Best Orthopedic Bed for German Shepherds: My Pick!

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Finding the best orthopedic dog bed for your German Shepherd can be a challenge as, quite often, what is marketed as high-quality is not necessarily the best. So, what is the best orthopedic bed for German Shepherds?

The best orthopedic bed for German Shepherds is the Big Barker Orthopedic Dog Bed. It is the only dog bed clinically proven to reduce joint pain and stiffness of large breed dogs prone to arthritis or hip dysplasia. It also helps to prevent these conditions by providing much-needed extra support.

We all want our German Shepherd to live a healthier and longer life. But did you know it’s important to make sure your dog has a comfy bed to sleep on to help achieve this?

There are so many types and styles of dog beds to choose from it can get overwhelming, but don’t worry as I will let you into the secret of why the Big Barker is the best orthopedic bed for German Shepherds.

A German Shepherd on a Big Barker Orthopedic Bed. Best Orthopedic Bed for German Shepherds
My dog Willow giving a high five on her Big Barker!

This is my review of the Big Barker orthopedic dog bed where you can find out why it’s my favorite pick. Let’s get started!

The Evidence

Statistics from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals show that 20.5% of German Shepherds will develop hip dysplasia and 18.9% elbow dysplasia. This leads to the development of osteoarthritis, and both conditions can cause pain and discomfort for your dog. You can learn more about hip dysplasia in my top article here.

The University of Pennsylvania conducted this recent study to scientifically determine if Big Barker dog beds could improve the quality of life in large dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. The dogs evaluated were over 70lbs (31.75kg) in weight and were at least 3 years old.

The results were quite striking in that the Big Barker dog bed improved joint function by 17.6% and overall quality of life by 15.1%. Pain severity was reduced by 21.6%, and joint stiffness was reduced by 12.5%.

My German Shepherd Doesn’t Have Any Joint Problems – Do I Still Need the Big Barker?

If you’re wondering why you need an orthopedic bed if your German Shepherd doesn’t currently have any joint problems, then consider this…

Although symptoms of hip dysplasia can begin showing as early as 3 or 4 months of age, it is most common in dogs one to two years old, and sometimes, if the joint is only slightly abnormal, the symptoms may not show until the German Shepherd is much older.

So, not only will this dog bed improve the health and wellbeing of your German Shepherd by reducing pain and joint stiffness associated with arthritis, hip dysplasia, and natural aging, but it will also help to prevent the conditions that big dogs are prone to:

“Most dogs over 50 lbs will develop joint problems as they age. It’s important that we address the problem before it becomes a problem. A supportive mattress, like the Big Barker, can help prevent or reduce unnecessary suffering – especially if it’s introduced before joint conditions develop.”
Dr. Marc S. Kraus, DVM, Veterinary Cardiologist, University of Pennsylvania.

Approved by Many Vets

The Big Barker orthopedic bed is trusted and approved by veterinarians. You can find many vet reviews on their website, such as the one below from Dr. Alison Birken, DVM:

Many pet parents don’t realize that their dog’s bed has a tremendous impact on the dog’s quality of life. Thin, flimsy, flat beds cause pressure points that hurt tender joints making it hard to rest and harder to sleep soundly. Big Barker beds are specifically designed to eliminate pressure points and reduce pain, even in animals without any previously diagnosed joint issues.”
Victoria Park Animal Hospital – Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

There are also countless positive reviews from pet parents all over the globe. The Big Barker is also used in vet hospitals, dog rescues, shelters, and Police K9 Units.

Is The Big Barker Worth It?

The Big Barker sure is the Rolls-Royce of orthopedic dog beds but is it really worth the cost? The sleek edition below will set you back around $250, and the headrest edition around $290. This is for the extra-large size that is recommended for a German Shepherd.

German Shepherd on Big Barker Orthopedic Bed
“Hey, I can ever keep an eye on those pesky squirrels from my Big Barker!”

Although you might not want to pay $250 for a dog bed, try to look at it this way. The bed is guaranteed to protect your German Shepherd for 10 years by retaining at least 90% of its original shape and support. It will therefore last your dog for the rest of his life, making it a one-time purchase.

I think the Big Barker is well worth the cost if it helps prevent my German Shepherd from suffering the pain and discomfort of joint and mobility issues as she starts to age.

That works out between $25 – $29 per year, depending on the model you choose. So, what’s the point in buying cheap beds that flatten like a pancake every 12 months or so and need to be constantly replaced? No doubt you will end up spending a lot more in the long term on beds that offer your German Shepherd zero protection!

Big Barker can offer a 10-year guarantee because they are super confident in their product. It’s a proper bed made from premium therapeutic foam that you and I would find in any good quality mattress. You only need to look at the above photo of Willow to see how good the foam is, and she is one big dog weighing 88lbs (40kg)!


The return policy only applies to orders placed directly with Big Barker. If you buy through another business such as Amazon or another retail store, your order is subject to the business’s return policy where you placed the order. However, you can check the latest price on Amazon here.

