There are eight important items you must consider when purchasing a bed for your dog.
1. Does it provide proper support?
Your small dog obtains the same benefits as you do from a bed that offers adequate support; its skeletal system maintains a proper alignment. A bed that sags or is lumpy is not supportive, putting your little dog at risk for neck and back problems.
It is as unhealthy for your small dog to have his neck up at an angle on a plush bed that does not allow him to lay his head down, as it would be for you to spend the night with your head at an 80 degree angle---talk about a neck crick! So take the same care of getting a supportive bed for your canine best friend, as you would for yourself.
Intermittent lying on an overstuffed, beanbag type bed, will not have any long-term problems for your pet, as long as it is restricted to short periods during your pet's waking hours. However, unsupportive, body-hugging beds such as these should not be their regular bed, due to the unhealthy angles it's neck is subjected to.
2. Does the dog bed shield your pet from the hard floor?
In the wild, canines slept in beds of leaves or soft dirt, and likewise your little dog's body was not meant to lie on concrete or tile flooring 24-hours a day. It is important you give your pet a bed that allows it respite from unyielding hard floors. This is for the sake of your pet's joints over the years, and to protect it from developing pressure calluses on it's body.
3. Is the material right for the surrounding temperature?
Lambswool is practical for cold climates, but when summer arrives, you should have a bed with a cooler material, such as canvas to prevent your pet from overheating.
4. Can it be easily cleaned on a regular basis?
Some dog beds are too difficult to strip and wash. A pillowcase can remedy that. If the cover of your dog's bed cannot be removed, delegate two pillowcases or sheets as the covering. The area surrounding your dog's bed and cuddle beds can be a breeding place for fleas and bacteria, requiring routine washing.
5. Can your dog stretch out comfortably, if he wants, and shift positions?
For your pet's health, you should not put it in a bed where it cannot fully stretch out on a level surface. If the bed is a cuddler or bolster, it should be large enough so when he does lie down in a regular full position, the sides of the bed do not obstruct his breathing.
Do not take for granted your small dog will adjust itself to a healthier sleeping position. You need to shield your pet "child" from any potential risks, such as your pet's nose jammed into the side of a bed due to constricted space, clearly preventing your pet from getting the proper oxygen it needs.
While some dogs may choose to sleep curled up, you need to provide your small dog with a large enough bed that allows your pet to shift positions as needed, and not be restricted to a single position. If your pet chooses to sleep curled up it should be by choice.
6. Does it have an odor your dog would accept?
Cedar odor is touted as repelling fleas, but some dogs are also repelled by the strong odor. Remember, your little companion has olfactory senses many times higher than yours: Would you want to sleep on a bed that reeked of a strong cedar scent? Dogs do not normally bed in areas with strong odors, and a cedar bed is best used only as a temporary resting spot, and not as your pet's nighttime bed. Some cedar beds are built with a satchel that allows removal, and it is recommended you only obtain this type of cedar bed or risk getting a bed your pet will refuse to lie on that you cannot use.
7. Are the sides of the dog bed too tall for your little dog to provoke separation anxiety in your dog?
Another important point to consider when purchasing a bed for your small dog is that while dogs like a sense of security, your small dog is a pack animal and will experience distress when it cannot view the surroundings or it's human 'parent' because the bed walls are too tall.
8. Is the dog bed suitable for your little dog's height?
A bed that requires your small dog to jump to get into it is too high. You do not want a bed that could subject your pet to injuries, getting in or out of it. At any time a jump could lead to a herniated disc. And a bed that requires your dog to jump to get on it could be a bed your dog falls from during the night. Dogs, like children, have been known to fall out of unprotected beds and suffer injury.
Types Of Dog Beds Appropriate for Your Small Dog
Orthopedic beds with 2 inch to 4-inch thick foam. Thicker foams than that height may subject your pet to injuries. Foam mattresses lesser than 2" thick do not provide suitable protection from hard floors for nightlong resting. If you dog is a teacup then 2 inches is padding enough for your teacup dog's weight. The larger your dog, the more foam padding your dog should have, with 4 inches a good thickness for Cocker Spaniel size small dogs.
Sofa beds or couch beds with a 3-sided bolster, an open front, and a foam bottom 2 inches or more thick. However, these are the sorts of beds which can be difficult to wash, but you may remedy that by covering the sofa/couch bed with a bed sheet you can easily wash.
Nest beds with firm inner, removable cushions and an open side for easy entry. It is a good idea to encase the inner cushion with a pillowcase that you would take off and wash on a weekly basis, just as you should change your own bed sheets on a weekly basis. Using a pillowcase over the cushion will preserve the life of the cushion more and keep it from being distorted from frequent washings. Generally, however, the outer shells of nest beds have vinyl floors, which do not hold up to frequent washing. With every weekly wash, however, you should vacuum the interior of the shell.