The Science behind Calming Dog Beds - do they really work?
If you've got a dog and you've got a Facebook account, chances are pretty high that you've seen all sorts of 'calming' pet beds floating around your news feed claiming to cure your doggo's separation anxiety or calm their erratic behaviours as soon as you unwrap it from the plastic. But do they really work?
We've unwrapped the science behind anti-anxiety pet beds and re-wrapped it all back up for you in an easy-to-understand 2-4 minutes* of reading below. *Reading speed dependent on your individual ability. We dare you to time yourself and confirm if we got it right or if you're just a realllllly slow reader.*
Short answer: Yes.
Science says calming beds can work when they incorporate all the parts needed to have an effect on your doggo, but unfortunately not all calming beds are made equally. Let's break it down from the beginning.
When our fur-babies were teeny tiny puppies and growing up alongside their brothers and sisters and nursing from their furry Mama, they experienced the very first feeling of safety when snuggling up next to their littermates and Mummy. The feeling of another doggo's fur right next to theirs, laying their heads up against their Mumma's tummy and being surrounded by a pile of pups are all comforting reassurances for them to know they were safe, especially if they hadn't opened their eyes yet to be able to see their surroundings.
In these first few weeks, our puppies become very aware of what they can feel and their behaviours are dictated by this happiness and safety that is brought on by physical touch. If they couldn't feel their siblings or Mumma nearby, they would show panic by squeaking and if they felt safe, you'd probably find them sleeping.
As they grow older, our fur-babies never lose this sense of touch. This is why calming beds can work when they closely replicate the feelings of safety they remember from being a tiny baby in amongst a pile of puppies. To be the ideal calming bed, it needs to have a soft, short faux fur to replicate this feeling of sleeping alongside their littermates, raised sides that give the sense of laying up against their fur Mama and a premium inner filling that they can sink into and feel surrounded by, like a big hug.
Longer answer: Not all calming beds are created equal.
In amongst our research, we found beds with washable covers but not washable inserts (pretty pointless if you can't wash the full thing if you ask us), memory foam inners (the most synthetic material in the world that also retains a lot of heat... not ideal in summer!), beds without sides to rest your head and beds that aren't washable at all.... whaaaaaat?!
If doggo accidentally wee's on the bed or comes inside after rolling in mud, we can guarantee you that you won't just need to be washing the outer cover.
And when you've got a choice about the material your doggo sleeps on, we don't think any Fur-Mama's and Papa's out there would knowingly choose anything synthetic with toxic fumes when you could give them premium quality 100% cotton and natural fibres instead. Cotton and natural fibres will keep them warm in winter and cool in summer, rather than investing in a bed that your fur-baby will only use in the colder months. Not sure what we mean by toxic fumes? Just smell your other calming bed once it comes out of the plastic. If it smells synthetic, you'll know, and that's what a lot of humans are making their pets put their head on.
In all of our searching, we couldn't find any calming beds that covered all the bases. There was nothing we found that could be totally unzipped and all parts machine washed, combined with 100% cotton cushion inserts that could all be washed individually. On top of that, any beds that could be easily washed didn't have high enough side walls or luxe calming faux fur to create enough of the calming effect, so we took it into our own paws and made this one, which is our top pick of all the anti-anxiety beds we've found. Oh and... we don't wrap ours in plastic ;)