Dogs spend as much as half of their lives sleeping, so finding Fido a comfortable bed is of the utmost importance. And part of doing so means you’ll have to pick a bed of the ideal size.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a totally foolproof way to pick out your pup’s perfect bed without having him plop down for a snooze and test it out. Dogs are all individuals, with different body types, sleeping styles, and preferences. For that matter, dog beds vary drastically from one model to the next.
However, we’ll share some tips below to help you choose the best sized bed for your canine companion.
Dog Bed Size Guide: Key Takeaways
- There’s no quick and easy method for selecting the right size dog bed. Instead, you’ll need to consider your canine’s sleeping habits and preferred sleeping position, measure his body, and consult the manufacturer’s recommendations to have the best chance of success.
- You’ll primarily want to focus on your dog’s snout-to-tail-base length when picking a bed size. Quite simply, you’ll need to select a bed that is at least as long as your dog’s body, plus a few inches for wiggle room. You may also need to consider your pup’s standing height, if he’s a leggy ‘lil guy.
- Body weight isn’t a great criterion to consider, though it can help get you in the ballpark. Two dogs of the same weight can have wildly different body shapes, so linear measurements are more helpful. However, it’s still a good idea to make sure your dog does fall within the manufacturer’s recommended weight range.
1. Start By Choosing the Best Bed Model for Your Bestie
Before evaluating the size of your pup’s potential bed, it’s important to start by picking the right model for your pupper. Every dog is different, so you’ll want to consider the following factors carefully to ensure the bed is a good fit for Fido:
- Consider your dog’s needs. You’ll want to make sure your pup’s relaxation station is well suited to his individual needs. For example, pooches with joint problems will often benefit from memory foam dog beds, while older dogs often prefer softer, cushier beds for snoozin’. You may want a super-snuggly, heated dog bed if you keep your home on the cold side or a cooling dog bed if your canine likes to chill out while crashing.
- Think about your dog’s preferred sleeping position. How does your canine like to lay out? If he’s a curly-cue, a round dog bed might be the way to go. If your dog likes to “nest,” or requires a bit more security, you may want to pick out a cozy cave bed for your canine. For dogs who like to stretch out, a large rectangular bed might be best. Also consider whether or not your dog would benefit from an elevated pet bed.
- Make sure the bed is easy to clean. Having a machine-washable dog bed is a gigantic plus, especially if your puppy or senior dog is prone to accidents. You can also seek out beds that have removable covers for quick cleanup.
- Consider your budget. As when buying any kind of dog gear, you’ll have to keep your budget in mind. And no matter what your budget looks like, you’ll want to get good value for your dog-care dollar.
- Think about other, miscellaneous details. There are a few other things you’ll want to think about, including things like money-back guarantees, warranties, and the experiences of other owners. Also, be sure to take things like color and pattern into account (for example, dark-colored beds may hide dirt better, while light-colored beds may match your pupper’s fur).
2. Measure Your Dog’s Body Length
Once you’ve found an appropriate bed model for your best buddy, you’ll want to measure your mutt.
A tape measure is the ideal tool for the task, but a yard stick will also work. Your measurements don’t have to be super precise: Measurements that’re accurate within an inch or two are sufficient. In a pinch, just use a string to mark your dog’s length, and then measure the string with a ruler.
Contrary to what many owners initially suspect, weight isn’t a great criterion to use when selecting a bed size. Dogs have varying builds, and two pups of equal weight may vary pretty significantly in length or size.
However, you can use weight as a very rough tool for narrowing down your options, and it’s also important to ensure your dog is below the weight limit for elevated pet beds. But length — including the length of your dog and the bed — is the most important factor.
So, start by measuring your dog’s body from his snout to the base of his tail. This should be the minimum length of your dog’s bed, though it’s always wise to leave some wiggle room for your furry friend.
If Spot is a sprawler, who likes to sleep with his legs out in front or behind his body, you may want to account for his legs too. In such cases, just measure the length of your dog’s front and back legs and add them to the length of his body to give your canine companion extra room to stretch out.
3. Consult the Manufacturer’s Guidelines
Now that you know your dog’s measurements and the bed model you want, you can just consult the manufacturer’s guidelines to find the proper size.
Give a quick look at the bodyweight recommendation to help ensure you’re in the right ballpark and that your dog won’t break his new sleeping station (such as may occur with elevated beds).
But you’ll primarily want to focus on body length.
It’s also important to note that your dog isn’t too light for his new bed, as some of the best beds — like the Big Barker — are too firm for small pups.
Though a few manufacturers only provide recommended weight ranges, most high-quality brands will provide linear measurements to ensure the best possible fit.
Keep in mind that features like bolsters may reduce the amount of actual sleeping space for your furry friend.
4. Visualize Your Dog on a New Bed
So, you’ve picked a bed model, measured your dog, and picked a bed that matches the manufacturer’s guidelines. That will work in most cases, but if you’re still having doubts or you want to be extra sure of your choice, try this visualization hack.
Cut out a model bed from cardboard (or newspaper or a blanket or whatever), based on the bed’s dimensions. Then, have your dog lie on it and take a look. Does it look comfy for your canine? It should be pretty close based on the steps you’ve already taken, but this step will really help give you some extra assurance.
This certainly requires a bit of effort, but as long as the manufacturer’s dimensions are correct and you make the cardboard model the right size, you can’t go wrong.
5. One Final Check: Read the Reviews from Other Owners
If you’ve followed the previous steps, you should almost certainly have arrived at the proper bed size by now. But, there’s one more helpful thing you can do: Take a look at customer reviews for your bed of choice.
This way, you’ll be able to find out if the bed actually runs a bit smaller than is listed, or if the bolsters take up more room than you thought. There’s nothing like first-hand info about the bed you’ve chosen, so factor these comments in to your size selection algebra.
This will give you a true sense of how the bed performs with furry friends of all shapes and sizes.
Dog Bed Size Guide: Additional Tips & Tricks
Here are some additional tips and tricks to ensure that the bed you pick out for your buddy is a good fit.
- Bigger is usually better. If you’re in between two sizes, opt for the larger of the two. Some dogs prefer having extra room to sprawl out, and a couple of inches too big is much better than a couple too small. It’s possible that machine-washable beds may shrink slightly in the drier as well. Picking a bed isn’t like picking a crate or collar — erring on the large side won’t cause you any huge problems.
- Consider your dog’s coat type. You’ll want to make sure your dog’s sleeping station is warm or cool enough depending on your pup’s coat and the surrounding climate. Also, if your dog is constantly shedding, it’s worth selecting a bed with a removable cover so that you can easily keep it clean.
- Picture where you’ll place the bed. Make sure you plan out where your dog’s bed will be so that you can select an appropriate model. For example, you’ll probably need to select a rectangular bed if your pooch plans on using the bed in his crate. If you plan on putting the bed against the wall, you might want to pick one with bolsters for more pooch padding. You may even want to opt for a corner bed if you plan of placing it at the junction of two walls.
- Determine whether or not you want a portable solution. Travel beds are great for four-footers who are always on the go. If your hound is your adventure buddy, select a bed that is lightweight or easy to fit within your dog’s kennel or travel crate.
- Pick a bed your dog can grow into. If your pooch is a puppy, select a bed that will last him throughout his growth spurt. Keep in mind that some puppies keep growing until they’re about 18 months old.
Finding the right bed for your best buddy can be quite the process, but it’s certainly worth the extra effort. Enjoy finding the perfect place for Spot to snooze!
Have you found the perfect bed for your pooch? Does your dog bark in his sleep? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!