Dog owners everywhere know the age-old dilemma: should you let your dog sleep in your bed?
There are solid arguments on both sides of the debate, but we’re not here to answer that question today. Ultimately, whether your dog sleeps in bed with you or not is entirely down to your personal preference.
With that being said, many owners make the mistake of viewing a dog bed simply as a designated spot for their pet to sleep. In actual fact, a high-quality dog bed can have major benefits for your dog’s mental and physical health.
While studies have shown that dog beds designed by experts help with common canine joint issues such as arthritis and hip dysplasia, one of the biggest benefits of a designated dog bed is its calming effect.
Right now, there are increasing numbers of dog beds on the market designed specifically to reduce anxiety in your furry friend and promote feelings of calm and relaxation.
In this guide, we’ll be reviewing the top 5 calming dog beds on the pet accessory market before walking you through how to choose the best one for your dog’s needs. Finally, we have an FAQ section with lots of extra information, so make sure to stick around until the end!
Signs of Canine Anxiety
Before you rush off and buy a calming bed for your dog, it’s worth figuring out whether your dog is actually suffering from anxiety.
There are 3 separate types of anxiety that have been observed in dogs. These are separation anxiety, fear-related anxiety, and anxiety associated with aging. Let’s take a moment to delve into what these anxiety types look like.
Canine separation anxiety is when a dog becomes anxious when separated from their humans, and perhaps even from other pets in the household.
Separation anxiety in dogs can often manifest in similar ways to boredom, including destructive behavior and loud barking. However, in this case, the real cause is a lack of human interaction.
We all get startled or frightened sometimes, and the same is true for dogs.
A sudden noise or an unfamiliar situation can trigger short-term feelings of anxiety. However, in most cases, the anxious feeling goes away after the perceived danger has passed.
With that being said, if these anxious moments happen frequently enough, your dog may develop long-term, fear-related anxiety, much like Generalized Anxiety Disorder in humans.
A common phenomenon in dogs is an increase in anxiety with age.
Age, in both humans and dogs, comes with side effects such as memory loss, sight loss, hearing loss, and loss of mobility.
All of these things can be stressful and anxiety-provoking for dogs, and not being able to see or hear can make everyday noises and movements more frightening.
Regardless of which type of anxiety your dog may be suffering from, there are a few key signs of canine anxiety to look out for. These include:
- Appetite loss
- Being unusually withdrawn
- Barking, whining, or howling
- Licking or chewing excessively
- Escape attempts
- Lapses in bowel or bladder control
Note that these symptoms can be caused by a variety of health conditions, so it’s best to consult your vet about any changes.
How Calming Dog Beds Work
If you’ve established that your dog has anxiety, you’ll probably be eager to find out what calming dog beds are out there.
Before we share our top 5, though, we’d like to run you through how calming dog beds work.
Multiple aspects of a calming dog bed’s construction contribute to the end result of the product, which is to promote physical as well as mental comfort in the face of anxiety and/or pain.
Comforting dog beds use plush foam and fur-like materials to create a sensory experience similar to physical closeness with another dog. This promotes feelings of safety, warmth, and relaxation, all of which help to reduce anxiety.
At the same time, the raised edges of a comforting dog bed create a sense of security. They also provide head and neck support, which is great for orthopedic dogs. Dogs with muscular or joint issues will also derive extra benefits from the soft, yet supportive foam material inside the bed.
The 5 Best Calming Dog Beds
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Arguably the most popular calming dog bed on the market right now is the Best Friends by Sheri Original Calming Dog Bed. Having done thorough research into this dog bed, we can see how it’s earned its reputation!
The outer material of the Best Friends calming bed is faux shag fur, which is exceptionally warm and soft for your dog’s ultimate relaxation. The material is also vegan-friendly, which is great for any of our plant-based readers. Navigating veganism with an omnivorous pet can be complicated, but with this bed, there’s no reason to worry!
This is a donut-shaped bed, which is a huge advantage because the donut is, arguably, the most supportive shape for a dog bed. The raised edges of the bed provide excellent head and neck support while the polyester filling ensures comfort and softness.
4 separate inserts are included with the purchase of the Best Friends by Sheri Calming Dog Bed, so you can arrange additional support and cushioning where your furry friend needs it most.
