Over the years, I have spent a lot of money on dog beds. Indoor dog beds, outdoor dog beds, elevated dog beds, orthopedic dog beds, you name it, I’ve owned at least one of them. After nearly 20 years of buying many, many different dog beds, I can honestly say that there is only one that I can wholeheartedly recommend.
Many beds for many dogs
During almost the entire time I’ve been taking in dumped and abandoned dogs, I’ve had multiple dogs at once, so I’ve had multiple beds around the house for them. I’ve always had one for each dog outside under the walkway against the house, and at least 2-3 of them both in the garage and the house. I’ve needed beds to meet specific needs like being waterproof, orthopedic, washable and in all cases, durable.
Over the years, one of the ways I found to make beds go further was by reinforcing them. I would remove the thin fabric covered filling and put it into two heavy duty trash bags that were each put on in different directions. That would prevent any water from getting the filling wet and help it keep its shape. I would then tie up the ends of each bag and put the trash bag covered filling back in the cover. Those beds probably lasted the longest until the covers wore out.
The elevated bed
When Lacey, my wooly husky that I wrote about here, http://savingcatsdogsandcash.com/laceys-story/, came along in July 2014, I decided to try an elevated bed for her. She liked to dig in her beds, which damaged them quickly. I did a lot of research on beds for quality, good reviews, and price. I ended up settling on this one, http://amzn.to/2vUKT24 partly because it advertised coming with a removable padded cover.
Unfortunately, the padded cover option had been discontinued, so I didn’t end up with a padded cover. Instead of returning the bed, I picked up a couple of cheap throw blankets and bought a snap fastener kit. I put snaps on each side of the blanket, then layed it on top of the raised bed and snapped the blanket together underneath to hold it in place. Having two blankets, I always had a clean one to swap out while the dirty blanket was being washed. It worked well to keep the bed clean and was pretty inexpensive. As you can see below, this elevated bed has withstood her abuse pretty well.
The red circles above are where Lacey has put small holes in or weakened the fabric. The bigger issue I have with this bed though, is that the canvas stretches, causing the bed to sag. That sagging allows the canvas, when weighed down with a 55 lb. dog, to rest on a crossbeam underneath the center of the bed. The canvas is not replaceable, so I can’t imagine this bed being overly comfortable for a dog unless you add a layer of thick padding or your dog just lays on the ends of the bed where there are no crossbeams underneath.
If you just wanted to use this elevated bed as a portable travel bed or if your dog is not hard on beds and only uses it occasionally, it might work out fine. Unfortunately, due to my experience, I can’t recommend it. I also hate that the only option for a damaged or ruined canvas is total bed replacement. http://amzn.to/2vUKT24
The Weather Tech bed
The one bed that I absolutely do not recommend and is the worst bed I’ve ever purchased is the Weather Tech. I bought two of them, thinking they’d be excellent outdoor beds. One that I was keeping in an extra large dog house that had no abuse or weather exposure of any kind, had failed within 10 months. That failure caused the cover to leak and get the bedding I’d put inside, to get wet and moldy. I had to add additional bedding to it in the first place because the beds are filled with tiny little styrofoam balls that shift around. This movement makes the bed either too hard or shifts so much that there is nothing between the dog and the ground except the cover. There is not really much of a happy medium with these beds.
Foam egg crate bed
The foam egg crate beds are economical and while they last, they are nice beds. The problem with the egg crate beds is that they just don’t seem to last very long before they flatten out, usually in the middle first. Also, keeping the egg crate material clean and odor-free is difficult. Washing is not recommended due to the difficulty in getting the foam completely dry, so even if the bed cover doesn’t wear out, you have the dirty, smelly foam egg crate to deal with. Putting the foam in a trash bag or two can help prevent the foam from absorbing dirt and odors, but it can make the bed a little noisy. You also have the waterproof lining that starts flaking off the more you wash the cover.
