Close this search box.

Big Barker Sofa Bed Review: Is It Worth It?

Last Updated: February 2, 2024

Note: Clicking the above link(s) will take you to Amazon or an online store where we have an affiliate relationship. If you make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

The most common type of arthritis in dogs is osteoarthritis, affecting around a quarter of the dog population.

So, before you go out and buy something like the Big Barker Orthopedic Sofa Bed, ask yourself how serious you are about finding a dog bed that prevents and minimizes joint pain, stiffness, and mobility concerns, especially if you have a large breed dog prone to these problems.

If you’re confident that your dog won’t develop debilitating conditions like arthritis or hip and elbow dysplasia, and you don’t want to improve your dog’s overall restfulness and quality of life, especially as he gets older – then a regular dog bed, like the Furhaven Lounger Bed from Amazon, is a good option.

Conversely, many dog owners think of the Big Barker when they want a dog bed that has been clinically shown through scientific research to significantly enhance canine joint function, gait, discomfort, pain, and inflexibility.

The Big Barker range of orthopedic beds is well-known for helping your dog sleep better at night and maintain a normal, active lifestyle.

In this brand-new review, I will examine the Big Barker Sofa Bed.

I’ll cover:

  • Comfort and support
  • Practicality and safety
  • Durability and style

I’ll also detail how the relatively new Sofa Edition compares to the Headrest Edition.

But first, if the title of this article piqued your interest, you might be curious about my experience with this bed and whether the cost is worth it.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that Willow, my German Shepherd, has spinal osteoarthritis and was diagnosed at only six years old.

So, if you came to this article looking for a first-hand Big Barker Sofa Bed review, whether your dog has joint problems or you’re trying to prevent them in the first place, you won’t be disappointed.

A German Shepherd resting on a Big Barker Sofa Bed.
My German Shepherd Willow on her Big Barker Sofa Bed waiting for the pesky squirrels!

Oh, wait! Unsure if you have time to read the complete review? Do you prefer a quick walkthrough of the sofa bed? I’ve made it simple for you with the crisp review presented below.

Big Barker Sofa Bed. A GSD lying on a Big Barker Sofa Bed
Better than most human beds!

Scientifically proven to reduce pain and stiffness in arthritic dogs

Prevents the start of joint problems, especially in large breeds

Includes a 10-year “can’t flatten, won’t flatten” guarantee

Check Latest Price

Summary: The Big Barker Sofa Bed is, for me, the best sofa-style orthopedic dog bed on the market.

However, you should know some things before purchasing this bed, so I put this review together.

Having a German Shepherd with spine osteoarthritis, I want to help you prevent and relieve joint and mobility issues in your dog.

Enhancing your dog’s nighttime restfulness and helping to maintain a normal, active lifestyle means you can relish those walks together again.

What Is The Big Barker Sofa Bed?

Big Barker beds, in general, are therapeutic dog beds with 7-inch deep superior foam layers appropriate for large breed dogs.

They are the only dog beds clinically shown to reduce joint discomfort and stiffness in canines with arthritis or hip dysplasia. They also help to prevent some disorders by providing much-needed extra support.

The founder of the product, Eric Shannon, admits that she’d like to solve the issue of the unavailability of supportive dog beds.

Back in 2012, the brand kickstarted after her dog was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Hence, this is certainly a product that offers support and convenience to your dog.

To put it simply, they are REAL beds, but for dogs. You’ll only have to replace your Big Barker every ten years, just like your own bed.

Here is a snapshot of the main features of Big Barker beds:

  • 7 inches deep orthopedic foam
  • A real human bed – but for dogs
  • High-quality materials
  • 10-year guarantee
  • Machine-washable

You can choose from the Sleek Edition, Headrest Edition, or the relatively new Sofa Edition. However, as this is a review of the Sofa Edition, let’s first discuss the sofa style.

The Big Barker Sofa Edition is a 3-sided bolster bed. This bed, once only released as a special purchase, is now part of the range due to its popularity.

The bolsters complement the 7-inch deep bed as they are 4″ high and 8″ thick and add to the overall comfort and aesthetics of the bed.

It’s essential to choose the style of bed that your dog prefers. Here are the options:

  • The Sofa Bed is more suited for dogs that like to sleep while leaning their backs against something or those that like to cuddle up. Additionally, if your dog feels safer in a bed with high sides to create a sense of security, a sofa-style bolster bed would be your best choice.
  • The Sleek Edition, in contrast, is designed to provide your dog with the most sprawling room possible, making it ideal for long-legged dogs who enjoy stretching. It’s also excellent if you have more than one dog.
  • The Headrest Edition is a hybrid of the two types with its simple yet effective design. So, if you want a large sleep surface with a single bolster that your doggo can rest his head on, then go for this variety.
A German Shepherd asleep on a Big Barker Sofa Dog Bed.
Willow sleeping on her Big Barker Sofa Bed

Backed By Science

A study was recently conducted by the University of Pennsylvania to evaluate the Big Barker therapeutic mattress in dogs with osteoarthritis. The dogs assessed weighed over 70 lbs (31.75kg) and were at least three years old.

