Types Of Dog Beds

As a dog owner, shopping for a dog bed is one of those things you simply cannot avoid. If you have already started your search for the perfect pooch bed then you know how difficult it can be to choose from all the options available. One way to make life easier for you is by understanding the different types of dog beds available on the market in terms of design and what they offer.

Let us take a closer look at 19 of these dog bed designs, including some types you might not even know to exist, such as novel design dog beds, hard dog beds, and rattan-style dog beds.

19. Novelty Dog Bed

We recommend: Kolachic Princess Pink Strawberry Pet Dog Bed House

Dog beds do not have to be plain rectangles or circles. This is way too boring! Switch things up a little by going for a novel dog bed design. Your dog may not really notice or even care as long as the bed is comfortable. However, they are always a nice statement piece which is a great way for you to get something out of it too.

Aesthetics are very important in this case. There are no rules here. Just choose what you like and what you think fits in with your room’s aesthetics, your dog’s personality, and your personal preferences.

However, you still have to keep the dog’s comfort in mind when making your decision. It doesn’t make sense to have the cutest dog bed on the planet if your dog will be uncomfortable while sleeping in it.

Make sure that you only settle for high-quality mattresses based on your dog’s specific needs. Also, ensure that you get the size right, so your dog has enough room.

With all that covered, you can get anything you want, from shoe-shaped dog beds to designs fashioned to look like miniature versions of human beds.

18. Hard Dog Bed

We recommend: Petface Plastic Dog Bed

Technically speaking, this is also more of a dog bed frame than an actual dog bed. It is used together with mattresses, pads, or even smaller dog beds that may fit into the frame.

The point is to offer support both from the sides and the bottom. This comes in handy if you are shopping for a dog with orthopedic issues where support is always welcome. They are also great for very young puppies who need a bit more structure with their dog beds to avoid falling off. 

The material used to make the hard dog bed is the most important factor to consider when making your decision. One option that you have is plastic. These dog beds usually last very long and can withstand anything from scratching to water.

Hard dog beds are also usually used together with mattresses or smaller dog beds that fit in the hard frame. These almost always need to be used together with a mattress or a pad.

You could also go with vinyl hard dog beds. These can actually be used on their own as they sometimes have a thick padding of their own. However, you may have to invest in a thin mat, or a dog blanket as the vinyl can be cold and uncomfortable for the dog to spend too much time on.

17. Donut Dog Bed

We recommend: Best Friends by Sheri The Original Calming Donut Cat and Dog Bed

This is another dog bed design that is commonly mistaken for other designs, specifically the nest dog bed and bolster dog beds. We will get to those in a bit.

The donut dog bed is different in many ways from these two and is not meant for any particular purpose other than offering maximum comfort for your pooch.

The donut dog bed generally comes in the shape of a circle, but there are a few wild card designs out there that may incorporate shapes like squares or even hexagons. The important defining feature is that the edges tend to be slightly more raised than the middle part where the dog sleeps.

These raised, comfortable walls serve as a bolster for your pooch to rest its head.

Donut dog beds are different from the bolster dog bed design where the former has high, padded walls on all sides, while the latter does not form a complete wall around the perimeter of the bed, leaving some sides open.

They also differ from nest dog beds where the middle part is deeper, and the walls are super thin.

It is crucial that you really do your research on sizing when considering one of these beds. Make sure to take into account the area that the walls will occupy when making your purchase.

The goal is to get a dog bed that your dog will fit in comfortably and enjoy whether curled up or stretched out.

16. Bolster Dog Beds

We recommend: PetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed

Bolster dog beds are easily among the most popular dog beds out there. These dog beds are designed to offer the perfect combination of comfort, security, and support. They are therefore ideal for all types of dogs.

However, if your dog has back problems and needs to sleep flat then this may not be the dog bed design for you.

The defining feature of a bolster dog bed is the raised walls around the edges, but unlike the donut dog bed, they do not cover all sides of the dog bed. The subtle design of the bolster dog bed makes them ideal for dogs that may have a hard time getting on and off the walled donut dog bed.

These walls are usually thickly padded with either the same material as the mattress or something softer and more yielding. It makes the walls perfect for resting the dog’s head on for a good nap.

