Even the spryest, most active pups start slowing down at some point. While that can be heartbreaking, at least you know you can make your dog’s golden years as comfortable as possible — even if he’s suffering from arthritis or other physical ailments. However, that can be easier said than done, and we’ve all had the experience of buying an expensive new dog bed only to watch your mutt sleep on the hard floor instead.
In the reviews below, we’ve examined some of the top dog beds on the market so you can find one that will keep your pooch nice and comfortable all day long. We looked at comfort, durability, breathability, and more, enabling you to find the perfect one for your senior citizen.
You can’t stop your dog from getting older — but with the right dog bed, at least you can prevent him from feeling so old.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 6 Best Dog Beds for Older Arthritic Dogs
1. Dogbed4less Memory Foam Dog Bed – Best Overall
Memory foam is one of the most forgiving and comfortable materials on the planet, so it makes sense that this option from Dogbed4less would be such a hit with animals. It provides cushioning and support where your pet needs it, and retains its shape extremely well, no matter how often it gets used.
The micro-suede cover is machine washable, so you don’t have to worry if he drools or gets other bodily fluids on it. You can simply toss it in the washing machine to bring it back to life. There’s a waterproof liner underneath it to prevent liquids from seeping into the foam as well.
It stays cool, making it a welcome refuge on hot summer days. The fabric even traps quite a few allergens (although that also means you should wash it frequently).
The biggest issue with the Dogbed4less Memory Foam is the zipper. It gets stuck frequently and is hard to operate, which can be extremely frustrating when you’re trying to take a pee-soaked cover off. Since that situation comes up infrequently (and doesn’t affect your dog’s enjoyment of the bed), we didn’t ding it too much for that flaw.
2. BarkBox Memory Foam Dog Bed – Best Value
Anyone who has ever watched their dog immediately destroy an expensive dog bed will understand the temptation to buy a bargain-basement option instead. Surprisingly enough, this BarkBox model is extremely inexpensive and incredibly comfortable, which is why we believe it’s the best dog bed for older, arthritic dogs for the money.
It’s available in a variety of sizes and colors, so you’re sure to find one you and your pooch both enjoy. Underneath the cover you’ll find a layer of gel memory foam that conforms to your dog’s body well, helping to gently support common pressure points like those in his hips and back.
Our only complaint is that the foam lining is on the thin side, especially when compared to the model from Dogbed4less above. However, that also makes it easier to stuff in a crate, so that may be a flaw that works in your favor.
BarkBox even throws in a free toy so that your dog has something to play with before he drifts off to dreamland. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value than this, but its relative lack of plushness is why it’s only our #2 pick.
The PetFusion Ultimate is more like a little dog sofa than a bed — but don’t worry, your pooch will love it just the same.
The extremely thick memory foam base is bolstered by cushions that run along the back and sides, giving your dog even more support. There’s plenty of room on it for a large dog, or several smaller pups can form a little dog puddle on it with room to spare.
It comes apart easily to be thrown in the washing machine, but it also takes well to spot cleaning, so you can touch up smaller messes without having to deal with doing laundry. It’s tear-resistant, and the non-skid bottom keeps it in place even on hardwood floors.
As you might expect given all that, it’s a bit pricier than other models. It’s also extremely heavy, so plan on picking a spot for it and leaving it there rather than moving it around the house.
The PetFusion Ultimate is a great dog bed, and your pup would be lucky to have it. That said, the beds above are just about as good and they cost much less, so this one slots in at #3 — for now.
4. Friends Forever Orthopedic Dog Bed
Like the PetFusion Ultimate, the Friends Forever Orthopedic has a soft, raised rail along the back and sides for extra support (and to keep your dog from rolling off as he chases rabbits in his sleep). There’s not as much room on this one, though, so giant breeds may feel a bit cramped.
The base is thick, as it’s filled with four inches of memory foam. This puts plenty of cushioning between your dog and the floor, but extremely small dogs may have a bit of an issue climbing onto it. The foam itself isn’t as dense as on some other models, though, so expect your mutt to sink a bit.
The exterior is machine washable, and the high-quality zippers make it easy to take it off and put it back on again. You shouldn’t need to wash it that often, though, as the cover doesn’t tend to attract hair or dirt.
The best way to summarize the Friends Forever Orthopedic is that it’s like a knock-off version of the PetFusion Ultimate. It has a similar design and a more competitive price — but it’s simply not as good, which is why it finds itself here.
5. KOPEKS Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed
The KOPEKS Orthopedic looks more like a futon than a regular bed — or perhaps a psychiatrist’s couch, so maybe it’s designed for therapy dogs (sorry). It’s incredibly thick at over 7 inches, and while that’s great for big dogs, you may have to give your Chihuahua a little help getting onto it.
