Pet beds are a commonplace item in most households today. The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association recently published a survey indicating that there are more than 73 million dogs and 90 million cats in households in the United States alone. This survey also indicates that about 69 million American homes, or roughly one in five, have a pet. The combined total of 163 million dogs and cats in homes throughout the United States means that there are a lot of pet beds produced and sold every year. So the real question is this: Should my pet have a bed?
In short, yes. Your pet is a guardian, friend, and above all, a member of your family. Would you dream of having your children sleep on the floor or the foot of your bed? Your canine or feline counterparts deserve their own space and should not have to “make due” with whatever furnishings they can get comfortable on in your house. Much like us, dogs and cats are living longer thanks to advancements in diet and nutrition, as well as medical care. To help your pet live its life to the fullest, a comfortable and supportive place to sleep will be key. Of course, buying a bed for a snake or bird is a little bit of overkill. Usually, a dog or cat would be the only pets we recommend beds for. If you have a ferret or hamster or similar animal, beds can be found for them, but they are far less common.
There are many types of beds available for pets, ranging from simple plastic tubs for outdoor use, to kennel pads (also called crate pads), to elaborate designs with rich covers and high-end materials. Your first thought should go to the size of your pet. Obviously, you would not put your Doberman in a bed designed for a Chihuahua. But how much space do they really need?
The weight of a dog is not your first step. Since a short but stout bulldog may weigh more than a taller and leaner retriever, you want to make sure that you consider all factors. As a rule of thumb, you would want the widest dimension of the pet bed to equal the height of your animal. Since most animals prefer to curl up to sleep, this is generally acceptable. If you notice that your beloved Great Dane will only sleep stretched out, then you might consider a bigger bed for him. A trend that I have personally seen developing recently is to have your pet “kenneled” or “crated” at bed time. This practice uses a large cage for your pet to sleep in (sometimes, owners who kennel their dogs will also feed their dogs in the kennel too). There are a separate line of beds made specifically for kennels which are manufactures in common kennel sizes.
How much should you spend on a pet bed? This is more of a question of preference and capability rather than necessity. The bottom line in this case is that you should spend no more than you are able to but no less than what suits your needs and your pets’ needs at the same time.