The study evaluated whether the Big Barker bed could help with orthopedic pain, joint mobility and function, exercise, and sleep quality. The dogs were monitored for 28 days.

Here is what the scientists found:

Big Barker Clinical Study CriteriaImpact
Joint stiffnessReduced by 12.5%
Pain severityReduced by 21.6%
Joint functionEnhanced by 17.6%
GaitEnhanced by 9.6%
Overall quality of lifeEnhanced by 15.1%

Endorsed by Veterinarians

Veterinarians recommend and endorse the Big Barker orthopedic bed. You can find many vet reviews on their website:

There are also tons of positive testimonials from pet owners worldwide, and the bed is used by many vet clinics, dog rescues, shelters, and even police departments.

Many pet parents don’t realize that their dog’s bed has a tremendous impact on the dog’s quality of life.” – Dr. Alison Birken, DVM

In fact, I’ve noticed that several vets have seen visible differences in dogs’ health. Here’s one video that you can watch:

Safety Standards

The Big Barker foam is certified by CertiPUR-US. The formation of this association was inspired by concerns about imported inferior foams containing lead, arsenic, and other harmful substances that can gradually poison your dog.

You may rest easy knowing that your dog is lying down on safe foam made in the US.

Sofa Edition vs. Headrest Edition

Having purchased the Headrest Edition, you may wonder why I bought an additional sofa-style bed for my German Shepherd.

To be perfectly honest, the sofa style was not part of the range when I purchased the Headrest Edition.

Had the Sofa Bed been available at the time, I would have definitely chosen it as I knew Willow prefers to lean her arthritic back against something.

It wasn’t a massive deal, though, as I just placed the bed in the corner of the room with the walls behind her.

However, as soon as I saw the Sofa Bed added to the range, I just had to get one, especially as my German Shepherd’s old orthopedic dog bed was a bolster bed.

I just felt that the sofa bed was a must-have for her. It would be easier for me too, as I could place it anywhere.

The photo of Willow on her Big Barker Headrest Bed is taken at a holiday lodge. You can see how I placed it leaned against the seating to protect her back.

In contrast, there’s no need to do this with the sofa style as it can be placed anywhere in your home.

Big Barker Sofa EditionBig Barker Headrest Edition
More suited for dogs that to lean their back against somethingIdeal for dogs that like to sprawl and have one bolster to rest their head
Preferred by dogs that to cuddle up or feel more secure with the 3-sided bolstersMore suited for “secure” dogs that feel safe without bolsters. and multi-dog households
More suited to single-dog householdsIdeal for multi-dog households due to the large surface area for stretching out
The most expensive of the three stylesLess costly than the sofa style
Big Barker Sofa Bed vs. Big Barker Headrest Edition

Why I Like the Big Barker Sofa Edition

The differences are pretty noticeable when you compare the Big Barker Sofa Bed to other similar bolster beds. Here are the many reasons why I like this bed.

FeatureWhy I Like
Raised higher off the ground than standard dog beds.Easier for your dog to get on and off the bed, reducing stress in hips and legs.
7-inch deep foam that can support over 300lbs (136kg).Reduces pressure and provides tons of comfort by preventing your dog from sinking into the floor. Ideal for multi-dog households as 3 x 45kg dogs will still be comfortable.
Scientifically proven to improve joint function, pain, and stiffness.Allows your dog to sleep well, be comfortable, and be pain-free.
Multi-layered foam. Won’t flatten or lose its shape.
Certified by CertiPUR-US.No safety worries as it’s hand-made in the US with premium that meets rigorous standards for emissions, materials used, performance, and longevity.
10-year warranty and 1-year trial.Peace of mind that the bed will last your dog’s lifetime. Along with the 1-year trial, it makes purchasing the bed risk-free.
The cover is made with quality 100% microfiber – also used for expensive couches and upholstery.Looks visually pleasing. Lovely and soft, adding to your dogs’ comfort.
Choice of four colors, khaki, burgundy, chocolate, and charcoal grey.Neutral colors that will look good in any home.
Unique foam that allows air to circulate through it.Keeps your dog cool and prevents overheating, especially good for double-coated dogs.
Machine washable removable cover with zippers around 3 sides.Easy to keep clean. Easy to remove. Especially good for high shedding breeds.
Looks and feels like a real human bed.Comfortable for humans to sleep on.
“My GSD loves to lean into the bolsters which keeps her comfy. I’m convinced it eases her arthritis.” – World of Dogz

Is the Big Barker Sofa Dog Bed Worth It?

