Are Dog Beds Really Necessary? (hint: the answer is “YES”)

Did you know that your dog spends more than half of each day sleeping? The question is, does your dog need a dog bed to sleep on?

We’re going to talk about an indoor dog’s requirements for bedding. Is it necessary? If so, what type of bedding is best and where it should be located. We’ll also talk about how to pick out the right bed for your dog.

Do Dogs Really Need A Bed?

The obvious first question is, “Does my small dog really need a dog bed?”  After all, they can just lay down where ever they can find a spot to do so. Some are allowed inside and on the furniture so they can just lay on the sofa or jump up and curl up in a chair or on your bed. Do they really need their own bed?

The answer is, “Yes!” . They absolutely need a bed.  Why?

Dogs Are Really Good At Sleeping!

On average, dogs sleep 12 – 14 hours a day.  They spends another 4 – 6 hours awake, but lying around resting. That means that typically they’re only up and active 4 to 8 hours a day.

Because they spend so much time sleeping and lying down, it is important they have a warm, soft, safe place to do that. 

How Clean Are Your Floors Really?

I know. You are a meticulous house keeper and you could literally eat off your floors. Congratulations. But for most of us, myself included, unless I know that someone is coming over or the dust bunnies are starting to scare the dog and/or small children, we don’t really give our floors the attention they deserve.

And yes, I get it. When the dog is outside he lays in the dirt behind the garage. Or digs a hole in the flower bed and lays down in that.  So getting dirty isn’t really something your dog is overly concerned with. But when he’s inside and lays on the floor, then jumps onto your couch or your bed, guess what jumps up there with him? Yep, anything that was on the floor where he laid down.

Here’s another problem with your dog having to jump on the couch, or a chair, or your bed, or some other piece of furniture in order to be able to lay down and rest or sleep. It’s the height of the furniture. If you’re the owner of a small dog or a dog with short legs, getting onto a sofa or chair can be a huge challenge. You might, at the very least need to get dog stairs for your small dog. And getting up on the furniture is only part of the problem. Getting down, especially jumping down onto an unforgiving surface such as wood or tile floors, can be really hard on your dog and cause joint damage and other medical problems over time.

On the other hand, if a nice, soft bed that is easy to get in and out of is available, chances are that is where your dog is going to choose to lay down most of the time.

We All Like The Security Of Our Own Bed!

How many times have you traveled and said, “I can’t wait to get home to sleep in my own bed.” ?

We get comfort from what is familiar to us. So do our dogs. They like having their own bed. It’s a place they can rest and feel secure.

Okay, So I Need a Dog Bed. What Kind Of Dog Bed Should I Get?

With beds for people, there are not really a lot of choices. Shopping for them is pretty easy. There is a relatively small number of choices to be made. Seven standard sizes and a handful of styles and materials to choose from.

Dog beds, on the other hand, come in almost as many different sizes and styles as their are different types  and sizes of dogs. Search Amazon for Dog Beds and you’ll get over 10,000 results. That’s a lot to sort through.

So How Do I Pick The Right Dog Bed?

Once you’ve decided to buy a dog bed for your small dog (or big dog for that matter) there are some questions you need to answer which will help you decide which one is right for you.

For example:

  • Are you buying a bed for your dog’s crate or will it just sit out on the floor?
  • Are you going to be traveling? Do you need a bed for the car? What about where you’ll be staying?
  • Does your dog like to chew on things (like the bed)?
  • Does your dog curl up or stretch out when sleeping? Do you need a pad type bed or a more enclosed bed?
  • How big (or small) is your dog?
  • Does your dog prefer a small confined space or more openness?
  • Does the bed need to be machine washable?
  • How old is your dog? Older dogs have different comfort requirements than puppies.
  • Does your dog need a specialty bed (Orthopedic for example?)

Styles, Sizes, Materials

Lets talk style first.

If you’re looking for a bed for your fur baby’s kennel then you’re going to want a pad. The size of course will depend on the size of the kennel. Fortunately, many of the kennel makers also manufacture beds specifically for their kennel. But baring that, as long as you know the dimensions of your dog’s kennel then finding a pad to fit it shouldn’t be a problem.

