You need to take extra care when choosing a large dog bed, as the wrong choice can be uncomfortable for your big-limbed companion. In this article, editor James Hall lists the best dog beds for large dogs to help you make the right choice.
Are you looking for a new bed for your large dog? If so, you might be finding it difficult to pick one that's comfortable, supportive and available for a reasonable price.
While there are plenty of dog beds on the market, most aren't designed for big dogs. Aside from size, larger breeds require more support for their joints and limbs. Many poor-quality products simply don't provide enough support for heavy dogs, which can lead to joint pain and disturbed sleep.
The good news is that choosing a large dog bed doesn't need to be confusing. In this article, my goal is to help you choose a bed that meets all your pet's requirements.
The first section is about how to find the ideal bed for your dog. It includes tips on sizing, sleeping positions and durability.
Once you know what to look for, I've listed my 5 best dog beds for big breeds. Each of these provides excellent support and great value - so I think your dog will love them. Let's get started!
The key factors when choosing any dog bed are durability, easy-to-clean design and comfort for your dog. But what are the specific features to look for when buying for a big breed?
Choosing the right size is important when buying a dog bed for a large breed. Ideally, your dog should be able to sleep in any position on the bed - including fully stretched out. He may never sleep like that, but at least he has the option! To get an idea of how big a bed needs to be, take a look at our sizing guide on the best dog bed page.
Sizing is easier when buying a simple rectangular mattress, but becomes more difficult if buying a nest or sofa bed. Keep in mind that the sleeping surface of these products is much smaller than the total dimensions.
Most large dogs are also heavy, which means the mattress must be capable of supporting their weight. In other words, the bed mustn't allow your pet to touch the floor through the mattress, as this can create pressure points (plus it's just uncomfortable!)
The support provided by a bed depends on the type of material used. Orthopedic dog beds, which are designed to spread weight evenly to prevent joint pain, are usually made from foam. Cheaper beds often have a polyester filling, which is likely to be less supportive.
Aside from being heavier, bigger dogs tend to sleep for longer periods, so preventing pressure points is vital.
Just like mattresses for people, there are two main factors when it comes to comfort: cushioning and temperature.
Cushioning is a vital part of a dog bed. For foam beds with multiple layers, the top layer is often softer to make it more comfortable to sleep on. Polyester mattresses usually come with plenty of padding, although it's important to make sure these beds provide support for your dog's weight.
Keep in mind that what's attractive to a dog varies depending on his personality. Some dogs like doughnut beds or other raised cushions to snuggle into and feel secure. Others like having space to stretch out. You know your dog better than anyone, so try to match the cushioning to your pet's preferences.
Then there's temperature. Most dogs like a comfortable, cushioned bed, but this can cause them to overheat. Overheating can also be a problem for memory foam beds, as this type of material often doesn't have ventilation. The coolest option is an elevated bed for large dogs, as this allows airflow underneath the sleeping surface.
Most big dog beds are too large to fit into a standard washing machine, which can make them difficult to clean. For this reason, I recommend getting a bed with a removable cover. Dog beds can get dirty very quickly, so the cover should be easy to remove and durable enough to withstand repeated washing. Regular washing is also vital for getting rid of parasites such as fleas.
Some of the best large dog beds come with a waterproof internal liner to protect the mattress. This is especially important if your dog isn't house trained or has difficulty controlling his bladder.
I touched on this briefly in the section about comfort, but your dog's preferred sleeping position is something to keep in mind when buying a bed.
Most dogs vary their sleeping position, but they often have a preferred way to nap. If your dog loves to stretch out, a rectangular bed is probably the best choice. These don't have sides, so provide plenty of space. If your dog likes to sleep against a wall, a bed with stiff bolsters can be a good choice. And for dogs that enjoy sleeping with a pillow, a nest or doughnut bed is often the perfect option (although these may not be big enough for large dogs).
This last point is more for you than your doggy companion!
Large dog beds can be pricey, so it's important to make sure you're getting value for money. This doesn't necessarily mean choosing the cheapest option though, as these beds usually don't last long (especially if your dog chews or digs) and fail to provide the support a heavy dog requires. You may want to take a look at our page about indestructible dog beds if your pet is a heavy chewer.
It's also a good idea to look for a product with a long warranty or guarantee. The best orthopedic beds for large dogs, for example, often have a "no sag" guarantee. This is vital for heavy dogs, as poor-quality options may develop a permanent dent.
