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Even though many pet parents allow their dog to sleep on their couch or bed, it is always a good idea to give your large breed his own bed, ideally an orthopedic dog bed.
Dog beds vary significantly in terms of quality. Many are little more than a flimsy fabric pouch, stuffed with inadequate amounts of cheap filler material.
These are not only uncomfortable, but they may also cause your dog to place excessive amounts of pressure on his joints while he rests. This can lead to or exacerbate a number of health problems.
Fortunately, there are a number of dog beds on the market that are specifically designed to cradle your canine in comfort and protect his bones and joints.
Called an orthopedic dog bed, these memory foam dog beds are the best option for most large dog breeds, especially older dogs and large dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis.
Below, we’ll discuss what makes a dog bed orthopedic, what to look for in a large dog bed, and review the best orthopedic dog beds for large breeds with 7 top picks.
Big Barker Orthopedic Pet Bed
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PetFusion Ultimate Dog Lounge
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K&H Pet Products Elevated Pet Bed
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Dogbed4less Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed
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FurHaven Ultra Plush/Velvet Orthopedic Dog Bed
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While your dog is probably more comfortable laying on the floor than you are, that doesn’t mean it is good for them. Laying on hard surfaces can place pressure on the joints (particularly those in the hips, knees, shoulders, and elbows), which can lead to joint pain, discomfort, and inflammation.
Inexpensive dog beds, which are typically filled with cotton or other cheap fillers, rarely provide enough support to cushion your dog’s bones and joints.
Accordingly, their knees, shoulders, and elbows often sink all the way down through the bed, and essentially rest on the hard floor. Very little cushion or comfort is provided by these types of beds.
But the best orthopedic dog beds for large breeds, on the other hand, usually provide at least 2 inches of dense foam, which will relieve pressure points and help ensure your dog’s joints remain supported. The result is a healthier, happier pup, who will likely experience less joint pain and discomfort.
Most large dogs will appreciate and benefit from an orthopedic dog bed, but some dogs have health conditions, which may necessitate the use of an orthopedic dog bed.
This usually includes large dogs or older dogs suffering from any of the following conditions:
It is always wise to speak with your vet about the best way to treat dogs with the aforementioned conditions, but most vets recommend orthopedic dog beds for the majority of dogs, as they rarely cause problems for any dog.
Orthopedic dog beds won’t specifically treat problems such as joint pain and other joint issues, but the best dog beds will help prevent some conditions from worsening and they will keep your dog more comfortable during naps.
The following orthopedic dog beds will be among the best dog bed options for most large dogs. Just be sure to select the pet bed that best suits your dog’s specific needs to ensure the best value for your dollar.
About: The Big Barker Orthopedic Dog Bed is one of the largest, thickest, softest, and most supportive large dog beds on the market.
Big Barker is dedicated to producing the finest orthopedic dog beds for large breeds. It is specifically engineered to suit the needs of large breed and giant dog breeds, and the manufacturer even cautions that it is too firm for small dogs. The Big Barker is made in three different colors (burgundy, khaki, and chocolate) to match your home’s décor.
User Reviews: The Big Barker Orthopedic Dog Bed received better reviews than any other orthopedic bed available, and most owners rave about its quality. It appears durable, yet comfortable, and most dogs love the attached bolster/headrest. Additionally, several owners were happy that the beds were so spacious.
Bottom Line: All discussions surrounding big dog beds should begin and end with the Big Barker. Simply put, it is the best dog bed for a large dog on the market and one of the few that comes in large enough sizes for Great Danes, mastiffs, and other giant breeds.
If you must have the very best orthopedic dog bed available, and you aren’t worried about paying premium prices, the Big Barker Pillow-Top Orthopedic Dog Bed is easily the best dog bed on the market.
Keep the manufacturer’s 10-year-warranty in mind when making your choice, as this may make the Big Barker a more affordable option over the long term. Additionally, because this is a bolster bed, your dog will appreciate having a place to lay his head comfortably.
The only downside to the orthopedic bed is its relatively expensive price tag. However, it still provides unmatched value and deserves strong consideration from all owners who can afford it.
After all, you are investing in not only a quality and long-lasting product but in something that will have your dog sleeping well for years. For most dog owners, this is something that they are willing to splurge on.
About: The PetFusion Ultimate Dog Lounge is a plush and luxurious dog bed, which features a soft 4-inch-thick memory foam core and generously filled, wrap-around bolsters, which encircle most of the bed.T
The PetFusion is a premium large orthopedic dog bed that is spacious and comfortable enough to keep most dogs comfortable while they snooze.