If your dog is older or has orthopedic or joint problems then an orthopedic pad type bed may be more what you’re looking for.  Older dogs and dogs with joint problems sometime have trouble stepping into a bed with raised sides.

If your dog likes to snuggle and curl up when sleeping then a round bed with sides on it may suit them better.

If you have a puppy that is teething and therefore chewing on everything in sight then you’re definitely going to want to consider something like a raised bed that has a steel frame and canvas bed surface.

And if your dog likes to travel in the car with you, you might want to consider a car seat bed that can be fastened with a seat belt and has higher sides affording some protection should you have to make an emergency stop or swerve suddenly to avoid something in the road.

As for sizes it really depends on your dog.

Most of the time Miss T likes to sleep curled up so a small round bed suits her just fine. But even though shes less than 26″ long when laying stretched out one of her favorite beds seems to be a pad that resides in our office. It measures 28″ x 36″ so its a bit of overkill as far as size goes but she loves to stretch out on it when we’re working in the office.

Miss T On Her Office Bed

Dog bed materials.

There are two things to look at when considering the material the bed is made from. The type of material that makes up the bed and the type of material that covers the bed.

The material that makes up the bed is mostly going to be what determines your dog’s comfort and the overall duribility of the bed itself. The most used materials are going to be a type of memory foam, an orthopedic egg crate polyurethane foam or a fluffy cotton or polyester fiber filling.

Miss T actually prefers the fluffy filling because she likes to “fluff” the bed before laying down on it.


In most cases, the bed, whatever the material is covered with a zippered cover which can be removed and in most cases washed in a standard washing machine. The material can be just about anything from faux fur to a simple soft cotton material.  You’ll just have to go with your best guess as to what type material your dog prefers. My experience has been that as long as it’s soft and warm they’ll be okay with it.

I Got A Bed! Now Where Do I Put It?

If you’re a new dog parent and this is your first bed, I would recommend putting it wherever you spend most of your time. Your dog will want to be near you but as I said at the beginning of this, they spend the vast majority of their day laying down or sleeping.

If you’re not a new dog parent then you are probably looking into getting a second, or third or fourth bed for your dog. You already know they like to be around where you are so you’ll want several beds throughout the house.

Mission Accomplished!

Your dogs definitely could use a bed for when they’re in the house. If you take the time to consider their size, age, personality and sleeping habits finding the perfect bed for them should be easy. Good luck.

Now, time for MY nap.





14 thoughts on “Are Dog Beds Really Necessary? (hint: the answer is “YES”)”

  1. Hi David, I’m so happy I cam across your blog post. I have a 2 year old Maltese dog, here’s small and really fluffy. The thing is that I’ve been searching for dog bed for him a while ago, but I was unsure about what exactly I should choose – size, price, etc.

    What would be your recommendation for a Maltese dog? Could you give me some options for an average budget? I don’t want to spend a fortune, but I don’t wanna buy the cheapest thing ever either. 

    1. Hi Ashley,
      One of Miss T’s favorite beds is from Animal Planet. It’s super soft, durable and apparently comfortable for her. The beds come in a variety of colors, three sizes (small, medium and large) and run around $25-$30. I would say you should budget between $15 and $40 for your Maltese dog’s bed but the $20-$30 range will provide you with a very large number of choices. It’s available in a variety of places including Amazon.

  2. Hello David,

    It will be very interesting after reading your article to know how to choose a good bed for our dogs.

    It will also be very important to know how to choose the resistant material and the place where we will place it. 

    The size of the dog will determine the dimensions of the bed and that it is located in a place close to its owner. 

    I will look at amazon what bed to choose to make the purchase. 

    Thank you! Claudio

    1. Hello.
      Thank you for visiting our site. Amazon is a good place to look for beds as there are so many choices. Almost too many. lol
      As for the location, as I said, most of the time your dog just wants to be where you are so the best place for it is near wherever you spend most of your time. Or in Miss T’s case, she has several beds scattered throughout the house so wherever we are, chances are good a bed is nearby.

