Dog calming beds can be an effective solution to help your pooch release any excess anxiety. However, it really depends on what you perceive to be an anti-anxiety dog bed. While there is a lot of information on the Internet about how wonderful and effective these beds are, if you look closely, there isn’t any real research to back up these claims.
I understand that even though a lot of the “science” about animal behavior and the types of products we use aren’t really backed up with proper research, it doesn’t mean that some of these products or specific behavioral treatments don’t work.
In the end, we go by experience, which in itself can be quite effective at helping our dogs deal with difficult situations or simply making their lives more comfortable and happier.
But when it comes to anti-anxiety dog beds, I think we are slightly missing the point.
The “Science” Behind Dog Calming Beds
The idea is that dog calming beds are trying to mimic a specific environment that puppies experience when they are snuggling up to their mothers and other siblings. During this time, puppies have a sense of security when they feel the warmth radiating from their mothers, as they know that they will be safe from any danger.
What makes the feeling even more intense is that these puppies are completely relying on what they feel as they are still unable to open their eyes at that age.
Based on this concept, calming beds are made to create the same secure environment for dogs, because even when our pooches become adults, they will always have that deep embedded instinctive feeling of security when they cuddle up with each other, you or on a comfy bed.
My Take On Dog Calming Beds
While the science does make sense, I still think we are missing the point here. In fact, I’m not completely disagreeing with this because we also use training methods that are based off the idea of mimicking a puppy’s mother when disciplining or house training our puppies.
For example, if a puppy bites you harder than what’s acceptable, a good method is to yelp and then to firmly say no to your puppy. This is what mothers would do to their puppies when they were young.
However, what I disagree with is that dog calming beds are the main reason for helping your dog relieve or manage their anxiety. It depends on a dog’s unique personality in terms of what type of bed they prefer.
If we completely rely on a “dog calming bed” to help our pooches feel more relaxed, there is a big risk of neglecting all the other important things we have to do to make them feel happy in their surroundings.
Yes, most places that sell these beds and blog posts that talk about them do mention that, but they still try to sell you on the idea that the bed you are using is the answer to helping your dog feel calm simply because it’s mimicking an environment when they were puppies and feeling secure.
In my opinion, an anti-anxiety dog bed can be any bed that your dog deems acceptable to sleep on. Some dogs love that feeling of being enclosed in a cave-like environment while other dogs prefer to have a bit more space around them.
So, if you try to get your dog to sleep in a bed that’s not particularly comfortable for them, regardless of how much money you spent on it simply because it’s a “dog calming bed”, your pooch will most likely become very anxious and probably have many restless nights.
How To Choose The Best Dog Calming Bed
Focus on choosing a bed that will suit your dog’s weight, size, temperament and any other emotional traits that makes your pooch unique.
It really is that simple.
When you combine this with all the other important things you should be doing such as using the right training methods to help prevent your dog from suffering from separation anxiety, providing your pooch with lots of interaction between the two of you, making sure you both go out for a nice long walk, you will find that your dog will be pretty happy with life overall.
To be more specific about the type of dog bed you should get, just make sure that they meet these following basic requirements:
- Avoid oversized beds as dogs normally like to curl and snuggle
- Avoid beds that are too small (your dog should be able to easily sleep in all of their natural positions)
- Make sure they have enough cushioning
- Raised sides can be a good idea if your dog agrees (some dogs might feel too hot while others like that warm sensation)
- Pick the right filling type for your bed to avoid
- If you dog’s a digger, choose a resilient cover fabric for the bed
- The dog bed should be washable
Ultimately, you might have to do some testing to find out what type of bed would be perfect for your pooch. There is a chance that the first bed you buy might not be the right one, so pay attention and don’t just believe that your dog will get used to it.
Don’t fall into the trap of buying a huge bed so that your dog can finally grow into it a few years down the line. Remember, they generally like to snuggle, so if it means having to buy multiple beds as your pooch grows up, then so be it.
If you have a small dog that’s going to stay small, you normally don’t have to worry too much, but still pay attention just in case.
You want your pooch to be comfortable, and regardless of the type of bed you get, this should be the ultimate goal.
Regardless of the bed you buy, don’t fall into the trap of believing that it’s the solution to helping your dog feel less anxious. This could be a very dangerous path to take, especially if your pooch suffers from separation anxiety.
In my opinion, it’s always highly recommended to get professional help from a dog behavior therapist as they will be able to set you on the right path in helping your pooch live a healthy and happy life with you and your family.
Consistency is key. Your dog has to go out for daily walks, at least twice a day for around 30 minutes to an hour each session, and during that time, you should interact with your pooch as this will help create that close bond. Separation anxiety is something that takes a lot of time to overcome, and this is where a dog behavior therapist will show you the right way to do it.