You can buy this donut bed in sizes Small to X-Large, so no matter what dog breed you own, you should be able to find a compatible size.
The Best Friends by Sheri bed is machine-washable, which will save you a lot of time and exertion when it comes to washing day.
With that being said, the manufacturer does not recommend leaving this bed to air-dry because the fur becomes matted quite easily. While tumble-drying is the quicker option compared to air-drying, not everybody has easy access to a drier, which can make it difficult to keep this bed in good condition.
- Faux shag fur – Warm and vegan-friendly
- Donut shape – Highly supportive
- Comes with 4 inserts – Versatile
- Machine-washable – Easy to clean
- Sizes Small to X-Large – Suitable for most breeds
- Fur gets matted easily – Tumble-dry recommended
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Next up, we’d like to recommend MIXJOY’s Orthopedic Dog Bed. In addition to providing physical support for dogs with joint conditions, this bed promotes a calm state of mind that will help your pup to fall asleep in no time.
There are several similarities between our top pick and this calming bed, the first of which is the external material: faux shag fur. This is a great choice of material for a calming dog bed because it mimics the soft warmth of a parent’s fur, inducing comfort and relaxation.
Because the material is machine-washable, you don’t need to put much effort into maintaining the condition of this bed. Just put it into your washing machine on a gentle setting and choose a low temperature for drying.
Another similarity between this bed and our top-rated pick is its shape. The MIXJOY dog bed features a donut structure that will keep your pet securely snuggled in the center while offering support for their head and neck.
Something else we appreciate about the design of the MIXJOY comforting dog bed is how lightweight it is! You can easily take this bed with you on your travels, so even when you’re not at home, your dog can enjoy all of their regular home comforts.
You can get this bed in sizes Small, Medium, and Large, so it’s a good choice for the majority of dog breeds. Although the size range doesn’t go up to X-Large like the Best Friends calming bed, this bed’s Large size measures 36 x 36 inches, which is big enough to accommodate a 100 lb dog.
Unfortunately, all of the orthopedic support and comfort of the MIXJOY bed comes at a price, so if you need to stick to a budget, it may not be the best option.
- Faux shag material – Comforting and warm
- Donut design – Safe and supportive
- Machine-washable – Low-maintenance
- Lightweight – Easily portable
- Available in Small, Medium, and Large – Inclusive size range
- High-end price – Not budget-friendly
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The Furhaven Donut Dog Bed scores highly not only in terms of comfort and anxiety reduction but also in eco-friendliness and convenience.
Like the other beds we’ve reviewed so far, this one features faux fur material that makes a plush, warm environment for your dog to drift off to sleep in.
Thanks to the donut construction, the Furhaven bed provides a good level of neck and head support, helping to keep your dog’s spine in alignment for a pain-free sleeping experience.
This bed has a removable cover that can be machine washed, meaning you never have to go through the hassle of loading an entire dog bed into your washing machine.
Underneath the cover, the Furhaven Donut Dog Bed is filled with recycled padding. This cushioning provides extra support from underneath and makes the Furhaven bed a great choice for eco-conscious dog owners.
The size range available from Furhaven spans sizes Small to Jumbo. For context, the small size measures 23 x 23 inches, while the Jumbo bed is 45 x 45 inches. Whether you have a chihuahua or a St Bernard, you can find a Furhaven bed in the appropriate size.
It’s important to note, however, that the faux fur cover is quite delicate, so it’s not suitable for dogs who are teething or have displayed frequent chewing behavior.
- Faux fur fabric – Plush and cozy
- Donut structure – Neck and head support
- Recycled filling – Supportive and eco-friendly
- Removable, machine-washable cover – Easy cleaning
- Sizes Small to Jumbo – Compatible with various breeds
- Cover is easily damaged – Not for teething dogs
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The Nonofish Anti-Anxiety Dog Bed is a good budget option, especially if you’re looking for a calming dog bed for a smaller breed.
This is another donut bed with a raised rim for neck and head support. The donut construction is not only important for spinal alignment but also allows dogs to indulge in their natural nestling instinct for a completely stress-free sleep.
Thanks to the faux fur surface material, your canine companion will be as comfortable and warm as can be in their new calming bed. When washing day rolls around, you can safely machine wash this bed or clean it by hand – it’s totally up to you.
Inside, the Nonofish Anti-Anxiety Dog Bed is filled with soft cotton, which provides support and comfort, reducing pain in muscles and joints.
