Does your dog enjoy sleeping with you at night? Although cuddling with a pet can keep owner and dog warm and snuggly, keep in mind that most animals are not as clean as people, nor do they always follow the same sleep patterns. A dog can track mud, grass, and even nature’s business between your sheets, not to mention fleas and ticks. He might want to go for a walk at 3 a.m. when all you want to do is sleep. These are some of the common reasons why pets deserve a bed of their own. The nesting routine is as old as time, so providing your dog with his own place to sleep can create a sense of security that will help to keep your pet calm and well adjusted, not to mention help you get a good night’s sleep.
But how do you know which type of bed will best suit your canine’s needs? Consider the following criteria before shopping for your dog’s bedroom furniture.
1. Get the right size bed for your animal. How big will he get? If you have a large breed, get a bed with enough size to accommodate his full-grown stature. Ask the vet how tall and heavy your pet is expected to get, especially if he is a mixed breed. Then you can estimate the size of bed that will be needed. One that is too small will make your dog feel cramped, and he’ll probably find another sleeping spot. On the other hand, an overly large bed could let your little Chihuahua feel insecure and unprotected, likewise leading to his hunt for a new location.
2. Train a new puppy where to sleep. Like children, pets need guidance about where to go or what to do. Keep your pet’s bed in the same place to establish a routine. This might be in the laundry room, family room, the deck, or a doghouse. Don’t let a puppy drag its bed all over the place or he will never learn where he’s supposed to stay at night. Get in the habit of putting your dog to bed at the same time each night, and he will soon get used to it.
3. Choose durable materials. A foam mattress can provide solid support for the larger frames of full-grown pets, whereas small piece-type filling will lend more flexibility to a bed, and is better suited to small dogs or puppies. Check to be sure the cover is removable and washable, and launder it every week or two, using hot water and mild detergent to kill fleas and ticks. Teach your puppy not to chew his bedding, which will quickly destroy it and force you to buy another. A smart rap on the nose with a newspaper or a squirt of water from a spray bottle when he is caught in the act ought to do it.
4. Keep the bed out of the way to prevent accidents. Let all family members know where the bed will be kept, and tuck it into a nook or cranny where no one is likely to trip over it when carrying laundry or hurrying past that area. Your dog will be able to sleep better in a quiet, semi-protected environment.
Although buying your dog a bed should not be as time-consuming or costly as buying human furniture, it nevertheless pays to plan ahead and take time in making the best possible choice for all concerned.
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