You may think that all dog beds are the same, but they certainly are not. If you have a pup who struggles with anxiety, replacing their current bed might be just the thing to help them get through their days with less nervousness.
This article discusses your dog’s need for a bed, the best kind to get, and ways to help them (and you) achieve a good night’s sleep.
Does My Dog Need Their Own Bed?
You love your dog and, understandably, you might want to cuddle in bed with them. To make it even more of a challenge, they would likely prefer to do the same. This, however, is not advisable -- especially if your dog is prone to separation anxiety. If you allow them to have every opportunity to be close to you, it will only make their issues of codependency worse. You will be giving them more independence by training them to sleep in their own bed.
Another reason to keep them out of your bed is for your own sake. Dogs are not considerate about leaving space for you to sleep. They will change positions, push against you and cause you to have a restless night. You may, at least subconsciously, come to resent them for causing a sleepless night or regret your decision to allow them to sleep with you in the first place.
Your dog’s nocturnal activities may cause you to become exasperated and kick them out of the bed (but hopefully not literally). This may be a seemingly good temporary solution, but it can be confusing for your dog. If you allow them to sleep in your bed, but then decide that it’s time for them to relocate, it will send mixed messages. Your dog will not understand that they inadvertently caused you some inconvenience, and for a dog already suffering from anxiety, this could compound the symptoms.
Instead of banishing them from your bed chambers, you may decide to vacate the bed yourself and perhaps take refuge on the couch. This situation is not ideal either. If your dog, who already suffers from separation anxiety, wakes up and finds that you are missing, they will start to get stressed, whine, bark, and go searching for you. Not only that, but do you want to spend your nights on the couch? All of this can be avoided by acclimating your pup to a sleeping area separate from your own.
Their bed, though, should not be an uncomfortable or undesirable place -- nor does it have to be! It will be much easier to get them to sleep there if it is a more inviting space. There are ways to convince them that sleeping in their bed is a great way to spend their nights.
Can they Sleep on the Floor?
It is not advisable to let your dog sleep on the floor -- especially if they have issues with anxiety. Creating that “safe space” is essential to help relieve symptoms of anxiety. Besides that, the floor is just uncomfortable. Would you want to sleep there? If you have a large dog, they can be prone to hip and joint issues as they age, so having a soft place to lie down will greatly help if/when they begin to experience pain or stiffness.
Like humans, some dogs experience joint pain more acutely during the colder winter months. During this time, the floor is the coldest place to be (especially if you have hardwood flooring). A warm bed will help soothe any aches and pains, as well as alleviate anxiety.
What’s the Difference Between a Regular Dog Bed and an Anti-Anxiety Dog Bed?
Dog beds come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and styles from simple mats to raised cot beds to soft pillows. Each of these has its function and purpose and meets the specific needs of every type and size of each dog. Raised cots provide better airflow in warmer environments, heated mats are for dogs in colder climates and/or for those that suffer from arthritis or other joint-related issues, and calming beds, of course, are made especially for dogs with anxiety issues.
A calming dog bed can be like giving a dog a warm hug. It is intended to envelop, comfort, and help your dog feel safer and more secure. Calming dog beds typically have material like faux fur and are soft and fluffy. Most styles are donut-shaped with a soft center and bolstered sides so the dog sinks into the bed. It can be compared to a bean bag or memory foam mattress that conforms to your body as weight is placed on it. Many dogs like to burrow into blankets and pillows, so this type of bed caters to those tendencies. This feature is what gives these beds the feeling of security that your dog needs.
So, Which Anti-Anxiety Dog Bed Is the Best?
Great question! Even within the realm of the calming dog bed, there is a variety from which to choose. Amazon, of course, is the most popular online shopping site, and as of today, the #1 seller in the category of Dog Beds is Bedsure Calming Dog Beds for Small Medium Large Dogs - Round Donut Washable Dog Bed. It was also picked by People as the best calming dog bed for medium dogs. On Amazon, Bedsure has six different beds in the top 50 in the dog bed category and the brand comes up second on Chewy.com.
Just the day before, however, Amazon’s #1 position was held by Best Friends by Sheri The Original Calming Donut Cat and Dog Bed. This brand is also the first one that comes up on Chewy.com, it is the top pick of Buyersguide.org, and People picked it as the best overall in their list of best calming dog beds for 2022.
Both beds are similar in style, and both have a 4.7 out of 5-star rating on Amazon. If you have a large dog, Best Friends by Sheri has the advantage. Their largest dog bed measures 54” x 54,” whereas Bedsure’s largest is only 45” x 45.” Best Friends by Sheri comes in 15 different colors and their larger sizes have a removable shell for machine washing. Both of these brands climb back and forth to the top spot, so you can't go wrong with either one.
