Dog Bed Buying Guide

A quick dog bed buying guide to help you choose the very best dog bed for YOUR dog.

There are thousands of different dog beds available in the UK. Therefore choosing a bed that perfectly suits the requirements of you and your dog can be extremely confusing.

A dog’s bed is literally an investment in your dog’s happiness, health and overall well-being.

We are often amazed that people will spend a small fortune on a new dog, insurance, vet fees, premium food and regular treats but are reluctant to invest in such a crucial item as a really good dog bed.

Nearly all new dog beds LOOK great – That’s how they sell. However, try asking some key questions before parting with your cash –

  • Will it last? (There is absolutely no reason why a good dog bed shouldn't last for years)
  • Is it easy to keep clean and hygienic with a tough, waterproof, impervious fabric?
  • Is the cover removable / replaceable / easy to wash?
  • What’s inside it?
  • Will the filling provide adequate insulation and joint support? (If you can press on the bed and feel the floor the answer is No).
  • Will the bed retain its shape and bounce back once once your dog gets off it?
  • Is it breathable?
  • Is it solid and heavy enough to avoid it slipping around the floor?
  • Is it big enough to allow my dog freedom of movement during sleep?
  • Is it safe? Many foam and memory foam beds contain, and are treated with, a cocktail of potentially toxic chemicals which can off gas and also be ingested by your pet. 
  • Where is it made? 
  • Does it come with a Guarantee?
  • Can I talk to a knowledgeable person for help and advice?

Here are a few key points to consider:-

The Dog Bed Mattress

The heart of any premium dog bed is the mattress. Any cushioning material has to be supremely comfortable –soft, yet firm enough to keep its shape and provide adequate insulation and orthopedic support over many years.

Cheap mattresses very quickly become lumpy or the filling is pushed to the edges providing uneven insulation. As a rule of thumb, if you sit on the bed and you can feel the floor it isn’t going to provide any meaningful degree of comfort or support.

However, also beware of overstuffed beds which prohibit the dog’s natural nesting ability and result in the dog sitting on or in ridges or hanging uncomfortably over the side of the bed.

Under-stuffed or over-stuffed – Neither is going to provide adequate joint support for your dog.

All mattresses will flatten slightly over time as the filling settles. However, a good mattress should be able to retain its shape and a degree of ‘bounce’ over a very long period. The individual pocket springs in a Berkeley Mattress provide a unique way of addressing this issue making it particularly suitable for large dog breeds.

Our mattress has 4 deep layers of wool-based recycled felt which has excellent insulation values keeping the core of the bed warm in winter yet cool in summer. The bed is then wrapped in lambswool to provide a natural fire retardant before being encased in an inner tough cotton drill cover.

Berkeley Waterproof Orthopaedic Mattresses have a unique air dam that allows air to circulate through the core of the mattress. When your dog jumps on the bed it forces air through the filling - this keeps it fresh and dry and will discourage infestations, damp, mould and mildew.

Check also the weight of the mattress – a mattress of lightweight construction is very likely to contain some blown polyester fibre or foam and a huge amount of fresh air! Beds that can be placed ‘whole’ into a washing machine are unlikely to provide effective insulation and support.

The Dog Bed Mattress Cover

In an ideal world, a dog bed cover needs to be soft, breathable, warm and stylish. It also should be durable, easily cleaned and replaceable. It needs to provide a casing and barrier. This ensures that the bed can retain its shape without becoming damp, smelly and a potential home for dust, mites, fleas, mould, excess body oils and dog hair.

Unfortunately, we have found that using one cover alone always results in a compromise.

Our solution therefore is to clad our Berkeley Dog Bed Mattress as standard in a tough waterproof PVC – backed polyester material. We then offer a range of Optional Fabric Covers that fit OVER this and can be used to provide a warmer feel in a range of stylish materials to complement your home decor.

This ‘belt and braces’ approach allows us to meet the demands of every dog from the most pampered pooch to the toughest of working breeds.

Our Waterproof Covers are an obvious choice for wet and muddy dogs but they are also invaluable for dealing with bitches in season, excessive drooling or light incontinence. The main cause of smelly dog beds is when the inner ‘core’ of the bed becomes damp or soiled. Our Waterproof Cover forms an impermeable barrier to avoid this. It also provides an inert, clean surface resistant to mould and mildew for dogs prone to allergies and helps to reduce infestations by fleas and mites. As an added bonus, loose dog hair does not readily adhere to the material.

Our Waterproof Cover can be spot cleaned with a damp cloth, hosed down or put in the washing machine to keep it clean and fresh.

For owners preferring to use one of our Optional Fabric Covers these still have to meet some very tough criteria to make sure that they are up to the job. Our fabrics are upholstery grade and have very high Martindale rub test ratings of 40,000 to 100,000 rubs.

It’s important to mention that although the wear properties of a fabric are important, they are not the sole determining factor in whether a fabric is going to be suitable in the long term for this intended use.

As a general rule of thumb, the most suitable fabrics to use where pets are concerned are those which have the tightest weave structures, in combination with a surface weave which avoids loop construction. Put another way, the less there is for claws to snag on the better.

Both our Waterproof Covers and our Optional Fabric Covers are secured in place using a heavy duty Velcro fixing in a fully fitted pillow case style construction. We avoid the use of zips on all our outer covers as they are very prone to damage from chewing.

Having easily replaceable and washable covers provides a highly cost effective way of maintaining your bed in excellent condition so that it lasts a lifetime - Simply change the cover, not the whole bed.


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