Orthopedic vs. Memory Foam Dog Bed

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So, you want to get your dog a new and comfortable doggy bed, but you have no idea what you should purchase. There are a lot of terms that get thrown around, and many different materials used to make dog beds. This can make it very challenging to find the right one for your dog. If you have a puppy or a young dog, a normal and healthy dog, then in all reality, what kind of dog bed you purchase is not going to make a huge difference.

However, if you have an older dog that may have arthritis, hip dysplasia, or suffer from joint and normal old age pains, you want to get the right kind of dog bed. After all, you want to provide your ailing pooch with something soft, plush, and comfortable, but also with something that is going to provide proper support.

You have probably heard of both orthopedic and memory foam dog beds, but which one is better? Today we are doing an orthopedic vs. memory foam dog bed comparison to see which one is better. This is actually a bit more complicated than you might think, and no, this is not actually going to be a straightforward comparison. You will see what we mean momentarily.

Orthopedic Dog Beds

The first thing you need to know is what exactly an orthopedic dog bed is. An orthopedic bed of any kind, whether for pets or humans, is one that is designed to support the joints properly, as well as the bones and the body overall. These beds are all about providing support and comfort to help alleviate pain. This is a term often used for mattresses and beds intended to stimulate proper bone and joint alignment.

What is very important to be aware of here is that there is not one single material designated specifically as being orthopedic. Orthopedic means that the bed or mattress is designed to support the bones and joints, and to alleviate pain, but this does not define what materials are orthopedic. The point here is that as long as the material in question meets these needs, anything can be orthopedic.

So, this orthopedic vs. memory foam comparison does not really work all that well, because a memory foam dog bed can be orthopedic. In fact, most orthopedic dog beds are made out of memory foam. The fact that a dog bed is orthopedic is not defined by the material it is made of, and here of course we are talking about memory foam. A memory foam dog bed can be orthopedic, and often they are, as long as they are thick and help support a dog’s bones and joints.

Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Beds

You might be wondering why so many orthopedic dog beds are made of memory foam, and there is a very good answer for this, in fact several good answers. First off, what you want to avoid when looking for an orthopedic dog bed is anything that is filled, or in other words, full of chunky foam, fiber, or small particles of any kind. These are not ideal as they tend not to provide proper support. They don’t adjust quickly and therefore may end up putting more pressure on one area of your dog than another. This is where the memory foam comes into play. So, why is memory foam often used for orthopedic beds, for both dogs and humans?

They Contour and Support

Memory foam is very soft and plush and it quickly adjusts to the body weight of the dog laying on it. The fact that it moves and easily contours to fit the shape and contours of the dog’s body is a big deal when it comes to relieving joint paint and providing good support in the right areas. Some parts need to sink down into the foam more for proper support and weight distribution. With a good memory foam dog bed, there shouldn’t be more pressure put on one area than another, and all weight should be evenly distributed, something you don’t get with filled dog beds.

They Immediately Adjust to the Shape of the Dog

Another good thing about memory foam dog beds is that they have memory, which means that they quickly bounce back to their original shape. This is another big deal and an important part of the whole orthopedic thing. A dog bed for an older dog, or one in pain, needs to be able to bounce back to shape, so when a dog moves around, the area where it has moved off of can bounce back and provide proper support surrounding the dog, while the new area where it has moved to will squish down and help alleviate pain. A normal dog bed won’t move back to its original shape, and therefore does not provide the proper support.

Long-Lasting Support and Durability

Memory foam dog beds bounce back to their original shape quickly, and they immediately change shape and contour themselves to the needs of your dog, which is also beneficial in the long run. Normal dog beds will get squished down and eventually the filling will be permanently compacted, therefore not providing any support or cushioning at all. It’s kind of like how the springs in a mattress wear out and lose their bounce. The important point here is that memory foam dog beds are much more durable and will provide much longer lasting comfort than an average dog bed.


The fact of the matter is that you cannot really compare orthopedic and memory foam dog beds. One is a distinction of what the bed is intended to do and the other is nothing more than a material. Most orthopedic dog beds are made out of high-grade memory foam, and this is due to all the benefits which we discussed above.

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