Will My Dog Use a Dog Bed? (Know For Sure!)

Considering adult dogs sleep for an average of 11 hours in a 24-hour period, you would think your dog would rather use a dog bed than sleep on the floor – but that may not be the case. The last thing you want to do is spend your hard earned money on a dog bed that doesn’t get used. So how can you know for sure if your dog will use a dog bed?

The choice between a dog bed and the floor seems obvious. However, no matter how much research you’ve done on dog beds or money you’ve spent, some dogs will love to curl up on a dog bed while others will simply choose anywhere else.

Let’s have a look at some of the factors that affect whether your dog will use a dog bed or not so you can have a much better idea if it’s worth spending money on a bed for your pup.

will my dog use a dog bed

5 Things to Think About Before Buying Your Dog a Dog Bed

While there’s no predicting the future, considering a few factors prior to buying your dog a new bed can give you an idea as to how successful it will be.

How Old is Your Dog?

Younger dogs may be more likely to take to a new bed than older dogs. If this is the first bed you’d be getting for your older dog, they might choose the floor simply out of habit.

If you’re training a pup from an early age to use a dog bed then they’ll more than likely enjoy a dog bed their entire life.

But, just as we need extra support as we get older, so do our dogs. 

If you’re choosing a bed for an older dog and want to increase the chances of them using the bed, orthopedic beds are now readily available and very popular. These beds are most often made with memory foam for extra support and assistance when getting up and lying down.

If your older pup has troubles with overheating then an elevated dog bed would be a better choice for them. Even if an orthopedic dog bed is super comfortable, if after a few short minutes of lying on it your dog becomes too warm, they’ll go back to the cool floor in no time.

Do They Have a Spot They Tend to Stick to Already?

If your dog has already found a space in the house where they feel most comfortable to have a snooze, think about what your dog likes about that spot.

Is it beside a vent? Are they resting on cool tiled floors or hardwood? Is it on the carpet or couch?

From their favorite sleeping spot, you can get an understanding of the type of conditions that your dog seems to really enjoy. Taking that into account will ensure you get the right type of bed that your dog will run to instead of run away from.

So long as a dog bed is put in their favorite spot and provides them more comfort (doesn’t make them overheat or is an uncomfortable bed in general) there’s a better chance they’ll use the bed.

Have They Shown Interest in Another Dog’s Bed?

When your pup has play dates, do you find them heading towards their friends’ dog bed and doing some investigating? If you find them climbing into another dogs’ cozy bed, that’s a positive sign that if they had their own, they’d be happy to use it.

Take note of what the bed looks like as that will be a big help when it comes to which bed to get your pup. Perhaps they’re drawn to a circular, padded bed, or a cushioned cave bed to hide away for some privacy.

Are They Hard on Their Belongings or an Aggressive Chewer?

If you’ve got an aggressive chewer on your hands you’re likely concerned whether it’s worth spending money on a bed that could easily be torn to bits.

Regardless of what a company calls ‘chew proof’ in their marketing, any bed won’t be able to stand up against a determined chewer.

You’d be better off training your dog to stop tearing things up before buying a bed because it will likely see the same fate, destruction.

We did write a post on the best dog beds for dogs with separation anxiety and believe our best overall pick would stand the best chance against an aggressive chewing doggo, you can check it out by clicking here.

Do They Tend to Overheat or Need Warming Up?

If you notice your dog frequently panting because of the heat where you live, getting them a padded orthopedic bed may not get much use. These types of beds absorb heat which means they’ll only get warmer and more uncomfortable.

Unless the bed is placed near a vent or in a cool spot in your home, your considerably warm pup likely won’t use the plush, seemingly comfortable bed. Your best bet would be to get an elevated bed as those beds allow air to circulate which helps keep your dog cooler.

In contrast, if you have a dog that has trouble staying warm, like a greyhound or a toy dog breed, a nice soft, plush bed will likely become their best friend.

Does How Much I Spend on a Dog Bed Impact Whether my Dog Will Use The Bed?