The bolstered ends can also serve as a built-in pillow for your dog to snuggle up onto for comfort. They are also great for dogs that may suffer from anxiety where dog designs with more coverage like the cave dog bed may be a bit too much.

When choosing a bolstered dog bed, you basically have two main options

 One is to have a dog bed where there are 3 walls and one open side for access. These are awesome for young puppies and dogs with anxiety.

You could also go for a bolstered dog bed with only two bolstered ends. These are great for larger dogs as they offer more stretching room and easier access on and off the dog bed.

15. Nesting Dog Bed

We recommend: MidWest Quiet Time e’Sensuals Orthopedic Nesting Bed

Nesting dog beds are very similar to bolstered and donut dog beds. The idea is generally the same where the bed features high walls surrounding a hollowed-out center where the dog will sleep.

What sets the nesting dog bed apart is the fact that the walls are usually high and thin. They may either be thinly padded or may have hard materials like plastic sewn in for support. This design means that these walls are not meant to serve as pillows.

Instead, the nesting dog bed creates a sort of walled-off feeling without completely covering the dog.

This design is ideal for dogs with anxiety. It is also great for very young puppies that need protection so they do not fall off the dog bed as they sleep.

When shopping for a nesting dog bed, one of the most important factors to consider is the size. Specifically, take a look at the internal dimensions which is where the dog or the puppies will be sleeping.

The nesting dog bed can feel a little claustrophobia-inducing, so you want to ensure that you get one that is large and comfortable enough for your specific doggies.

14. Orthopedic Dog Beds

We recommend: PETLIBRO Orthopedic Dog Bed

These are probably the most commonly found dog beds out there.

Technically speaking, the orthopedic dog bed design is more about the mattress and support offered and not the actual dimensions and cuts. This means you can have a bolstered or even a cave dog bed with an orthopedic mattress which makes it an orthopedic dog bed.

The most important thing about an orthopedic dog bed is that it should offer a balance between softness and support. If it is too firm, then your dog will not be comfortable. If it is too yielding, then their orthopedic woes may be intensified.

That is why most high-quality orthopedic dog beds have mattresses with multiple layers, including a firm support layer and softer ones like latex, gel, springs, or memory foam.

This design is ideal for dogs that are suffering from orthopedic disorders. This could be back pain due to old age or conditions of the spine. It could also be due to arthritis and other joint issues. However, this does not mean that you cannot use an orthopedic dog bed on a healthy pooch.

In fact, if you know your specific dog’s breed is prone to musculoskeletal issues then it is best to just get an orthopedic bed presumptively. This is a way to prevent or slow down the progress of these issues.

13. Memory Foam Dog Beds

We recommend: Barkbox 2-in-1 Memory Foam Dog Bolster Bed

If you have been shopping for dog beds for a while, then you have probably noticed that memory foam and orthopedic descriptions often go hand in hand with many dog bed brands. This is because memory foam is usually present as a layer on orthopedic beds. However, they do not offer the same support while used on their own.

The memory foam dog bed is known for its ability to conform to the dog’s weight and body contours. This offers what can best be described as custom comfort. Unfortunately, these dog beds rarely have a supportive layer which makes them not ideal for dogs with serious orthopedic conditions. They also tend to retain a lot of heat and may not be comfortable for dogs with inflammatory conditions.

Memory foam beds, however, are ideal for all other dogs as they offer a nice and soft feeling, especially when combined with lush dog bed linings. They are particularly awesome for puppies as the sensations feel very similar to their mother’s soft bodies, which can be a very comforting thing. Designed for comfort, conforms to the dog’s weight and body contours.

For full value for your money, make sure you only settle on memory foam dog beds that have high-quality materials whether it is traditional foam, gel, or even plant-based memory foam. It is also best to go with thick and medium-density memory foam for support that even dogs without orthopedic conditions will need.

12. Latex Dog Beds

We recommend: Pet Support Systems Certified Organic Latex Orthopedic Pet Bed

Latex dog beds combine the best of memory foam and orthopedic mattresses for a truly comfortable and supportive dog bed. The mattresses on these beds are made either from natural latex, synthetic latex, or a blend of the two.