On a side note, check whether a bed manufacturer sells replacement covers. These often need replacing much more often than the mattress.
Now you know what to look for in a dog bed for large dogs, it's time for the top picks. Each of these beds is designed to handle large dogs, which means they provide excellent support and a comfortable place to sleep. They vary on price, but I think they all provide great value for money.
|Image||Name||Best for...||Price Range||View Price|
|Big Barker Orthopedic Dog Bed||Almost any big dog will love the Big Barker, but dogs with severe joint pain may prefer a memory foam bed||$$$$$||View Price|
|Coolaroo Elevated Dog Bed||Great for dogs that overheat, but not as comfortable or suitable for pets with joint issues||$||View Price|
|DogBed4Less Orthopedic Dog Bed||An excellent rectangular bed that allows your dog to fully stretch out. Memory foam is great for joint pain.||$$$$||View Price|
|DogBed4Less Premium Dog Bed Pillow||Outstanding comfort and cheaper than pure memory foam - although the shredded foam doesn't provide as much support||$$$||View Price|
|Beasley's Couch Bed||Great bed for medium-large breeds that like to sleep against a wall||$$$$||View Price|
When it comes to dog beds for large breeds, the Big Barker is the king. It's not cheap, but if you need a bed that provides excellent support for your big dog - especially if he has joint pain - then it's my top recommendation. The 60" version is also a "true" extra large dog bed.
Let's start with the basics. The Big Barker is an orthopedic dog bed, which means it's designed to spread your pet's weight evenly rather than creating pressure points. It's 7" thick (with a combination of support and comfort layers) so it provides plenty of support for even the largest dogs. As a bonus, there's a headrest on one edge which is great if your dog likes a pillow (there's a version without this too).
The strength of the foam is what really makes this bed perfect for large breeds. Unlike beds for smaller dogs, the Big Barker is soft enough to be comfortable without sinking too far in. This is vital - especially if your dog has joint pain.
One of the great things about the Big Barker is that it comes with a 10 year "no sag" guarantee. The manufacturer will replace the bed if the foam loses more than 10% of its loft and shape at any point during the next 10 years. This is important for any owner, but especially if your dog is a large and heavy breed.
To increase the comfort of the bed, the external cover is soft and enjoyable for your dog to sleep on. It also has a zip for easy removal. I would like to see an internal waterproof liner with the bed though, as this isn't included (you can purchase one separately). Despite this, it's still my top pick - and also the best orthopedic bed for large dogs. Check out my full Big Barker dog bed review for more information.
Quick Summary: The Big Barker 7" is my #1 pick for a dog bed for large breeds. The foam is perfect for providing comfortable support, while the 10 year "no sag" guarantee goes a long way to justifying the high price. The only downside is the lack of a waterproof liner.
Moving away from foam beds, I think the Coolaroo is the best elevated dog bed for large dogs. If your dog overheats, it could be an excellent option.
The purpose of an elevated bed is to provide a cool place for your dog to sleep. The 7" floor clearance of the Coolaroo provides ample room for air to flow around the bed. It's also not too high for your pet to comfortably climb onto.
The fabric is designed to be highly breathable and UV resistant. It can also resist mold, mites, fleas and mildew, making the bed suitable for use outdoors. While the cover can't be removed, it's easy to wash using a hose as you don't need to worry about drying a mattress.
The sleeping surface isn't as plush or comfortable as other beds on this list, however, so I don't recommend it for dogs with joint problems (an orthopedic bed is the better choice).
With a X-Large size of nearly 60" in length, the Coolaroo is also big enough for almost any dog to stretch out on. So if you're looking for a cooling big dog bed that doesn't cost a lot of money, it's one of the best choices.
Quick Summary: The Coolaroo is a great choice if your dog often overheats - especially considering the low price. It's also the most durable bed on this list, which could be useful if your dog likes to chew, bite or dig his bed.
One of my favorite all-round dog beds is the DogBed4Less Memory Foam Orthopedic. With the Jumbo size being 55"x47", it's also a great option for bigger breeds.
The DogBed4Less is the only true memory foam option on this list. Memory foam responds to heat, which allows it to mould around your dog to create a comfortable and supportive sleeping surface. Once your dog leaves the bed, the material cools and returns to its original position. Memory foam is comfortable for all dogs, but is great for those with joint pain or arthritis.
