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How to Choose the Right Dog Bed Size

How to Choose the Right Dog Bed Size


Choosing the right size dog bed probably seems like a simple matter—and ultimately it is.  But that doesn’t stop dog owners from regularly making the wrong purchase decisions.  Many dog owners simply estimate the size they need.  Taking a wild guess will more often than not result in the wrong choice though.  Most pet owners tend to underestimate the amount of space their dog needs to sleep comfortably, so they end up purchasing dog beds which are too small.  If you buy a dog bed which is too small, you will have to return it and get another, which wastes time and money.  So it pays off to do it right the first time.


How do you choose the right dog bed size?  You will have to know the following things:


  • The breed of your dog and your dog’s shoulder height.  One or the other alone will not help you find the right dog bed size on a sizing chart.  While your dog’s shoulder height is one measurement that you need, remember that two dogs with different breeds and the same shoulder height can have other measurements which differ.  They will not necessarily fit comfortably in the same bed.


  • Your dog’s weight.  Even if a bed has the right dimensions, it may still be the wrong bed if it cannot support your dog’s weight. 


  • Your dog’s sleeping habits.  There is no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to this.  While certain breeds may tend to sleep a certain way, you cannot assume that your dog sleeps a certain way without watching him or her.  Spend some time observing your dog as he sleeps.  Does he like to curl up?  Burrow inside piles of dirty laundry?  Nestle against pillows on the couch?  Stretch out and splay his limbs everywhere? 


Two dogs could be the same breed with the same exact measurements and require two different beds, depending on how they sleep.  A dog that stretches out will not be comfortable in a bed for a dog that wants to nestle up, and vice versa.  Also keep in mind that some dogs love to sleep in different positions.  These dogs may need more than one dog bed, or a dog bed that provides them with some flexibility each night.


  • Rectangle:  Choose this bed for a dog that likes to sprawl.


  • Round or oval:  Choose this type of bed for a dog that nestles or one which usually nestles and occasionally sprawls.


  • Bolster:  This is another option for dogs that like to nestle.


  • Cave:  Not many dogs like cave beds, but some love them.  If your dog likes burrowing into your bed sheets or laundry, your dog will probably like one of these beds.


When you see dog beds for sale, you will generally see one of two sizing schemes:


  • Sizes like XS, S, M, L, XL, and XXL.  Some stores size dog beds like they size clothing.  Each size will fit a certain size and weight range.


  • Specific dimensions.  Other stores will actually specifically tell you the length and width of the bed.  It is generally less work to figure out what size dog bed to buy when you can actually see their exact dimensions.


Your next step is to find a dog bed sizing chart.  There are a lot of dog bed sizing charts out there.  They are all organized differently.  With some, you might start with your dog’s weight and then look up recommended sizes.  With others, you might begin with your dog’s breed or measurements, and then find a suggestion for dog bed dimensions.  Your goal is to try and find an actual length-by-width measurement that you can use to select a dog bed.  If you are shopping at a store that uses measurements like S, M and L, you need to know how they define those measurements according to actual length and width.  For different types of dog beds (rectangular vs. round for example), different measurements will apply.  That is why you have to figure out the dog bed shape as part of the sizing process.


Remember, most dog owners tend to underestimate and get a bed which is too small.  So if in doubt, go with one which you think will be slightly too big, and chances are good you will get the perfect size.  When you get your new dog bed, give it a test run and make sure your dog is actually comfortable in it before you stay with it.  Be prepared to exchange it for another if you have to.  Your top priority is always to make sure your pet feels cozy and safe!


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