A GSD Yawning on a Big Barker Sofa Bed
“Time for a snooze!”

No Big Barker Sofa Dog Bed review would be complete without discussing the price.

The new Big Barker Sofa Bed starts from $299. In contrast, the Sleek Edition starts from $199, and the Headrest Edition from $239.

The sofa-style dog bed sure is the Rolls-Royce of orthopedic dog beds but is it worth it, or is it overpriced?

The Big Barker is worth every cent as you only need to buy it once as it will last the lifetime of your dog.

For me, if it helps to prevent and improve your dogs’ joint pain and stiffness, especially during aging, then it’s an investment definitely worth having.

It is a no-risk purchase due to its 1-year trial and 10-year guarantee. And overall, you’ll spend less than buying many other poor-quality beds that you constantly need to replace.

Let’s put this into context.

You pay $299 for the Sofa Edition, with a 365-day return policy and a 10-year no-flatten guarantee. That works out at $25 per year or $2.07 per month! 

The Big Barker Sofa Bed is worth it – because your dog is worth it.” – World of Dogz

To me, it doesn’t make sense to buy low-cost beds that flatten like pancakes every 12 months or so. They soon either become damaged, look shabby, and need constant replacing.

Without question, you’ll spend a lot more money on beds in the long run. And most won’t even protect your dog. There is also a payment plan if you prefer to pay monthly.

Is The Big Barker Right for You?

If you have a highly destructive dog, then the Big Barker is not your best choice as it isn’t 100% chew-proof being furniture-grade microfiber.

However, the company claims it is “tear resistant” and cleverly hides the zipper and sews the seams properly, removing the temptation to chew.

They clearly don’t get many instances of chewed-up beds as they wouldn’t be happy to sell it with a decade-long warranty.

I’ve noticed that some owners with dogs that are extreme “nesters” or “diggers” have voiced disappointment in that the cover tore. If this is your dog, then opt for a chew-resistant bed.


Protects your dog’s joints

Scientifically proven to reduce pain

Improved sleep in arthritic dogs

10-year warranty

7-inch deep multi-layered foam

Handmade in the US


Not 100% chew resistant

Unsuitable for extreme “diggers”

Where Can I Buy a Big Barker?

You can buy the Big Barker directly from their website. Most orders via the website are shipped within one business day.


Are Big Barker Dog Beds Waterproof?

The Big Barker covers are not 100% waterproof, but they are water-resistant to things like drool, licking, or when your dog comes in from the rain. Waterproof liners are available to purchase if your pup is being potty trained or your dog is incontinent.

How Do You Wash a Big Barker?

Big Barker dog bed covers are machine washable on a cold setting to prevent shrinkage. In between washes, you can wipe with a warm, damp cloth. The waterproof liners are also machine washable on low heat.

Do Big Barker Beds Ever Go On Sale?

Big Barker beds never go on sale, and you will never see other discounts or coupon codes. This helps to keep the prices as low as possible. However, you can request to be added to the waitlist for a refurbished bed, which is one of those that gets returned. Nonetheless, there aren’t many of these.

Big Barker Sofa Dog Bed Alternatives

Furhaven Lounger Bed

The Furhaven Lounger Bed from Amazon is sold as an orthopedic bed, although you can’t really compare its foam depth of 2.5 inches in comparison to Big Barker’s 7 inches.

Despite this, this bed has a lot of positive reviews on Amazon, but don’t expect it to survive as long as the Big Barker. If you truly don’t want to spend a lot of money on a moderate dog bed, the Furhaven might be the next best option.

Petfusion Ultimate Dog Bed

I like the Petfusion Ultimate Dog Bed because its foam depth is somewhere between the Big Barker and the Furhaven Lounger, coming in at 4 inches. I particularly like the modern bolster design, and this bed is also made of approved foam, so you don’t have to worry about your dog’s safety.

Its 3-year warranty is also reasonable given the price of the bed, and it comes the closest to Big Barker’s 10-year guarantee that I could find.

Honestly, though, for the difference you’ll pay for the Big Barker, I’d be inclined to save a little longer or opt for the monthly payment plan.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, I give the Sofa Bed a huge thumbs up, and Willow gives it an enormous paw up!

It looks fantastic in my home, and my dog loves it. The bed’s thickness, resemblance to a REAL human bed, and attractive 10-year guarantee, in my opinion, cannot be surpassed.

The best part, though, is knowing that my dog is safe, content, and well-rested.

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. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

Leave a Comment

Image for Newsletter Signup

Rehabilitate. Repeat.

Get the best in dog rescue news, care, and health tips, and be a part of the rescue dog revolution.