To be honest, we started making dog beds almost by accident. As owners of working Labradors we simply got fed up of buying beds for our dogs that were just not up to the job. The amount that we must have spent on dog beds over the years just doesn’t bear thinking about!
Thinking laterally about things we very quickly realised that just trying to reproduce yet another conventional dog bed design was never going to work. A radical rethink was required!
We really are in a good place to develop great British dog beds – This country has a long history of quality mattress making and, if you look hard enough, some really great manufacturers and suppliers of quality natural fillings and fabrics.
So we started looking at how a quality mattress is made and then, using our own experience as dog owners, trying to modify and adapt the latest manufacturing designs and techniques to produce the very best dog beds – Dog beds that look good, are super-comfy and supportive and that are built to last.
So how is a mattress made?
From the outside, all quality mattresses have a cover – known in the trade as ticking. Human mattress manufacturers make a big fuss about choosing an attractive ticking as this can be a big part of what sells a mattress in the showroom in spite of the fact that it is going to be covered in bed clothes as soon as it gets home!
Ticking also needs to perform a key role in protecting the filling of a mattress – So it needs to be tough and tear-resistant. The best ticking also has to have some or all of a whole series of special qualities such as being anti-dust mite / anti allergy. Anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-static, breathable etc.
Dog beds are not too dissimilar but the ticking needs to be ultra-tough to withstand the abuse to which the average dog is going to subject it, and, as the average human is not going to jump on it whilst still wet through or covered in mud, a dog bed mattress is going to have to have a non-permeable waterproof cover also.
We finally settled on a natural, undyed heavy duty cotton drill ticking which is zipped into place. It’s really hard wearing yet it’s completely natural and breathable.
We’ll touch on the cover later, but the other key issue with a dog bed is how to prevent the filling from migrating? Again, we looked at mattress technology and decided to use a tufting technique whereby tapes are passed right through the mattress at regular intervals and secured on each side by tags, buttons or washers.
Thus, using tufting plus packing the filling in tightly within the ticking and adopting a multi-layered filling we can confidently say that our filling is not going to clump, migrate of flatten so that your dog is evenly supported wherever he/she lays on the mattress.
So now we come to the ‘guts’ of the mattress – What makes it special.
All conventional dog beds use a single filling throughout – this is almost invariably either foam, polyester wadding or memory foam.
However, these days, the very best human mattresses all use a pocket spring construction which use small, soft springs that work independently from each other to conform and adjust to the body’s contours.
From a musculoskeletal perspective we are not that different from our canine friends – we both need adequate joint support, correct spinal alignment and relief for vulnerable pressure points in order to have a restful, rejuvenating sleep.
Having found a suitable pocket spring mat to form the core of our dog bed mattress we then had to decide on an appropriate filling.
As a company, our ethos is all about using natural, chemical-free materials whenever possible and practicable. We wanted to avoid the chemical components found primarily in foam-based products and those chemicals such as fire retardants that can break down and / or off-gas to release a cocktail of potential harmful substances.
We therefore settled on using 2 layers of deep wool-based recycled felt to surround the pocket spring mat and then wrap the whole structure in lambswool to provide additional warmth, breathability and natural moisture-wicking and fire resistance to the mattress before applying the ticking inner cover and tufting everything in place.
An interesting and very clever feature of our mattress design is that it is excellent at regulating body temperature so that your dog does not get too hot or cold and it doesn’t cause moisture build-up within the mattress structure. It does this by using the air-dam effect of the space between the pocket springs to push air through the natural fibres of the mattress structure when your dog moves about.
Finally, to protect all this, we make up a waterproof cover and slip the mattress inside this in a similar way to a pillow-case and then secure the opening with heavy duty Velcro, The outer cover prevents the mattress getting damp from either your dog or through condensation but also prevents infestations and mould / mildew growth.
And then, just to spoil you and your dog even further, we offer a range of optional fabric removable, washable covers for even greater warmth and comfort.
It might look like just another dog bed from the outside but we hope that this article will give you some insight into the thought and care that has gone into our Waterproof Orthopaedic Dog Bed and why we believe it really is one of the best British dog beds available.