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I was chatting with Al down at the dog park a few days ago, and he was asking me what I thought about elevated dog beds. It seems he’s thinking about buying one for Otis, his Saint Bernard. Al is a lot like me in that he loves sleeping with dogs, and in fact his first Saint, Hannah, who has since gone to the Rainbow Bridge, never spent a night sleeping anywhere other than on Al’s bed.
Apparently, the thing with Otis, though, is that he insists on sleeping not just with Al, but on him, and no amount of effort on Al’s part is correcting the issue. Otis understands perfectly well what Al means by “Off,” and he obeys – for a while. Then, Al wakes up in the night unable to breathe because Otis is lying on top of him. Al is not getting the sleep he needs, so much as he hates the idea, he’s having to consider other sleeping arrangements for Otis.
I had to admit that I didn’t know much about elevated dog beds. I also have a lot on my plate right now, not just with the blogs, but with the freelance writing assignments that actually bring me some income, so I guess I got a bit grumbly. “Al, just Google it,” I said.
Well, Al knows his way around me. “I’d do that, Ash,” he said, “But I’d just be reading product reviews – I don’t have your knowledge about dogs in general, and I know I can trust you to separate the wheat from the chaff and make the right recommendations when it comes to the best elevated dog bed for Otis.”
What could I say? “You’re on your own, buddy,” or maybe, “Who died and made me your research assistant?” I managed not to say, “Fine, Al, just fine; I’ll sleep next week”, and settled for, “Leave it with me for a couple of days.” Then I went home, had a bit of lunch, and settled down to work. I finished up my writing and then got to work trying to find the best elevated dog beds. For someone else’s dog. Because that “someone else” trusts my judgment so friggin’ much.
Sorry, I’m grumbling again. Let me get back on track.
What Are Elevated Dog Beds, and Why Would You Want One for Your Dog?
As I said, I really didn’t know much about elevated dog beds – I’ve always figured that the best elevated dog bed for Janice and Leroy was my bed, but that wasn’t working for Al and Otis. When I think of dog beds, I usually picture the “on the floor” variety, so finding the best elevated dog bed for Otis was going to be a bit of a challenge. I needed to know more before recommending a specific bed, so I got to work learning about elevated dog beds in general.
It seems that they’re a lot like a cot that a human might use, in that they consist of a frame, four legs, and fabric that is stretched over the frame. They have a lot of benefits over the “floor” type of dog bed, too, the main one being that your dog isn’t sleeping on a hard surface. Your dog is likely to feel “floor” even through the softest traditional dog bed, and this can be hard on the joints, especially for large breeds and senior dogs. Just getting up and down can lead to pressure on the elbows, hocks and hips. With an elevated pet bed, you don’t have to worry about pressure points.
An elevated dog bed can also keep your dog warmer in winter and cooler in summer. In winter, your dog doesn’t have to live with cold coming up through the floor, and in summer, an elevated bed allows air to circulate.
This type of bed can also be really convenient if you travel with your dog. The best elevated dog beds disassemble easily, so you can just stow them in the trunk of your car and then reassemble them when you get to your destination. If your dog feels uncomfortable in strange surroundings, another advantage is that he will have something familiar – his own bed – to ease the feelings of discomfort that can often go hand-in-paw with an unfamiliar environment.
The best elevated dog beds are also very easy to clean – unless you have a very, very tiny dog, the chances of you being able to throw his bed into the washing machine are slim to none if you’re dealing with the conventional variety. Best case scenario, you can unzip the pillow covering and launder it, but that’s not going to do much for the rest of the bed. One of the best things about an elevated dog bed is that the only part that ever needs to be cleaned is the fabric – so you just un clip it and toss it in the washer. Or you can take it outside and hose it off.
Elevated dog beds are also great for outdoor dogs. Now, by that, I don’t mean dogs that are outdoors all the time. As I’ve stated over and over, and particularly in Can Dogs Live Outdoors Full Time, dogs are pack animals and meant to be with their humans. If you are going to get a dog and then make him live outdoors at the end of a chain, you are a jerk who shouldn’t have a dog. What I mean here is that elevated dog beds are good for dogs who like spending time outside because if they feel like having a nap, they can climb up on the bed and not have to sleep on the ground.
I also discovered during the course of my research that the best elevated dog beds actually offer the same benefits as expensive orthopedic dog beds, at considerably less cost. And for sure, we can all stand to save a bit of money!
How to Choose the Best Elevated Dog Bed
There are a few things that you should consider when choosing the best elevated dog bed for your best buddy. First of all, you want your dog to be comfortable, and that means that the size of the bed has to be in line with the size of the dog. You don’t want “dog parts” hanging out over “bed parts.” Also, make sure that your dog can step on and off the bed without difficulty – it shouldn’t be too low or too high.
