Puppy beds can either be for temporary use, or more or less a permanent fixture. It depends somewhat on when you get the puppy, to some extend the breed, or at least the size of the dog, and to some degree what you had in mind to begin with. Obviously the first consideration needs to be something the puppy will willingly accept. After that, warmth, comfort, and even a sense of security, become part of the picture.
Some dogs don't mind laying on a hard surface, as long as it's not too cold. Others prefer a blanket or rag, or at least carpeting. Most dogs however seem to like to have their very own bed, a place that is theirs and theirs alone. Puppies in particular seem to like something they can snuggle in, and therefore feel warm and safe. A basket is often the most popular choice, although there are other options as far as puppy beds are concerned.
First of all, investing in a basket, or any kind of expensive bed, probably is not a good idea until the puppy has been housebroken. Using a crate is definitely not a good idea. Once a puppy reaches its 7th week, about the time it will be weaned, it has taught itself to urinate and defecate in a place a little ways away from where it eats or sleeps. If you start using a crate as a puppy bed, the puppy will often have no choice but to urinate inside the crate, at least until it has learned to hold it. With a crate as a bed, you will for some time be having to replace wet cloth or paper with something dry.
Many will keep there puppy in a very large cardboard box for a time, something too high for the puppy to crawl out of. This is generally a good idea, until the puppy eventually learns that chewing on the box is not only fun, but a possible means to escape. You can place a cloth or blanket at one side of the box, and some newspaper or a puppy pad at the opposite side. In the meantime, you should be teaching the puppy to go on the newspaper, but generally it will tend to do this rather than soil its own bedding. A blanket inside a small pen will also work of course.
At some point you're ready to choose a permanent bed for the puppy. Here is where size and breed enter the picture. Most small dogs really like having a basket, with a nice dog pillow to sleep on. Puppies and smaller breed dogs tend to like to snuggle up against the side of a basket, which is not only comfortable but gives them a sense of security. Larger breeds can take to a basket as well, but of course it needs to be a large basket. Large dogs tend to like to stretch out when they sleep. If you purchase a medium sized basket for your Lab or German Shepherd puppy, you'll probably find yourself shopping for something much larger in a few months time. A nice pad or dog pillow, a couple of inches thick, and with 6 feet or so of surface area, will often be an ideal bed for a larger dog, and may also do the job when the dog is still a fairly small puppy.
In selecting a pillow or pad for the puppy bed, a fleece or suede material would work best for a short-haired breed, while cotton or canvas would probably be more appropriate for a long-haired breed. Something that has a removable, machine-washable cover is definitely a plus.
Where should puppy beds be placed? If the puppy can get out (and has been house trained), a kitchen or bathroom would seem to be ideal locations, as both usually are warm during the night, and both usually have washable floors, which is nice in the event of an accident. There are plenty of dog beds and puppy beds on the market. Taking into account the age of the puppy (better yet, the stage of its development) and the size it is expected to grow to, will give you a pretty good idea of what to look for.
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