Additionally, the PetFusion Ultimate Pet Bed & Lounge is fitted with bolsters, which provide support for your dog’s head and neck.
The bed is not specifically designed for extra large dogs, but it is available in sizes big enough to accommodate most large breeds.
User Reviews: The reviews for the PetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed were overwhelmingly positive. Most large dog owners thought the beds looked great and were easy to take care of, while dogs seem to find them very comfortable with the added bolster.
Most were very happy with the quality of the product and found that the memory foam was simultaneously dense and soft, which provided their canine with a comfortable and supportive sleeping surface.
However, a few owners were concerned that it was not as durable as they’d hoped it would be, and the cover was a bit thin.
Some owners were troubled by the bed’s initial odor, but most reported that it dissipated completely within a few days.
Bottom Line: The PetFusion Ultimate Dog Lounge is clearly a premium product, which provides great support for your dog. It is easy to keep clean and wash, and the XXL dog bed size should be large enough for German shepherds, Newfoundlands and other, similarly-sized breeds. It is a bit pricey, but that’s to be expected of such a high-quality product.
If you are looking to invest in your dog’s comfort for years to come, the Ultimate Dog Lounge could be the perfect dog bed for you.
The PetFusion Ultimate Pet Bed & Lounge includes just about every feature you’d want in a premium orthopedic pet bed. The vast majority of owners and their dogs have loved the mattress, and while the price is slightly higher than many other beds, its quality makes this orthopedic dog bed a great value.
We highly recommend this orthopedic pet bed for most large dogs.
About: The K&H Pet Products Elevated Pet Bed is designed to keep your big dog up off the ground, to help keep him cool in hot weather and alleviate the pressure on his hips and back.
User Reviews: The majority of owners who tried the K&H Pet Bed were pleased with their purchase. Several praised the bed’s lightweight and reasonable price tag, and many dogs seemed to find the laying surface cool and comfortable. However, a number of owners did complain that the mesh material was not very durable.
Bottom Line: If you want a waterproof, portable bed for your dog, you should carefully consider the K&H Pet Bed. The elevated design will help take the pressure off your dog’s joints, and it will also keep him a bit cooler, making it a great choice for those living in warm climates.
The durability complaints expressed by some owners are troubling, but these types of problems can probably be eliminated by tossing a blanket over the bed. Sometimes big dogs simply prefer an elevated dog bed. If this is the case with your dog, this bed would be a great option.
About: The Dogbed4less Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed is a straight-forward, no-frills orthopedic pet bed designed to be as comfortable as it is durable.
In addition to featuring a solid memory foam core, this bed features both outer and inner covers to provide the greatest possible mattress protection.
It doesn’t feature an elevated design, bolsters or any other of the bells-and-whistles that are often included in other orthopedic pet beds at this range, but few competing products are made with the same level of craftsmanship or feature soft and comparable materials.
User Reviews: Most owners appeared to love the Dogbed4less Memory Foam Bed. Many praised the bed’s foam core, which provided a supportive, yet soft laying surface, which appeared to suit dogs of advanced age or those suffering from joint problems quite well.
Many even noted an improvement in their dog’s hip or joint pain after using the mattress for a short time. Additionally, the waterproof inner cover and both outer covers were reportedly durable, comfortable and easy to keep clean.
Bottom Line: The Dogbed4less Orthopedic Dog Bed is one of the best large dog beds available and it should suit your canine well.
It is roughly comparable to the PetFusion Ultimate Dog Lounge, in terms of price and overall quality. You’ll just have to decide whether you want a bed that has bolsters or one that has some of the best foam cores and covers around.
If price is one of your primary concerns, this orthopedic memory foam dog bed is a great option, while still providing you with a reliable, comfortable bed for your dog.
The Dogbed4less Orthopedic Bed is a great option for most dog owners. It provides a great combination of comfort, durability, and features at a very reasonable price.
Additionally, the Dogbed4less bed is also available in a variety of sizes, including several that are roomy enough Great Danes, mastiffs, and most other extra-large breeds.
About: The FurHaven Ultra Plush Dog Bed is a very affordable large dog bed option for budget-limited owners, who still want to provide their dog with a high-quality orthopedic bed.But just because it is affordable doesn’t mean you’ll have to compromise on quality, as the FurHaven Dog Bed still provides the type of comfort most owners want for their pet.
