Which dog beds suit our working companions best, asks David Tomlinson.
Thoughts on dog beds
My dogs are always keen to sample new dog beds. During the year we have a number of short-stay canine visitors who invariably bring their beds with them. My English springer, Rowan, is a full-size spaniel but she has shown herself to be remarkably good at squeezing into a bed made for nothing bigger than a cavalier. What is more, as soon as the visitor’s bed arrives, she is keen to try it out. As a result, visiting dogs can look quite forlorn until they are brave enough to get into Rowan’s bed. She never minds. (Read should your gundog live in or out?)
Dogs, like all top predators, spend a lot of time asleep, so it’s only fair to provide them with a bed that they like to sleep in. Modern dogs have never had it so good: 70 years ago the debate on dog bedding centred around whether to use oat straw rather than wheat in the kennel.
If only dogs could talk I’m sure that they would be delighted to tell you which dog beds they like best, though I suspect that they might be quite hesitant in choosing which one it is. As a rule, they’re not fussy. Beds are chosen for location as much as comfort. A bit of old vet bed in front of the Aga is likely to prove far more popular than the most sumptuous of designer dog beds tucked away where the dog can’t see what is going on.
Best for all-round use
Vetbed ® itself is a product with a great deal of merit. Just as Hoover has become a generic name for vacuum cleaners, so vet bed has become the name for a certain type of synthetic, fleece-like bedding. The original product, called Vetbed® (a registered name), has never been bettered. British-made, it is tough, durable and warm, machine-washable and quick drying. It is also inexpensive and can easily be cut to fit. It’s no wonder that it lives up to its name by being widely used by the veterinary profession. If your dog has nothing better than this to sleep on it is likely to be perfectly happy and certainly has no grounds for complaint.
- Water repellent
- Machine washable
- Made in England
Best for comfort
When I acquired my first springer spaniel, nearly 40 years ago, I bought her a beanbag bed. It was a great success, and my dogs have had beanbags ever since. The merits of the beanbag include good insulation, plus the fact that the outer cover is easy to remove so it can be washed. A beanbag is also light and easy to move around. Dogs like them as they can mould them to their own shape. Over time the beans – in reality polystyrene beads – crush down, but they are cheap to replace.
- Grey jumbo corduroy washable cover and inner fabric liner
- Available in small, medium, large, extra large
- Water repellant black fabric base
- Handmade by small UK business
- Polystyrene beads interior
Best for mucky dogs
If your canine companion comes in wet and muddy, then you’ll find this dog bed easy to clean. The cushion is removable and the whole bed can be wiped down. It is filled with thermal polyester fibre for comfort and warmth.
- 100% polyester waterproof material.
- Water repellent coating
- Available in sizes small, medium and large
- Available in colours blue, green or wine.
Best for matching wellies
Le Chameau gumboots are seen everywhere out in the field due to the excellence of their design. Of course dogs don’t wear gumboots but you can introduce them to the comfort of Le Chameau with this cushioned bed, which is smart and perfect for lounging.
- Foam pad interior
- Machine washable outer shell
- Anti-slip base
- Available in small, medium and large
Why do some dogs turn around before sleeping?
However comfy the bed, there are always some dogs that circle round several times before settling down. This is inbuilt behaviour, some do it, some don’t, and I’m sure that those that do don’t know why they do it. Bed sharing is also a subject that intrigues me. Some dogs will happily share their bed, others won’t, while I have found that my bitches will happily get into bed with their mothers but rarely the other way round.
This article was originally published in 2020 and has been updated.