While the foam is thick, it’s not terribly forgiving, and you’ll probably need to set a few blankets on it to make it more inviting.
The liner underneath the cover is allegedly waterproof, but we’re not sure if anyone told the liner about that, as liquids seep through if not quickly sopped up. If your dog has incontinence issues, you’ll either need to lay down plastic or find a better bed. The foam is prone to growing mold if you let moisture sit, so be sure to clean spills promptly.
The KOPEKS Orthopedic could be a good choice for giant breeds like Mastiffs, but you’ll likely need to make some alterations to convince yours to use it. As a result, it’s hard to recommend it over any of the beds listed above (especially since you might need to buy one of those to put on top of this one).
6. The Dog’s Bed Orthopedic Dog Bed
A name like “The Dog’s Bed” suggests that dogs designed it themselves, and if that’s the case, we have to wonder why they didn’t give themselves more cushioning.
There’s not much to this bed; it’s simply a rectangular slab with two inches of memory foam and another two inches of regular foam inside.
One question we immediately had is why the dogs didn’t use one type of foam instead of combining two different kinds, as this configuration leaves it in a kind of no-man’s-land. It’s neither especially thick or especially soft, so you don’t get exceptional cushioning or support.
Don’t buy it if you need to use it immediately, either, as it arrives in a compact roll. You have to unroll it and let the foam expand to its normal size, and that process can take several days (if it ever gets there at all).
It’s not a bad option for stashing in a crate, but there are certainly models out there that are better for that purpose. It retails at a middle-of-the-road price, too, so it can’t claim to provide exceptional value.
Add all that up, and it amounts to a bed that can make this list…but just barely.
Dog beds seem like fairly simple pieces of furniture. Most of them are simply big slabs of foam, so how much different could one be from another?
Of course, once you start actually shopping for a dog bed, you’ll soon find that there are way more differences than you could ever have imagined. What type of cushioning is best? Should you keep your dog elevated or low to the ground? Is there any way on Earth to stop him from destroying it in seconds?
Fortunately, we’ve done all the legwork for you. Read on to learn all you need to know about the wonderful world of dog beds.
Types of Cushioning
Most dog beds are made using a layer of foam wrapped in a soft, plush cover. While you might think that all foam is the same, there are different types, and they have some key differences between them.
Regular foam is made of polyurethane, and it can come in a wide variety of thicknesses. The thicker the foam, the firmer the support you’ll receive (and the longer the foam will last). It tends to stay cooler than memory foam (although some memory foams have caught up in this area).
Polyurethane foam is extremely inexpensive, and you’re most likely to find it in beds on the cheaper end of the spectrum. However, it’s not as durable as other types of foam, and can lose its support over time, causing your dog to sink whenever he lays down.
Memory foam is now the most common type of cushioning used in dog beds, and for good reason. It conforms to your pet’s body when he lays down, providing personalized support and relieving pressure in the areas he needs it most.
It tends to be durable and hold its shape well, so unless your dog destroys it, one bed should last his entire life. Memory foam is also a bit springy, which can help creaky pups get up more easily.
However, memory foam tends to be pricier than regular foam, and it’s prone to trapping heat. That’s not true across the board, however (and there are several memory foam options above that stay quite cool).
Egg Crate Foam
Technically, egg crate foam isn’t a separate type of foam, as it can be made of either memory foam or polyurethane. However, it comes in a special configuration that’s worthy of separate consideration.
Egg crate foam looks like…wait for it…an egg crate, as it has raised dimples surrounding sunken valleys. This lets air circulate, keeping it extremely cool. It also acts as a shock absorber, so if your pup likes to plop down, egg crate foam can soften the impact of his landing.
It’s not terribly durable, though, so expect to replace it regularly. The heavier your dog is, the faster he’ll flatten it, so it’s not a great choice for overweight animals. It’s easy for pooches to shred as well, so if your pup’s a chewer, an egg crate mattress won’t last long at all.
Which Cushioning is Best?
In our opinion, memory foam is superior to the other types of cushioning, and you should always opt for a memory foam bed if possible. However, if money’s an issue, you can still find a high-quality polyurethane or egg crate option if you look hard enough.
Just keep in mind, though, that if you buy a memory foam mattress and take good care of it, it will last you for years and years. That may be enough to offset the immediate price difference between a memory foam model and one made of polyurethane that will need to be replaced in a year or two.
Should My Dog Bed Be Elevated?
Dog beds come in a vast array of configurations, and height can be one of the key distinguishing features. Some beds are fully elevated, with room between the mattress and the ground for air to circulate.