Overall, Best Friends by Sheri, the Original Calming Dog Bed, Comes Out on Top
Calmingdog.com offers a great Calming Cuddle Bed as well. The largest size is 48” x 48”, so it is bigger than Bedsure’s largest size. It’s also offered in nine different colors. Calmingdog.com also offers Calming Inserts to go along with their beds. Various scents activate a calming sensation in your dog. They can be placed in a special pocket of the dog bed and used whenever you know of a potentially stressful situation or activity.
These beds are great, but they are all the same donut-style shape. That’s perfect if your dog likes to curl up when they sleep, and they will easily fit a small to medium-sized dog, but what if you have a large dog that tends to enjoy spreading out? It will most likely hang over the edges of the round bed, thus defeating the purpose of the design which is to envelope your dog snuggly.
Bedsure does not list their beds as having a removable cover and instructs to machine wash the entire bed. So, if you get one of the larger sizes and don’t have an industrial-size washing machine, you will have to go to the laundromat (it also comes in only five different colors).
What about the amount of room the bed requires? If you live in a small apartment, you may not have enough space for a large round dog bed, and it would be nearly impossible to find a place to neatly tuck it away. But don’t worry. There are options.
Do you have a large breed of dog? Maybe they like to spread out on the couch or floor when they sleep and hangs off the edge of traditional dog beds. If so, this next option may be perfect for them and you.
Calming Dog Bed Fluffy Plush Dog Mat by CHONGFA came up as the best calming dog bed on bestproductreveiws.com and is currently at #19 on Amazon's ranking for dog beds and #8 in Dog Bed Mats. The largest size is priced at $59.99, which isn’t bad compared to the ones previously mentioned.
Can be put away more easily when needed
Won’t take up a lot of room if you have limited space
Allows your dog to spread out if desired
It has raised edges and a curved design, so it still wraps around your dog on one side while allowing them to spread out and hang their feet off of the couch on the other side. If you have guests over and need the couch, this bed can simply be taken off the couch and put on the floor or bed in another room.
Some of the most popular anti-anxiety dog beds are also the most expensive. If you’re on a budget, try looking for a dog bed that has similar qualities to the ones mentioned. Costco has a cuddler dog bed and several that have curved designs and backs like miniature couches. Though they are not specifically labeled as “calming” beds, they are better options than a simple blanket or mat on the floor.
Ways To Reinforce the Calming Effects of the Bed
Now that you’ve chosen the perfect anti-anxiety dog bed, how do you get your dog to use it? All these beds are very soft and made with faux fur or fleece, so they are very inviting. If your dog doesn’t want to try it immediately, do not force them. Use things that put them at ease like a favorite toy or “comfort item.” These should be placed on the bed as an invitation. If they are in a new and unfamiliar environment and experiencing anxiety, you may want to give them some CBD or Hemp Oil or an all-natural calming treat 15 minutes before bedtime. Pet them until they fall asleep, but stay in the room for a while, so that if they wake up, they can be reassured that you’re still there.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, the same routine should be used before you have to leave. You could try leaving a radio or television turned on at a low volume since she’s used to hearing human voices in the house. This may give them some semblance of familiarity. You might assume that quiet equals peacefulness, but for a dog with anxiety, silence can be disquieting. Many people require a noise machine to get a good night’s sleep, and this can be true for certain dogs as well. The Calming Fountain Plus can be used not only as calming background noise but also encourages your dog to drink more water which has many health benefits.
Another factor to consider is the location of their bed. Be sure to house the bed in a low-traffic area of the home, like a bedroom, office or other relatively quiet space. They should be able to retreat there when they feel scared or anxious at unexpected moments, like during thunderstorms or celebrations that have fireworks nearby. No matter where you place the bed, make sure they always have access to their safe space.
Some dogs like to burrow under blankets and pillows, so giving them access to these types of items is a great idea. Take a look at the Calming Cuddle Blanket Plus. It would be a perfect companion item for your calming dog bed. They could have a pillowy sleeping surface beneath them and a soft comforting blanket to go over the top of them. The Cuddle Blanket is great for times when you must travel with your dog but don't have room to bring along their bed. It can become an extremely useful comfort item when going on trips.
You may not know which approaches work for your dog until you try them. Just be sure to try new methods in a controlled situation (i.e., while you’re still in the house) whenever possible; otherwise, you could come home to find evidence of some destructive behavior born out of a bout of anxiety.
Giving your dog their own bed is important, and because you’re reading this article, your dog is likely prone to anxiety. A calming dog bed would be great for any dog, but it is especially useful for a dog who needs extra comfort to feel safe and secure. That bed should offer relaxation and relief from stress. Best Friends by Sheri, The Original Calming Dog Bed, has proven to be that coveted bed.
Use other calming methods in companion with the bed to achieve the utmost benefits from this amazing product. Not only will your dog experience a more peaceful sleep, but you will too.