If traditional dog beds aren’t good enough for your German Shepherd, you might have started looking for larger, more comfortable ones. It is normal for people to come across the concept of orthopedic dog beds when looking for a better bed because large-breed dogs require such beds to sleep comfortably. So what are the best orthopedic dog beds for German Shepherds?
The best orthopedic dog bed for German Shepherds is the one that features high-quality foam, anti-scratch fabric, and non-toxic materials. For the bed to be GSD-friendly, it must also be able to hold your dog’s weight and be designed specifically for larger breeds.
In this post, you will learn more about the best orthopedic dog beds for German Shepherds. In particular, I’ll tell you about the Big Barker Dog Bed, the most likely candidate for the best dog bed for GSDs, alongside four others that come close. Each dog bed will be judged by brand/business, materials, and fabrics.
Why German Shepherds Need Orthopedic Beds
The structure of a German Shepherd is prone to hip dysplasia and arthritis, due to which this breed of dog needs an orthopedic bed to rest its muscles and joints. A supportive surface helps in enhancing the overall quality of life.
Hip dysplasia and arthritis can take a toll on German Shepherds as these can affect movements and cause severe discomfort and pain. Resting on a random surface can stress the joints. Further, the type of surface can also affect the alignment and growth of a German Shepherd over the years.
Here are the major reasons a German Shepherd needs an orthopedic bed:
- Comfortable and soft surface that’s good for joints and muscles
- Even distribution of the weight of the dog across the complete bed
- The high-density foam of the orthopedic bed promotes circulation and addresses pressure points.
- It’s great for German Shepherds of any age. A disease-prone GSD can heal faster, while a young GSD with prior exposure to an orthopedic bed experiences the better quality of life and support for the body.
Best Orthopedic Beds for German Shepherds
If you’re in a hurry and just want to know my recommendations, here’s my “Too Long; Didn’t Read” verdict in a handy table. My German Shepherd uses the Big Barker Orthopedic Dog Bed. A close second is the LaiFug Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed from Amazon.
Scroll across on mobile to see the full table…
|Big Barker Orthopedic Dog Bed||4.75/5||5/5||5/5||4.91/5||Go to Big Barker|
|PetFusion Ultimate Orthopedic Dog Bed||2/5||4/5||4.5/5||3.5/5||Check price on Amazon|
|FurHaven Orthopedic Dog Bed||3/5||4/5||4/5||3.6/5||Check price on Amazon|
|BarksBar Orthopedic Dog Bed||3.75/5||4/5||4/5||3.91/5||Check price on Amazon|
|LaiFug Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed||4/5||4/5||4.2/5||4.0/5||Check price on Amazon|
Big Barker Orthopedic Dog Bed
Big Barker is committed to big dogs. The company’s sole focus on orthopedic dog beds that improve large dogs’ quality of life is admirable and good for business. One can trust that the products made by this company are effective not just because of its genuine and sincere origin story but also because vets have praised the bed for its lasting positive effects on big dogs’ quality of life. The brand is so relevant to the product’s features that it is hard to separate the two.
Owner Eric’s dog Hank experienced a health crisis that led to a wonderful journey that resulted in the Big Barker almost a decade later. The specific problems faced by the big dog Hank inform the Big Barker product’s features.
Brand Verdict: 4.75/5
The product design uses simplicity and quality to make the best orthopedic bed for German Shepherds. With only four materials, each one has to meet the highest quality standard and complement big dogs’ joints and spine health. Here are the four materials and how the company ensures each is the best your German Shepherd deserves.
- Foam – Using American-made foam, the Big Barker is able to give you the decade-long “won’t flatten warranty.” The foam used in its orthopedic dog beds is CertiPUR-US certified and is fathoms above-average polyfill or cheaply imported foams used by mass manufacturers. Some non-certified foam comes with toxic chemicals and allergens. Again, The Big Barker ensures this risk is non-existent in its products.
