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The Best Beds for Shih Tzu


The bed that you choose for your Shih Tzu will have an effect on many aspects of his well-being. And as a Shih Tzu matures, his bedding needs will change. What worked for a puppy will not be appropriate for an adult and certainly not for a senior. 

This section will discuss why finding the best bed is so important to your Tzu's health and happiness, elements to look for and tips to ensure that your Shih Tzu is sleeping on the right surface for optimal health and happiness. 
shih tzu resting in a bed
Leo Biga; Photo courtesy of Monica Hernandez

Why the Right Bed is So Important

1) Support- One of the top elements to consider is the type of support that the bed will offer. For breeds like the Shih Tzu that are prone to hip dysplasia and back issues, this is paramount. While it may seem as if the sleeping surface may not matter much due to this breed's small size, we must remember that it is all relative. 

Whether a 12 pound dog or a 150 pound person rests down on a bed, the mattress's ability to hold, distribute pressure and conform to the body's curves are all going to affect the level of relief and rest that the body receives. 

When a Shih Tzu rests or sleeps on his bed, this is the time for the body to rejuvenate, for muscles to rest, for joints to be free of undue pressure and for his entire body from head to paw to be able to physically relax while being properly supported. 

Senior dogs need orthopedic, memory foam mattress; once a dog reaches the age of 7 years old, his chances of developing arthritis are 60% and this increases as each year goes by. 

2) Proper positioning - Being both a Brachycephalic breed (compact face, which compresses the breathing passages) and having an almost squared-off body (only slightly longer than tall, wide chest, short legs, rounded thighs), means that a Shih Tzu needs to have a bed with the right sizing and to allow for proper positioning. Many Shih Tzu have some level of elongated palate, which can lead to breathing issues particularly at night (snoring is quite common). 

Therefore, the right interior dimensions will allow enough room to properly stretch out without being so large that you lose the element of security. Some Shih Tzu do best when they have raised bumpers, which are used as a pillow-type support that allows the neck to stretch out a bit, allowing breathing passages to open. For those that like a more open feeling, flat mattress can work as well, as long as they are large enough that the Shih Tzu can fully stretch out. 

3) Security - All canines are pack animals and when a dog has his own 'den', this is one of his most prized possessions. A Shih Tzu's bed is his own special area; no one else can sit there, no one can invade his territory, he has his own little recluse to retreat to. Whether his bed is placed up on your bed, is in the corner of your bedroom or is has its own spot in the family room within a gated off area or canine playpen, it is your Shih Tzu's one area that is 'all his'. And this is so important to help a dog feel that he has some control over his world and has a place that offers warmth and comfort. 

4) Hygiene - 3 things accumulate on a dog's bedding: body oils, skin flakes and dust mites. This goes for human beds as well (just swap out body oils for sweat). While it's not very pleasant to think about, dust mites are everywhere. They burrow deep into mattresses and are found on sheets and pillow cases. In regard to body oils and skin flakes, while the Shih Tzu does have hair instead of fur, this by no means equals hair retention. Both hairs and skin are in a constant state of renewal.

For these reasons, the best beds will have washable covers, so that you can launder them to maintain a clean sleeping surface for your puppy or dog. 

Top Recommended Beds for Shih Tzu - Raised Bumpers

For Shih Tzu that like to feel extra safe and secure and for those that do best with a head support to allow the neck to stretch to open breathing passages, a quality bed with raised sides is best. You'll want one like these that offers washable covering, is made with quality fabrics like microfiber and is moisture resistant. In addition, a non-skid bottom is a plus. 

Best Orthopedic Beds for Shih Tzu

For joint, hip and back support, opt for an orthopedic, memory foam bed. These are the best types of beds for senior Shih Tzu and Tzu of all ages do well with this type of quality support. In addition, many Shih Tzu like the comfort and warmth that these provide. 

Specialty Beds for Shih Tzu

Looking for a good summertime resting surface that helps keep your Shih Tzu cool? Or maybe your Shih Tzu likes to be off the floor? Many do. Or perhaps you're looking for a bed that can be brought outside for when your dog spends time with you in the yard. In any of these cases, here are the top picks for specialty beds if a Shih Tzu is very particular about his sleeping area or you're looking for good alternatives to basic beds.  

The Best Bed Ramps for Shih Tzu

If your Shih Tzu sleeps in your bed, there is nothing inherently wrong with this as long as:
  • Your bed offers quality support.
  • You have decided that this will work for you essentially forever (it is exceedingly difficult to train a dog to sleep in his own bed once he has slept with you in yours).
  • He is safe from being rolled over onto or unintentionally pushed off (you are a calm sleeper).
  • He has another secure and comfortable area to rest if he needs to be confined to a gated off area when he is home alone.
And if all of this is applicable to you, you'll want your Shih Tzu to have an easy and safe method of getting up to your bed. This is where pet steps and bed ramps come into play. It's important that they are sturdy, sized for Shih Tzu and work best depending on your dog's needs (curved levels or ramps for those that need assistance in climbing up). Here are the best ones for this breed:
You may also like:
Shih Tzu Summer Care Tips - Covering all the summertime elements that can affect this breed. 
Shih Tzu Wintertime Tips - When the weather starts to get cold and the air turns dry, be sure that you have your Shih Tzu prepped for winter. 
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