This bed is also available in multiple sizes, from 19 inches for smaller breeds all the way up to 48 inches.
We did notice that the cotton padding tends to clump together over time, creating lumps that might not be comfortable for your dog. Therefore, if you purchase this bed, you should be prepared to smooth out the padding between uses.
- Donut bed – Allows for nestling
- Faux fur surface – Maximum comfort
- Cotton filling – Relieves muscle and joint pain
- Safe to machine wash – Easy to wash
- 19, 23, 30, 39, and 48-inch sizes – Wide size range
- Padding may form lumps – Needs smoothing out between uses
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Finally, PetFusion’s Calming Cuddler Dog Bed is a great alternative to the popular donut dog bed.
Although this bed has raised edges like your average donut bed, it’s rectangular instead of circular in shape. This should give your dog a little more room to stretch out and move around while still providing support due to the high bolsters.
On the surface, the PetFusion calming dog bed features a plush polyester cover that feels incredibly soft to the touch. Inside, memory foam padding strikes the optimal balance between firmness and softness for both support and comfort.
The base of this dog bed is non-slip, so even if your dog likes to move around a lot in their bed, it shouldn’t move from its designated place.
A soft polyester blanket is included with the bed. The blanket is designed to be placed inside the bed to cater to dogs’ natural nestling and burrowing instincts. This behavior helps dogs to manage stress and anxiety, so the blanket is a crucial feature.
The zipper on the cover appears to be the weakest point of this dog bed and is liable to break if handled roughly, so be as gentle as possible when removing and replacing the cover.
- Polyester cover – Very plush
- Memory foam padding – Soft yet supportive
- High bolsters – Ultimate support
- Non-slip base – Stays in its designated spot
- Includes polyester blanket – Encourages burrowing
- Fragile cover zipper – Handle carefully
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Calming Dog Bed
The best calming dog beds on the market all have a lot in common, which can make choosing your favorite easier said than done. This buyer’s guide will help you to prioritize the most important features when making your decision.
The size of the calming dog bed you purchase should, of course, be dictated by the size of your dog.
Many manufacturers make the sizing process easy by labeling their beds ‘Small’, ‘Medium’, ‘Large’, or ‘X-Large’ in addition to providing the exact measurements. Using the size labels, you can choose a bed that corresponds to the size of your dog’s breed.
If dimensions are causing confusion, a small dog bed will generally be around 20 x 20 inches, while a Large bed can be anywhere between 36 and 48 inches. If an X-Large size is available, this will usually be the 48-inch option, with the Large measuring closer to 36. Ultimately, though, this varies between manufacturers, so if you have any concerns, it’s worth contacting the company directly for their recommendation.
It’s also important to consider the shape of the bed since this will determine your dog’s sleeping position as well as the level of head and neck support they will have.
If your dog has joint or muscle problems in addition to anxiety, a donut bed is generally considered to be the best option.
That’s because the curled-up position promoted by the donut shape plays into dogs’ natural nestling instincts, minimizing stress and maximizing comfort. At the same time, the raised edges provide support for the neck and head, and by extension, the spine, reducing stress on the joints, muscles, and bones.
However, rectangular and square beds are also capable of providing effective support and may be the better option if your dog likes to stretch out rather than curling up while asleep.
Calming dog beds need to be as plush and comfortable as possible, which is why most dog beds that aim to reduce anxiety use faux fur or fleece as an external material.
Faux fur is a great vegan-friendly alternative to natural fur, with all the comfort of the real thing.
Fur-like materials are an especially good choice for anxious puppies since the fur can help to mimic the sensation of their mother’s coat, promoting feelings of safety and relaxation. These materials also help to provide warmth, which is key to relaxation for dogs.
The material inside the bed is a crucial factor, too. This varies much more than the external material typically does, with some beds featuring cotton stuffing and others using more advanced memory foam material.
There’s no right answer in terms of which material to prioritize here. Cotton is a great choice since it’s a natural material with a low risk of negative health effects.
Other materials, like memory foam, are more complicated. While memory foam features comfort and support-enhancing technology, some brands of this foam can be harmful to dogs and humans alike.
Having to change your dog’s bed every few months due to wear and tear is unlikely to help reduce their anxiety. That’s why it’s so important to choose a durable calming dog bed.
