Skip to Content

8 Benefits of Orthopedic Dog Beds for Senior Dogs

As our furry companions become seniors, their immune systems and bone and soft tissue healing are compromised. This means they can develop musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis and hip dysplasia, adversely lowering their quality of life. In such cases, an orthopedic bed is highly beneficial and a great addition to your dog’s essential equipment. 

The key benefit of orthopedic beds for senior dogs is the therapeutic support to their spine, bones, joints, and muscles. The even distribution of a dog’s weight and a comfortable night-long rest are also primary benefits of orthopedic beds. These benefits promote your senior dog’s overall wellness.

In the rest of the article, you will find in-depth details about these and other benefits of orthopedic beds for senior dogs. As the owner of an aging German Shepherd, I will give you my first-hand experience.

Are Orthopedic Dog Beds Good For Older Dogs?
Hey there! As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We may also earn commissions if you purchase products from other retailers after clicking on a link from our site.

Are Orthopedic Dog Beds Good For Older Dogs?

If you’ve visited my blog before, you’ll know that I have a beautiful German Shepherd named Willow. In fact, she is the sole reason for this website, where I share my experiences from raising her as a pup into her senior years.

So, as my dog is now a senior, let’s start with the benefit that underscores the reason your older dog will benefit from an orthopedic bed.

Alleviates Pain and Stiffness in Dogs with Arthritis

Advanced age is often a trigger for arthritis in dogs. These dogs can benefit from clinically tested arthritis management solutions, including orthopedic beds.

Unfortunately, research on the benefits of orthopedic beds on dog musculoskeletal health is still in its initial stages. But one clinical study has set the pace. 

The study by the University of Pennsylvania reported that owners of dogs who used the Big Barker Orthopedic Bed found it helped reduce joint stiffness and pain. The bed also improved gait and joint function and enhanced overall sleep quality for large-breed dogs with arthritis.

This is the bed my elderly dog sleeps on following her diagnosis of spinal osteoarthritis, and the study findings were the main reason why I chose it.

The milestone in improving dog wellness is why Big Barker received the Fear Free Preferred Product Programme in April 2023.  

I will discuss the specific ways orthopedic beds help dogs with arthritis in the other benefits below. You can also read details on the topic in my complete article, Are Orthopedic Dog Beds Good for Arthritis?

Dog Sleeping On Orthopedic Dog Bed Head Hanging Over Side
My dog chilling on her Big Barker bed – looks like her head preferred the floor on this occasion!

Provides Spine and Joint Support

Regular dog beds are a good start for novice dog owners who want to give their pets a comfortable place for a good rest. However, they may not be enough if a dog has musculoskeletal conditions. 

Big Barker’s earlier referred research found that regular beds do not provide enough support for big dogs, especially if these pets have orthopedic issues. 

Instead, the orthopedic bed provides support to arthritic big dogs by:

  • Holding up the spine, joints, and muscles. 
  • Distributing the dog’s weight evenly on the mattress.

This support controls the pressure points on your dog’s body and enhances overall comfort during your pet’s sleep. 

Cushions Bones and Joints from the Hard Surface

When a dog lies in bed, its weight can cause the mattress to sink. This exposes its joints and bones to the hard surface below the mattress. 

Because orthopedic dog beds are made from high-quality memory foam, they do not sink under the dog’s weight. As a result, the dog’s bones and joints are protected from the strain caused by such surfaces.

It’s important to note that the best orthopedic beds have more than a single layer of memory foam. In fact, the Big Barker is a triple-layer foam orthopedic bed. You can see its depth in the above photo.

Improves Mobility in Arthritic Dogs

According to Canine Arthritis Resources and Education, 20% of dogs will suffer from arthritis at some point in their lifespan. 

Because the disease causes joint inflammation, pain, and changed tissue functionality, it can compromise your dog’s movement. 

By cushioning your arthritic dog’s joints from pressure and strain during sleep, an orthopedic bed improves the pet’s mobility. Your dog moves with ease when out and about for its usual daily activities.

Australian Shepherd running

Supports Spine Health

Inflammatory and degenerative spinal cord and column diseases are possible occurrences in dogs. These diseases cause pain and pressure and often require your dog to undergo surgery. 

Because orthopedic beds support the spine, they are an optimal addition to your dog’s care equipment.

The bed will not only provide a flat, compact, and strain-cushioning surface for your dog’s spine. Instead, it will also serve as a comfortable and quiet place for your pet’s post-spinal surgery rest. 

The steadiness of an orthopedic bed will also facilitate a quicker recovery at the surgery spot.

Promotes Quality Sleep

It is a research-backed fact that the quality and quantity of sleep in dogs diminish with age. This change in the dog’s sleep-wakefulness rhythm can compromise the overall quality of the pet’s life.

Fortunately, the findings from the Big Barker research have confirmed that sleeping on an orthopedic bed promotes better night rest in dogs. 

A good night’s sleep on an orthopedic bed will help your senior dog reserve more energy for daytime activities.

Enhances Hygiene for Arthritic Dogs with Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence, or the involuntary passing of urine in small or large amounts, is a relatively common problem in dogs. The condition is more common in middle-aged and senior dogs, especially females.

Dogs naturally dislike doing their bathroom business in their living space. As such, a dog with a musculoskeletal condition rendered worse by urinary incontinence will be even more uncomfortable. 

Luckily, most orthopedic beds have waterproof covers that are easy to clean. This will help in keeping your dog’s bed tidy and dry. It will also prevent your already sick dog from sleeping on a damp mattress.

Running Rottweiler

Increases a Dog’s Overall Quality of Life

The clinical study on the Big Barker confirmed that using the orthopedic bed is therapeutic and enhances a dog’s overall physical well-being and quality of life. 

Of course, a dog with arthritis will consistently be in pain from the strain of sleeping on a regular bed. However, the same dog will live and feel better with the support and pain-relieving benefits of an orthopedic bed.


Do you still have questions about orthopedic dog beds? The ones below could be what you are looking for.

Why Do Dogs Need an Orthopedic Bed?

Dogs need an orthopedic bed if they suffer from a musculoskeletal condition like hip dysplasia or arthritis. These diseases cause inflammation, ruptures, dislocation, and pain, among other symptoms.

Using an orthopedic bed, a dog with these conditions experiences soothing support to its spine, bones, joints, and muscles. This reduces pain and stiffness and promotes overall wellness for your dog.

Can Puppies Use Orthopedic Dog Beds?

Definitely! Puppies are still in their early stages of development, and their musculoskeletal system is still immature and fragile. As such, using an orthopedic bed that supports the spine, bones, muscles, and joints will promote better growth and development. This can also prevent orthopedic issues later in the pet’s life.

“I sincerely wish I’d known this fact when my German Shepherd was a young puppy as I often wonder if she had slept on a better bed as a pup, she would be in a better condition as a senior.”

Are Orthopedic Dog Beds Easy To Clean?

Orthopedic dog beds are relatively easy to clean. That’s mostly true if you regularly vacuum the bed and machine clean the cover to remove dog fur, dirt, and possible stains. Once in a while, thorough cleaning of your dog’s orthopedic bed is necessary, which can be more tasking than the usual routine cleaning.


  • Sharon Waddington

    Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Find her on Linkedin!