When buying a bed for your dog you need to think about the nature and lifestyle of you and your dog, as well as the type of breed that you own. Here founder and designer of Creature Clothes, Cosima Pole reveals her top tips on what to look for when buying a bed.
I started making dog beds for a living about 13 years ago out of necessity. Everything I brought home for my dog to sleep on was either useless, ugly, or both. I tried beds from the pet shop, but the moment you washed them the filling would turn to goo inside the cover. And who wants a dog bed in those dull colours with cartoons of dogs dressed up as Santa on the fabric? Yuck. Next I tried plastic walled beds, but my poor pooch Vodka looked like she was sitting on the naughty step, encased in the hard, cold sides. Then I tried wicker baskets, but my Labrador promptly had a litter of puppies who decided the basket made for a nice snack. Before I knew it, Vodka had given up on the pet bed industry and decided that my bed was the only place for her. That is when I decided that it was time to make a really great, functional dog bed and reclaim my toe space.
Top tips for buying your dog the perfect bed.
When bed shopping for your dog, always think Fox Poo! Will it wash off, wipe off, smell off? Dogs like to roll in all manner of disgusting things when out in the garden or walking in the park. So, the first thing that you need to consider when buying a bed is that it needs to be washable. I virtually never take clothes to the dry cleaner, let alone the dog’s bed, so make sure that it is a bed that suits your lifestyle.
This is so important, as if it’s not comfy, it won’t get used. The question I always ask prospective customers is how does your dog like to sleep? Are they a ‘Sprawler’ or a ‘Curler’? A ‘Tunneler’ or a ‘Percher’?
If you have a ‘Curler’, then I would suggest a basket (if past the chewing stage) or a walled bed with a soft duvet bed inside for comfort.
A ‘Tunneler’ (such as terriers) like to scratch and dig before settling down, normally under something. For these guys I recommend something like a denim bed to withstand the digging, and a blanket such as our Fur Friend Fleecy Blanket over the top of the bed for them to nestle under.
A ‘Percher’ tends to often like to sleep in tiny spaces or on the backs of sofas. I would recommend a nice small bed to squish on to, maybe something enclosed that they climb into/onto.
Your dog’s bed will be seen as much as every other piece of furniture in your house, if not more, so make sure it suits the tone of the room it is in and your own personal style. Does your dog sleep in the kitchen by a colourful Aga? Then match your dog’s bed to the Aga! And remember if you redecorate, make sure your dog’s bed matches the new interiors.
Make sure you have a bed you like the look of, that fits with your house and that you want to look at every day. I have several customers who don’t actually have dogs, but really like the look of our dog beds and use them as floor cushions. Good design is key.
As well as thinking about your breed and what you want from your dog’s bed you must think about the purpose and practicalities that you need from the bed. If you have an elderly or arthritic dog make sure that the bed you choose will be easy for them to get into and will keep them supported and away from drafts.
Do you have a nervous dog? In testing our Dog Bed Covers they have been very successful for anxious dogs as it is simply a cover that you fill with an old quilt that you (probably) have in the loft and straight away it immediately smells of home and is instantly reassuring. So when introducing your dog to their new basket perhaps cover it with a blanket that smells of you or your home and that will reassure them that they are safe.
If you travel with your dog then I recommend buying a bed to fit the boot of your car so they are immediately at home on your voyage. One of my best customers, ‘Ralph the Ridgeback’ frequently travels to Scotland on the train, and he always travels with his bespoke Scottish Flag Creature Clothes bed to lie on during the journey. He is always relaxed during his trip as he’s already at home en route.
And remember, even though beds are now often built to last, it is important to replace them if they are looking a bit flat and aren’t providing comfort to your dog, have been chewed to pieces or your dog has suffered from fleas more than once – probably time to invest in a new one.