The more expensive dog beds are, for the most part, more expensive because they have higher quality materials and a promise of extreme comfort.  If the bed is of better quality or comfort, it’s more likely that your dog will use the bed. Much like when we buy a more expensive bed rather than the least expensive one.

However, the cost of a dog bed doesn’t necessarily affect the likelihood that your dog will use it

Even if you spend a few hundred dollars on a top of the line bed, if your dog feels uncomfortably warm laying in it, it’s not in a spot in the house they like, or the fabric doesn’t agree with them (picky buggers aren’t they!) – they won’t want to use it.

How Can I Know if My Dog Will Like The Dog Bed I Get Them?

There is no surefire way to guarantee that your dog will love their new bed, but if all these factors and details are considered properly, it’s unlikely you’ll get it wrong. 

Don’t be disheartened if they don’t take to it immediately.

Adjusting to a new bed can be difficult for your dog and take some time.

There are lots of different dog bed shapes and styles tailored to a variety of different preferences that your dog may have. Looking at the way your dog chooses to sleep will help make sure you pick a bed that your dog will happily use.

  • Raised-style beds are good for dogs who feel more comfortable slightly above floor-level, for older dogs who may struggle more getting off and on an orthopedic bed, or for dogs that are frequently warm and need a place to help them cool down. 
  • Cave beds suit dogs with a preference for dark and cozy spaces when they’re ready to curl up for a sleep. They like their private time and get comfort being in a smaller area.
  • Orthopedic beds are great for relieving aches & pains in senior dogs as well as helping keep a young pup’s joints and bones healthy longer.
  • Donut beds are ideal for a dog who’s preferred sleeping position is curled up in a ball. If your dog likes to nestle into a cozy ball as opposed to sprawling out, this is a good type of bed for them.

Do Dogs Prefer Hard or Soft Beds?

This is a good question because many people say that their dog chooses to sleep on the hard floor as opposed to a comfy bed that they got them.

Each dog is different though. Just like people.

One dog may prefer the harder surfaces while another would never be caught sleeping on the floor.

It really depends on your unique pup. If they like laying on the floor, maybe test out a plastic dog bed and throw a blanket or two in it and see if your pup likes it. If not, plastic dog beds are quite inexpensive and you won’t set yourself too far back seeing if this is something they like.

If your dog sticks to the comfier places in the house, you’re better off getting them a soft bed that replicates the spots they currently enjoy resting on.

Tips On Training a Dog to Use a Dog Bed

There are a few tried and tested methods to train a dog to use a new dog bed, and although it may take some time, gentle, frequent training (and patience) will encourage your dog to get warm up to their new bed. 

  • A ‘trick method’ involves putting a sheet over their old dog bed, and then gradually swapping out the old dog bed for the new one. With the scented sheet on top, your dog may won’t even notice.
  • Positive association is another method. It helps link the dog bed to treats and praise, which will encourage your pup to keep going back to their new bed. 
  • Scent is such a huge part of a dog’s life, sometimes it’s mostly about making the bed smell familiar. Try rubbing some of your clothes on the new bed, or even leaving an old sweater on the bed, and your dog will feel safe and at home with your scent close by.

Final Thoughts

Deciding on getting your furry friend a bed can be a big choice given you don’t want to spend money on something they don’t use. But, there are a lot of ways to know if it’s worth getting them a bed, and if you do, increase the chances that your dog will actually use the bed

If your furry friend doesn’t use the bed, don’t take it to heart. Sometimes it’s best to just let sleeping dogs lie!

Other posts you might find interesting:

Are Dog Beds Toxic? (6 Important Facts)

How To Train A Puppy To Sleep In A Dog Bed | 5 Simple Steps

Will a Dog Use Another Dog’s Bed? (Simply Explained)

Alec Littlejohn

Founder and Reviewer at Pawscessories. He is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! He grew up in a family of vets and to this day he helps out around the family clinic and shares his learnings on Pawscessories. Learn more about Alec's story here

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