It is very common for dogs to suffer from anxiety. This can either be something that was learned in puppyhood, often from not being socialized properly, or it can be a learned behavior in adulthood, usually because of something traumatic happening, such as being attacked by a dog of a particular breed.
Some anxieties will need treatment by a vet, in the form of medication and a behaviorist to help them learn to not be anxious around certain things or in certain situations.
It is always a good idea to have a dog with anxiety checked over by a vet before beginning behavioral therapy, to make sure they don’t have anything medically wrong with them that needs treating with medication, like analgesics.
There are some things that you can do at home to help ease your dog’s anxiety, and one of those is to provide your dog with a calming bed.
But, what is a calming bed, and how does it work? Read on to find out…
What Are Calming Beds?
Calming beds have been designed to help your dog feel more at ease, and less anxious when they spend time in them.
They tend to be made out of very comfortable materials, like faux fur, or sheep skin, to allow your dog to get as snuggly, and as burrowed-in as possible to help make them feel more secure.
They allow your dog to get curled up and feel protected from all sides, and provide a valuable place for them to go when they feel insecure.
What Types Of Calming Beds Are There?
There are many different types of calming beds available for different types of dogs, depending on what makes them feel more secure about life.
You can find a bed for calming a dog from almost any pet accessory retailer, but it’s best to do your research on what you need before you purchase.
The doughnut style beds are probably the most well known of the calming dog bed genre. They look like a doughnut, with a central padded circle, and raised, soft sides around the outside, which can help your dog feel more protected and secure. The softness of the material allows your dog to burrow into it to feel even safer.
Igloo style calming dog beds are very similar to the doughnut kind, with raised sides and soft, padded middle area, but this type also has an upper covering as well, a sort of soft roof, to the bed. This means they are fully protected from all sides, and above. The igloo beds are particularly suited for the most anxious of dogs.
Mattress beds are like a mattress for humans, but filled with memory foam material. These beds are very useful for dogs with any kind of skeletal pain, as the memory foam takes the pressure off of the joints and any other bony prominences your dog may have.
Finding The Right Calming Bed For Your Dog
You know your dog better than anyone and will have some idea of what type of bed your dog likes already, and what material they like to sleep on, so use this knowledge to guide in your search for a calming dog bed.
In the case of the round beds, like the doughnut style and the igloo style, they should be big enough that your dog can get up and turn around easily whilst remaining in the bed, but not so big that there is lots of empty space around them when they are curled up, as this won’t help them feel secure.
With the square beds such as the mattress type, they need to be big enough for your dog to stretch out completely without any of their legs or head falling off of it, but not so big that it takes up vast amounts of room.
Other considerations with a calming dog bed should be the material it is made from. If your dog is destructive and chews soft furnishings when anxious, it is better to look for a bed with a chew resistant cover. Some dogs are averse to certain materials, so avoid these if you can.
It is ideal if the bed is machine washable. Dogs love to get dirty when out and about, so a bed that is easily washable will help your life to no end. Some dogs defecate and urinate when they are scared, so having a bed that can be washed is ideal.
In the same vein, it is useful to have a water resistant bed so that any fluids do not sink through to the inner material, as this is much harder to clean properly.
Having a bed with a non-slip bottom is also a good idea. When your dog is seeking somewhere safe to sleep, the last thing they want is to bolt into a bed only for it to slide across the floor. This could make them feel even more anxious.
It’s also worth considering setting up a crate in your home and crate training your dog. A crate becomes like a den to your dog, a place they can seek sanctuary when life gets all too much.
Do Calming Dog Beds Really Work?
In a word: Yes. Calming dog beds can be a great aid to help your dog feel less anxious, and many dog owners say they have helped in lessening their dogs anxiety.
However, a calming dog bed is not a miracle cure, and on it’s own will not cure your dog’s anxieties.
Anxiety is a complex condition and there is no quick fix. Sometimes it can be cured, and other times it can only be managed, but in nearly all cases there are steps to be taken to help your dog lead a less anxious life, which in turn will help you to feel less anxious.
Talk to your vet and a behaviorist about ways to help lessen your dog’s anxiety, and with this combined approach, and patience, your dog can lead a full, stress free life.