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Finding the right dog bed can be tricky if you have a large-breed dog. You’re probably aware that selecting a large dog bed that’s good quality is really important, considering how much time your canine spends there. It’s extra-nice if it provides support, especially for senior dogs who may need help with joint pain. Rover sitter and dog mum of two senior pets, Amber C., tells us that going orthopaedic for her dogs’ beds “was a real game-changer. It helped their sleep and mine.”
Read on to find out more about dog sleeping positions, why the right dog bed is so important for canine comfort and health, and for our top choices in regular, orthopaedic and extra-large beds for the biggest dogs around. These picks all score high in the comfort department.
A word on finding the right size for your dog: pay close attention to the stated measurements from the dog bed manufacturer. Actual measurements for sizing categories like ‘jumbo’ and ‘XL’ vary by brand. If you have a heavy chewer, you might need a special option. Many of these beds boast durable fabric, but aside from that, may not stand up to a persistent chewer (pet parents with dogs that shred their beds: you know what we’re talking about!).
Why Dogs Need the Right Bed
Like humans, dogs like to be comfortable when they sleep. Although some dog sleep positions look uncomfortable from the outside, for your pooch, they’re just perfect.
Common dog sleep positions include:
- On their side
- On their tummy
- On their back with their paws up in the air
- Snuggled up with their favourite human or animal friend
- Curled up into a ball
All of the above sleep positions have their benefits. For instance, sleeping sprawled out on their side or tummy can help dogs cool off in warmer months. In general, dogs fall asleep in positions that offer physical comfort and psychological safety. If they’re attached to their bed, they’ll find extra security (and adapt their sleeping positions to fit it).
A big part of canine sleeping comfort is warmth. By curling tightly into a ball and tucking their nose under their tail, dogs conserve body heat. Consider how you sleep when it’s cold: bundled up under warm blankets, possibly with your knees drawn up to your chest—or even snuggled around your sleeping dog.
Huddling up for warmth is an instinctive behaviour in mammals. You and your dog have a lot in common!
The tendency to curl up to sleep goes back to dogs’ origins as wild animals.
Your dog’s tendency to curl up to sleep also goes back to their origins. Before they were domesticated, dogs slept in dens and made nests to keep warm at night.
Even though your dog has a warm, dry shelter, they still have hardwired behaviours from their ancestors’ pre-domestic days. This may also explain why dogs ‘make the bed’ by digging into blankets or the couch. They’re preparing their nest for the night.
Dogs Seek Security While Sleeping
You may have heard that dogs show their stomachs when they’re comfortable. Conversely, they curl up to protect their tummy in vulnerable situations. Curling up to sleep protects dogs’ vulnerable organs from would-be predators.
Even though your dog is safe at home and faces no threat from predators, they retain the instinct to protect themselves.
Curling up to sleep can also offer psychological comfort to dogs who feel unsafe. Consider how often you see photos of dogs in animal shelters, huddled or curled up in the corner of their kennel. In a noisy, intimidating environment, curling up to sleep can help dogs feel protected and safe.
Dog Sleep Positions: The Bottom Line
In truth, the main reason dogs choose one sleep position over the other is simple: it’s comfortable!
When your dog curls up to sleep, whether for warmth or protection, they’re mainly just trying to get comfortable. Even if they sleep in a crate, as long as they have space to stand up, stretch out, turn around, and lie down, they can get a great night’s sleep.
You can help make your dog more comfortable by providing space and soft surfaces for sleeping. Couch-like beds and cave beds provide an opportunity for nesting, as do additional blankets or plush toys.
The Best Dog Beds for Large Dogs
1. The Doughnut Dog Bed
Nothing says cosy like the Doughnut Dog Bed. If your dog is a fan of nesting and burrowing, then this large dog bed is the choice for them. However, it might not be the best bed for an arthritic dog because it lacks the structure and support that old joints need.
The whole thing is machine washable, with quick-drying covers and in comes in a variety of calming, neutral colours to suit your home and your dog’s personality!Shop on Amazon
2. The Coolaroo Dog Bed (Verified Review)
Elevated beds like the Coolaroo are great for so many reasons. The height can help arthritic dogs stand and lie down more easily, the breathable fabric keeps dogs cool in summer heat, and best of all, this style of bed is extremely hard to wreck. Perfect for chewers and destroyers. This bed works indoors or out and comes in a range of colours.