- Fabric – When it comes to finding fabric for its beds, the Big Barker tests for practicality with three-pronged criteria. According to the company, the fabric that makes the cut has to look great in a home, be machine washable and have the ability to take a lot of digging and clawing without getting damaged.
This means that your Big Barker orthopedic bed won’t be an eyesore, and your German Shepherd won’t have to sleep in a stained bed. More importantly, with fabrics that score 100,000 or above on the Wyzenbeek Abrasion test, your dog bed’s microfiber covers are six times more scratch-resistant than high-quality furniture.
- Zipper – No fabric covers foam without requiring something to hold it in place. Using American-made zippers from one of the oldest factories in the country, the Big Barker cuts no corners while covering all corners. 75% of the bed border is covered by the zipper, which means you can easily get the cover off the foam and wash or clean it as required.
- Glue – Unlike dog beds made off-brand for a quick buck, the Big Barker orthopedic dog beds use safe glue. If glue used in a dog bed requires one to wear a mask to apply in large quantities, then it is likely not dog-friendly in the first place. The glue used by the Big Barker is American-made and water-based. It is OSHA-compliant and safe to apply without any mask.
Materials Verdict: 5/5
I trust the Big Barker brand not just because the founder has a big dog and uses the bed for him but because of the brand’s emphasis on the actual problem that most big dogs like German Shepherds face.
Many dog bed makers simply scale their pre-existing designs to accommodate large breeds and call it a day. The Big Barker team realizes the real problem even before most dog owners and actively makes and promotes its solution before its demand has become a trend.
Many German Shepherd owners don’t even know how important joint health is for their big buddies. And even in the absence of this knowledge in his primary market, Eric has dared to build a business with a solution.
I like this a lot because I can see the heart in it. He is solving the joint crisis not because there’s demand for the solution but because he truly understands that this is a problem worth solving.
So, what is the joint crisis? The term refers to the fact that big dogs can easily hurt their joints and, due to a mix of negligence and natural factors, have poor joint health within the first few years of adulthood. German Shepherds are particularly prone to hip and elbow dysplasia – the latest statistics from the OFA show that around 20% will suffer dysplasia.
This is further perpetuated by dog beds that don’t allow them to rest properly and the normalization of “slowing down.” While some degree of slowing down is natural with age, most of it is because the dog hurts as he moves. The Big Barker is a company that understands this and has built a product that Vets can stand behind.
Clinically proven to be effective
Not only does the Big Barker work with Vets to bring the most critical information to those who have big dogs, but it also puts its products to the test, as shown in this study of dogs with osteoarthritis conducted by the University of Pennsylvania.
The company also goes out of its way to get Vets’ opinions on the beds’ effectiveness in improving big dogs’ life quality. Here are some instances of Vets using or swooning over the Big Barker orthopedic dog beds.
- Dr. Kim Mayers used a Big Barker bed to help a 120 lb Shilo Shepherd recover from a ruptured disk spine surgery.
- Dr. Kim Bowers says that in over 20 years of being a Vet, she hasn’t found a better bed and uses it for her own dog.
- Dr. Alison Birken appreciated Big Barker beds’ ability to eliminate pressure points and reduce pain among dogs.
- Dr. Christopher Powell reports that his patients with a history of joint or back pain have experienced an improvement in movement and have happier dispositions as a result of using Big Barker Beds.
Features Verdict: 5/5
Overall Verdict: 4.91/5
The only thing keeping me from giving this a 5 out of 5 rating is the fact that the Big Barker brand is relatively new. However, the work done by Eric in this short period, alongside the product’s testimonials and results, led me to get the dog bed anyway.
I have seen only positives since and am very reluctantly taking 0.9 out of 5 for brand longevity. This doesn’t reflect on the product’s features or materials. You can find my full review of the Sofa Edition here.
PetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed
The PetFusion brand seems too diluted for a company that was founded in 2010. From making pet feeders to dog beds, the brand seems to be trying to be too many things for too many people. Getting cat scratchers and litter boxes from the same place that makes orthopedic dog beds gives a Walmart vibe that doesn’t inspire confidence. This means your decision to buy a dog bed from this company must rely on features and testimonials alone.
