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Do Calming Dog Beds Really Work? What You Need to Know

Written by: Jordyn Alger

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

Do Calming Dog Beds Really Work? What You Need to Know

It isn’t easy to help a dog struggling with anxiety. Soothing an anxious dog tends to be a long, drawn-out process that requires frequent repetition and work. You may have started dipping your toes into anxiety-reducing products to try and help relieve your dog’s distress, and now you’ve stumbled across calming dog beds.

The concept is intriguing, but do they really work? What makes them so much different than any other dog bed?

Calming Dog Beds are specially designed to relieve stress by offering your dog feelings of security. To learn more about how calming dog beds work as well as the advantages of using a calming dog bed, keep reading below.

dogster face divider How Do They Work?

These dog beds are designed in a way to relieve stress by making your dog feel more secure. Most calming dog beds have raised edges, which helps your dog to feel more secure while he sleeps. If you ever had a baby blanket or favorite stuffed toy that comforted you and helped you fall asleep when you were little, you understand the concept. The calming dog bed provides the same kind of security.

That means that, yes, calming beds do work, but they’re not a one-size-fits-all approach. Calming beds are most effective for dogs with mild separation anxiety or minimal fearful behaviors rather than extreme anxiety. However, that is not to say that a calming bed would be useless for a dog with severe anxiety, but rather that the results may be a little more challenging to notice.

Some calming beds can have an array of unique functions. They may have orthopedic padding, stronger ridges, hiding spots, and heating functions. These qualities can be especially helpful for dogs who need extra support, such as dogs that need to hide when they are frightened.

Calming beds are not replacements for medication or behavioral training; they are supplemental tools that give your dog some extra support. The greatest benefits of calming beds can be seen when you give your dog behavioral training or medications.  While calming beds will not be the end-all of your dog’s anxiety troubles, they are certainly a valuable tool to employ. Canine anxiety is a complicated condition to work with, and it is rare that one solution will have all the answers your dog needs.

adorable maltipoo dog lying on dog bed
Image By: Olga Ovcharenko, Shutterstock

What Are the Different Types of Calming Dog Beds?

There are several types of calming dog beds. The variety helps you select a calming dog bed that more accurately suits your dog’s needs. If your dog displays certain behaviors when he is anxious, a bed geared to meet that specific behavior will be much more beneficial for him.

Bolstered dog beds are a version of calming dog beds that have raised edges along the sides. Many calming dog beds have this feature, but not all of them do. The raised edges give your dog a place to lean, rest its head, and feel secure. These are ideal for dogs that enjoy curling up and feeling safely surrounded.

Orthopedic dog beds are made of memory foam, designed to be soft and plushy to relieve pressure and sore joints. These calming dog beds are beneficial for elderly dogs that may be experiencing arthritis or chronic pain since they provide a comfortable place to rest and experience a reprieve from their pain.

A Self-warming dog bed is another option you can try. These beds generate their own warmth and can be extremely helpful for dogs that become distressed when they are cold, causing an increase in anxiety. If your dog knows that he can easily warm up in his bed, those feelings of anxiety can be much easier to deal with.

A donut-style dog bed is a perfect fit for a small-breed dog. These calming dog beds are made of plush material that surrounds your curled-up dog. They are designed to remind dogs of the sensation of cuddling close with their mother and fellow litter members.

The cave-style dog bed is a great choice for dogs that like to burrow when anxious. They provide a pocket for your dog to burrow into when he is distressed, similar to how you might hide under the covers when stressed.

Where Is It Used?

Often, calming dog beds are used for dogs that experience anxiety. This can include general feelings of fear or feelings of distress that are specific to a situation or environment. For instance, if your dog suffers from separation anxiety, a calming dog bed may be a helpful way for him to settle down and take a nap while you are away at work.

As mentioned before, a calming dog bed is not the sole solution to your dog’s anxiety. Calming dog beds are often used in addition to behavioral training, medication (if prescribed by a veterinarian), and other calming products.

dog lying in dog bed with blanket
Image By: Rhys Leonard, Shutterstock

Advantages of Calming Dog Beds

Beyond the effects that calming dog beds can have on anxiety and other feelings of distress, another benefit to these beds is the support offered by the raised rims. Most calming dog beds have raised edges around the sides, which support the neck and spine while your dog is resting. This helps to minimize joint and muscular pain or discomfort.

Other specific calming dog beds will provide additional benefits. For instance, the orthopedic dog bed can relieve symptoms of arthritis and chronic pain, while the self-warming dog bed can offer extra heat to your dog during colder days.

Not to mention, these beds tend to be very comfortable. At the very least, they can offer your dog a cozy place to settle down and nap!

Disadvantages of Calming Dog Beds

Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to anxiety, it would be unfair to consider the calming dog bed’s inability to fix anxious behavior a disadvantage. There are no overall disadvantages to calming dog beds; however, there can be issues with individual products. If a product is poorly made, you may experience some difficulties.

For example, poor-quality materials may lead to a less durable bed that you will have to replace frequently. Other brands may include beds with no headrests, no digging space, and unwashable materials.

dogster face divider Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What to Look for in Calming Dog Beds

When looking for the right calming dog bed for you, there are some factors that you will want to consider. You will want to bed to be odor-resistant and machine washable at the bare minimum. A waterproof lining will be helpful for dogs prone to potty accidents, especially when anxious.

The bed should not slip around while your dog is in it. That could give him more reasons to feel anxious. If the bottom of your dog’s bed is not made to prevent slipping, you’ll want to find another bed. Likewise, it is vital to find the correct size. Your dog’s bed should be big enough to curl around inside but not so big that it loses the feeling of security.

dog bed with yellow blanket
Image By: everymmnt, Shutterstock

How to Know if a Calming Bed Is Right for Your Dog

Your dog doesn’t necessarily need to struggle with anxiety for you to get him a calming bed. If you want to get him a calming bed just for the sake of getting him a bed, that’s a perfectly fine reason.

If your dog displays common signs of anxiety, such as pacing, trembling, or hypervigilance, then a calming dog bed may support him. Likewise, if your dog has trouble in other areas of life, such as arthritis, a specialized calming dog bed may be beneficial.

Other Ways to Help Your Dog Calm Down

A calming dog bed can help soothe your dog, but it cannot do all of the work. If you need extra help settling your nervous dog down, you can try other products, such as soothing pheromones. You can also create a designated safe space in your house that will allow your dog to feel comforted and secure.

dogster face divider In Conclusion

Calming dog beds help soothe your dog and work as a great supplemental product to other anxiety-relieving medications, therapies, or products you may already use. Several calming dog beds are available, but some models may suit your dog better, depending on its needs. While calming dog beds cannot be the one solution to your dog’s anxiety, they can help provide comfort and relief.

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Featured Image Credit: Best Friends by Sheri Chewy

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