The right Dog Beds for your Dog and You

Some dogs like luxurious dog beds, some are more Spartan. Some dogs like to burrow into their beds and make a nest, others are happier dozing on top of their kennel with a layer of snowflakes covering them ... I know, because I have a Whippet who thinks almost exclusively about her own comfort, and Border Collies who have coats designed to keep them warm in a blizzard on a Scottish mountainside.

You need dog beds that are serviceable and easy to wash for the working dogs in the family, and beds that are cosy and warm for the lapdogs (for when there's no lap available!)

The advantage of having a dog bed that your dog actually likes is that you can position the bed where you want your dog to be when he's switched off, then you don't have to be tripping over him every time you turn round. I have beds under one of the worksurfaces in the kitchen, instead of cupboards. That's where the crate goes too, when we have a new dog in the household.

Keep it Clean

I think the most important point of a dog bed from the owner's point of view is its cleanability. You don't want nameless stains showing up on your carefully-laundered dog bed - that's where a patterned finish is handy. A removable, machine-washable cover is ideal.

And I find the fleece that you can buy by the yard is excellent. You can hotwash it in the machine, and it dries in no time. Great beds for dogs who like to bundle them up, carry them to their preferred spot, and hide their toys in them. You can easily fit them into a car crate too.

Also in the car you can have tough, plastic-backed blankets or even fully-fitted dog-proof seat covers - just imagine how much time that's going to save you picking up hairs and mud!

Tunnelling dogs will appreciate a cosy bed to dig down into. They tend to be thin-coated dogs like terriers and whippets. Such dogs often like to sleep in heaps. A pair of noses peeping out from a pile of lambskins is very appealing!

As to the wicker baskets so beloved of artists and birthday card designers, they may look good, but don't put your dog in one till you're quite sure he won't chew it to shreds. There are hard-shelled dog beds which are easy to wash and sweep out. They can take up a lot of space, but are excellent for keeping the dog's bedding in one place.

The important thing about your dog's bed is that it's his. He must know that he can rest there in peace, without being trodden on, badgered by children, hugged by affectionate toddlers, or shoved onto the floor by another dog (or cat!). If you have multiple dogs, be sure you've got a bed per dog plus one extra so you never get arguments over beds.