PetAge_Cover_Oct14

Sleeping In Style

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When it comes to finding the correct dog bed, consumers want something that works well for their dog’s needs, looks good in their home and maintains the right mix of style and durability.

Kiiah Kimball, the head buyer for the California-based Muttropolis, said retail trends include home decor prints, bolster and “lounge” style beds, and eco-friendly fabrics, like organic cotton or bamboo and fills like those made from recycled plastic bottles.

One of the consumer trends in dog beds is the use of technology to make the bed cleaner, safer and longer lasting.

Utilizing advances in nanotechnology, the Dog Gone Smart bed uses Repelz It Nanoprotection to create healthier pet products that stay clean naturally. According to the company, the fabric stays cleaner longer than traditional fabrics and resists wear and tear better than standard bed covers. In addition, the nanotech finish is pet-safe and environmentally-friendly.

The beds are available in rectangular, round, donut and lounger styles, in addition to cat options. These technological advances appeal to consumers who are looking for a durable product with antibacterial properties.

Likewise, another feature consumers desire is durability.

Unique materials and innovative assembly techniques are resulting in beds that can withstand even the toughest chewers. This appeals to consumers because a more durable bed will last longer, delivering a greater return on their investment.

One example is the chew-proof products from K-9 Ballistics. Made from military-grade nylon, the machine washable beds have a zipperless design. The material resists stains, hair and food particles, and repels water and sunlight, making it work indoors or out.

For owners who take their dogs camping or hiking, Ruff Wear offers durable, flexible options. The Mt. Bachelor Pad option rolls up and can serve as a car seat cover as well as a dog bed. Designed for camping, the Flophouse Foam Pad provides a strong mix of functions. It is a portable, comfortable pad made from foam layers with varying levels of density offering support while still maintaining a thin profile that won’t pack down or flatten over time.

According to the company, “it’s also completely washable and quick drying. Just hose it off, hang it up, and the integrated drain holes allow water to drain and the bed to dry out quickly.”

Solving Health Problems

Dog beds are also available in materials that meet a dog’s health needs.

For example, orthopedic beds are a big trend among consumers looking to make their older pets more comfortable. Pet Dreams manufactures dog beds with memory foam to provide an orthopedic solution.

“Not just a layer of memory foam, Ortho-BLISS is 100 percent memory foam clusters to provide the very best orthopedic support and comfort,” according to the company’s website.

Consumers looking for this type of dog bed are willing to spend a little bit more per piece if they feel their dog will benefit from the orthopedic solution, experts say. Similarly, beds with built-in heating functions appeal to owners of older dogs who are willing to spend more on a bed to provide their dog with comfort and assistance.

Eco-friendly dog beds are also becoming more popular, Kimball said. Fabrics made from sustainable materials, like bamboo, and fills that are made from recycled materials are gaining market share.

Bowsers’ Eco Buttercup bed is one example. Made from heavy-weight Berber fabric, the bed becomes a nest for pets when the owner pulls the strings that encircle the top to make the bed small and cozy. The opening can be adjusted by loosening or tightening the pull-string. According to the manufacturer, each bed diverts up to 20 soda bottles from landfills.

However, in addition to functionality, consumers are also looking at the image factor.

“Our customers are looking for a bed that merges style and function; something that’s high quality and looks great in their home,” Kimball said. “Much like any other piece of furniture it has to look great while at the same time meeting the demands of daily use, which is important when it comes to something used by our four-legged family members. Contemporary and modern designs have been doing particularly well this season.”

For those dog owners who crate their pet, Den Haus offers bed and crate combinations that are designed to look like a typical piece of furniture. The crates, available in wooden, fiberglass and metal designs, mimic the appearance of a designed side table, yet they open up to reveal a cleverly hidden den-like space.

When it comes to beds, dog owners  are looking for more than just a pillow to toss in the corner for their companions. Purchasing trends center on functional features like durability and antimicrobial properties, and style features like fabric choice.

Consumers look for innovations in materials, like orthopedic memory foam options and eco-friendly fabrics and fills. Overall, experts say, owners want to feel like they are spoiling their dogs, and consumer purchasing trends reflect that a comfy, stylish dog bed is one way to do that.

Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who covers pets, the pet industry and lifestyle topics. She lives in Indiana.

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