Natural latex offers the advantage of longevity. However, it may have a bit of a rubbery smell to it.

There is also the risk of sensitivity reaction in case you or your dog are allergic to latex. Synthetic latex, on the other hand, is just as comfortable and flexible without the issues that natural latex comes with. However, they do not last as long, especially with consistent use.

Latex stands out from memory foam in that it is more supportive and has a cooling effect. This makes them ideal for dogs with orthopedic issues where there may be inflammation involved like in arthritis. The cooling helps relieve some of the discomforts, in addition to the support offered by the dog bed.

Unfortunately, latex dog beds are not very many so you may not have as much variety to choose from. They also tend to be pricier in some cases. However, they are totally worth it.

11. Elevated Dog Cot

We recommend: K&H PET PRODUCTS Original Bolster Pet Cot Elevated Pet Bed

At first glance, you would be forgiven for confusing an elevated dog cot for a really small trampoline. This is because they have the same general aesthetic with a raised four-legged square, circular, or rectangular frame, and a tightly stretched fabric center.

These dog cots are designed for setup outdoors, thereby offering your dog a pleasant and safe place to lounge or take a nap when they are all tuckered out from playing in your yard. They are raised as a way to protect both the dog and the bed from things like moisture on the ground and pests.

The elevation also makes these dog cots cooler by allowing airflow. This will come in very handy on those hot days outdoors. In addition to the elevation, the coolness and breathability are sometimes also facilitated by mesh designs on the stretched fabric part of the cot.

Some elevated dog cots come with a canopy, while others have a thinly padded cot resting base. These are all awesome bonus features meant to make the dog bed more comfortable for the dog as they take their nap outside.

10. Mat Pad

We recommend: SIWA MARY Dog Bed Mat Soft Crate Pad

As the name suggests, the mat pad is a type of dog bed that is quite literally just a thin, often rectangular mat.

Some designs feature thin padding, which is great as it makes them more comfortable, especially if set up on hard floors. However, if you want a mat pad to use on your bed or couch then a thin, unpadded mat may work just as well. They are also great for use with dog crates where they line the floor for a more comfortable base.

A very important feature to consider when choosing one of these is the type of material used. This is literally what makes the entire dog bed and cannot be anything short of great quality.

Plush or fleece types of mat pads are popular as they make the otherwise minimalistic dog beds very comfortable for the pooch. They are also particularly useful when set up on the floor as they keep the dog nice and warm.

It is also best to go with dog mat pads that have an anti-slip floor grip. This will reduce the chances of your dog getting hurt as a result of slipping and falling when they get on or off the mat in excitement.

9. Inflatable Dog Bed

We recommend: Idepet Dog Bed, Inflatable Dog Sleeping Mat

Inflatable dog beds are a fantastic option for dog owners who travel a lot with their dogs. Instead of packing the bulkier alternatives, you can simply roll up the deflated dog bed and inflated it whenever you need it.

Inflatable dog beds are also very useful for dogs that have orthopedic issues. Air is a great source of support for these dogs. The best part is you can regulate the stiffness by letting some air out.

These inflatable dog beds also usually have a soft lining that may be fleece or plush. This offers additional comfort to the doggy with back and joint issues.

Inflatable dog beds have one serious shortcoming. They can be very easily damaged by clawing or biting. The best way to prevent this from happening is by getting an inflatable dog bed made from high-quality material and with scratch-resistant linings. Even then, there is still the possibility of damage, but it is a much lower risk.

Another way to protect your investment is to ensure you only buy this dog bed if you know your dog is not the kind to get destructive and bite or scratch at things when frustrated. If you have an aggressive dog breed then this may not be the best option for you.

8. Roll Up Dog Bed

We recommend: Kurgo Wander Dog Travel Bed

In a lot of ways, the roll-up dog bed is very similar to other minimalist designs like the mat pad. It is usually a large, rectangular piece that may be slightly stuffed for comfort.

Roll-up dog beds, like mat pads, can be used indoors to line crates or on your bed for a place where the dog can sleep comfortably. However, their roll-up design makes them better suited as an investment for outdoor use.

