Dog beds are a necessity. Your Mastiff needs his own bed for the same reasons you do. Dog beds give your dog their very own place to sleep, a place to relax and watch the world go by, and a retreat when life is a little too exciting. As an extra bonus, having a designated sleeping area also helps contain hair and dander for easier cleaning. And, of course, it gives you a place to send them to when it becomes necessary to remove them from being underfoot.
The best beds depend on your dog's size and age. There are a multitude of beds on the market today. Buy a bed large enough for your dog to comfortably stretch out and roll over. A good rule of thumb is to have a minimum of six extra inches all the way around your dog's body when they're completely stretched out. As for what kind of bed to purchase, there are quite a few options.
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Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and so do dog beds. While there is no substitute for measuring your dog when selecting a dog bed, here is a quick rule of thumb that you can use when trying to size a dog bed:
Extra-small dogs are typically under 10 lbs and include such breeds as small terriers, Chihuahuas, poodle and other miniature and teacup breeds. Most beds designed for extra-small dogs and cats will be around 19” long by 19”wide or smaller. Nesting type beds will have a diameter less than 22 inches.
Small dogs are typically any dog less than 25 pounds. Breeds include most terriers, Dachshunds, Lhasa Apso, small Poodles, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Shih Tzu, Whippet, and others. Most beds designed for small dogs will be around 25-30” long by 25-30” wide. Nesting type beds will have a diameter around 25-30 inches.
Medium dogs run 13-21" from the ground to shoulder and weight 30 to 60 pounds. Breeds include Australian Cattle Dog, Cocker Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Bulldogs, and Keeshond. You will need to choose a nest dog need that's at least 30-35 inches in diameter and a pillow dog bed that is at least 35” long by 35” wide.
Large dogs stand 21-26 inches and weight between 60 to 90 pounds. Breeds include Akita, Chows, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Setter, Golden Retriever, and Siberian Husky. They need a nest dog bed that is at least 40-45 inches in diameter and a pillow dog bed that is at least 45” long by 45” wide.
Extra Large dogs stand over 26" and weight at least 90 lbs. Choose a nest dog bed that is at least 50 inches in diameter and a pillow dog bed that is at least 50” long by 50” wide. Some extra-large dog beds are up to 6 feet long and are great for large breeds such as Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Irish wolfhound or households with multiple dogs that like to share beds.
Remember that as you get into the larger breeds it is important to select a sturdy fabric and a frame style that will stand up to your dog's weight. Many dog beds are made with commercial grade materials and can hold up to 200 lbs.
One of the greatest challenges of finding a large dog bed for your Mastiffs is literally that. There is a limited supply of beds for dogs over seventy pounds, let alone over one hundred pounds. With a little shopping around, you may get lucky and find a suitable bed in a pet store. Otherwise, you'll have to shop online. So how are you supposed to know if the bed is right for your large or giant breed? And how do you know if you should buy a regular plush bed or take a look at orthopedic dog beds?
There are two main issues with dogs' large beds. First is size, as in length and width. Measure your dog from their paws to the top of their head, and from their nose to their tail. Add about six inches to those measurements, and you should have a good idea what size of bed you need.
Thickness is your other consideration. If the bed is not thick enough or firm enough, your big dog's weight will cause their elbows and hocks to press right through the padding and into the hard floor. Since a major part of using large dog beds is to protect your big dog's joints, you need to make sure they don't sink too much. As nice as it would be to buy one of the fluffy plush beds, truly large and giant breed dogs usually need firmer beds. This is also where orthopedic dog beds come into play.
If you are truly unable to take your dog with you to test out dog beds, and your own weight is somewhat close to your dogs (or maybe your ten-year-old's the right weight) you yourself can stretch out on the dog beds. Just make sure the bed is firm enough to support your dog's weight. Beds considered orthopedic simply have greater support than the average dog bed. However, if your dog is elderly or has sore joints, the extra bit of support may be exactly what he or she needs.
Finally, once you've figure out pad size and thickness, decide what to do if you cannot find any large beds that fit your dog. One simple solution is to buy a twin-size mattress for your dog. A nice bonus to using an actual mattress as a dog bed is that you can buy a wide variety of fitted sheets, and in twin sizes, they come in every color of the rainbow as well as every cartoon character or animal known to man. Of course, if you're crafty, you could sew your own dog bed cover. The one drawback to sewing is that it's hard to make a handmade bed thick enough, let alone firm enough.
You can buy foam for inside your creation at your local home improvement or craft store and even use two pieces for extra thickness. If you stack foam, make sure the cover you make is snug enough to prevent slippage. You can also buy filler from craft stores or website; if you do, make sure it is pet-friendly. Large dog beds are a bit of a challenge to find, but not impossible.
Choose based on how your larger dog likes to sleep. If your dog is older and stiff or has joint problems such as arthritis or hip dysplasia, choose a support bed. A dog bed with support is typically a mattress with a washable slip cover. Some don't like how firm they are, and if that's the case, try slightly softer beds until you find one your dog likes. Or, if your dog is younger and often seen lying on their back or enjoys sleeping on your bed, buy a cushy bed often referred to as a lounger or pillow bed. These are large dog beds designed to offer plenty of room to stretch out, and are usually very soft. These one-piece beds, donuts, or rectangular frames with foam or pillow inserts are a common dog bed because so many dogs are well-suited to them.
Of course, if your Mastiff likes to sleep curled into a ball on the couch or carefully paws his blanket into a circle to sleep inside, a nesting style may be one of the best dog beds for him. These are tall beds with firm sides and soft, cushy middles so your dog can curl up in the center, just how he likes.
Above all else, take your time. Pet stores have limited supplies, and if you go in expecting to buy a dog bed no matter what, you may leave with the wrong one. In order to choose from the dog beds available, you may have to go online.
First, visit the stores so your dog can try a few out and give you an idea what to look for. If you're looking for large dog beds, you'll probably have no choice but to go online. Make sure you measure your dog from head to toe and nose to tail, adding six inches to each, in order to know how big the bed needs to be. Unless your dog is magically clean all the time, your bed needs to have a washable slip cover. And if the bed will be placed on a hard, slick floor, look for one with rubber grips on the bottom to stop it from sliding. Your dog will be sitting pretty in one of the best dog beds around.
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