What Is The Best Dog Bed For My Old Dog? | Vet’s Advice

When our beloved dogs begin to get old, we want (even more than we already have) to care for them in a way that makes their life easier and more comfortable. One of the most important ways that we can make them more comfortable is by giving them the best possible bed for them to rest and sleep.

Of all the beds that are out there, which one is the best? This is going to seem like a trite answer…but as a veterinarian, my answer is that the best bed is the one your dog will actually get into.

Why Do Some Dogs Not Use Beds?

I’ve been a veterinarian for over 20 years, and I still shake my head when I hear my clients tell me that their old, arthritic, stiff old dog won’t lay in a cushy dog bed. They prefer the cold, hard floor.

Why would a painful dog choose the cold, hard floor over a warm, cushy dog bed??

I can think of a few reasons:

  • Older dogs are just sometimes more used to the floor. They may have always slept on the floor. They may think that’s where they are supposed to be.
  • It’s because the floor is cold and hard. A hard floor gives consistent support over their entire body. The coldness of the floor may feel good to a larger, thick-coated dog.
  • You place the dog in the corner of the room when your dog wants to be cuddled up at your feet.

What Different Types Of Dog Beds Are There?

Donut Bed

These are beds designed for the dog to be completely enveloped by the bed. Think of it as a cushy bean bag for your dog. You can find it here on Amazon.

Memory Foam Flat Bed

These beds contain memory foam and are great for larger dogs with orthopedic issues like arthritis. This particular bed is great for a dog that likes to really spread out. Find it here on Amazon.

Elevated Bed

An elevated bed works similar to a hammock. It suspends the dog above the floor and takes even more pressure off of the joints. I have a large Golden Retriever that only will sleep on an elevated bed.

Couch Beds

Couch beds allow a dog to curl up with a support along the body on the side. Some dogs prefer this style of bed as it gives them more security.

How Can I Get My Dog To Accept A New Dog Bed?

Don’t expect your dog to look at a brand new bed the same way you look at your brand new mattress. They don’t understand that it will more cushy and comfortable. They like things that they are used to.

Sometimes you can begin by putting the old dog bed on top of the new one. If you have a super picky dog, this might not work. However, for many dogs it could work just fine as long as you do this gradually.

Start by placing the old bed on top of the new one completely. Every day move the old bed a little off of the new one, exposing more of the new one. After a week or so, remove the old dog bed completely from the house.

Hopefully that old dog bed smell will have transferred onto the new bed and the dog will associate the new bed with the comfort of the old one.

You also might need to add your own scent to the new dog bed to get your dog to accept it. Sometimes putting a worn, unwashed shirt on the new dog bed can help your dog realize that it’s okay.

How Can I Take Care Of A Dog Bed To Make It Last Longer?

Washing it regularly is a great way to make it last longer (see below for more tips on washing). A dirty dog bed will break down faster.

Don’t let your dog drag the bed around the room. The bed should signify the spot where your dog should lay down. If they are dragging it around, they are not truly ready to use it. The dragging may result in tugging and pulling and, before you know it, that bed is in tatters.

Buy a quality dog bed. A cheap dog bed filled with cheap material with a cheap flimsy zipper holding it all together won’t last long no matter what your dog does to it.

Are Dog Beds Washable?

They should be! When purchasing a dog bed, make sure that the cover is removable and that the inner lining is waterproof. If you can get away with simply washing the cover, then that will greatly increase the life of that dog bed.

How often should you wash it? That depends on the dog. I’d say at least every few weeks, just to keep the bed from smelling badly. Depending on what your dog gets into outside, that dog bed may need to be washed more often.

When To Replace A Dog Bed?

There’s not a truly hard and fast rule when a dog bed is so worn out that it needs to be replaced. If your dog has always used its dog bed and then suddenly stops using it, then maybe that’s a signal that it’s no longer comfortable.

In my house, dog beds are replaced usually when the internal stuffing is spread across the house.

The Ultimate Choice: Couch Vs. Dog Bed

I have six dogs, and half of them ignore the dog beds we have all over the floor and use the couch instead. If you don’t care how your couch looks or smell, this is a valid choice.

If you have a really large older dog who has always preferred a couch to a dog, but you don’t want to always give up your couch to him…consider getting a couch for the dog.

I’m serious!

Can Multiple Dogs Share A Dog Bed?

Absolutely! Sometimes they prefer that to sleeping alone. Check out my dogs:

Two Of My Dogs – Topher and Doogie


You may need to experiment with a few different dog beds until you find the one that your dog enjoys the best. Keep it clean and well-maintained and your dog will enjoy sleeping on it for years to come.