In many ways, Memory Foam is a dog bed maker’s perfect product – It’s easy to cut and shape, it’s relatively light and not very expensive. Moreover, it can command a significant premium if marketed as an ‘orthopaedic’ bed for senior dogs or those with arthritis or other musculoskeletal complaints.
However, there are some very significant negatives to the product which are not particularly well known. For simplicity, we’ll split this into two main areas – Performance and Composition.
Memory Foam works by reacting to body heat in order to mould to the shape of the person or dog lying on it. It goes without saying therefore that it is heat sensitive. The downside to this is that cooler weather or a cold floor can make the bed hard and stiff and slow to adjust to your dog’s shape until his / her body heat makes the foam more supple.
Memory foam can also be very dense so once it is warm it doesn’t dissipate heat very well which can lead to your dog becoming uncomfortably hot especially in today’s centrally-heated homes.
Memory foam dog beds can be slow to react to your dogs ever-changing sleeping positions and this can restrict your dogs movement until the moulding process kicks in again. Heat build-up can also mean that your dog sinks deeper and deeper into the bed until your dog is in close contact with the floor and this makes it difficult for your dog to extricate itself from the bed. Not a major issue perhaps for a young active dog but not ideal if your dog already has restricted movement.
The dense foam does not ‘breathe’ effectively and can lock in both heat and moisture – the perfect breeding ground for dust mites.
Also, not all Memory Foam Dog Beds are the same. Beware of beds filled with ‘Memory Foam Off-cut Chips’ that produce a shapeless totally ineffective bed, ‘Composite Memory Foam’ beds which have a nominal top layer of memory foam bonded to a regular foam to save cost, ‘Low Density’ Memory Foam that can flatten easily or ‘Egg-Crate’ Memory Foam which again, is a cost-cutting measure.
It’s important to state at the outset that we are not chemists. We’re just dog lovers who simply want to reassure ourselves that the beds our dogs, and all-importantly, our customer’s dogs sleep on, are safe.
Our own research revealed that memory foam can contain some real nasties – Methyl Benzene, Methylene Dianiline, Vinylidene Chloride, Dimethylformamide not to mention the fire retardant sprays that are then used on foam-based products.
Google some of these and you’ll see possible links to cancer, skin irritation, liver / thyroid damage, respiratory problems, a reduction in fertility and a possible contributor to birth defects.
That was enough for us.
We’re not saying that ALL Memory Foam Dog Beds are bad – We just wanted to alert you to some of the questions that you need to ask.