing that, your pup may commandeer your bed or sofa. Having its own bed will prevent any ‘breaking of the house rules’ and distress to you as its parent.
Giving your furry friend its own bed (space and place), will not only give it that warm, cosy and secure feeling, but also prevent the likelihood of it using a freshly made bed, expensive leather furniture or that ‘fresh from the cleaners’ rug as its down-time place.
Health Aspects to Consider
One of the most important reasons a dog needs a bed is for its health. Dogs might be able to sleep anywhere but sleeping on hard floors or even super-soft human beds is not ideal for them. A proper dog bed provides the support your dog needs. This is especially important in older dogs and dogs with joint issues.
It is also much easier to keep your house clean from excessive dog hair if your dog has a bed. Some dog hair is inevitable, but if your dog sleeps in a regular place, it is much easier to keep on top of it. This is even more true for mud from outside. Many dog beds are machine washable so that makes the whole job a lot easier.
How a dog bed helps with health issues
- Can prevent behavioural problems – moving your dog from its make-shift bed or off your bed can disgruntle it to the point of growling at you
- Erratic sleep can cause your dog to become ill-tempered and irritable. Lack of sleep caused by hard, cold or uneven surfaces or uncomfortable sleeping positions, can affect its overall health, well-being and posture
- Too high or too low temperatures can cause your dog to become ill. Our four-legged friends are vulnerable to temperature changes, so need a warm bed during cold weather and maybe a dog cooling mat during warmer times
- The feeling of privacy and security that a dog gains from having its own bed can help to relieve anxiety
- Obese or senior dogs, benefit from orthopaedic beds as these are more comfortable for their painful and weaker joints and bones
Travelling with Your Dog
Do dogs need a bed when travelling? Not necessarily, a trip to the park does not require you to take your dog’s bed with you. However, on longer trips, to keep homely comforts continuing whilst travelling, it makes sense (as well as being kind) to make sure your dog has a bed to sleep in.
One benefit to your dog having its own bed that most people overlook, is that it makes travelling much easier for you both.
If your dog is used to sleeping in its own bed, you can simply take the bed with you when you travel with your dog. That way your dog will always have a safe space to go when you travel and you will have enough space to sleep without sharing.
This is also great for when you need a dog sitter, as the bed time part of your dog’s routine can stay the same; whether you are there or not as well as having a place of comfort.
Whether you’re planning a road trip with your dog or a few weeks camping out in fields, woods, or beach, investing in a quality travel bed will make the whole experience much more pleasant for both of you.
Travel beds come in a variety of different styles with features that make them more durable than ordinary indoor dog beds. They include beds that are raised off the floor to keep damp and cold at bay.
However, if a travel bed hits your budget, take your dog’s own bed with you. Travelling to unfamiliar places can cause anxiety in your dog; having its own bed will give it a sense of familiarity and comfort.
Cost of Dog Beds | Are they worth it?
Some people might think that spending money on a dog bed is a waste of money, especially if their dog prefers to sleep on their bed anyway! This is an oversight:
A good quality dog bed can save you money in the long run as it will prevent damage to the rest of your house. Even if your dog does not sleep in it regularly, a good bed is somewhere your dog can rest and sleep when it wants to and allows them be comfortable.
Fortunately, most modern beds are long lasting and easy to clean. This means they can last many years and so the cost is very little over the lifetime of your dog. This small investment can save you thousands in medical bills, and means your dog can be safe and comfortable.
A dog bed in a quiet place in your home, allows your dog to take refuge from the hustle and bustle of a busy household. Your pooch can take itself off to its bed for some rest and relaxation without noise or distraction.
Can you really put a price on that? I suppose you can – fortunately it’s not a high price at all! Your dog’s happiness and health should be more important than saving a few pounds, don’t you think?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will a dog bed help my senior’s arthritis?
A. Yes, a good quality orthopaedic dog bed is essential for our older furry friends. These beds support the pressure points and joints of your dog’s body, keeping your pooch comfortable. Older dogs tend to struggle climbing up onto furniture due to their aching/painful limbs; an orthopaedic dog bed is designed so that your dog can easily get in and out.
Q. What size bed should I buy?
A. Choosing the right size of bed for your dog is important. You should make sure that any dog bed is big enough for your dog to lie down in, be able to stretch out as well as just curling up. A dog bed should allow full, natural movement of your dog and not be restrictive in any way.
Q. Where is the best place to put a dog’s bed?
A. You should put your dog’s bed in a place that is draught-free and quiet, allowing warmth, comfort and relaxation. The ideal would be to have more than one bed for your pooch. Its night-time bed could be in that quiet, draught-free place. A ‘recreational’ dog bed/mat/rug could be put in the family room, so that your dog can enjoy your company but be able to doze or relax in comfort.
Q. Does my dog need a bed in his crate?
A. Strictly speaking, no. A crate mat or any other comfortable base will suffice. However, putting a bed in its crate, gives your dog something comfy to lay and sleep on. A bed in a dog crate is usually used when crate-training a young dog.
Summary – Do Dogs Need A Bed?
Do dogs need a bed? The answer is clearly ‘yes’, dogs do need a bed of their own. Whether they use it often or not, it is best for your dog’s health and hygiene to have a bed of their own to give them a safe place and some privacy.
Giving your dog a bed can also be very helpful to you, as you will be better able to clean your house and keep good hygiene for yourself and other members of your household.
Even if your dog just ends up sleeping on your bed with you anyway, all dogs should have a bed to use as they please.
Having more than one bed for your pooch, allows it to sleep or rest in different parts of your home, without you having to drag a possibly heavy article from room to room. A bed for each dog that lives in your home is advisable, even if they tend to share. Each pup should have a place that it knows is its own and can retreat to when it wants.
Take proper care of your dog to keep it happy and comfortable; help it to lead a longer and healthier life.
If you’ve just welcomed a new puppy into your home, check out our article: Top 10 Puppy Dog Beds!
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