The Best Dog Beds for Older Dogs
Like all of us, with the passing of time, your dog will welcome that little bit extra comfort to help keep him/her active and happy long into old age.
The effects of the ageing process will vary with each individual dog with factors such as diet, exercise and sleeping environment having an effect - but size and breed also play a key role.
As a general rule, the larger the breed, the quicker the ageing process and the earlier you will need to have an overall preventative health plan in place.
Whilst there may be a longer time-frame with smaller and highly active dogs, giant breeds may start to show signs of ageing from 5 years onwards which will mean earlier implementation almost from the end of the 'chewing' phase.
Dogs thrive on having a regular routine. Let the family enjoy time with your dog but also ensure that he/she has a place of sanctuary within the home environment where they can go for some quiet time.
Schedule time to check over your dog with a regular grooming session, check nails and teeth regularly, maintain an exercise regime of several daily short walks, keep an eye on your dog's weight and be prepared to flag up any changes in diet, drinking, sensitivity or unusual behaviour with your vet.
Dogs can be very good at disguising pain and even low grade pain can dramatically reduce their overall quality of life.
Whilst many age-related conditions are difficult or impossible to prevent, others can be anticipated, kept at bay and/or managed effectively.
Arthritis (Osteoarthritis) is the most common cause of chronic pain in dogs. It affects 4 out of 5 older dogs. It is a disabling, non-curable, and progressive disease which initially focuses on moving joints but eventually affects the whole dogIt is an extremely complex disease that requires a dedicated owner collaborating well with their vet to control the pain, maximise the mobility and ensure a full and active life for their dog.
This is where the investment in a really good dog bed comes in.
'Orthopaedic' Dog Beds are very much in demand but please note that the term is widely abused and there is no universally agreed professional definition of what constitutes an orthopaedic dog bed.
Most orthopaedic dog beds are made using Memory Foam. Memory foam consists mainly of polyurethane as well as additional chemicals to increase viscosity and density. It is heat sensitive and designed to mould to the contours of the body. Being heat sensitive, it can be slow to react to movement and is renowned for retaining heat making it a potentially uncomfortable sleep particularly if you happen to be covered in dense fur.
Most worrying, is the fact that the cocktail of chemicals found in memory foam, or applied to it as flame retardants, have been linked to a wide range of diseases and ailments ranging from skin allergies, respiratory problems, nausea, fertility issues through to and including cancer.
The support offered by memory foam is only really effective in slab form. Memory foam crumbs / chips / offcuts etc. are largely useless.
To avoid using memory foam, our Berkeley Orthopaedic Dog Bed mattress uses a central core of pocket springs surrounded on both sides by deep layers of natural fibre and then wrapped in lambswool. We then enclose this structure in an inner case of tough cotton drill and secure the filling in place using traditional tufting techniques.This provides a bed that gives full, even support, retains it's shape, has excellent insulation qualities, provides perfect cushioning for exposed joints and is fully breathable.
We then add a removable, replaceable waterproof external cover that can easily be wiped clean or machine washed to ensure that the bed lasts a very long time.
To further enhance the performance of the bed we add the option of a range of upholstery grade fabric covers for additional warmth and style.
The bed is substantially heavier than most rival beds and will retain an overall height of around 18 cm to facilitate access / egress – so critical in dogs that may have reduced mobility.
Senior dogs are wonderful and they deserve the very best to ensure that they stay happy, active and healthy for many, many years.