Beds afford dogs with the same kind of comfort that we obtain from our respective beds. However, there are instances or situations when an ordinary dog bed is simply not enough. Dogs that are currently sick or those with musculoskeletal problems or even those that are already in the advanced stages of aging can benefit more from the use of orthopedic dog beds. And if your vet has already recommended that you buy an ortho bed for your hound but you’re not sure which type of bed to pick, worry not as our list of the 8 best orthopedic dg beds should get you underway.
Best Orthopedic Dog Beds Buying Guide
Picking an orthopedic bed for your dog can be exceptionally challenging since they actually look like any other type of bed. To help you choose the right one, we’ve prepared this buying guide specifically tailored for pet parents searching for the best orthopedic dog beds.
What is an Orthopedic Dog Bed?
An orthopedic dog bed is a specialty mattress that is designed specifically to help dogs with musculoskeletal problems sleep a lot better and more comfortable. Unfortunately, the market is littered with dog beds that come with viscoelastic memory foam. And while our list did include some of these products, the lack of standards on what can be considered as true orthopedic dog beds only adds to the confusion.
To help you better understand what we are talking about and why the dog bed industry almost always equate viscoelastic memory foam as being an orthopedic bed, it is crucial to understand a few unique differences between the two.
Memory foam is constructed of viscoelastic materials that have been developed by NASA in the 70s. The material was adopted by the mattress industry in the 90s because of its body-conforming properties. It is this ability to conform to the different curves and points of the body that makes it ideal for those with weight issues and for promoting a more comfortable sleep. Sadly, memory foam has the tendency to sleep hot as thermal imaging shows. There is also a tendency for the sleeper to ‘sink’ its body into the foam. The good news is that recent advancements in memory foam technology have now addressed most of these concerns.
On the other hand, a true orthopedic bed doesn’t come with certified standards especially in the type of materials used. As such, dog bed manufacturers have to rely on their understanding of the fundamental principle of orthopedic beds – the support of joints and bones and the rest of the body to improve overall posture and alleviate pain. In essence, a true orthopedic dog bed should keep the dog’s spine in perfect alignment and to keep any bony protrusions from receiving pressure from the bed. These are the fundamental principles of a true orthopedic dog bed. It is perhaps because of this reason that Big Barker scores great in consumer reviews since it doesn’t use viscoelastic memory foam in its products.
Technically, a viscoelastic memory foam dog bed should still be able to provide your dog the kind of support it needs for its body, especially its bony prominences. You just need to look for one that is exceptionally-built for such a purpose.
Is it Time for an Orthopedic Pet Bed?
There many reasons why you may want to shift your dog from an ordinary canine bed to one that is fully orthopedic. Here are some of the instances when you know it’s time for your dog to sleep on an orthopedic dog bed.
- Your dog has arthritis or other problems with its joints
- Fido is diagnosed with hip dysplasia
- Your hound is showing generalized loss of muscle tone and mass because of advancing age
- Your pet has bone injuries such as luxations and fractures
- Your canine friend has injuries to soft tissues like ligaments and tendons
- Your dog is recovering from neuromuscular or orthopedic surgery or disease
If you’re going to look at these instances, pain is a common theme. As such, whenever your dog is in pain having it to sleep on an orthopedic bed should be seriously considered.
Benefits of Orthopedic Beds for Dogs
Based on what we have discussed so far we can readily identify a number of benefits of using orthopedic beds for dogs. Here are some of them.
- Helps keep the spine in near-perfect alignment
A good orthopedic bed should help keep and maintain the spine of your dog in near-perfect alignment. Bolsters and pillows can help elevate your dog’s head if it likes sleeping on its side. This helps position the neck and head in perfect alignment with the rest of the spine. This can produce better neurologic functioning.
- Reduces plain and inflammation
Orthopedic beds reduce, if not eliminate, the effects of pressure on body parts where the bones and joints are much closer to the body surface. This helps reduce the intensity of pain while also facilitating the reduction of inflammation.
- Promotes healing
The combination of a well-aligned spine and reduced pressure off bony prominences can lead to better cellular and tissue repair, healing, and regeneration. Since there are no additional stresses being exerted on the body, your dog’s immune system as well as other organ systems involved in tissue repair can get to work in repairing and healing damaged body parts.
- Improves blood circulation
There is one often-overlooked aspect of pressures exerted on bony prominences: reduced blood flow. The application of pressure on a body part tends to pinch blood vessels supplying that body part. This reduces blood flow distal to the pressure point leading to a host of problems in the distal part. By reducing pressure points, you also improve the overall circulation of blood in your pet.
- Prevents formation of bed sores
A classic sign of chronic excessive pressures on bony prominences is bed sores. These first appear as reddish discoloration on the skin. More importantly, however, is the fact that these areas signify inflammatory changes that are slowly degrading the integrity of the skin. Orthopedic dog beds reduce the pressure leading to a reduction in the incidence of bed sores.
Features to Look for in an Orthopedic Bed
However, there are certain features that can help you distinguish a good quality orthopedic bed from one that is simply filled with useless fill that do nothing to keep your dog’s vertebrae in near-perfect alignment or even to help relieve pressure off of your dog’s joints, muscles, and bones. Here are some of the features you need to look for.
- Orthopedic foam
We mentioned above that viscoelastic memory foam and true orthopedic mattresses are not the same, although dog bed-makers say they are. Given that the main disadvantage of memory foam is its poor heat-dissipating properties, you will have to look for an orthopedic dog bed that comes with memory foam that has exceptional thermal management properties, unless of course you also want some form of heating for your pet.
- Waterproof liner
Whether or not your pet has been trained not to pee on its bed there will always be instances when accidents happen. For this you need a dog bed that has an inner waterproof liner that will help protect the orthopedic foam from accidents and even from spills from other sources. If the bedcover comes with waterproofing, then it should also be a great choice.
- Removable and washable bedcover
The bedcover should be removable and washable. That being said, its closure mechanism should be sturdy and provide a water-tight seal on the opposing flaps. Most dog bed manufacturers have specific instructions on how their bedcovers should be cleaned or washed. Choose one that can be easily thrown in your washing machine if you don’t like the idea of washing them by hand. Of course, getting one that matches well with your home décor should be a wonderful bonus.
- Non-skid bottom
If you have a very ‘active’ sleeper you don’t want it to move your bed every time it stirs. As such choosing an orthopedic dog bed that has non-skid rubber bottoms should be a great choice. However, if you intend to use the dog bed on a rather rough surface, then this feature is not really needed anymore.
Choosing the right orthopedic dog bed can be tricky. Perhaps this is made even more confusing by the fact that majority of orthopedic dog beds today are made of viscoelastic memory foam which hardly qualifies as a true orthopedic bed. Nevertheless, since majority of the products classified as ‘orthopedic dog beds’ contain memory foam, it has become the standard in such types of dog beds. This should not stop you from really looking for the best orthopedic dog bed.