User Reviews: Most owners loved the FurHaven Dog Bed and found that it still provided a comfortable laying surface for their pet, despite being priced very reasonably. The machine-washable cover also received quite a bit of praise, as owners reported it was easy to take off, wash and put back on. A few owners noted that it was not as supportive as they’d have liked, but this was the only common complaint.
Bottom Line: Obviously, the FurHaven Dog Bed isn’t in the same league with the PetFusion Lounge, Dogbed4less Bed or the Big Barker, but you can get it for a fraction of the cost of these other beds.
It would be better with a denser core and we’d prefer if it came in slightly larger sizes, but it is a viable option for those who want an affordable bed for a large dog with a wrap-around bolster.
Similar to many things in life, if you spend less you often receive less. But we still have no problems recommending this product.
At first glance, the Brindle Orthopedic Dog Bed looks like a slightly more expensive version of the Millard Orthopedic Bed (#2 on our list). However, there are a number of key differences, some of which help to explain the higher price. The Brindle Dog Bed is available in three different colors (charcoal/black, mocha/blue and khaki).
User Reviews: Most customers had only good things to say about the Brindle Memory Foam Orthopedic Dog Bed. Dogs appear to find it comfortable, and many owners noted a reduction in pain and stiffness after switching to this mattress.
However, a number of customers did note that their dog’s nails ripped through the cover within a very short period of time (measured in days, not weeks or months).
Bottom Line: Even though the Brindle Orthopedic Dog Bed is a little bit more expensive than some of the other memory foam mattresses priced at the affordable end of the spectrum, it still warrants consideration by those looking for a low-cost orthopedic bed for dogs. This is especially true for customers seeking beds with comfortable, yet waterproof covers, who have relatively mellow dogs that are unlikely to rip the cover.
The Millard Premium Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed is a high-quality bed, which relies on a number of clever cost-saving features to keep its price point relatively low. Given that it is 4-inches-thick and nearly 4-feet-long, this bed provides both the comfort and space large dogs need to sleep well.
User Reviews: The Millard Premium Orthopedic Dog Bed received really good reviews from most customers who tried it. Several owners confirmed that the mattress cover really is water-resistant, which is helpful for older dogs, who sometimes struggle with incontinence (as well as young dogs who are still learning the rules).
A few owners complained that the mattress cover did not hold up well to machine washing, but such complaints were relatively rare.
Bottom Line: Although there are a few better orthopedic dog mattresses on the market, the Millard Premium Dog Bed is a well-constructed product that won’t break the bank. Most dogs appear to find it very comfortable, and the water-resistant cover will help protect the memory foam interior. This is a great option for budget-minded dog owners seeking a memory foam dog bed.
While pet beds differ in innumerable ways, most fall into one of three basic categories.
We include large dog bed types from two of these categories among our recommendations, but we ignore one of the types completely – and, as you’ll soon see, it is for good reason.
Historically, pet mattresses were little more than a cloth sack, which was stuffed with cotton, polyester or some other type of fiber. And although they’ve largely been replaced by the two types of pet beds detailed below, they are still available through retail channels. They’re generally quite affordable, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Unfortunately, these types of beds are almost completely inappropriate for large or giant dogs. The filling material used in their construction rarely provides enough support for a big dog’s body, and it will also tend to clump up around the edges, forcing your dog to lay in the non-cushioned center after a short time.
As such, this type of bed simply won’t cut it for your large dog, and can even be detrimental to your dog’s health over time.
These types of beds may work well for a Chihuahua or Jack Russell Terrier, but they are a poor choice for your Labrador retriever, German shepherd or Dalmatian.
Instead, you’ll need to use one of the other two bed types available.
Orthopedic dog beds are typically designed to provide the best possible support for your dog’s bones, jointsd, arthritic conditions, and muscles.
There is no governmental agency that regulates the use of this term, so while many beds marketed as being orthopedic are beneficial for your dog’s health and comfort, other “orthopedic” beds fail to provide any special value.
In practice, most dog beds that serve a genuine orthopedic purpose are made with dense foams.
One of the best foams used in these beds is known as memory foam. Also called visco-elastic memory foam, this material is a polyurethane-based product, originally developed by NASA to make aircraft cushions safer.
Unlike most other foams, memory foam reacts with heat. When your dog lays on a memory foam dog bed, his body heat causes the foam to soften slightly, which allows him to sink into the mattress a little bit.
This creates a dog-shaped depression, which cradles his body in a comfortable and supportive manner.