The majority of the beds I’ve bought over the years have probably been the foam egg crate beds. They are one of the more affordable bed options, and come in both indoor and outdoor fabric options. If you have occasional dog visitors and/or you don’t want to spend a lot on a dog bed or want a wide variety of colors to choose from, here’s the egg crate bed with all of its many sizes and color options: http://amzn.to/2xnQ1cL
Recycled DIY vinyl bed
I’ve also purchased vinyl fabric and wrapped the plastic enclosed old beds in it for a waterproof bed option. It works well unless you have a dog that digs at the beds or until the beds begin to sag in the middle, allowing liquid to settle. Unfortunately, unless you sew the bed and add a zipper, the only way to secure the vinyl is to permanently glue or possibly duct tape it, so it being a basically permanent cover is the catch with doing a bed that way. The vinyl worked very well for one of my dogs that became incontinent in his later days. It allowed for very quick and easy cleanup, so I wanted to mention that as a DIY option if you need an easy to clean waterproof bed.
Orthopedic quilted mattress bed
In January 2016 I purchased Abby, my 100 lb. Labrador, a big, soft orthopedic bed to lay on during her lengthy recuperation from lipoma surgery. Her previous egg crate foam bed had flattened and I’d already decided I wanted memory foam because of how well her other bed was holding up. Instead of getting her another bed like she already had, I wanted this one to be really soft and plenty large and supportive since I wanted to spoil her and I felt bad for her for having to go through what I knew she was going to have to go through. You can read about it here http://savingcatsdogsandcash.com/lipoma-surgery/.
When this new bed arrived, I was thrilled with everything about it. It was huge, supportive, and very, very soft. Unfortunately, after a little over a year, the pieces of memory foam packed into tubes stopped holding their shape. Sliding the tubes in and out of their designated slots is also kind of hard and almost requires two people to do. This last time we washed the cover, I stuck my finger through the light fabric holding the memory foam pieces as I tried to pull the foam-filled tube down into place. I’m not sure how I’d even repair that and you definitely don’t want the foam loose inside the bed or your house.
Since this bed is so thick, I don’t think it will be completely or uncomfortably flat for a while, but because I expected and feel it should have been able to retain its shape longer than it has, I can’t give it a strong recommendation. Possibly, if your dog is not super large, you’d have better luck, but for us, it fell into the same category of ‘unable to hold its shape’ as so many others. Here it is if you’re interested, http://amzn.to/2g1qlQ0
The only dog bed I can recommend
Now that I’ve covered all of the dog beds that I don’t really recommend, let me tell you about the only one that I wholeheartedly do. I have owned this particular bed since October 2013. Except for the few nights Abby was in the hospital or on her other bed in the kitchen recuperating, she’s slept on this bed every single night and even some days when she wants away from the cats or commotion.
This bed looks as good today as it did when it arrived almost four years ago. Despite being layed on every night, vacuumed weekly and the cover washed every couple of weeks, it has held it’s color and shape perfectly. It has not sunken in at all and the cover still looks brand new. It is the only bed I have ever owned that I can say that about. Here are some pictures of the inside of the bed.
In addition to all of the above, this bed also has a high-quality zipper that goes all the way around the underside of the bed, making taking off and replacing the cover a breeze. As long as your dog isn’t a digger or a chewer, I think you’ll find this gel memory foam orthopedic bed, http://amzn.to/2vU0rBp is well worth the cost.
UPDATE 6-20-18: Unfortunately, the Brentwood 4-inch gel memory foam orthopedic bed that I highly recommend has been out of stock for some time and Amazon has been unable to give me an answer as to if or when it will be back in stock. So I did some homework and it looks like this model, https://amzn.to/2tgDKqo is the closest thing to it. Please keep in mind, that even though beds advertise as waterproof, they are still susceptible to wetness usually. If you have a dog that is incontinent, I recommend putting something like this, https://amzn.to/2yqtcdS on the bed.
Have you had excellent long-term luck with a particular bed? If so, please share it in the comments below. I feel like a lot of the ratings on dog beds would change if people waited to review them after they’ve had them awhile. Instead, it seems like most beds are reviewed shortly after they are received, which causes the beds to get better reviews than they may deserve longer-term. If you found this post helpful, please pin it or share it on Facebook as a service to other frustrated dog bed buyers.
To see pictures I share on Facebook of my crew on beds, off beds, and even under beds, you can check them out here, https://www.facebook.com/savingscatsanddogswhilesavingcash/