When creating the Poco dog mattresses and beds, I wanted to make sure there was a reason for everything we did and a purpose for every material. Why use a sprung base? Why offer different topper materials?
This meant reading lots of scientific papers about the quality of sleep of our pets, and researching what makes a comfortable bed. If you’re like me, you will be shocked to find out, there is no answer. There are no studies that can answer, what is the best material for a dog bed? What helps our dogs sleep well?
In my head, there would have been a study tracking the brain activity or heart rates of our dogs as they slept on different materials, showing which gave the more restful nights sleep. Turns out there isn’t even this for humans.
By turning to human science, the feedback from studies was mostly verbal. And unfortunately, the majority of sleep studies of humans all end the same. By stating that participant feedback on quality of sleep will be largely skewed as they are in a false environment and want to give the right answer, not the honest answer.
So we can’t ask dogs and we can’t trust humans. How do you know you’re making the right bed? We turn to the expert opinion and we reflect. Would you trade beds with your dog?
The Scientists say…
One group of scientist wrote the paper “Quality of Life Assessment in Domestic Dogs”. One of the key takeaways was that over 50% of owners surveyed said their pet would choose to rest in an alternative space if given the choice. This suggests that we know our dogs are uncomfortable. More shockingly, we know they’re uncomfortable, but we do nothing about it.
Another study in the Journal of Companion Animal Medicine published this year explores the sleep and livelihood of dogs. This found that from as young as 4 weeks old, a change in bed and sleep environment can negatively affect not only the length of sleep but also the quality.
This shows the importance of providing a consistent bed for our pets. So why do we often buy short lived, cheap highstreets beds, rather than a long lasting bed, as we do ourselves
The American Kennel Club highlights the important of interlocking materials to create a supportive surface for older dogs or those with arthritis to sleep on. The interlocking, helps to keep the mattress comfortable for as long as possible, preventing joints from cutting through light weight materials.
Finally, the RSPCA focuses on the environment we provide, more than the mattresses themselves. They highlight that beds should be easy to climb into and that high walls are great at providing an igloo style environment, helping to calm anxiety.
What can we learn from this?
How can we make sure we provide the best bed for our pets and how can Poco sleep at night (if you’ll pardon the pun) producing the beds we do?
- Give your dog a bed you would be happy to sleep on yourself. We made Poco mattresses comfortable enough that we would be happy to sleep on them. (maybe if we made them a bit bigger)
- Provide a consistent sleep environment. Don’t constantly change your dog’s bed. Its been shown to throw them off balance from as young as 4 weeks old. (its also terrible for the environment) Buy them a bed that will last a lifetime. It’ll help them sleep better and stop waste going to landfill.
- Make them feel protected. Beds with arms to protect from drafts and nasty intruders really help to calm our dogs, helping them sleep well.
It’s important to create products ethically. I was shocked to find zero regulations on creating and marketing mattresses. This is why we are being so transparent. We have done our best. We have done our research. We have made a bed we would be happy to sleep on. Dogs are man’s best friend after all. You could say “it’s just a dog” but we all know they grow to mean so much to us. Why not give them the best life we can. And I say, if you’re unsure about a decision you’re making for you dog, ask yourself, would I be happy to trade places with my pet?