We all want to sleep on a great mattress. It’s important to our overall health and longevity. Studies show that sleeping on the right mattress makes our joints less achy, improves our memory, and it can even alleviate stress. A quality mattress is equally important for our pets; especially those with disabilities. I’ve pulled together the latest facts about dog beds to help you with how to choose the best orthopedic dog bed and the key role they play for paralyzed dogs.
Disclaimer: I am not being compensated for this story. These are orthopedic dog beds I researched and want to share with readers because I firmly believe they can improve the quality of life for paralyzed dogs. There are two beds with affiliate links.
Why an orthopedic dog bed is best for paralyzed dogs
Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DipABVP is an advocate of orthopedic dog beds for dogs with spinal injuries and paralysis. In an article for VeterinaryPartner.com Dr. Brooks said,
“An orthopedic bed is a crucial investment for the downer pet. These beds are designed to protect pressure points from bedsores.”
I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Brooks. A quality bed is an easy way to make life healthier and more comfortable for the disabled canine in your life.
As Dr. Brooks explained, paralyzed dogs are prone to developing painful pressure sores (decubitus ulcers) and bulging sores called hygromas. This happens because they can’t change positions, while lying down, as easily as an able-bodied dog. When a dog lifts their body, and moves into a new position, it takes pressure off that area and allows blood and oxygen to flow freely. However, when a dog lies in one spot for too long, the skin around the bony parts of the body such as the elbows, ankles, and hips do not receive the blood and oxygen they need. It causes the skin to break down. This can lead to pressure sores, open wounds, hygromas and a host of other serious complications.
The key role orthopedic dog beds play
An orthopedic bed is designed to properly support a dog’s spine and back muscles while responding to a dog’s weight and shape. The best orthopedic mattresses are made from high-quality, medical-grade egg crate foam or special thick memory foam.
Egg crate mattresses
Egg crate mattresses have bumps and dips that give the appearance of the inside of a carton of eggs. The mattress works by evenly distributing a dog’s weight. The breathable material keeps dogs cool and pressure points to bony areas are alleviated with balance and support.
Memory foam mattresses
Memory foam orthopedic mattresses work by contouring to a dog’s body to relieve pressure points. The mattress is made of dense foam with open cells. When a dog lies on it air moves from one cell to another giving support and enveloping the body.
Tip: Orthopedic mattresses should NEVER be stuffed with chunks of foam fiber or small particles. These tend to become lumpy and add undue pressure. Test the mattress to be sure you CANNOT flatten it to the ground. Push you hand down on the mattress and if you feel the ground below, look for another option. The bed will not give evenly distributed support to your dog’s body.
Orthopedic dog beds are recommended to help a variety of canine medical conditions:
- IVDD – Intervertebral Disc Disease
- Hip dysplasia
- Muscle loss due to old age
- Recovery from orthopedic surgeries
- Neurological conditions and paralysis
- Injuries and fractures of the bones
- Soft tissue injuries
How to choose the best orthopedic dog bed
Here are the must-have features to consider when choosing a quality bed:
- The mattress should be made of high-quality medical-grade memory foam or egg crate foam. Choose the thickest mattress available.
- The mattress and cover should separate and each should be washable.
- The cover should be made from anti-bacterial fabric.
- It is preferable for the bed to bed made from waterproof materials. This will protect it from accidents and incontinence issues.
- Orthopedic dog beds come in a variety of shapes. Determine which shape suits your dog’s needs. There are rectangular shaped beds, beds with bolsters and bagel shaped beds. Some paralyzed dogs benefit from the added support of bolsters or bagel bed because they can’t fall off the mattress. This might be a feature to consider if your dog is weak, has balance problems, has a progressive condition, or has upper body paralysis.
- Be sure to choose a bed with a non-slip bottom.
Here are 5 of the best orthopedic dog beds. Each has all of the must-have features.
These beds were included in an annual dog bed review conducted by the WholeDog Journal. I’ve included pictures of each bed throughout this article. Click on the name of each bed to read the manufacturer’s complete description.
This bed features a 6” orthopedic foam mattress. It gives dogs with arthritis and disabilities solid support and comfort.
This bed is made from durable egg crate luxe foam for ultimate support and comfort. It has a thick pillowtop layer for added comfort.
This is a 4” thick mattress made from CertiPUR-US® memory foam. It achieves maximum relief and therapeutic comfort.
An innovative memory-foam support therapeutic dog bed. It is designed to alleviate pressure points with a open-cell foam that stays warm in winter and cool in summer.
This quality memory foam bolster bed made from NASA-certified materials. It offers maximum comfort and orthopedic support.