Even though my dogs are allowed on the furniture, I still have a variety of pillows and beds for them to snuggle in. Sometimes I will even tuck them in with a cover thrown over them. Now that might sound like my pets are treated like royalty, but I think a good bed is as important for dogs as our bed is for us. A dog’s bed isn’t as much for their comfort as it is for their good health. We invest in a proper bed for joint and back support, and warmth. If we had to sleep on the cold, hard floor, we would feel the effects in the morning with stiff joints and back, and our quality of sleep would be affected. It’s much the same for our dogs. And contrary to what some believe, a dog’s coat isn’t always enough to keep them warm.
Here are five reasons to get your dog a bed:
Larger breeds like Labs, German Shepherds, Newfoundlands, Great Danes and Mastiffs are more likely to suffer from arthritis as they age. Small dogs that are longer than they are tall, like the Dachshund, are also at risk of this degenerative disease. A supportive bed helps cushion joints and bones, which is especially important for older canines and dogs with arthritis or other medical issues. It’s good to keep pressure off of the joints whenever possible.
Giving your dog his own bed provides him with his own private space and is a good way to give him a feeling of security. Teaching your dog to go to his bed should be a part of his training. Use healthy dog treats like CANIDAE Pure Heaven biscuits, along with positive reinforcement and commitment, to teach him that his bed is a positive place where he can go to relax. Some dogs like having their bed in a quiet place away from the crowd.
Dogs curl up in a ball to keep warm and feel secure. You might see them with their nose tucked between their paws or tail. The problem with sleeping curled up in a ball is that it keeps the muscles from relaxing completely and affects REM sleep. You know your pet is warm, feels secure and is comfortable when they sleep stretched out. A bed gives your dog a warm place to sleep and helps ease the discomfort of aging joints.
Callouses and Hygromas
Callouses are thick, gray, hairless areas that form with repeated pressure to a bony area, usually on the elbows, but they can also form on the hips, side of the legs and the hocks. Giant and large breeds, and heavy dogs, are more prone to developing callouses on their elbows than smaller canines. A callous is formed when a dog constantly lies down on a hard surface like tile, cement, or packed down dirt. Friction and continued trauma on the bony areas cause callouses to develop. Most callouses are more unsightly than problematic, but they can become infected and painful.
A hygroma is a thick, fibrous, fluid-filled capsule that forms under the skin and usually isn’t painful. They develop in the same way calluses do, and can also become infected and painful. One of the best ways to help prevent callouses and hygromas is by providing your dog with a well padded bed that gives him proper support.
Providing your dog with his own bed helps keep dander and pet hair off the furniture. Most beds and pet pillows come with removable covers that can be thrown in the washing machine.
My dogs use their beds a lot during the winter months, but prefer a cooler spot on the floor when the weather is warm. You can find options in beds and pads for summer use that still provide comfort and are cooler for dogs to lie on.
Just because you buy a bed for your dog doesn’t necessarily mean he will use it all the time, but you should encourage him to, because it can make a difference in his health. Put the bed in an area where your dog is comfortable, and make sure it’s large enough for him to stretch out in.
Top photo by Howard Young
Middle photo by Uriah Welcome
Bottom photo by skuds
Read more articles by Linda Cole