Are dog orthopedic beds worth it for senior dogs? We ask the experts

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  • Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.

As pet parents, we want our dogs to stay healthy and active for as long as possible. So, an orthopedic dog bed that promises to help relieve bone pain while promoting joint health sounds like a sound investment — especially for their elderly or arthritic dogs. ta.

But what does “orthopedic” really mean? Does the term denote any tangible feature or benefit that distinguishes an orthopedic dog bed from a regular bed? Are Orthopedic Dog Beds Worth It?

To find out if they offer any real health benefits, we dived into the world of orthopedic dog beds. We’ve looked at reviews, talked to experts, and even tested some of the beds mentioned. Here’s what we found.

What is an orthopedic dog bed — and how does it work?

In theory, an orthopedic dog bed should support your dog and relieve pressure points by evenly distributing their weight. These beds are often marketed as a therapeutic tool for older dogs or dogs with joint problems such as arthritis or hip dysplasia.

But not all models are suitable, and sometimes orthopedic labels are nothing more than exaggerated (and strategic) hype. Dr. Danielle Tranga veterinarian in Raleigh.

“Just as there is no regulation around the term ‘holistic’, there is no regulation around the term ‘orthopedic.’ So it was supposed to be a marketing scheme,” she told Rover. That’s not to say an orthopedic bed won’t help your dog feel better—just that pet parents will need to do their homework before deciding on a model.

Dog it Pet Fusion Memory Foam bed

Pet Fusion Ultimate relies on real memory foam for support.

For an orthopedic bed that lives up to its name, one of your first considerations should be its material. Dr. Page notes: “While conventional dog beds are filled with polyfill material or some kind of cotton or wool, orthopedic beds must have an appropriate supportive mattress.

What kind of material is best? Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, director of Kingsgate Animal Hospital and veterinarians at High-class tail daggers. The foam molds into your dog’s frame, providing unique support around their body — without too much sagging. And when your dog stands up, the material will return to its original shape.

Types of orthopedic dog beds

Like any dog ​​bed, Orthopedic models come in a variety of designs to suit a wide variety of breeds and sleeping styles.

Orthopedic bed with mattress caters for dogs who prefer to rest their head or back against a supportive pillow. The PetFusion Memory Foam Lounge, for example, combine comfortable helpers with an open entry point for easier access — targeting older dogs or pets with limited mobility. Made with four inches of real memory foam, our fangs Rover tester I found this bed to be both supportive and comfortable.

Dog sitting on Big Barker orthopedic bed

The Big Barker is up to 7 inches thick for large breeds.

Large dogs need stronger support — so Orthopedic mattress for large dog breeds need to be significantly thicker. The Big Barker is a popular choice, as it offers seven inches of high-quality foam that can support up to 300 pounds. Currently, it is the only dog ​​bed clinically proven to improve mobility and relieve joint pain.

There are also some cave orthopedic bed out that provides privacy for burrowers and anxious pups. The FurHaven Snuggery is one of the most popular; it gives dogs a sense of security when held while providing an orthopedic foam base to support their body. Although the bed’s orthopedic foam provides good support, it won’t be as supportive as the activated foam model.

Dog sleeping on Fur Haven Snuggery bed

Fur Haven Snuggery is one of the few orthopedic beds for burrowing.

What the experts say about orthopedic dog beds

For older dogs with bone problems, a quality orthopedic bed can help—but research on this topic is limited.

To date, scientific studies on orthopedic mattresses have been conducted almost exclusively on humans – with one exception Big Barker Bed’s UPenn Clinical Trial. The data from this study are encouraging: bed use has been shown to improve mobility, reduce joint pain, and even energy levels in large dogs with arthritis.

But while our experts believe an orthopedic bed can help dogs feel better, they suggest it should be combined with additional relief methods.

“When it comes to chiropractic treatment, there are more effective ways to relieve your dog’s pain,” says Dr. Whittenburg. “So while orthopedic dog beds may provide some sleeping comfort for some dogs, they are certainly not a panacea.”

For a comprehensive comfort plan tailored specifically for your dog, Dr. Whittenburg recommends speaking with your veterinarian. In addition to putting them on an orthopedic bed, you can ask about joint supplements, such as Glyde Mobility Chewsor even hydrotherapy for better joint health.

Dog in PetFusion Orthopedic Bed

Test dog Oscar the Rover relaxes in the PetFusion Orthopedic Bed.

Final Verdict: Is Orthopedic Dog Bed Worth It For Older Dogs or Arthritis Dogs?

For Dr. Page, it certainly is.

“Almost any older dog will benefit—especially large breed dogs known to have a higher incidence of arthritis,” she tells us, adding that pets have orthopedic problems that are likely to progress with age (such as hip or elbow dysplasia) may also benefit from one.

They may be more expensive, but orthopedic beds tend to last longer than regular dog beds made of cotton or fiber material. Plus, a well-made bed can help dogs with chronic and temporary ailments. They are a comfortable option for any dog, but orthopedic dog beds are especially beneficial for:

  • Senior dog
  • Joint dog
  • Dogs with spine or disc problems
  • Dogs with hip or elbow dysplasia (and breeds prone to these conditions, such as German Shepherds and Great Danes)
  • Fat dog
  • Skinny, bony dogs lack protective “cushion”
  • Dogs recovering from trauma (such as muscle strain) or surgery

In the end, orthopedic beds aren’t a miracle cure for joint problems, but we think they’re a sensible tool to help make your dog more comfortable. Which Dr. Trang can personally attest to. She said: “I use an orthopedic bed for my (very) 12 year old boy, Brittany Spaniel, Axl. “He loves his bed, and I feel like anything I can do to ease his pain is a win for me.” We couldn’t agree more.

How do we choose?

The orthopedic dog beds here were selected based on a combination of our own hands-on testing, comprehensive review of customer reviews across multiple retail platforms, and interviews with veterinary experts. Our selections prioritize support materials, washability and longevity. We also looked at the overall comfort, bed design and efficiency of these orthopedic beds. Ultimately, we are guided by our own experience of living and playing with our own much-loved and very consistent pets, animals that are never stingy with their feedback.

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