However, once your dog leaves the bed, the depression slowly disappears, as the foam molecules cool and return to their original position. This is why the material is called “memory” foam: It “remembers” its original shape.
Some manufacturers prefer to use different types of foam in lieu of memory foam. Many of these proprietary foam blends are as effective as memory foam, and some are even superior to it.
Other manufacturers use things like egg-crate foam or high-density foam. Often times, these foams are used in conjunction with memory foam or a proprietary product, to provide a nice balance of cost and comfort.
In addition to their reliance on memory foam, most of the best orthopedic dog beds for large breeds are also thicker than standard dog beds. This provides even more support for dogs (particularly large or heavy individuals) and provides further protection from the hard floor beneath the bed.
Some memory foam dog beds may be a bit warm, causing dogs to move to the kitchen floor during the summer, but a few manufacturers use gel-infused memory foam, which helps to keep your dog’s body cooler.
In practice, memory foam dog beds are usually the best choice for large and giant breeds, outside of a few very specific circumstances.
So if you are looking for the perfect thing for your pup, a foam orthopedic dog bed might be exactly what you need.
Elevated dog beds typically feature a metal or plastic frame and a fabric laying surface, which is situated several inches above the ground.
This design accomplishes two things: It keeps your dog cooler by allowing air to flow beneath the laying surface, and it prevents your dog’s hips, knees or back from directly contacting the ground.
An elevated dog bed could be exactly what you need to give your large dog a comfortable sleep.
Given this design, elevated cots are often a great choice for owners and dogs living in warm places. They don’t provide the type of cradle-like support that memory foam beds do, but they still provide more support than fiber-filled beds do. This means they’ll still be pretty gentle on your dog’s joints.
Cot-style beds are also quite light, and most are easy to disassemble and transport. This makes them a great choice for owners who travel with their pets. A few elevated, cot-style dog beds are even waterproof, which means you can use them outdoors too.
While memory foam beds are likely a better choice for your dog, these elevated style beds may be just as good. Or depending on your dog’s preferences for a nice, cool place to sleep, they may like this elevated style even better.
As with any other pet-care product, there is a big difference between the best and worst products on the market. Because you don’t want to spend the extra money on a bed if your dog isn’t going to find it comfortable, you’ll want to be selective about the mattress you select.
The best orthopedic dog beds for large breeds will include the following features:
Some manufacturers make very thin beds, but incorporate a tiny bit of memory foam and slap the “orthopedic” label on their product, despite the fact that they lack sufficient support to protect your dog’s joints.
You’ll want to avoid these beds in favor of those that have at least 2 inches of memory foam (or a comparable material). And if price is not a limiting factor, it is wise to select a bed with 4 to 8 inches of thickness to provide the most cushion and support possible.
Complete sheets of memory foam provide better support than beds filled with shredded pieces do. There’s nothing wrong with manufacturers including shredded foam pieces (or any other economical fill material, like polyester or cotton) in their beds, but this should be in addition to several thick sheets of foam, rather than being used in place of foam sheets.
Over time, your dog’s bed will become coated in hair, dander, dirt, and saliva, so you’ll need to wash the bed from time to time. However, you can’t just throw most foam mattresses in the washing machine without permanently ruining the foam.
Therefore, the best dog beds will have removable covers for easy washing. Some beds will even come with more than one cover, which allows you to wash one, while the other covers the bed.
If you want to place your dog’s bed on a linoleum, tile or hardwood floor, you’ll need to select a mattress with a non-skid bottom. Otherwise, your dog’s bed will scoot all over the house, rather than staying where you want it.
Although this seems like only a minor annoyance, your dog will strongly prefer laying in the same spot, rather than having to adjust to different locations every time he wants to take a nap.
This is also a safety issue: You don’t want to trip over your dog because his bed has migrated into the hallway.
Bolsters are foam- or fiber-filled cushions that are attached to the top of some dog beds. Roughly akin to the arms of your couch, bolsters give dogs a place to lay their head or paws, and they help improve the overall comfort of the bed.
Bolsters are not imperative, but they are certainly desirable, and most dogs appreciate them greatly.
Liquids that seep into a foam mattress frequently cause lingering odors, that are all but impossible to eliminate. So, it is important to select a pet bed that includes a water-resistant cover, to help protect the bed’s core.
This is especially important for dogs that struggle to control their bladder or turn into sloppy wet messes after drinking from their water bowl.
