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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Memory Foam Dog Bed: Pros and Cons

By Anton Hout, author of The Guide to Aussie Training & Care

Considering buying a memory foam dog bed, but wondering if they really measure up to the hype? Memory foam has become a popular choice for many humans in recent years, with claims of deeper and more comfortable sleep. But there's still a lot of debate as to whether or not these memory foam mattresses have any value for dogs. Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of memory foam beds for dogs so you can judge for yourself.

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The Origins of Memory Foam

Memory foam has a strange backstory—it wasn't invented for beds. It was actually developed by NASA in the sixties for use on spacecraft. They wanted a material which would absorb and shape itself to any pressure put on it from the astronauts bodies, then slowly return to its original shape after the pressure was removed. It wasn't until much more recently, however, that the material was used for consumer products like beds for humans—and dogs.

Memory Foam Dog Bed Pros and Conse - Photo: Australian Shepherd puppy laying on bed with blue cover.

Lisa Laughlin

This is Zoey at 4.5 years old and she obviously loves her comfort.

Pros of Memory Foam for Dogs

Bed Molds to the Dog

One of the advantages of memory foam is that it's sensitive to body heat, so it will mold to the body shape of the animal sleeping on it. The idea is that this makes for a more comfortable sleep because the mattress actually tailors itself to the dog's individual body dimensions.

Reduces Arthritis and Joint Pain

A big benefit of memory foam is its ability to relieve joint pain in older dogs and those suffering from arthritis. Joint pain in dogs is a problem that can often only be kept at bay with drugs, but not actually cured altogether. Memory foam dog beds provide an extra solution which may help dogs with painful joints get more restful sleep at night.

Help Stop Tossing and Turning

Memory foam may be the solution for a dog that can't stay still or get comfortable at night. In fact, this issue may be related to joint problems, which cause the dog to find it difficult to settle into a comfortable position. Because of the way the memory foam reacts to the dog's body, finding a comfortable sleeping position is much easier.

However, if you're planning to buy a memory foam dog bed because your dog is having trouble sleeping through the night, you're better to consult your vet first—this restlessness may be an indication of a medical problem that can't be fixed by a new bed. Inability to sleep through the night may indicate internal pains or illness that need treatment.

Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Cons of Memory Foam for Dogs

Memory Foam Beds Are Expensive

It has to be said: memory foam dog beds are somewhat more expensive than a typical plastic or foam dog bed. It may not be worth the money if your dog doesn't have a specific problem like arthritis as mentioned above.

However, there is a flipside to the expense of memory foam beds for dogs. If your dog does have joint problems and has been diagnosed by a vet, buying a memory foam bed could actually be an investment that helps you decrease future vet visits (and the bills that come with them).

Choosing a Memory Foam Dog Bed

There are a couple of points to keep in mind when you're trying to pick the right memory foam bed for your dog. The first is size—you don't want to get a bed that won't give your dog room to spread out, or you may actually end up cramping her and making joint problems even more uncomfortable. You should also consider how many layers the bed has—many have a single layer of memory foam on top of a support layer which is made of another cushion material.

Density is another important factor. Many of the cheap beds available are low density, or some have a low density layer topped with a high density layer. Generally speaking the higher density memory foam is firmer and provides better comfort for dogs with joint problems. Lower density beds are more subject to wear and tear and will provide a less comfortable sleep.

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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

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