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Your dog is like a member of your family, and as such you probably want to provide him with every comfort. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you want him snuggling up on your bed at night and covering your quilt with hair. Many owners would rather give dogs their own beds so that they can sleep comfortably nearby. And here are just a few tips to help you choose the bed that’s going to serve your Fido or Fifi best.

Size and shape

Perhaps the main consideration for most pet owners is the size and shape of a dog bed. In terms of size, you’ll want a bed that your pet can fit on comfortably, and you may want to plan for future sizing if you have a breed that will grow considerably. If you’re not sure about size, simply measure your dog. As for shape, there are many options to consider, from flat mats in square, rectangular, round, or oval configurations to beds that are enclosed on all sides or even those that look like miniature couches. You’ll simply have to choose the one that best suits your pet’s sleeping style (some curl up while others spread out) and goes with your space and decor.

Covering

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The outer covering of your dog bed is important for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, you might want to choose a bed with a covering that is removable and machine washable since it will likely get matted with fur, dirt, dust, and god-knows what else. In addition, you’ll want an outer layer that is durable since your dog is sure to rough it up. This is especially important if you have dogs that like to chew since you obviously don’t want them to rip apart a bed the moment you throw it on the floor.

Filling

When it comes to what’s inside your dog bed you may want to pay attention. Consider what might happen if your dog tears a hole in his bed. He will likely pull out the innards. He could end up eating them (which could be dangerous for your pet), but he will almost certainly spread them all over the house. While you might like the idea of down or bean-like filling, it could end up being a lot messier than, say, foam or batting. And you should also consider what might be most comfortable for your poochy pal. Older dogs may need more padding or warmth, for example. But a dog with a heavy coat will probably prefer a bed that won’t make him hotter.

Location

The location of the bed could make a difference in what you decide to purchase. For example, some people allow their pets to sleep indoors while others house them in an outdoor enclosure such as a kennel, a shed, or a converted garage port. If your animal is outdoors much of the time, you might want to choose a bed made from materials that will hold heat, such as down. This could ensure that your animal remains warm at night (at least to some degree). Indoor beds, on the other hand, probably won’t require this feature.

Hazards

Let’s be honest: some dog beds seem more decorative than useful. Depending on the personality of your dog, this could pose a problem. If, for example, your dog likes to chew anything and everything, a bed covered in decorative embellishments could lead to digestive issues (if swallowed) or even choking hazards (if inhaled). For this reason you should look for beds made from sturdy and non-toxic materials.

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