A post I never thought I’d write. A post I probably shouldn’t write. Many consider this a ‘mild obsession’ of mine. There are more dog beds in my house than there are seats for people. I am not kidding. I take my dog beds seriously.
Serious Business. Modeling the Bowsers Donut Bed.
As I write this there are 5 dog beds next to me: 2 stacks of two, and a single. There’s another bed in my bedroom. That’s relatively reasonable. Downstairs things get out of hand. Seven in my office. Another five in the dog room. What’s that 18? That may not include random mats or pads for the car travel or just to swap out.
They all get used. I’ve a lot of dog, which necessitates a lot of bed. And a unique opportunity to put beds through their paces.
I can’t promise this is all going to be totally coherent. As it turns out, it’s hard to put one’s thoughts on dog beds in order. Who knew? Consider this a brain dump if you will. My dog bed manifesto. Everything you ever wanted to know (or didn’t) about dog beds. To those not enthralled by all things dog, my apologies.
Not Cheap. There are cheap dog beds, and there are good dog beds. Beds that are (almost) infinitely washable, maintain their loft, seem to last and last and last no matter how many time’s they’ve been peed and puked on, dug in, disassembled and wrestled back together. These beds do not cost $29.95. I gave up on cheap dog beds long ago. They don’t hold up. They get squished and threadbare. Zippers pop. In short, they look like poo in just a little while, to the point I dont want to have them in my house. If you want to make a biannual landfill contribution, by all means buy a cheap bed. Otherwise, pony up and buy something with some staying power. Something made in America (exceptions will be noted). Something covered in upholstery fabric or the like. A bed from a manufacturer I can order replacement covers from. The beds I buy are generally $100+ for a size large or XL. Smaller beds will be cheaper, but even the tiniest is usually about $50.
Not For Puppies. Do not invest in a $100 bed if you have a 10 week old puppy. Or a one year old juvenile delinquent. Or a known bed destroyer of any age. Just like toys, every bed has it’s day, and they aren’t designed to be chewed. Don’t leave your dog home alone (or even unsupervised) with a bed if they have a checkered past. Make it something used when you are sitting right there, and even then keep an eagle eye on the situation. Most dogs out grow this, but not all. My dogs still like to shred and tear up bedding in their kennels hamster style. Consequently, they don’t have expensive bedding there, rather a collection of old sheets, towels, failed bed covers, and fleece scraps. They are perfectly happy with this arrangement.
Curler or Sprawler? A professional question from the Pet Store and an important distinction. Pay attention. Does your dog like to sprawl out when they sleep? Or do they curl up in a ball? Do they rest their heads on the arm of chairs or pillow? Or do they tuck it under a paw? All this helps determine the type of bed they are going to like and use. Options are…
Nest Beds (aka Donut Beds, aka Bagel Beds, aka Bolster Beds). Every manufacturer calls it something different, but the idea is the same. A round bed with an outer bolster and a inner nested pillow. By and large the most popular model, and the most prolific at our house. Dogs that curl to sleep love them because they can snuggle in. Heads can rest on the higher bolster pillow to keep tabs on the world around them. Dogs can dig and scratch and snuffle in the bottom pillow to move it around to their comfort level. The same concept can be found in square beds. Usually called loungers or couches. Whatever they are called, make sure it unzips everywhere. The bolster should be removable, and preferably the cover for the center pillow too. This is essential for wash-ability. When picking out a bed at the store, it never hurts to disassemble it (at least mostly) and get an idea of what you are in for when in needs to be laundered.
Pillow Beds. These are for your sprawlers and what you think of when you picture a dog bed. A large round or square pillow on the floor. They are without bolsters, providing a wide open plain in which to stretch and roll. Ah, bliss! At my house, these are generally less popular. We still have them though, because they are convenient for travel and kennels (if you don’t have a hamster dog). Orthopedic beds are typically this style. They also provide a nice base layer to stack a nest bed on top of, and can be created out of on-hand materials. More on that later.
By now, I’m sure I convinced you. I’ve won you over to the dark-side of my not-so-secret dog bed habit. You are chomping at the bit to get your pooch a new pad. What the heck do you buy? Here are my recommendations. Please Note: I have not received money from any of these manufacturers. Although, I’d like to. There are, however, affiliate links throughout this post. If you appreciate the information, consider using them.
F.Y.D.O (For Your Dog Only). In my opinion, maker of the best nest beds (they call them Bagel Beds) around. Generously sized, made in California. Their cotton, twill and poly blend fabrics have a lovely nap to them.
Bowsers. They call their nests Donut beds. They are deeper than the FYDO version, smaller sized, and their inner pillow is quilted, so the covers don’t come off. Not a problem for pillow style beds, but irritates me slightly. However, their microvelvet fabrics are very upholstery-like, and hold up remarkably well. These are the beds I’ve had for going-on 8 years. They also offer the best orthopedic bed option I’ve found. One that is actual memory foam, as opposed to that annoying egg carton.
Jax and Bones. I’m a newish convert to Jax and Bones. Their loungers and nappers are a little more ‘couch-style’ than a regular nest bed. They do ingenious work with the deconstruct-ability, making sure that all bolsters can be removed for easy washing, even when they look like they can’t. I’m pretty picky about fabric choice with these guys. I think some of their choices lean toward form over function, and I worry about long term durability. Pet Store Boss Lady swears by them though.
West Paw. I *love* West Paw. Love. Montana made, green products, small company love. All around love. I’ve written about that love before. Their nest beds are just sort of meh. But, the Eco Drop . It’s all about the Eco Drop bed at our house. It has been every since we brought one home. The foam stuffed bean-bag chair for your dogs. It’s some where between the pillow and nest bed. The dogs sink into the middle, and mine love it. Every dog from the 5lb Maltese to the 55lb Dalmatian, this is their bed of choice.
Molly Mutt Wonderful concept. Unfortunately, made in China. I must mention them though, because as makers of the dog bed duvet, they are a life saver. Got some of those old ugly dog beds that are an embarrassment to your living room? Shove one or better yet two, plus an old towel into a Molly Mutt, and viola! Attractive pillow style bed. The patterns are cute. The fabrics are heavy duty, thick cottons. At our house we top a Molly Mutt pillow with a nest bed, and we’ve just made the most popular new (old) bed in the house. Next to an Eco-Drop, of course.
Why? As you can tell, my dogs love these beds. They live in these beds. In some small way, they keep them off the furniture (some of it), and certainly out of my hair. By providing my dogs comfy spots to hang out, they do just that. They go hang out. More than that, I have a place to send them when we are having company, while I’m working from home, when they are being general pains in the rear. “Go lay down” works remarkably well for both of us. I’m happy to encourage that with a long lasting snuggly bed… or 18 of them.