This dog bed is made with memory foam, which has orthopedic benefits for your big buddy. The 4-inch memory foam layer provides a durable yet comfortable base that eases pain, reduces pressure, and improves mobility. It features a somewhat scratch-resistant twill fabric, featuring 65% polyester and 35% cotton. Compared to average dog beds, this product is excellent when it comes to sourcing and using materials.
- Support bolsters on the sides help your dog feel comfortable. This can make adjusting to a new bed easier for your German Shepherd.
- Emphasis on size supports large breeds well. When it comes to dog beds for larger canines, bigger is usually better. These dog beds feature both an extra-large base and extra-large support bolsters, providing ample support for your canine besty.
- Contact-safe materials give you peace of mind. From toxin-free Certi-PUR-US memory foam to stricter European REACH compliance, the material sourcing is conducted with your peace of mind in mind.
- Can carry large dogs. This should be a given for a large-breed dog bed but is a feature nonetheless. If your German Shepherd can fit in this bed, the bed is sturdy enough to hold him.
Overall Verdict: 3.5/5
The product is fine for its price point, especially since affordability is within PetFusion’s mission statement, but it tends to miss out on brand specialization and material excellence. With the fabric and foam source undisclosed, one could hesitate to purchase this dog bed. Still, with regulation compliance and over 14,000 reviews and ratings on Amazon averaging 4.7 out of 5 stars, one can still have peace of mind while purchasing this product.
FurHaven Orthopedic Dog Bed
FurHaven started off as a company dedicated to bringing comfort to pets and has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2004. Though I would be skeptical of brands that spread themselves too thin, the company seems to have taken a good 17 years to be where it currently is.
I can trust the business not to present shoddy products because its reputation is far too valuable. That said, I would still hesitate a little to buy my German Shepherd’s orthopedic bed from a brand that makes not only cat beds but also general cat and dog products that have nothing to do with sleep.
While the base seems just fine for a large-breed dog like a German Shepherd, the polyester cover doesn’t seem very scratch-resistant. That brings up the question of why this product even needs to be included when there already are memory foam options with better covers.
This is where the product’s faux fur top layer becomes relevant. This orthopedic dog bed has a layer of comfy faux fur that can help soothe your German Shepherd as he sleeps alone. This is perfect for GSDs who suffer from separation anxiety.
- Pressure-point relieving design. The faux fur layer covers an orthopedic support foam that is designed with ridges to lift your German Shepherd effortlessly while effectively massaging him.
- Great for hot sleepers. We know about the concept of sleeping hot as humans, but all mammals, including your German Shepherd, can be hot sleepers. The ridges mentioned above also make room for air to flow through, allowing the mattress to breathe.
- Fluffy bolsters. These bolsters are like most products featured in this post: fluffy and filled with recycled fluffy material. While this feature isn’t unique to this FurHaven orthopedic bed, it is still worth mentioning.
Overall Verdict: 3.6/5
The FurHaven brand misses crucial points with me by putting products belonging to different categories under one insignia. The lack of transparency regarding material origins and a “good enough” feature set don’t help it cross the four-point threshold in my rating scale.
If other options are unavailable, getting this dog bed would be rational. But in the presence of other orthopedic dog beds for German Shepherds, you’re better off purchasing something from a more specialized brand with more material source transparency.
BarksBar Orthopedic Dog Bed
The BarksBar brand is tied to comfort for dogs though there seems to be room to venture out as the brand story commits to prioritizing “pets.” Most of the products have to do with comfortable seating or the functioning of pets. These include seat covers for dogs, orthopedic dog beds, and even dog-friendly mats. There are a few products that don’t align, like dog doors, but there’s not much dilution to worry about.
The brand story doesn’t include a personal touch, though, and is quite generic. Committing to making “affordable products” that meet one’s customers’ “needs” is barely a differentiator. This can make some people hesitant to purchase from the brand, but fortunately, Amazon peer-reviewing is here to help unearth the objective pros and cons of the product itself.