The best elevated dog beds have frames made of metal or PVC. If you have a large dog, like Otis, then your best choice would be steel – aluminum and PVC might not be strong enough. If you’re in doubt, choose a bed that’s rated for a dog that is heavier than yours.
The best fabric for a dog bed is canvas. Most elevated dog beds, though, are equipped with mesh fabric. The advantage is that mesh is more breathable than canvas, but I think this advantage is outweighed by the fact that mesh is weaker, and also if it’s not a tightly-woven mesh, your dog’s toenails could get caught in it, and that could result in an injury. If possible, you should also avoid elevated dog beds that have holes at the four corners, again because of the possibility of injury – your dog could get his leg caught in one of the holes, panic, and hurt himself.
The best elevated dog beds should also be able to take a bit of abuse. There’s not much point in trying to tell your dog, “Otis, don’t bounce up there like that; you’re going to break your bed!”
So, there you have a snapshot of what the best elevated dog beds should look like. Now, let’s get into specifics.
The Five Best
Here are my picks for the best elevated dog beds.
1. Coolaroo Elevated Pet Bed
The Coolaroo Elevated Pet Bed is rated for dogs up to 100 pounds, so it would work for Otis right now, but not as he gets older. I’m including it here, though, because the price is very good (under $30 at Amazon) and not everyone has a Saint Bernard! In fact, of all the elevated dog beds I looked at, this one is the least expensive, but you won’t sacrifice when it comes to quality. The only real downside that I could identify is that you’ll need a few tools to get it put together, but on the other hand, almost every household has a tool kit of some sort, and you won’t need anything special. As I’ve suggested, mesh is not necessarily the best fabric for a dog bed, but again, it’s pretty much the standard, so I’m not considering this a “con” either.
The K&H Elevated Pet Cot is another one of the best elevated dog beds for large breeds. It’s a little more expensive than the Coolaroo, but still under $30, so I can’t find anything to complain about price-wise. The breathable mesh is reasonably sturdy and resists mold and mildew, but it is a bit thin, so if you choose this bed, you’ll want to make sure to keep your dog’s nails clipped. That’s a minor complaint, though, and not enough to prevent me from recommending this bed. I like the fact that you can assemble the K&H without needing any tools at all, too.
I’m not recommending this one for Otis, because it only comes in one size, and that one size had better not be any more than 35 pounds. I’m including it in my picks for the best elevated dog beds, though, because it assembles in mere seconds, is easily packed for storage thanks to its own carrier bag, and the fabric is water-resistant and non-mesh. You don’t need any special tools to set it up, so it’s great for camping or travel. My take on the HDP Elevated Napper Cot is that it’s the best elevated dog bed for small breeds, and a good deal at just a little over $30.
The Pawhut Elevated Dog Bed is very sturdy and easy to clean. You can use it indoors or outside, and when it gets dirty, just hose it off. The frame is made of steel, so it will not rust. There are a couple of down sides to this bed, though – first of all, it’s only rated for dogs up to 66 pounds, so it’s no good for Otis. It’s under $30, though, and a very good choice if you’re looking for the best elevated dog bed for your small to medium-sized dog.
This is the Cadillac of elevated dog beds, and I have to tell you that this is reflected in the price – nearly $70. That said, the Kuranda Walnut Chew-Proof Raised Bed is well worth the cost. You can get it in a variety of sizes, with the largest being rated for dogs up to 125 pounds. The fabric is cordura, which resists abrasion and is every bit as strong as canvas. There are no holes, so you don’t have to worry about snagged toenails. And if aesthetics are important to you, you’ll love the sleek design and the fact that this bed is available in several classic colors.
There you have it – my top five picks for the best elevated dog beds.
So, What Did I Recommend for Al and Otis?
None of the above. This has nothing to do with the quality of the elevated dog beds I’ve just talked about, and everything to do with the fact that Otis is going to end up being a very, very big dog – Saint Bernards usually end up topping out over 200 pounds. I wasn’t able to find an elevated dog bed that would work for Otis. So, what I suggested to Al, since he’s single, is that he should get rid of his queen-size bed and replace it with two twins – one for him, and one for Otis.
Now, how that’s going to work out if Al ever gets a life, and has company overnight, I don’t know. That’s not my issue, though, and it’s not what Al asked me about. So, I’m sticking with my recommendation – two twins.
I learned a lot about what makes for the best elevated dog bed when doing my research for Al. Even though none of these beds would work for a dog as big as Otis is likely to get, I have no reservations at all about recommending them for other dogs.