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If search histories hold our deepest truths (and I personally think they do), one look at mine would indicate how many times I’ve asked Google, “Why does my dog sleep on the floor?” While my nine-year-old dog has three perfectly fine beds — one in the living room, another in my dad’s office, and the last in my parents’ bedroom — he would always sleep on the hardwood floor beside one of those beds or on my parents’ bed.
According to Dr. Heather Venkat, a Companion Animal Veterinarian at VIP Puppies in Phoenix, Arizona, some dogs sleep on the floor for a number of reasons. Maybe they’re seeking out a cooler surface to counteract all that fur; want to stay close to their loved ones; or choose to sleep where there’s little light and noise. Sometimes, the problem may be the dog bed’s location. “If you would rather your dog sleep on his bed, consider moving the bed into different areas of your home to see if your dog has a preference for where he wants to sleep,” Dr. Venkat advises.
My dog’s sleeping habits weren’t a major cause for concern, but my family noticed that his sleeping habits changed the minute we invested in Beautyrest’s Ultra Plush Quilted Cuddler Pet Bed, whose medium-sized version currently retails for $80.99 at Kohl’s; the bed boasts what Beautyrest calls “Dualcool™ technology,” to make sure that your dog won’t overheat while they rest. One of the first aspects we noticed about Beautyrest’s bed was its fabric — it’s super soft to the touch, like a sherpa-fleece blanket or lined jacket. However, the bed’s enhanced air-cool memory foam mattress was the greatest selling point for us, as our pup heads into his golden years.
A staggering number of dogs could benefit from orthopedic-specific innovations, according to Dr. Rebecca Greenstein, the Veterinary Medical Advisor for Rover. “There’s not yet enough scientific research to tell us exactly which dogs might benefit most from which type of bed, but it’s not much of a stretch to say that so-called orthopedic beds certainly sound promising,” she says.
A 2020 study estimates that 20 percent of dogs in North America exhibit symptoms of canine osteoarthritis by age one, and that risk grows with age. Dr. Venkat notes that orthopedic beds can support a dog’s joints and sensitive areas by providing beneficial cushioning. More specifically, memory foam mattresses conform to the body for support and relieve pressure by evenly distributing weight across the surface area.
“For pets with back issues, joint pain, past orthopedic injuries, and/or arthritis, more even weight distribution might put less pressure on specific pressure points or sore areas, which leads us to believe they [memory foam mattresses] could be beneficial for a large segment of the pet population,” Dr. Greenstein explains.
Now that my dog sleeps and lounges more and more each day, investing in an orthopedic memory foam mattress seemed like a sound investment. He cannot seem to get enough of his Beautyrest bed either, and stretches his legs out across the entire bed and snuggles up for a couple of hours at a time. He especially loves resting his head on the bed’s plush perimeter, which offers greater support for his neck. And while our pup appeared so comfortable that my sister and I grew tempted to test the bed ourselves, Beautyrest thankfully sells human-sized memory foam mattresses, too. (Unfortunately, they’re not topped with the same appealing plush fabric.)
If you’re looking to purchase a new dog bed for your aging or picky pup, Dr. Greenstein suggests utilizing an orthopedic model as one tool in a multimodal strategy for your dog’s overall health and comfort. More importantly, she advises consulting with a family vet if your pet is frequently exhibiting signs of discomfort and you’re unsure where to start to help them relieve it. And if your dog prefers to sleep on the floor no matter what bed you buy them, well, you can try encouraging them with praise and treats to help them get accustomed to cozying up in their bed.