Dr. Rachel Mar's Big Barker Bed Review

As you know, I am very passionate about preventative pet care. Part of this journey for me has been discovering healthy ways to prevent dogs from developing disease and treating them in a holistic way. 

Arthritis is a severely debilitating and unfortunately all-too-common disease that affects approximately one in five dogs, according to the Arthritis Foundation. One product that I have discovered to assist large and giant breed parents in their journey is the Big Barker dog bed

Big Barker Bed

One of the main reasons that I support Big Barker is that their products are backed by science. The clinical study that was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania has fascinating data to show that the Big Barker bed reduced joint pain and stiffness, improved joint function and gait, and led to improved nighttime restfulness in large dogs with arthritis.

In the clinical study the results showed that dogs:

  1. Had a 17.6% increase in joint function
  2. Had a 21.3% reduction in pain severity
  3. Had a 12.5% reduction in joint stiffness
  4. Had a 9.6% improvement in gait
  5. Had a 15.1% increase in overall quality of life

After getting the size Large Big Barker Sleek bed myself and becoming immediately intrigued by its 7″ of thick and firm but comforting foam, I decided to do a quick comparison with another bed which labeled itself as ‘orthopedic’, that I found on Amazon. I ordered this bed which has over 26,000 five star, raving reviews, and here are the biggest differences I notice between it and the Big Barker bed:


Both of the dog beds that I got were size large, but there was a noticeable size difference between them in the length alone. The size large Big Barker bed is 48″ x 30″ x 7″, whereas the Amazon purchase was 36” x 27” x 3” inches. In length alone that is a 12 inch difference, which is extremely significant for our large and giant breed dogs who need to stretch out their joints and long limbs. 


As you can see, comparing the Big Barker to the Amazon bed in width is quite humorous.  The Big Barker bed is 7″ thick, whereas the Amazon bed advertises to be 3″ thick. The 7″ of the Big Barker foam also comes in 3 separate layers, making it sturdy and thick, whereas the other bed I was able to feel my ankles on the ground when I sat criss-crossed on it.

Big Barker Bed Sizes

Even though you & your pup may love snuggling up together, they need their own bed at night. There are health concerns that can arise with co-sleeping with your dog such as allergiesquality of sleep, or separation anxiety. Dogs need a supportive sleeping spot that isn’t on the floor nor in a human’s bed in order to provide the best joint health and overall wellbeing. Not only should the bed be firm and supportive, but it should also be large enough for their body to stretch out. 

As you can see, the Big Barker beds start out at 48″ x 30″ with the size large and go up to 60″ x 48″ with the size giant.

The overall size of your dog’s bed matters so that large dogs can stretch their legs out fully, not being crammed which can lead to spasmscrampslimping, or overall joint stiffness

As you can see, there is a significant size difference in the two large size beds. The Big Barker size large bed definitely provides larger dogs the opportunity to sprawl out their joints:

Joint Protection:

With large and giant breed dogs it is crucial to examine a bed in the eyes of which is going to better support their joints. When laying on the Big Barker bed, it can support the weight of up to 300 pounds. Big Barker also has a ‘no flat’ guarantee, ensuring their customers that no matter what, their beds will not flatten or sink. However the Amazon bed is made of a cheaper egg-crate foam – aka I can squeeze it flat with one hand alone.  The result of your large dog’s sleeping on hard surfaces can be pressure soreshygromas, and increased chances of arthritis

As you can see in the photos of my own dog laying on each bed, the Amazon bed provides no support and leaves elbows sinking straight to the ground. Having elbows sinking all the way to the ground can be harmful and create injuries like hygromas or sores. It is important to keep our dogs’ joints protected and off of the ground, which is what the Big Barker bed is doing in the first image. 

Waterproof Liner/Ease of Cleanliness:

Our dogs can carry disease-causing organisms including bacterial, viral, parasitic and fungal species, according to the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH). Although we may not think of our pet as carrying bacteria, it is definitely safest for both our dogs and ourselves to frequently wash your dog’s bed.  The good news about the Big Barker is that it is very easy to keep clean because it has a machine washable cover. The cover has a zipper surrounding the entire bed which makes it easy to remove. Additionally, the waterproof liner will keep your bed completely safe from spills, weather damage, and accidents, which is definitely a plus for incontinent dogs, extra drooly breeds, or messy puppies. 

I was certainly skeptical when I first read about Big Barker’s waterproof cover but when I tested it myself with an entire glass of water, it withstood the challenge! In fact, the water dropped off the bed as if the bed cover was a plastic liner. I was truly amazed!

Made in USA:

The Big Barker bed is made and Certified by CertiPUR-US in a small workshop in Pennsylvania. Many people are unaware that some dog beds are made in China or surrounding countries, putting their dogs at risks for toxins or harmful ingredients. One thing that I value about the Big Barker beds is that they are hand-made in the US and meet a standard of high quality materials and safety used for all dogs.

Various Designs/Colors and Easy to Style in Your Home:

Overall, it is important to myself and many other pet parents that their dog’s bed fits into the aesthetic of their home. For me, being able to have the choice of four colors (khaki, burgundy, chocolate, and charcoal grey) is an awesome plus. This selection allows pet parents to find the color that works best in the style of their own home decor. 

Overall Recommendation: 

As a veterinarian who values the health of my patients, and after testing out both the Big Barker and a highly rated/reviewed bed labeled as orthopedic on Amazon, I strongly recommend the Big Barker bed for the best joint support and overall large and giant breed health. I can rest assured that my dog will sleep better, have increased mobility, more energy, more movement in their joints, and prevent disease like arthritis and hip dysplasia. And as you can see in the picture below, Big Barker keeps my own pup, Rex, happy and comfortable as he enters senior citizenship – a bed which is 100% Derp approved!

Invest in your dog’s health and purchase a Big Barker bed here.