Why I Picked the Big Barker Orthopedic Bed

When you compare the Big Barker to other similar products out there, the differences are quite surprising! Here are the many reasons why I chose this as the best orthopedic dog bed for my German Shepherd girl:

  • The German Shepherd is a large breed dog, and this bed is specially made for dogs over 50 lbs (22.6kg). My girl is quite large at 88lbs (40kg), but this bed easily supports her weight and does not flatten or lose its shape.
  • The bed is hand-made and contains 7 inches deep American-made foam, which can support the weight of over 300lbs (136kg) of dog. Now that’s a lot of dog! It is a real bed and comfy enough for you to sleep on, so if you fancy a night snuggled next to your German Shepherd, go ahead and enjoy. It’s like a real human bed.
  • Although my GSD does not currently have any joint issues, I want her to sleep well, be comfortable, pain-free, and stay healthy. If this bed helps her live just one day longer, then it ticks all the boxes for me. The bed is multi-layered, which provides loads of comfort and stops your German Shepherd from sinking to the hard floor.
  • A bit more about the foam: I once came home to find my 12-month old German Shepherd had destroyed her new foam crate mattress. She had only been left alone for a couple of hours and had been well exercised beforehand. I couldn’t understand why she had done it, but I replaced it with another one. Guess what, she did exactly the same! I then realized she had ripped it to shreds as it had made her too hot! The special foam in the Big Barker allows air to move through it, keeping it cool and won’t cause your dog to become too hot.
  • I love the 4″ headrest for extra comfort. Can you imagine sleeping on a bed without pillows? Neither can your dog! But if your GSD does prefer to lie his head flat, there is the sleek version option.
  • I’m a stickler for things looking nice in my home, and I’m delighted with the look of this bed. Often, I will purchase things on how they look without considering how good they are and whether they do the job they’re supposed to! But not in this case, as this bed does both. It comes in four colors, khaki, chocolate, burgundy, and charcoal grey. The cover is made from quality 100% microfiber, which is nice and soft.
  • You can customize your bed if you like. There are options such as having your German Shepherd’s name sewn into the cover, specific sizing, and different color covers. There are three standard-sized beds to choose so you probably won’t need a custom size.
  • We all know how much our German Shepherds shed, and it was important for me that I could regularly clean her bed. The cover can be easily unzipped and removed and is machine washable. How many times have you bought a cheap dog bed only to find it’s only hand washing, or the fabric is so second-rate that it literally falls apart in the washing machine?
  • I particularly like the 10-year warranty, which gave me both confidence and trust to buy this bed. When I searched around, no other brand/company came anywhere close to this. The next best I could find for a similarly priced product only offered a 90-day guarantee.
  • You can also have the Big Barker for a full year, and if you aren’t thrilled with it, you can return it under their no-quibble guarantee. This makes purchasing this dog bed totally risk-free.
Big Barker Orthopedic Bed
“I love this bed so much, I could eat it. It’s pawsome!”

Although this bed is engineered for large build dogs, due to customer requests, Big Barker has now crafted a very special bed for small and medium-sized dogs under 50lbs. The Barker Junior has exactly the same features as the large bed, which is great to know as lots of smaller dogs also have painful joint conditions.

What to Look For in a Dog Bed

When looking for the best dog bed for your German Shepherd, the first thing you should consider is whether the bed will support your large breed dog. To show you exactly what I mean, watch the short video below. It shows dog lovers at a rescue event being asked whether they could feel the difference between a Big Barker bed and a normal dog bed:

Here are the features you should look for when choosing the best bed for your German Shepherd:

  • Type of bed. These range from standard (no edges or rims), round, raised, igloo, square, rectangle, or hooded. I don’t know about your German Shepherd, but mine loves to stretch out, and so the rectangular shape of the Big Barker is ideal. If your GSD prefers to curl up in a donut-style bed, then this bed isn’t for you!
  • Support. These are usually polyfill or foam. Large dogs, in particular, require the extra support that only an orthopedic dog bed can provide.
  • Design. If you are fussy like me, you will want your German Shepherd’s bed not only to match your style and decor but to look quality alongside your other furniture. Ensure you choose a top design and style that also suits you.
  • Will it clean? There’s nothing worse than the smell of a dog bed that hasn’t been regularly cleaned, especially as German Shepherds are heavy shedders! Always choose a machine washable bed, and for large-sized beds for large breeds that won’t fit into the washing machine, you will need it to have a removable cover. Ensure the cover is made of high-quality fabric to hold up against general wear and tear, so it always looks good.
  • Special Features. Does your German Shepherd’s bed need any special features such as a waterproof liner if he is elderly, suffers from incontinence, is prone to accidents, or is being house-trained? With the Big Barker, you have the option to purchase a waterproof liner, so make sure the bed you choose has this option too.

Safety Standards of Dog Beds

Sometimes, it can be tempting to go for the cheapest option, especially if you’re on a tight budget. But would you risk the safety of your German Shepherd by purchasing an unsafe product? Or would you buy a truly safe dog bed highly recommended by numerous veterinarians and dog experts?

You will be surprised to learn that most foam dog beds are NOT certified by the not-for-profit organization, CertiPUR-US. CertiPUR-US was founded in 2008 due to concerns about imported (mostly from China) substandard foams that contained lead, arsenic, and other harmful toxins that can slowly poison your GSD. 

Big Barker Orthopedic Bed for Big Dogs showing depth of foam

To learn more about the shocking thought that your German Shepherd could be sleeping on a toxic timebomb, check out this report evidencing a study proving that Chinese factories have been dumping toxic fillers into their foam for years. If you opt for the Big Barker orthopedic bed, you have peace of mind and proof that their therapeutic foam is certified.


The Big Barker gets a big thumbs up from me and a huge paws up from Willow! It looks amazing in my house, and my German Shepherd loves it. The thickness of the bed and the tempting 10-year guarantee are just the best. I wouldn’t change it for the world, and, most importantly, it keeps my German Shepherd happy and well-rested.

Sharon Waddington

I am the owner of World of Dogz. I have a female German Shepherd named Willow, and I've worked with dogs for almost 30 years. I love spending time with her, and I enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise of all things dogs on this site!

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