These dog beds usually feature straps and buckles that make it easy for you to secure the roll-up parcel for easy storage or transport. Once you have found a place to set up you just unroll it and your dog can hop on. They are great for picnics and camping trips.

The material used to make the roll-up dog bed needs to be of great quality and preferably weather-resistant as it will be used outdoors. Polyester and nylon are great options.

It is also important to consider the dimensions both when rolled up and when unrolled. The roll-up dog bed should be large and comfortable enough when open for the dog but compact enough for convenient carrying when packed.

7. Backpacking Dog Bed

We recommend: Outrav Dog Sleeping Bag – Camping Dog Bed

There are few things as fun as spending outdoor time with your favorite furry best friends. Camping can be especially fun and gives the dog the opportunity to enjoy themselves without too much of a rush to get back home. The biggest issue is usually finding a place that is warm and safe for them to sleep. That is where backpacking dog beds come in handy.

The backpacking dog bed is very similar to the roll-up dog bed in terms of portability and outdoor applications.

However, the backpacking design has more of a sleeping bag style to it with an open layer between two layers of fabric for the dog to tuck themselves comfortably into.

Considering the outdoor applications, it is best to go with a backpacking dog bed that is weatherproof. This includes waterproof layers to protect from ground moisture and rain as well as soft and warm linings to protect the dog from the cold weather.

You also need to consider whether you want the cozy slip-in design with only the opening at the top end or a zipper-style dog bed that offers easy access from the side.

6. Cooling Dog Bed And Pad

We recommend: Arf Pets Pet Dog Self Cooling Mat Pad

Dogs generate a lot of heat when they are asleep as long as they are healthy and in a generally warm room. This can be a bit uncomfortable for them, especially if they are suffering from health issues that cause inflammation. A great example of these are conditions like back pain and arthritis.

In these cases, the dog needs a cool surface to lay on as a way to help ease some of their discomforts. That is where cooling dog beds and dog pads come in handy. They can either exert their cooling effect actively or passively.

Passive options include dog beds with latex mattresses or those with mesh bases and breathable material for increased airflow. It could also be a simple gel mat with the same effects. These offer just a few hours of cooling and are great if the dog does not need that much support in terms of temperature regulation.

You could also go for active cooling options, which usually come in the form of electric cooling pads. These allow you to regulate the temperature and offer cooling for much longer. However, their prolonged use is not always advisable as it may eventually lower the dog’s body temperature and make the bed uncomfortable and unappealing to them.

5. Self-Warming Dog Bed

We recommend: Furhaven Pet ThermaNAP Self-Warming Quilted Self-warming Bed

Self-warming dog beds do the exact opposite of what cooling ones do and have an entirely different set of applications. These dog beds are ideal in situations where the dog may need a bit of help keeping warm.

This includes newborn puppies, especially if they are orphaned or abandoned rescues. You could also use them on sick dogs, especially those with conditions like hypothyroidism and others that interfere with their ability to generate heat to keep themselves warm.

Finally, you could use a self-warming bed for healthy dogs during very cold weather, especially with outdoor kennel setups.

As with the cooling pads and dog beds, the warming effect may either be passive or active. Passive alternatives include the use of heat-retaining materials like fleece. It could also be through mattresses like memory foam which is also known to retain heat.

Active warming, on the other hand, is through electric pads. In this case, it is absolutely crucial that the dog bed or at least the linings be waterproof for the dog’s safety. These actively heating dog beds are perfect for helping warm up sick dogs during brutal winters.

4. Vehicle Dog Bed

We recommend: Honest Dog Car Seat Covers with Side Flap

If you are taking a long road trip with your dog, you have to invest in vehicle dog beds as a way to make their journey more enjoyable and comfortable. Here, you mainly have two options in terms of general designs.

The first is hammock dog car beds. These are designed to be set up in the back seat and are attached to the front seats to create a hammock for the pooch to lay on. They do a great job of expanding the backseat space, making them awesome if you have a large dog or are traveling with multiple dogs.

The hammock design also acts as a barrier to prevent the excited pooch from wandering into the front cabin and distracting the driver.