Durability mainly comes down to the quality of the cover material (which should be tear-resistant) and the firmness of the foam.
Foam that isn’t dense enough will become squashed quite quickly, which can reduce its effectiveness when it comes to anxiety relief and pain reduction.
Dogs can pick up all manner of dirt and debris throughout the day, so a good calming dog bed should be easy to clean.
Ideally, the cover material should be machine washable, and the cover should come off the dog bed for easy cleaning.
Remember to check the machine safety of any materials used in the construction of your dog’s new calming bed as well as whether or not they are safe to tumble dry.
Some calming dog beds come with additional inserts that help to enhance the bed’s versatility and increase comfort levels both physically and mentally. These features are great for orthopedic dogs.
A calming dog bed might come with cushion or bolster inserts, or even a blanket for burrowing. These additional features can be especially useful if your dog has specific needs relating to their sleeping position.
Using the provided inserts, you can arrange your dog’s bed to provide just the right amount of support in exactly the right places. The extra softness and cushioning will definitely help your dog to feel comfortable and drift off to sleep.
How much you’re willing to spend on your dog’s calming bed is ultimately up to you. However, where possible, we recommend searching in mid to high price ranges.
There are some great budget-friendly calming dog beds on the market, and we have some affordable picks amongst our product reviews. However, if the price of a calming dog bed seems too good to be true, it probably is.
In our experience, it’s worth parting with a little more money in exchange for your dog’s health and comfort.
Customer Support and Warranties
We would always advise you to check the warranty of any calming dog bed before you buy. If you’ve paid a decent amount of money for the bed, having a good warranty will give you peace of mind if anything goes unexpectedly wrong.
If you have to use the warranty, you’ll also have to interact with the manufacturer’s customer support team. We recommend researching the company beforehand to see what customers are saying about their customer service experience.
Other Ways to Relieve Canine Anxiety
Before you go, you should know that there are other methods you can try to relieve your dog’s anxiety in addition to a calming dog bed.
There are jackets you can buy for dogs that are specifically designed to ease anxiety by creating light pressure.
The Thundershirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket is one of the best-selling dog jackets on the market because of its amazing results.
Weighted blankets are often recommended to people with anxiety, and they also work for dogs.
We recommend trying out the Canine Coddler Original Weighted Dog Blanket.
Another method that has been proven to help relieve anxiety in both humans and dogs is exercise.
Making more time for energetic play will strengthen your bond while encouraging the release of anxiety-relieving hormones.
Create a Safe Space
Making a designated, comfortable, and soothing space in your home for your dog can really help to reduce anxiety.
Put your dog’s bed, blankets, indoor toys, and other anxiety-relieving accessories in your pup’s safe space to help them feel secure.
Don’t forget the importance of giving your dog lots of extra love if they’re feeling anxious. After all, physical contact is what calming dog beds aim to replicate.
A simple hug will do wonders, or you could even give your dog a massage, gently focusing on the muscles in the neck and shoulders as well as the joints.
A pheromone diffuser or spray may help your dog to relax when they are anxious.
This method doesn’t work for every dog, but many owners have reported success using the ThunderEase Dog Calming Pheromone Spray.
Many people find soothing music to be helpful in moments of anxiety, and it could help your dog, too.
If you notice your dog getting anxious, try playing some soft, classical music.
White Noise Machines
An alternative to music is a white noise machine, which basically counteracts potentially frightening noises while soothing the listener to sleep.
Both humans and dogs alike can benefit from the relaxing effects of the enormously popular Big Red Rooster Six White Noise Machine.
You should check with your veterinarian whether it’s a good idea to alter your dog’s diet.
However, assuming that your dog is healthy and not overweight, supplementing their diet with some anxiety-relieving treats might be appropriate.
These Calming Chews for Dogs by PremiumCare are vet-approved and taste great. The formula is completely natural and contains passionflower, valerian root, and L-Tryptophan for anxiety relief.
Hopefully, both you and your canine companion can benefit from the information in today’s article.
Remember to prioritize calming dog beds made with quality materials and anxiety-reducing, orthopedic features. The bed you choose should also be easy to clean.
Bear in mind that there are other anxiety-reduction methods you can try as well.
Anxiety can look similar to other canine health conditions, so your first port of call should always be your veterinarian.