As this bed is made from a single layer, it's likely to be more durable than options with multiple layers of foam. A single layer can sometimes reduce support, but DogBed4Less has counteracted this by using high-density foam. In fact, the memory foam is 5 times denser than foam found on regular dog beds, so it can support your dog without flattening over time. The filling also hypo-allergenic and can resist dust mites - which is a bonus!
There are two covers included with the product. The inner layer is a waterproof liner that protects the foam from any accidents. The outer cover is made from soft denim and can be easily removed for washing. The 2-cover design one of the best features of the bed, in my opinion, as a single accident could ruin the expensive memory foam without the inner liner!
One thing to note is that this product only comes with a 2 year limited warranty for the memory foam. While the foam is decent quality and won't sag quickly, don't expect it to last 10 years like the Big Barker. The flip-side is that it's also considerably cheaper.
Quick Summary: This is an excellent bed for dogs with joint problems, as the memory foam provides great support. The two-cover design also protects the bed and makes it easy to keep clean. While the foam is thinner than the Big Barker, the high density means your dog still gets plenty of support.
I've already included the excellent DogBed4Less Memory Foam on this list, but a cheaper alternative from the same company is the Premium Pillow. With sizes up to 55"x47" and an overstuffed design, this is a bed that's great for large dogs that like to lounge - although if your dog has joint problems the Memory Foam bed is the better option.
The biggest difference between this product and the Orthopedic Memory Foam is the filling. Instead of a single slab of memory foam, this bed comes with a mixture of shredded memory foam and standard polyurethane. The result is a comfortable and cheaper bed, but without the even weight distribution of a true memory foam filling.
Aside from shredded interior, the bed uses the same two-cover design as the other DogBed4Less. The waterproof internal cover is made from Taffeta fabric, while the outer comfort cover is micro-suede. The outer cover has a zipper for easy removal when you need to wash it.
So if this bed doesn't provide the same support, why buy it? Aside from the cheaper price, the Premium Pillow's shredded foam interior is much more breathable. This allows for greater air circulation to prevent the overheating problems associated with standard memory foam. The internal cover also has two sides, with the bottom being breathable to allow for greater airflow. If your dog overheats (and doesn't have joint problems), but you still want the comfort of a memory foam bed, the Premium Pillow could be a good option.
One of the great things about this bed is that it doesn't flatten easily - even if with heavy breeds (although the manufacturer only recommends dogs up to 140lbs). The cover is also durable enough to withstand repeated washes, although it may not last long if your dog is a heavy chewer.
Quick Summary: If you want some of the comfort of a memory foam canine bed but on a tight budget, the Premium Pillow could be a good choice. It doesn't provide the same level of support, so isn't suitable for dogs with joint pain, but provides outstanding comfort. It's also cooler than a regular memory foam bed.
For the last product on this list, I wanted to include a sofa/bolster-style option. I'm a fan of the cozy Beasley's Couch Bed, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out there is a new "Extra Large" option with 54"x34" design.
Considering the bolsters are big, however, I don't recommend it for giant breeds as the internal sleeping surface is too small. For medium/large dogs that like to sleep against something it's a great choice though.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let's take a closer look at the bed. The first things that stand out are the overstuffed bolsters on three sides. These are great for your dog to lounge against and are strong enough to not flop over.
The bolsters are filled with the company's Hypro-Loft poly fill, which is a combination of recycled and new fibres. Unlike bolsters on cheaper beds, these are designed to retain their loft even if your dog likes to lay on them a lot. The bottom is only 3" thick, however, which is another reason why I don't recommend this bed for the biggest dogs. It's also not suitable for dogs with joint pain.
A downside to the Beasley's Couch Bed is that it's fiddlier to wash than other options. All the internal stuffing can be removed to wash the covers, but it's not as easy as other beds on this list. If your dog loves nest/bolster beds, however, it'll be worth the extra trouble.
Every dog deserves a comfortable and supportive bed - but for large breeds the right product is even more important. It's vital to choose a bed that's the right size and provides enough support, otherwise your pet may suffer from joint pain and disturbed sleep.
My top recommendation for a large dog bed is the excellent Big Barker. The three layers of foam, 7" total depth and one-sided bolster make it difficult to beat - especially as the foam density is calibrated specifically for large dogs. If you're looking for an elevated bed for a large dog, the Coolaroo is also a good choice.
Do you have any questions about choosing the best dog beds for large dogs? Or do you think I've missed a bed that should be on this page? Let me know!