Selecting a bed that is too small for your dog’s body will defeat the entire point of spending more money on an orthopedic dog bed: Instead of resting completely on the mattress, your dog’s feet or head will have to hang off the edge and rest on the hard floor.
Most manufacturers provide sizing guidelines that allow you to match your dog’s weight to the proper bed size, but it is wisest to simply measure the space your dog takes up when he is sleeping in an outstretched position.
All of the beds reviewed below come in sizes large enough for big dogs. Always try to add a couple of extra inches in each direction to ensure your dog has plenty of space.
Because your big dog will have big and strong claws, you’ll want to be sure to select a dog bed that has a very durable cover. Typically, the most durable bed covers are made from canvas or denim, but there are also microsuede covers that are designed to withstand your dog’s claws. Of course, the strength you need depends on your dog, but it is always a good idea to aim for more durable than less durable.
While there are exceptions, most high-quality dog beds are manufactured in the United States or Western Europe. This doesn’t mean you can’t get a good bed made in southeast Asia, but they’re typically of poorer quality than their American or European counterparts are. As with any dog bed, a quick look at some customer reviews can help clear this up for you.
Even the best designed and constructed dog beds will occasionally suffer from manufacturing defects or one-off problems. Fortunately, most of the best dog beds on the market come with an extended manufacturer’s warranty.
Most such warranties last for 12 to 24 months, but a few beds come with extremely long warranties, which last for 10 years or more. This can help bring you peace of mind when you are investing a lot of money into a dog bed.
All of the large dog beds detailed above are well-made products, which should suit your dog well. However, some will work better in some circumstances than in others.
Accordingly, you’ll want to be sure to select the best dog bed for your lifestyle, budget, and needs.
Ask yourself the following questions to help ensure you end up with the best choice:
Most pet owners will be able to determine the best dog bed for their large breed by consulting the chart below.
If you want:
Then you should pick:
The biggest, thickest and most luxurious bed available
The Big Barker
A premium bed with a thick bolster
PetFusion Ultimate Dog Lounge
A premium bed for dogs with joint problems
Dogbed4less Orthopedic Memory Foam Bed
An affordable bed, for travel or outdoor use
K&H Pet Products Elevated Pet Bed
A budget-friendly bed that’s still well made
FurHaven Ultra Plush/Velvet Orthopedic Dog Bed
It is very important to make sure you get a bed that is large enough to accommodate your big dog, otherwise, he’ll be forced to hang off the edges, which will reduce the support and comfort he deserves.
Also, if you plan on putting the bed in a crate or fitting it into a tight space, you’ll also have to avoid buying a bed that is too large.
Determining the minimum size bed your dog requires a bit of homework. There is no quick-and-easy formula for figuring out the best bed size, so you’ll be best served by sneaking up on your dog while he’s sleeping comfortably and measuring the amount of space he takes up with a tape measure.
It’s also a good idea to add a few inches to these results for a little wiggle room. Although complicated, this one-time strategy can have your large dog sleeping better for years, because it will allow you to make the right purchase.
But while the former issue is a bit tricky to solve, the latter issue is fairly easy to address: Simply measure the space available and make sure you select a bed with smaller dimensions. This primarily relates to the length and width, but the height of the bed may be important in some cases too.
Dogs have varying builds, so it is difficult to provide generic recommendations, but typically speaking:
Many of the best dog beds for large dogs are relatively expensive items, and you’ll want to be sure it lasts for as long as possible and continues looking as good as it did when you first purchased it.
And while some degree of wear and tear is unavoidable, you can maximize a bed’s lifespan by simply caring for it properly.
It is important to note that this includes making the proper decision in the first place. Buying a bed that is sturdy enough to handle your large dog is perhaps even more important than regular care and maintenance of the bed itself.
You’ll always want to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer, but try to incorporate these tips and tricks whenever possible (assuming that they do not contradict the manufacturer’s guidelines):
Have you found an orthopedic dog bed that works best for your large breed dog? Tell us about it. Let us know what model and size you chose, as well as your experiences with it.
Has it held up to your dog’s claws? Does it provide the kind of orthopedic support your dog needs? Is it easy to wash and keep clean? Has it helped keep your big dog comfortable and relieve joint and hip pain?
We’d love to hear about it in the comments!
And before you go, be sure to check out our review of the best dog joint supplements that help relieve your dog’s hip and joint pain.
Product photos courtesy of Amazon.com.
Other photo credits:
OakleyOriginals via Visualhunt.com
Christianmadden via Visualhunt.com