Finding the best orthopaedic dog beds that are going to be right for your dog can be difficult. Here are a few pointers that may help you…
Prevention is better than cure
It may be that your dog is in his / her prime – So why bother looking for the best orthopaedic dog beds?
Canine arthritis is one of the most common canine complaints. Advances in veterinary medicine and companion animal care, mean that many dogs are living much longer. On the downside, that longevity also increases the odds that they’ll suffer from some form of degenerative joint disease (DJD), or osteoarthritis. the most common, the age-related degenerative form.
From the outset it’s worth thinking about what can be done to avoid or delay the onset of this debilitating condition.
Some areas of care are harder to control than others. For example dog breeds with a known predisposition towards hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament problems etc. as well as hard working dogs and the larger, heavier breeds may all have an enhanced chance of developing degenerative arthritis.
However, a couple of common sense measures adopted from the outset make a great deal of sense.
Weight Control / Diet / Exercise
Lack of exercise and excess weight causes stress on the joints. Maintaining an optimum weight really is key to a healthy long life.
Similarly a diet rich in fish oil can also assist in general joint health.
It is also widely believed that a too high protein diet during a puppies growth period can be detrimental to joint formation particularly in larger breeds.
There are certain fundamental requirements that every dog bed should meet.
A dog bed should –
Provide adequate insulation to allow the dog to keep warm and dry in an elevated position away from cold floors and drafts
Be sufficiently large to allow unrestricted movement and allow the dog to regulate body temperature comfortably
Allow the optimum mix of firmness to give correct spinal alignment / even pressure point contact plus cushioning to protect joints and aid restful sleep
Be of sufficient height to allow ease of access / egress without putting excess strain on joints
Regrettably, many dog beds simply are not up to the job.
Is an Orthopaedic Dog Bed right for MY dog?
All dogs will benefit from a dog bed that fulfils the above criteria. However, as a general rule of thumb, the larger / heavier your dog the greater the need for a quality bed
What choices do I have when shopping for an Orthopaedic Dog Bed?
Dog beds that are simply pillows stuffed with polyester fibre are highly unlikely to meet the above criteria especially in the long term. Such beds very quickly go lumpy and even and provide poor levels of insulation. They are also more likely to become damp over time.
That leaves two principal choices – Solid deep memory foam that moulds to the shape of your dog’s body as it heats up to provide even support and a composite layered construction of natural, breathable materials such as wool felt, lambswool and cotton drill surrounding a central core of pocket springs as found in a Berkeley Waterproof Orthopaedic Mattress.
Both provide a far superior bedding solution.
Memory Foam can however have limitations. The cost of quality memory foam is high and this has resulted in certain pet bed manufacturers supplying an inadequate depth of foam to provide the necessary support. Memory foam is temperature sensitive so that it can be quite hard when cool and then overheat resulting in excessive sleep movement by your dog in order to try to regulate body temperature. Last but not least, memory foam can be highly flammable and is often sprayed with flame retardant chemicals. These chemicals are widely believed to be toxic to both humans and animals.
‘But they are quite a lot more expensive than a regular bed…’
The best orthopaedic dog beds are more expensive than regular store-bought beds. This is due to the superior fillings and materials used, the technology developed and adopted but also the very fact that they tend to be heavier and larger than regular dog beds mean than shipping / display costs are higher.
Offset against the longevity of the bed and the very real possibility of a reduction in veterinary fees / insurance premiums the beds do however represent a sound investment in your pet’s long term health and happiness.