The second design you may find is the bucket seat or dog car booster dog bed design. These have a very similar design to the nesting dog bed, with a hollowed-out middle and raised edges. The difference is that this design of the vehicle dog bed is a bit more firm and often includes attachments for seatbelt connection to keep the doggy safe.

3. Rattan Dog Bed

We recommend: Iconic Pet Rectangular Rattan

Dog beds can be a bit of an eyesore and have a way of stealing the show, and not in a flattering way. If you want a dog bed that actually complements the aesthetic of your space then the rattan dog bed is definitely worth considering.

Technically speaking, the rattan dog bed is more of a bed frame design with a detachable mattress. The frame has a beautiful wicker woven design which gives them a nice, muted but beautiful aesthetic. They are particularly awesome for setup in outdoor spaces but can fit in just as well indoors.

Take your time looking into the specifics of the materials used to make the wicker part of the rattan dog bed. It may be natural materials like wood or reeds, which are usually more beautiful but are also high maintenance.

The other option is synthetic materials painted to look like wood in which case you get to enjoy benefits like weather resistance and durability.

It is also important to take the dimensions into consideration. This includes the dimensions of the mattress in order to determine whether or not the bed will be a comfortable fit for your dog. It also includes dimensions of the actual bed to ensure that you actually get something that you have space for in your home.

2. Covered Dog Bed

We recommend: Furhaven Pet – Plush Ergonomic Dog Bed

Some people mistakenly interchange the terms cave bed and cover dog bed. These dog beds are two completely different designs with very different purposes.

The cover dog bed has a simple base mattress or pad and a built-in blanket that acts as the cover.

This design makes the cover dog bed ideal both for use as a calming dog bed and during really cold weather where you want your dog warm and safe.

Of note about the cover bed design is that the blanket attachment only partially covers the bed. This leaves room for the dog to poke out for fresh air or to look around, especially when they are just lounging and not actually sleeping. This works especially well with circular bed designs where the blanket reaches half of the circle, and the rest is out in the open.

One very important factor to consider is the quality of the material used for the cover and the inner lining. With warmth and comfort being among the most important purposes of this bed design, this is a feature you cannot afford to compromise on.

The best cover dog beds have the blanket and inner lining made from soft and warm but still breathable materials like fleece or plush polyester.

1. Cave Dog Bed

We recommend: Pet Tent Soft Bed for Dog and Cat by Best Pet Supplies

Most people think that it is only cats that love to hide in cozy spots. However, some dogs also enjoy the warmth, privacy, and security that enclosed spaces can offer. That is why cave dog beds are such a hit, especially for dogs that suffer from anxiety and phobias.

Cave dog beds are simply dog beds with a firm cover. They are designed to look like a tent, with some brands actually having the teepee tent silhouette.

When shopping for a cave dog bed, there are several important considerations to make.

The first is the comfort features. Remember that this dog bed is meant to be a safe and calming space for your pooch. This means it must be cozy enough for them to actually want to use it. Some of the important features a food cave dog bed should have included a thick base and side padding as well as soft material lining, especially on the inside.

You also have to ensure that you get a cave dog bed with a wide enough opening for access in and out. Some have flaps that you could use to cover the opening once the dog is inside for even more privacy and comfort.

Related Questions

Do Dogs Really Like Dog Beds? Dogs really like dog beds. They love the warmth and the fact that these beds are usually more comfortable than the floor. Some dog bed designs also offer a sense of protection, as is the case with bolstered, cave, and nest dog beds. If your dog doesn’t like their bed, it is probably not offering these perks.

Do Dogs Prefer Hard Or Soft Beds? Dogs are like Goldilocks and prefer beds that are neither too hard nor too soft. A perfect balance between yield and support is the secret to maximum comfort, whether or not your dog has orthopedic problems. Some awesome options that offer this are latex, orthopedic, and medium to high-density memory foam dog beds.

How Many Dog Beds Should A Dog Have? The ideal number of dog beds you should have is 2 per dog if you have a 2-story house or 1 if it is a single-story home. If you can afford more dog beds, then go all out and get one for every room that the dog has access to.

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Pete Decker