While an elevated bed may help your dog stay cooler, it won’t do much for his arthritis. If it’s high enough that he has to actively climb to get into it, it could actually cause him pain and force him to sleep elsewhere.
Some beds are higher up due to having more cushioning than other models. Generally speaking, more cushioning is better — up to a point. That point is when it becomes difficult for your dog to get in or out of bed.
What About Heated Beds?
Some dog beds have heating features, much like electric blankets. Many owners are leery about buying them, however, as they have concerns about their safety.
Generally speaking, heated dog beds are safe. They don’t get as hot as electric blankets, so your dog isn’t likely to overheat. However, make sure your pup can get out of bed easily, so that he can regulate his own body temperature; otherwise, he could be stuck on the hot bed long past the point of being uncomfortable.
Also, these beds have to be plugged in, so don’t buy one if your dog likes to chew on power cables. Make sure the cord is safely stashed away, too, so he doesn’t trip on it getting out of bed (notice how we don’t care if you trip over it — we’re just here for the dogs).
Are heated beds even worth it, though? The answer is…maybe. Some dogs love them, but most don’t seem to care much either way. Unless you live in a place with frigid temperatures and have a dog with an extremely thin coat, you can likely forego the added expense.
How to Keep Your Dog from Destroying His Bed
Dogs have a sixth sense for only destroying the most expensive things in your home, and most dog beds aren’t cheap. As a result, you may be tempted to skip buying one entirely, thinking it will just be a waste of money.
However, you don’t have to make your dog or your pocketbook suffer. With just a little bit of effort and training, you can teach your dog to leave his bed alone (so he can devote more time to eating your shoes).
Identify the Cause
Does your pup only destroy things when you’re not home? If so, it may be separation anxiety. Does he do it when he’s been cooped up inside all day? In that case, boredom might be the culprit.
The point is, dogs have different reasons for destroying their beds, and you’re unlikely to solve the problem until you pinpoint the cause.
Give Him Options
You’re not going to get your dog to stop chewing things to shreds — it’s in his DNA. Instead, your focus should be on convincing him to chew up the right things.
Make sure he has plenty of chew toys lying around so that he always has something to chomp on besides his dog bed. If you catch him gnawing on his bed anyway, firmly correct him, then offer him a more suitable alternative. Once he starts chewing on something you actually want him to gnaw on, praise him for it.
Increase His Exercise
If he’s bored, he’ll deal with his excess energy in destructive ways. So, you should endeavor to make sure he never has any excess energy.
This is less common with senior dogs, but it does happen. Make sure your pup gets regular walks, and provide him with thought-provoking entertainment like puzzles and treat-dispensing toys.
The Right Bed for Your Dog
Hopefully, the guide above answered any questions you may have about buying a dog bed and left you feeling suitably equipped to make a smart purchase. As long as your dog can get in and out of it easily, you’re not likely to go too wrong.
After all, you can always add cushioning or support after the fact if you need to. Or, failing that, you can just keep letting your dog steal your spot in your bed.
If you thought it was impossible for your dog to love you any more, just wait until he lays down on the Dogbed4less Memory Foam. It’s extremely soft yet doesn’t allow him to sink, and it stays cool and inviting, no matter how long he’s been laying on it.
For owners who don’t fully trust their pooch not to destroy any bed they bring home, the BarkBox Memory Foam is a budget-friendly option that nevertheless provides plenty of comfort and support. It’s perfect for use in crates as well, so you can finally make your pet’s bed as comfortable as your own.
Choosing a dog bed isn’t easy, but hopefully, the reviews above have made the whole process less stressful. The options above will keep your dog as comfortable and pain-free as possible, so you can feel good about being able to show him a fraction of the love he’s shown you all these years.
Featured Image Credit By: miya1975, instagram
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 6 Best Dog Beds for Older Arthritic Dogs
- 1. Dogbed4less Memory Foam Dog Bed – Best Overall
- 2. BarkBox Memory Foam Dog Bed – Best Value
- 3. PetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed – Premium Choice
- 4. Friends Forever Orthopedic Dog Bed
- 5. KOPEKS Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed
- 6. The Dog’s Bed Orthopedic Dog Bed
- Buyer’s Guide
- Types of Cushioning
- Regular Foam
- Memory Foam
- Egg Crate Foam
- Which Cushioning is Best?
- Should My Dog Bed Be Elevated?
- What About Heated Beds?
- How to Keep Your Dog from Destroying His Bed
- Identify the Cause
- Give Him Options
- Increase His Exercise
- The Right Bed for Your Dog