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Finding the right dog bed for your dog

When we choose a bed for ourselves, we take the time to shop around before making a decision. We want our beds to be comfortable – a place where we can escape at the end of the day and sink into relaxation. While our dog's lives may not be nearly as stressful as our own, we should give at least half as much consideration to choosing the right bed for them.

Below are some factors you should consider when choosing a dog bed for your favorite canine:

* Your dog's size – Would you want to sleep on a bed that was too small for you? The answer is probably not and neither does your dog. The purpose of a dog bed is to provide a comfortable sleeping place for them and if they're not able to fit comfortably on that bed then it's not doing its job. Before you go shopping for a dog bed, measure your dog or find out what size they will be at maturity if they happen to still be a puppy. Add 7 to 12 inches to your dog's length and that's the size bed you are likely to need. Remember to take a measuring tape with you since not all dog beds (but most should) will list their size.

* Your dog's sleeping position– Dogs, like people, have their own sleeping habits. Some dogs will curl up tightly in balls when they sleep. Other dogs stretch out as far as possible. Some sleep on their sides and some sleep on their stomachs. The amount of variety is quite surprising. When you're choosing a bed for your dog, take into consideration how they normally sleep.

For example, if your dog likes to stretch out, they might prefer a mattress style bed that doesn't constrict them in anyway.

* Your environment – You can find dog beds made of a wide range of materials on the market today. However, not all materials are a good match for these environments. In warmer weather, you want a fabric that won't be too hot or sticky. Leather beds, for instance, would be a bad choice. Remember your dog won't use the bed if it's going to hinder their comfort.

* Your dog's health – Older dogs have a tendency to develop arthritis which can make it very painful or difficult for them to climb into beds that are off-the-ground style. You don't want to do anything to increase your pet's discomfort. Also, it's worth noting there are some dog beds that are especially designed to be more comfortable on dogs with aches and pains.

* Location – Regardless of the type of dog bed you choose, picking the correct location in your home for that bed is also important. Again, pay attention to your dog's sleeping habits. Most dogs only have a few favorite sleeping spots so choose the most convenient of these locations for the positioning of the bed. Make sure to measure the area before you go to the store so what you choose will work in that area.

The bottom line is that choosing a dog bed should be done with care and thought – not just an eye for what will match the rest of your décor.

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