How Does a Dog Bed Work?
The key difference between a dog bed and a human bed is that the dog will likely use that surface as a couch and a chaise lounge, as well. More to the point, any dog bed will become an indoor pet's little corner of the world - a cushioned space where he can clean himself and keep his toys. Most dog beds come with an outer-lining that is made out of cotton and polyester (some of the more expensive models use inexpensive suede, or even leather). The outer-lining fits around several inches of foam, or some other type of filling. Ideally, the inside filling is resilient, retaining its shape regardless of how often the dog uses the bed, or how much the dog weighs.
A lot of popular dog beds are both water-resistant and machine-washable, as the dog is certain to drool or drip or shed all over the thing. One other distinction involves whether the bed's outside lining is removable (removable liners are 10x easier to wash). The majority of dog beds are light and mobile, and some are constructed with a cushioned border that allows the dog to rest his head as if that border were a pillow. Orthopedic beds are generally designed without a border. This is done to ensure that the dog's body doesn't feel cramped. It is also done so that a dog with arthritis never has to strain in order to get into the bed.
What Do I Need to Know About a Dog Bed Before I Buy?
The most important thing to consider before purchasing a dog bed is what your canine's needs are. There are lot of beds on the market, some of which are built for small dogs, or big dogs, old dogs, or young ones.. The essential takeaway being, you want to look into purchasing a bed that fits your dog in the same way that your dog fits you.
If your dog is older or arthritic, there are a wide range of orthopedic beds, all of which are designed to alleviate muscle pain, while ensuring your dog doesn't have to jump - or lift hind legs - to step onto the mattress. If your dog tends to chew, look into a bed that's made out of durable materials. If he or she tends to mark, you'll want to look into a liner that's water-resistant (or allows you to place your own liner around the mat).
Be sure to check on the bed's washing instructions. The majority of dog beds are built around a cushion, so you can simply remove the outer lining, and then place it in with the rest of your laundry. This is not the case, however, with a one-piece bed like the Majestic Suede Bagel. The Suede Bagel has been stuffed with loose filling, which means the outer lining cannot be removed. You need to wash the entire bed in an industrial washer, which may seem like a chore to do.
On a final note: you should always make it a point to research the dimensions of each bed. This is especially significant when it comes to larger dogs, many of which require a wide surface, as opposed to something they'd be spilling out of, end-to-end (For more on this, please see our "How to Choose a Dog Bed" video above).
A Brief History of The Dog Bed in America
One might argue that the dog bed has been in existence ever since the introduction of the term "man's best friend." Officially speaking, however, a craftsman named John G. Bins received the first-ever U.S. patent for a dog bed back in 1935, as seen pictured here.
Bins' original application reads like a blueprint of the dog bed as we know it. "The bed comprises an annular bolster of general circular, oval, oblong, or other desired shape," Bins wrote, "preferably formed by stitching the side edges of a strip of fabric to form a tube, then filling the tube with cotton, or the like." Ironically, words like "bolster," and "filling," and even "oblong shape," continue to appear in the manufacturers' descriptions of a dog bed to this day.
So what's changed? Well, if anything's changed, it's been the addition of denser materials to keep an average bed from falling apart. The invention of memory foam, for example, has kept a variety of dog beds from going flat (i.e., "pancaking"). Most dog beds need to be washed at least six times a year, and in between a lot of mongrels tend to chew and paw and pull at frayed materials. The most efficient dog beds have done away with delicate fabrics entirely. In addition, the rise of ergonomic beds has caused a major shift in the industry, as well.