Shopping for dog accessories over the last few months must have introduced you to the idea of calming dog beds. These pet beds claim to help your dog deal with issues like separation anxiety, but do they really work?
Pet psychology is a complex topic. Many researchers have chimed in on their opinions of whether anti-anxiety dog beds work, and the results are pretty surprising.
To help pet parents make a more informed decision, we've decided to delve into the science of this phenomenon and see if calming pet beds really fulfill the claims they make. What we found turns out to be quite interesting.
Calming Pet Beds DO Work...Somewhat
Before we delve into the exceptions, the science behind the calming cuddler dog bed is sound. Have you ever witnessed puppies right after they're born? They don't have many senses, but the sense of smell and touch are the most well-developed at the start.
Their first moments in the cold, cruel world are dominated by seeking out their mom's milk. Usually, this means sidling up to a teat snuggled warmly between their littermates. At this point, they're both warm and fed, and it's their very first moment of happiness and sense of security. This first moment sticks in their minds through the rest of their lives and shapes their world.
Dog psychologists have noted that all dogs -- large dogs, medium dogs, small dogs -- associate sense with feelings, much the same as humans. It's no wonder we're so close to them as a species. That scent of fur and the warm, comfy feeling of being amongst their littermates is a feeling they associate with calming.
Using this principle, the manufacturers of calming dog beds can simulate that relaxing feeling and ease anxiety.
Your Cuddling Also Helps
When your furry friend is stressed or anxious, and you cuddle them, they tend to burrow into you and try to escape the world. Does that burrowing seem familiar? It's the same sort of behavior that happens when they're just wee puppies, looking for comfort from their mom.
As a pet parent, this shouldn't come as a surprise that you're the person they look to for protection and comfort. When you hug them, you impart the same feeling that they associate with calmness and safety.
The downside is that while you provide a safe-zone, you don't smell like what they associate with protection. Your clothes don't have that inherent scent of their mom's fur or any fur in particular.
Now, this isn't a failure on your part. But for your dog, it could ruin the feeling of comfort and could lead to them getting mixed signals in their furry brains. The result is that they're half-calmed and half-anxious. This disassociation could lead to any number of problems, from snapping at you to having an accident right there.
Pet beds handle this better than you do by giving your pet a nice, self-warming spot to snuggle up into and enjoy that has that fur scent. What's more, it has that pressure and warmth that they associate with their time of comfort. These elements are essential to help them simulate that comfort and calm their nerves.
If you've ever seen your pets go crazy on the night of the Fourth of July where the fireworks are going off all over, you know how necessary this sort of thing is for them. However, you should be aware that not all calming pet beds are created equal.
The Elements of the Best Dog Bed
When we look at the science, a calming pet bed that works at what it suggests needs to have two core things: raised rims to provide just enough pressure and neck support, and shag fur and soft filling for the warmth and scent.
Many pet beds these days use faux-fur and scent it accordingly. With time, it'll adopt your pet's natural smell and make them feel even more at home.
Other key characteristics to look for in a calming dog bed or orthopedic dog bed are:
- Plush removable cover
- Deep crevices for pets to burrow
- Non-slip bottom that's dirt-resistant
- Interior fibers that offer relief from joint pain
- Machine washable fabric for ease of cleaning
It's essential that you get a calming bed that doesn't stifle your pet with raised edges that take too much effort for them to climb out of them. If you're looking for a pet bed to help with their anxiety, these are perfect. However, not all of them are made the same way.
Beware of false advertising
We've seen beds that claim to be calming dog beds, but their construction left us wondering how they came up with that classification. Synthetic materials shouldn't have any place within a pet bed. They don't add to the feeling of comfort and, instead of comforting, introduce new scents that will serve to confuse and agitate your pet even more.
The worst thing you could do for your furbaby is to get them a pet bed that has an entirely plastic-covered interior. This material isolates them from the donut cuddler bed and can provoke anxiety even more.
Many manufacturers making these beds don't seem to understand the basic premise. We've seen beds with memory foam inserts that might seem really good for a human but aren't that great for calming or orthopedic pet beds. These foam inserts provide a soft spot for your pet to lay and are OK in low heat, but they can trap that heat and become unbearably hot in the summer.
They would also need to be washed regularly. If your pet has an accident on it or lies on it with their muddy fur, it could permanently stain or damage the insert. Memory foam also doesn't provide any actual calming benefits to your pet dog.
Best Friends by Sheri Original Calming Donut Dog Bed
At Best Friends by Sheri, we take all of the aforementioned factors into account to create the best calming bed for your pet. Instead of memory foam, our pets contain AirLOFT fibers that offer better joint and muscle support than traditional fiber fillings.
Our beds come in a variety of options and colors from extra small to extra large to accommodate pets of all sizes, and neutral colors like beige and taupe to match any home decor.
The raised rim creates a sense of security and provides head and neck support, while the super-soft filling offers joint and muscle pain relief.
Our beds are cozy, flexible and finished with vegan shag fur reminiscent of a mother’s fur coat. Paired with deep crevices that allow your pet to burrow, animals will have full, restful sleep for improved behavior and better health.
When they need a cleaning, the beds can be tossed right in the washing machine on the gentle cycle. You can checkout our zippered replacement washable covers available for other styles of pet beds, too.
Your Responsibility As a Pet Parent
Calming an anxious dog can be a challenging prospect. Some dog owners use medication to sedate their pet, but some prefer to seek out other methods. For example, your dog should have a place where he or she can run to to ease their anxiety.
A calming donut dog bed provides a safe space built just for them, made out of materials and scents that they associate with their happiest times. Just like humans, dogs associate their feelings and senses with memories. That's why choosing a calming pet bed needs to take these sensations into account.
Keep the synthetics down to a minimum, but the warmth, pressure, and high-quality comfort should be an integral part of the bed's construction.