Do Dogs Need Special Beds?

At Restful Dog, we pride ourselves on being the one-stop resource for all things dog beds. We cover the gamut with types, care, benefits, safety, and more. The one thing we’ve learned through all of our meticulous research is that sleeping is the same, whether you’re a dog, a cat, or the person reading this right now.

Just like us, there are times when our dogs need special beds, and the reasons are all over the place. So, keep reading, and we’ll give you some advice on when it’s worth it to spend a little extra to support your best furry friend.

  • What Types of Dogs Need Special Beds?
  • Unique Beds for Older Dogs
  • Beds for Puppies
  • Cooling, Warming, or Calming

What Types of Dogs Need Special Beds?

The title of this article is “do dogs need special beds?” and there are two ways to look at that question.

  1. Physical ailments that necessitate a particular type of bed
  2. Accommodating size, breed, and sleeping style

You’ll probably agree that “need” is a bit more fitting when it comes to dogs with health challenges, joint or muscle problems, or are recuperating from surgery or other treatment. For example, giving your pup a floor mattress doesn’t make sense when they can’t get up and down easily.

However, you can’t ignore the second reason either. A puppy likes to feel cozy and nurtured. So, if you pass on a giant bed from a German Shepherd, no one in the house is going to get much sleep. The same applies to doggos more comfortable on hard surfaces. If you buy one of those squishy furry beds, it’s probably going to be a waste of money.

Special Beds for Older Dogs

While any canine could benefit from a custom sleeping spot, it’s even more essential for older dogs. And, we’ll take it even one step further to factor in the breed. Certain types of dogs, like Labrador Retrievers, English Bulldogs, and German Shepherds, are more susceptible to joint problems.

There are two main categories of custom beds for dogs who are older or physically challenged.

  1. Orthopedic
  2. Elevated

Orthopedic Dog Beds

Your dog’s sleeping habits might be similar to yours. But, without opposable thumbs, they’re not going to operate a remote control that moves their mattress up and down. Not that little Bailey wouldn’t love it!

So, instead of motion, orthopedic dog beds focus on the material used. You’ll find that older dogs that need special beds prefer supportive memory foam. If we had Goldilocks testing these beds, she’d declare that they’re not too hard, nor soft; they’re just right!

Memory foam conforms to your pup. It’s cushioning without being too soft because you don’t want them sinking into their mattress.

Some orthopedic dog beds have optional bumpers that cradle the head. So, you’ve got the foam underneath and firm pillows integrated into one or more sides.

>>Suggested reading: The Best Dog Beds for Older Dogs

Some Dogs Need Elevated Beds

While orthopedic beds are enough for the most part, some doggos get to the point where getting up and down is extremely painful. When that happens, you’ll want to consider an elevated bed.

If you’ve never seen these types of dog beds, you can picture a camping cot. They’re typically made of a simple frame with a canvas (or similar) sleeping surface. Of course, elevated beds for dogs aren’t as high as a cot, but you get the gist.

Your poor little ailing fur baby could actually jump for joy if you provide them with an elevated bed that they can pretty much just fall onto to rest.

>>Suggested reading: The Best Elevated Dog Beds

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Beds for Puppies

When older dogs need special beds, it’s usually for physical reasons. However, for younger pups, there’s a mental benefit.

Special beds for puppies are more nurturing and protective.

Some of the most common custom beds for the young ones include:

  1. Donut-style
  2. Furry
  3. Cave-style
  4. Raised edges


The donut-style dog bed is one of the more common for smaller breeds and puppies. They’ve got circular cushioning, and the fur baby curls up in the middle (aka the hole of the donut).

These dog beds are ideal for pups as they make them feel safe and secure as they’re completely surrounded.


We were lost for better words to describe this type of unique bed as it is what it is – furry. You’ve probably seen these cushions that are soft and fake fur-covered.

It’s also comforting and nurturing for puppies who like to snuggle. Instead of being surrounded by bolsters, they just kind of create their own little nesting spot.


You might call this type of bed cave-style, or tent-style is another way to describe it. It’s usually a smaller bed with a roof. There’s a hole on one side, so your little one can poke their head out and have the best of both worlds.

Raised Edges

The special dog beds with raised edges give the tiny ones a snuggly place to sleep, similar to donut beds. But raised edge versions accommodate larger dogs as well.

>>Suggested reading: The Best Dog Beds for Puppies

TIP: Puppies and small dogs who want to feel nurtured and cozy prefer smaller sleeping spaces. They won’t get the same protective feeling from a large bed, which is why many newborns don’t want to sleep on your luxurious King-size.

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Cooling, Warming, or Calming

We’ve covered older dogs and puppies. But some dogs need special beds even if they don’t fall into one of those categories.

Temperature-Adjusting Dog Beds

  1. Cooling beds or mats – typically have some type of cooling gel in the foam or mattress that helps with pups who could use a personal air conditioner.
  2. Heating dog beds – work with your pet’s body heat to circulate it and keep the bed warm. They’re ideal for breeds that like to be toasty.

Have You Heard of a Calming Dog Bed?

Calming is the last category of special dog beds, and it’s a relatively new concept. The calming bed is designed to nurture puppies or relieve anxiety in older dogs.

A calming bed typically has raised edges for support and extra padding for burrowing. Some calming beds are also self-warming, which is appealing to young pups.

Final Thought

Now that we’ve covered the variety of sleeping options for your fur baby, you might find that your dog doesn’t need a special bed. But, if so many are available, and at various price points, why not?

After all, you reap the benefits of their comfortable, restful sleep, too.