How to Make the Perfect Dog Bed Mattress - By Berkeley Dog Beds

We asked Martin Starbuck of Berkeley Dog Beds to explain his motivation behind creating the ultimate dog bed.

We have owned working Labradors for over 30 years and during that time we must have bought and tried virtually every dog bed available with nothing really coming anywhere close to what we (or our dogs) really wanted from a really great dog bed.

Yes, we want our beds to look great but the key issues for us are comfort, practicality and longevity. There is absolutely no reason in our opinion why a properly constructed dog bed shouldn't last for your dog's lifetime.

In the course of our research it became apparent that although mattress technology for humans had progressed significantly most dog bed design was still stuck in the dark ages. The average dog bed is made of cheap imported polyester fibre or foam covered in an outer fabric more suitable for dress  or curtain making than dog beds – Yes, they may look good for a while but the core components are simply just not fit for purpose.


The challenge for us was to incorporate modern mattress technology but tailor make it so that it would stand up to the practical testing carried out by our own dogs.  This meant incorporating key new features such as an easily removable washable waterproof cover and choosing heavy duty scratch resistant upholstery grade fabrics.

We also aimed for a substantial, well insulated, breathablebed construction that would retain it's shape and provide all-important even weight distribution, cushioning and joint support properties that would merit the term 'Orthopaedic'.

What kind of input did you receive from pet owners?

It is becoming apparent to many dog owners that  investment in a quality dog bed is equally as important as good diet and exercise in prolonging a healthy, active life for their pet coupled with the added benefits of potentially reducing veterinary care costs and insurance premiums.

To owners of the larger, heavier breeds, those prone to musculo-skeletal disorders and all senior dogs this is especially important. Older dogs are typically less active, sleep longer and can suffer from painful, debilitating complaints such as arthritis and at this stage in their lives a quality bed starts to become more of a necesity than a luxury.

So what exactly is in a Berkeley Waterproof Orthopaedic Dog Bed Mattress and why is it so special?

To start with, no other dog bed on the market has our unique 13 layer construction.

We start with a mat of individual pocket springs each operating independently and covering the full surface area of the mattress.  These provide a dynamic response to the natural body movement of your dog and react intelligently to individual body contours to cushion vulnerable exposed joints such as hips and elbows.

Air circulates freely around this central core of springs and is forced through and around the layers of insulation when your dog sits on it thus helping to keep the bed dry, fresh and cool.

Springs don’t break down like other materials. After 50,000 rollator cycles, visco loses 16.3% of its firmness, latex 19.4%, and poly foam an incredible 43.7%. Compare that to pocket springs, which break down just 5.4%.


We then start building up the layers of natural fillings to complement the pocket springs and achieve just the right mix of comfort, support, durability and shape retention as well as helping your dog regulate his body temperature during sleep.

These layers need to be thick and dense to provide adequate insulation from cold floors and ensure that your dog's body is positioned to keep his back straight and elevated to avoid drafts at ground level.

We use natural fillings wherever possible – predominantly felt which is made with a high percentage of wool plus some cotton and a small percentage of polyester to provide extra 'bounce'. Wool is a soft springy fibre that retains warmth in winter and stays cool in summer. It has great moisture wicking properties to keep the core of the mattress dry and  it has the added benefit in that dust mites do not like it – perfect for allergy sufferers. Wool is also naturally fire retardant which means that we don't have to use any potentially harmful chemicals during the manufacturing process – unlike the vast majority of foam-  based dog beds.

Once the two thick felt layers are in place on either side of the pocket springs we then wrap the whole mattress in pure lambswool and seal everything inside a tough heavy duty cotton drill cover which is buttoned or 'tufted' to keep everything in position. If your dog is an avid scratcher this process helps avoid clumping and lumpiness.

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How durable are they and can they be kept clean?

Up to this stage, our mattress has been constructed very much like a high quality luxury orthopaedic bed fit for humans. However, dogs love getting wet and muddy and they love to scratch and chew and generally give their bed a hard time. To protect everything therefore we wrap the mattress in a tough removable waterproof cover that is sealed in place with heavy duty Velcro. This provides an impermeable barrier to help protect the mattress from damp, dirt, mould, mildew, fleas, fleas and ticks.  This cover can be spot cleaned with a damp cloth or hosed down or put in the washing machine to keep it clean. Whilst we don't say that it is chew-proof, our experience is that the vast majority of dogs find the waterproof cover quite a challenge and not very appetising! (We sell replacements just in case!)

What about the fashion conscious owner or pooch?

If you really want to spoil your pooch we make a range of fabric covers which slip over the waterproof cover to provide a little more warmth and a cosy soft feel. These range from very cost effective polar fleece covers to luxury fabrics in velvet and tartan tweed finishes to match your home décor. All our fabrics are machine washable heavy duty uphostery grade materials with a very high rub factor to keep them looking stylish wash after wash.


The final product is a dog bed mattress that is at least three times heavier than most competitor beds – our XL Size bed weighs over 13 kg! This means that it doesn't move around the room and it provides the best levels of insulation from cold flooring of any bed on the market. At over 6” thick it also means that if your dog has difficulty getting on to or up from his bed the extra height really helps.

So that's it! A beautifully-made innovative British dog bed that is ultra- comfortable, built to last and 100% fit for purpose. Yes, it is more expensive than many other dog beds but it works and it's going to last a long, long time...

...Happy dog, happy owner, happy Bank Manager!




T: 01264 861143