Shiba Inu in soft dog bed under cotton tepee

Choosing the Right Bed for My Dog

For anyone who has seen their dog getting ready for a good sleep, you will know how important the right bed is to them. Some dogs spend many minutes organizing their bedding, scratching in circles, to make sure things are just right.

Getting the right bed for your dog can be important for both you and your dog. And no, we are not talking about them choosing your big king size bed as the right bed for them.

There is no one dog bed that will suit all dogs. Choice will come down to a number of factors, including:

  • Size
  • Frame
  • Bedding material
  • Cleaning
  • Price

Dog bed size

Dogs often fall asleep in what looks to us to be the most uncomfortable positions, on beds that appear far too small for them. They hang upside down, their necks over the side of the bed, in a position that would give their owners serious neck cramps if they tried the same thing.

A dog’s bed does not have to be massive. In fact, many dogs prefer to curl up as they sleep. The recommended size is for the length of the bed to be slightly longer than the length of the dog. This is measured from dog’s nose to the base of their tail.

Frame your bed

A selection of dog bed frames

Most dogs prefer to have structure to their bed. You see this when a your dog digs under the covers, or choosing to sleep in a dog house. Having a frame as part of the bed provides a secure environment for your dog when they feel most vulnerable – while sleeping.

A good frame for your dogs bed does not always mean a rigid, heavy structure. The frame simply gives the bed structure, which dogs prefer.

The frame could be made of solid materials, such as wood or metal. It may be made from soft, padded fabric, or framed by the bedding material itself.

Metal bed frames are a durable. Make sure the metal is aluminium, as they won’t rust when they get wet or when your dog pees on the frame. Alternatively, make sure a steel frame has a good coating of plastic or paint to prevent rusting.

Wooden or plastic frames are lightweight and are available in a range of designs.

Bedding material

The material the dog’s bedding is made from is probably the most varied option for choosing the right bed. Bedding must be comfortable yet very durable. It must be able to take the wear from a dog scratching at its bedding. You don’t want the stuffing coming out of the bedding five minutes after your dog first uses the bed. The bedding should be thick enough to be comfortable for the dog using it. Thin, single layer bedding can be uncomfortable for your dog and can potentially lead to health issues

Canvas, PVC coated or a durable cotton are the most common materials used for dog bedding. Leather or suede can also be popular but can be more expensive and dogs may tend to chew these a little more.

Hessian bags as bedding may be suitable for short-term, outdoor bedding but are not ideal as a permanent bed for your dog. They can also cause injury to your dog as they become worn. (I have seen dogs get their feet caught in the weaving of hessian bags and stop blood circulation to their foot.)

Lambs wool can be very comfortable for your dog as overbedding material and can be cleaned very easily.

Bedding that has a removable cover makes it much easier to clean. The cover can be placed in a washer and the inner material may not need to be cleaned as often.


It is important to ensure you maintain your dog’s bedding, not just for your sake but for your dogs. Fleas are much more likely to infest dog bedding that does not get cleaned. Skin allergies can develop from dirty bedding and odours from their coat can be annoying.

Having a bed that is easy to clean will mean you are more likely to regularly maintain their bedding and reduce any health problems from your dog sleeping in a dirty bed. Removable bedding and having a frame that is easy to clean are two important considerations when choosing the right bed for your dog.

You may have to consider having multiple sets of bedding if it takes some time to dry after cleaning, otherwise your dog may be without their bed when they want to sleep.


Of course, budget is an important consideration when choosing a suitable bed for your dog. Dog beds are available for a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, so your budget will be important. Spending a small amount now does not mean savings in the long run. With dog beds, it is often getting what you pay for.

Remember, your budget should cover the bed frame and the bedding itself. If you purchase a bed that has the bedding as part of the frame, you may not need to buy an additional frame.

Style and looks will also be a consideration when you are budgeting for your dog’s bed. If the bed will be inside, you will need to think about how it fits with your décor.

While we can put as much effort as we can into determining the right bed for our dog, ultimately it may still come down to what our dog likes most. Many dog owners have spent hundreds of dollars on a chic new designer dog bed, only to have their dog never use it. It is important to remember that what we think is a good bed may not be what your dog will choose to sleep in.

Aussie Pet Collective has a range of bed frames and bedding to choose from. Visit our Beds and Bedding catalogue.

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