No such thing as an orthopaedic dog bed

Those with dogs in rehab, with chronic join issues or arthritis often find themselves searching for an orthopaedic dog bed, but in reality, what does that actually mean? The bed must be supportive, easily accessed and exited, and allow the dog to stretch out fully. A bed that is too small for that basic sleeping position is equivalent to us sleeping in an armchair – comfy for a while, but stay there for any length of time and you end up cramped, stiff and sore.

In truth, there is no such thing as an orthopaedic dog bed as no research has been done to examine what type of bed construction gives a dog the optimal sleeping environment. There is a tendency to think that something soft and squishy is the right way to go. However, a bed that is very soft will be difficult for a dog with compromised mobility to move about on, making them reluctant to change position and increasing joint stiffness through being immobile for excessive periods.

Memory foam is often the go-to material and beds made with this are frequently described as ‘orthopaedic’ in retailers’ sales blurb. Memory foam is an excellent material in many ways, but there is nothing intrinsically orthopaedic about it. If it is thick enough to be supportive, it will be too soft. Many larger, hairier dogs overheat on it, so it is not suitable for everyone. Memory foam crumb is a waste material that is most certainly not suitable for dogs with spinal, neurological or joint conditions.

This very issue needed to be addressed soon after the foundation of the Big Dog Bed Company, when the owner’s GSD was diagnosed with both hip and spinal problems, requiring two surgical interventions. The Active RecoveryTM range is the result. Called orthopaedic for the sake of search engine visibility, the Active RecoveryTM Bed is actually a pressure relief bed whose construction is based on pressure relief surfaces used in human medicine, particularly for bariatric patients and those who are recumbent for extended periods. The castellated foam cells move in response to the direct loading received and are unaffected by the surrounding foam surface. The result is an even distribution of load to the dog’s body which is held in a neutral position, removing tensions that have built up as a consequence of compensatory gait and pain management.

The bed construction comprises 5cm base of high density foam for support topped by 5cm of castellated foam as the pressure relief surface. The AR Lite for smaller dogs comprises 3cm of high density foam and 5cm castellated pressure relief foam.

The Active RecoveryTM range is available for use in veterinary kennels, as a surface for operating tables and as domestic dog beds. Some therapists use an Active RecoveryTM bed as a massage and acupuncture surface.

Veterinary professionals can offer these beds for sale to their clients on a drop ship basis, eliminating any need to hold stock. Contact [email protected] for information.