An orthopedic foam base and a polyester cover would have you believe this product offers the same material as the previous two in this post. However, its rim cushion is padded by a different material.
This orthopedic dog bed features a cotton-padded rim cushion, which can pad your German Shepherd’s neck better than other types of fillings used in dog beds. The polyester cover is also different since not all polyester is built alike. Here, more than the thread count, the actual quilting matters. The cover of this dog bed seems quilted for comfort, though it is no match for FurHaven’s faux fur.
- Offers standard orthopedic dog bed features. The product has specific mention-worthy features like washability, removable covers, and the ability to support weight, but none of these are dimensions where BarksBar establishes itself as the leader.
- All-encompassing rim. While most orthopedic dog beds have one or two elevated portions for your GSD’s neck, this product has a raised rim that surrounds the bed. This is the human equivalent of having a pillow under your neck and having a body pillow alongside one under your neck. Giving your German Shepherd an orthopedic bed that hugs him as he sleeps can be excellent for his comfort and stress management.
Overall Verdict: 3.91/5
This orthopedic dog bed comes pretty close to going over the 4-point threshold but misses only by 0.9, the same amount by which the Big Barker Bed misses a 5/5 rating. Had the BarksBar brand been slightly more personalized, it might have crossed the threshold, but ultimately, it presents a passable product with standard features and a generic brand. All I can say is that buying this dog bed is good for your German Shepherd’s joints and spine, but that’s about it.
LaiFug Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed
LaiFug doesn’t put all its eggs in the dog bed basket yet manages not to be a confusing mix of assorted pet products. Instead, the business focuses on marrying interior design to pet-friendly products, a theme that most of its products fall under. This is reminiscent of the Big Barker’s criteria of dog beds looking good in a home. LaiFug is a relatively new brand and seems to have the makings of a business success story.
The brand doesn’t matter if the product material isn’t comfortable for your bigger buddy’s back. Fortunately, the LaiFug dog bed features memory foam, which helps your bigger dog sleep better.
But since foam is the common thread across all products in this article, what sets this one apart? The non-slip bottom and the waterproof liner stand out as materials that double as features. Since the brand is committed to positive home interior harmony, it is on-brand for the product to strike the perfect balance between form and function.
- Heavy bottom foam and top memory foam. This orthopedic dog bed features memory foam that can help relieve your German Shepherd’s joint issues and bone problems but has a sturdier bottom layer that helps support a heavier dog.
- Standard features. The product also offers a pillow design, machine washability, and an aesthetic look that compliments your house; all features not absent from other orthopedic beds in this post.
- Great for apartments. If you aren’t a one-percenter with a large house featuring a separate room for your German Shepherd’s indoor crate and his dog bed, this product is great for you. We mere mortals can benefit from this bed’s waterproof liner and anti-slip bottom alongside its general eye-pleasing design, and the place is safely within the bedroom or the living room. If you’re tight on space, this is your ace.
Overall Verdict: 4/5
With an interesting balance between form and function and a passable brand story, LaiFug Dog Bed hits our 4-point threshold, making it one of the “no brainer” buys when it comes to orthopedic dog beds. This can also be why over 4,000 reviewers on amazon have brought it to a global average rating of 4.7 stars.
Which Orthopedic Dog Bed Should I Pick?
Getting an orthopedic dog bed for your German Shepherd is unlike getting products like treats or toys. This decision is one that is relatively expensive, and you want to be sure that the product you’re buying is built with heart and has all the features your German Shepherd can benefit from.
The products above all offer the basic comfort assistance your GSD needs, and you can choose the one that suits your budget and needs. I personally find the Big Barker to be the best, and the 10-year guarantee is, to me, a risk-free purchase. If, for some reason, the Big Barker doesn’t appeal to you, then choose the LaiFug Orthopedic Memory Foam bed, as this comes a close second.