According to the National Sleep Foundation, dogs spend 50% of their day sleeping, 30% lounging around, and just 20% being active. As they enter their senior years, they require even more rest to be at their best.
With so much time spent lying down, a sturdy, supportive bed is essential for reducing pain and ensuring optimal sleep. In addition to comfort and durability, high-quality orthopedic beds offer the following 6 benefits for aging pups:
1. They allow senior dogs to sleep more soundly.
As many dogs age, they begin to have trouble sleeping through the night. They may shift positions, go back and forth between sleep spots, or even pace restlessly. Night pacing is often a sign of pain, indicating the dog is unable to fall asleep or stay asleep due to discomfort.
“Many pet parents don’t realize that their dog’s bed has a tremendous impact on the dog’s quality of life,” says Dr. Alison Birken of Florida’s Victoria Park Animal Hospital. “Thin, flimsy, flat beds cause pressure points that hurt tender joints making it hard to rest and harder to sleep soundly.”
The thick, supportive foam of high-quality orthopedic beds cushions senior dogs from head to toe, relieving pressure on sore joints and protecting the body from sinking to the hard floor below. The material allows just enough give to ensure all-night comfort so seniors can rest straight through until morning.
2. They protect delicate joints.
Even senior dogs with no outward signs of pain may be suffering in silence. Due to their stoic nature, canine arthritis and other orthopedic conditions often go undiagnosed or get shrugged off as normal aging changes.
According to Dr. Matt Brunke of the Veterinary Orthopedic Sports Medicine Group, up to 80% of large breed dogs experience joint pain as they age – with smaller dogs not too far behind.
The material used in traditional dog beds tends to collapse under the weight of the animal, creating pressure points where unsupported joints are essentially pressing into the ground. Memory foam orthopedic beds are specifically designed to cradle the joints and eliminate painful pressure points.
3. They help prevent elbow calluses.
Joint calluses are rough, patchy sores that form to protect a dog’s bones from the pressure of lying on hard surfaces. They are most common on the elbows of seniors, but may also affect the hips, hocks, sides of the legs, and sternum. The calluses can be itchy, painful, or even lacerate and become infected.
Hardwood, tile, and concrete flooring are the biggest culprits in the formation of elbow calluses. Even dogs that sleep on beds may be susceptible to these sores if the bedding material does not offer proper support. Repeated use causes inferior beds to flatten under the dog’s weight, eventually providing nothing more than a thin layer of material between their joints and the floor.
Quality orthopedic dog beds consist of a memory foam layer on top of a supportive foam layer. The memory foam provides enough give to allow for optimum comfort, while the supportive layer remains firm, preventing even large dogs from sinking to the floor below and developing pesky pressure sores.
4. They help restore energy and mobility.
It is impossible for our dogs to perform at their best when they continually wake up groggy, stiff, and sore. Just because their bodies are aging, does not mean senior dogs are doomed to spend their remaining days sitting on the sidelines.
A good orthopedic bed can reduce pain, restore mobility, and help bring back the quality of life every dog deserves.
5. They make it easier for seniors to get up and down.
As their bodies age and their joints weaken, many senior dogs begin to have trouble accessing their favorite sleep spots. Furniture and overstuffed dog beds can be difficult to climb onto, leading them to choose the cold, hard ground instead. Seniors also have trouble getting back up from a laying down position – especially if their bed has been crushed and flattened by their weight.
Orthopedic beds are designed to retain their shape, and since the foam yields only slightly to the dog’s weight, there is no need to make them overly thick. The firmness and lower profile make it much easier for seniors to get up and down comfortably.
6. They aid in post-operative & injury recovery.
Restorative sleep is essential during the recovery period after surgery, illness, or injury. Compromised patients need a comfortable, supportive bed to prevent bedsores, tossing and turning, and repeated awakenings.
Orthopedic beds made with high-quality foam layers are firm enough to provide necessary support while helping to ease the pain of arthritis, injuries, neurological conditions, and surgical procedures.
With so many products on the market, choosing the best orthopedic bed for a senior dog can be a daunting task. Some of the most important features include:
- Solid, supportive foam rather than a shredded blend
- Easy access for seniors and disabled pets
- Soft, cozy material
- Durability and washability
- Odor protection
Since dogs spend so much time sleeping, finding the perfect bed is almost as important as selecting the food you feed your precious pup. With so much time spent lying down, make sure you find the best options for your dog – a bed that is sturdy and supportive. It may not mean just better sleep, but it could also mean a healthier more active dog.