One of the difficulties in picking the right size bed for your dog is that there are no standard definitions for what is a ‘Medium’ versus a ‘Large’ versus an ‘Extra Large’ dog bed. Different brands have different definitions for their bed sizes. A Large in one brand may be the same size as a Medium in another.
This means that actually measuring your dog and then comparing that to the dimensions of the bed is the best way to determine the correct size to buy. In other words, forget about how the manufacturer labels the bed and compare your dog’s measurements to the bed measurements. If your dog is close to the upper limit of that bed’s measurements, you should consider buying the next largest size.
Your dog’s length and height are the best indicators of what size bed is needed. Yes, weight is a factor and weight guidelines are frequently given by bed manufactures. However, a 50 pound Bulldog is going to need a different size bed than a 50 pound Whippet, so pay close attention to your dog’s dimensions.
Measuring your dog is actually quite simple. Using a common measuring tape, you should take two measurements. For length, measure from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail and add about 10 inches. This allows for dogs that stretch out when they lie down. For height, measure from the paw to the top of the shoulder.
Using these numbers, make sure you purchase a bed that is at least as long as the nose to tail measurement and at least as wide as the paw to shoulder measurement.
In fact, based on this measurement, pick the bed with measurements at least four or five inches larger. Go the next biggest size if you have to, as it’s much better to buy a bed that is too large than one that is too small. It’s been our experience that many dog owners, especially those of large breed dogs, tend to buy beds that are too small.
If you’re considering a round bed, make sure the diameter is larger than both measurements.
If you’re looking at beds with low walls (commonly known as ‘bolster’ beds), remember that the bed measurements given will frequently be for the outside of the bed. This means you need to subtract three to four inches off of each side that has a border in order to determine the size of the inside sleeping area of the bed. This is the measurement you need to compare to your dog’s measurements.