Verified Review: “The metal looked high quality, and I really liked the colour it came in. I like that this bed allows my dog a spot to chew or lay on without being directly on the grass. The dogs were all interested in it, and my Boston terrier uses it as her default place to chew on her bone. It’s still holding up well through wind, heavy rain and direct sunshine—and it’s small enough to store away for the winter.”Shop on Amazon
3. The Molly Mutt Bed
The Molly Mutt bed is a unique and eco-friendly pick for an extra-large dog bed. You can order a dog bed duvet and insert for a complete bed, but you can also just order a duvet (available in a range of trendy patterns, as well as lots of different sizes) and a ‘stuff sack’ that you can fill with old pillows, blankets, or clothing. This not only saves valuable resources by using what you already have, it also creates a comfy dog bed that smells like you, making it perfect for dogs with separation anxiety or ones that just sleep better with you around.
The 100% cotton duvets are machine washable, and you can even add a pop of colour with a pillow pack to complete the look.Shop on Amazon
4. The PetFusion Ultimate Orthopaedic Bed (Verified Review)
This dog bed is a bestseller for good reason: it’s durable, supportive and the ideal place to enjoy a serious snooze. The PetFusion ultimate orthopaedic bed has everything ageing dogs need from a bed—from a cushioned memory foam base to a bolster that’s perfect for napping on. We tried this bed with our office dogs at Rover, and all of them used the bolster as a headrest as if they knew it was a pillow just for them. Pretty adorable.
Plus, the cover can be machine washed. It’s very easy to remove if any accidents happen, and according to many reviewers and our own experience it’s also sturdy.
Verified Review: Tried and tested by Rover office dogs, “we were impressed with the quality of the PetFusion bed, which lives up to the ‘ultimate’ in its name. If your dog likes to burrow, like mine, I throw a fuzzy blanket or two on top, and he’s happy as can be. The bed was a 10/10 with our dogs.”Shop on Amazon
5. JOYELF Memory Foam Dog Bed
With a machine-washable, non-slip removable cover, this JOYELF orthopaedic memory foam bed perfect bed for older dogs who can sometimes have problems holding their bladders. With three inches of high density orthopaedic foam providing support for pressure points, this bed also helps with joint pain.
Do keep in mind that the largest dogs won’t fit without curling up, though medium-to-large breeds like cattle dogs do well in this bed.Shop on Amazon
6. AcornPets XXL Fleece Mattress Pillow
Looking for a bed with comfort and support designed to coddle your favourite big dog? This jumbo sized bed pillow easily supports dogs up to 50kg. It’s ideal for larger breeds!
Filled with premium 3D PP cotton it’s nice and supportive for your pet. And since there’s plenty of room for sprawling out on this dog pillow, maybe you can join in too!Shop on Amazon
7. Furhaven Orthopaedic Mattress (Verified Review)
This orthopaedic bed from Furhaven comes in a variety of sizes, including jumbo and jumbo plus. The jumbo size fits breeds up to 95lb (Golden Retrievers, Huskies, German Shepherds) and the jumbo-plus fits large breeds up to 125lb (Great Danes).
Your dog will be comforted by supportive bolsters on three sides and orthopaedic memory foam underneath. The faux fur and suede cover is easy to clean (machine washable, in fact) and comes in a few different colours.
Verified Review: “Not only is the Furhaven bed a very comfortable spot for Lana to spread out, but it also looks lovely in my living room. The fabric is an ultra-plush faux fur, and the bed features two raised, rounded bolster ends that your dog can use as a pillow. A big plus for my super shedder? This bed is easy to vacuum and dog hair doesn’t get stuck in the fabric. The cover is washable and the waterproof liner adds a layer of security.”Shop on Amazon
8. KOPEKS Orthopaedic Pillow Bed
This extra-large orthopaedic pillow bed is the king of the really-comfy places for your dog to plop. The supportive orthopaedic foam is especially good for dogs with joint issues.
It’s not cheap, but this high-quality bed is not messing around. The weight distribution makes it ideal for extra-large dogs with premium memory foam comparable to therapeutic foam found in high-end human mattress shops.Shop on Amazon
9. Snoozer Cosy Dog Cave
Many dogs like to snuggle into super-cosy places, and cuddly beds like this this one by Best Friends by Sheri are very popular for that reason. However, they’re not often big enough for larger breeds—which is why we love the Snoozer Cosy Dog Cave. Available in an extra large size, this unique bed has a sherpa-lined pocket for comfort, and an internal wire keeps it open just enough for your pup to peek out at the world.
Note that the dog cave is not as durable as other dog beds on the list, so it’s not a good fit for a heavy chewer.Shop on Amazon
We hope this list helps you find a new bed for your big dog that will help them get the sleep they need.
Further Reading on Dog Sleep
Check out more dog beds and info on dog sleep health in the articles below.