  3. This is a timely post thank you for sharing it. My daughter recently adopted an older dog with hip problems. She was visiting last week and I noticed the dog ( a Beagle blend ) was having difficulty walking up the stairs in my back yard. In discussing the dogs situation with my daughter , she mentioned that she was thinking about buying a new dog bed for better support for the dogs hips.

     After a few days she text me saying that she had indeed  purchased a new bed for her dog that included a orthopedic pad type memory foam cushion. I am happy to say that my daughter has reported back to me and  the new bed has helped with the dogs hip problem. Thank you for bringing awareness to pet comfort.

    1. Hi Rick.
      An orthopedic pad type bed was a perfect choice for her dog. Hip problems are precisely what those are designed for. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  4. This really gave me a lot to think about that I hadn’t thought of before. I bought a dog bed for my Chihuahua about a month ago since he destroyed his older one. It has memory foam which I thought he’d love. He rarely uses it though! After, reading this, it makes me wonder if it’s a material issue. He old bed was really fluffy. I probably should have got one similar to that like you’re cute little dog loves.

    Thanks for writing this. Off to buy a new bed!

    1. Thanks Eric.  Sometimes dogs prefer fluffy, sometimes memory foam. That’s why its important to know your dog/pet and even then it’s often a crap shoot. I’ve brought beds home that I thought Miss T would love and she totally turned her nose up at them. Good luck finding a good bed that your Chihuahua will approve of. 

  5. As a dog owner I think you are going to get a great chuckle out of this but it also goes very nicely with your article.  You say that we shoud place our dogs bed some where where we spend a lot of time because they like to spend time and be near us.  With our dog that is so true to the point that he will drag his bed to the bedroom every night to be able to sleep near us.  He has been doing that for years.

    As for the tyoe of bed our dog is a smaller lab and he likes his bed to have sides.  I think he feels more comfortable than having open sides pillow type.

    This was a great article.  Can you tell me what the best way to clean your dog pillow with?

    Thank you


    1. Hi Dale,

      Actually, that’s hilarious! Our four legged friends never cease to amuse or amaze me. I’m sure if Miss T were big enough she would drag hers around as well. lol

      And you just never know what kind of bed they’re going to like. Unfortunately it’s sometime a trial and error thing. 

      As for cleaning the beds, Miss T is almost 100% an indoor dog and she seldom drools so for the most part cleaning her bed is accomplished with an attachment on the vacuum cleaner. If she does manage to make a real mess of it and it has a cover that will unzip then off it comes and it goes into the washer. We normally hang it to dry so it doesn’t shrink.  If none of those options work for you then I suggest a trip to the pet store or shop online for a pet friendly biodegradable pet stain remover. (Please be sure whatever you choose to clean it with is non-toxic to your dog). 

      Good luck. 

  6. Hey David,

    I have a couple of friends dogs that actually don’t like to sleep on peoples beds.  Instead, they prefer to sleep on their own bed.  We actually didn’t know this until we got her a bed and she stopped sleeping with her owner.  She now sleeps in her own bed.

    However, I do have a question.  Let’s say you have a cat, too.  How do you get them to stop sleeping in the dogs bed?  It’s a really frustrating problem that my friend is having to deal with.

    1. Wow, Garen. I don’t know what to tell you about the cat taking the dog’s bed. The only thing I could recommend would be to get a second bed so whichever one the cat takes over the dog will still have one to sleep on. 

  7. Hi David, this is a great article that really informs people how important it is for a dog to have their own bed.  I also have to say that Miss T is so cute.  My dog loves to sleep on the sofa, and then she sometimes sleeps in her crate on a pad, and she also has her own dog bed too.  My dog does sleep a lot and enjoys the comfort of her own bed.  We keep her bed at the foot of our bed, she is always near us.  If she could she would sleep with us in our bed, but our bed is too high for her to get up on, plus we don’t want her on our bed.  She is a Golden Retriever who would take up half the bed.  

    1. Thanks Jenny.  I know what you mean about your Golden Retriever taking up half the bed. Even though Miss T only weighs 12 lbs and is only about 22″ Nose to tail, she somehow manages to take up an amazing amount of real estate in bed. Sometimes I find myself sleeping on the very edge of the bed. lol

      Thanks for visiting and reading. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *