Plus, you need extras such as a foundation, frame, or accessories.
While you only spend 1/3 of your day-to-day life in your bed, your dog will sleep 50-75% of their life.
Of course, your dog’s bed snooze mileage may vary, but it’s a significant portion of their life.
Isn’t it only natural to view the bed we get for our dogs as an investment then?
I’m telling you this because it will put the hefty price of the Big Barker into perspective.
After testing it for a couple of years, I feel confident to offer a hands-on review.
I could sit here and tell you about all the great reviews, that the bed is vet-approved, that there was a study3 done on these beds, and I could slobber all over the fact that there’s a 10-year warranty.
But nowadays, consumers should be used to taking everything with a grain of salt.
Yep, there are over 10,000 reviews on their own site that have a “verified” badge. But nobody is relying on reviews anymore, even though unbiased third-party verification tools would help with credibility.
At the moment of writing, only 28 reviews are 3 stars or less, most of them are pretty recent.
Seems too good to be true? Maybe. But maybe big dog owners just love this bed.
The truth of the matter is that I can’t personally vouch for these reviews, don’t know if the vets have any skin in the game, if the study will hold up, or if Big Barker honors the 10-year warranty (though I believe they will).
But I sure can tell you about actually living with this bed for over 2 years and the daily abuse it endures with my 100-pound Rottweiler.
That includes dozens of washing cycles.
I’ll just tell you what I like about it and what I didn’t like.
Here are the main points I’ll discuss.
- Why Made In USA matters
- Toxicity of many foam mattresses
- Cleaning (high heat, stains, smell)
- Price & Size
Made in the USA
Big Barker dog beds are exclusively made in the USA with no plans to ever change that, a fact of which the company is understandably quite proud.
Made in the USA includes the foam, the zippers that surround 75% of the bed, and even the water-based latex glue is American Made.
Personally, local production is crucial for me.
For starters, it’s better for the environment to not ship stuff across the globe.
Secondly, it’s likely to be safer since lots of stuff that’s used in China would not be approved in the US or Europe.
The CertiPUR4 certification positions it as a superior option in my opinion. Very few dog beds have this as far as I know. I’ve linked the technical guidelines below.
Lastly, I personally just love to support businesses that opt out of producing in Asia.
If you want your Big Barker shipped internationally, watch out for taxes. A third party supposedly calculates all that for you at the checkout.
The Big Barker dog bed cover can be cold-washed and dries quickly, but to avoid stains on the foam, I’d suggest using a waterproof liner. The foam has not absorbed any smell or changed its color significantly.
While it’s recommended to wash on cold, I’m washing it with hot water at 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) now and then.
Why? Because when my female Rottweiler is in heat, some blood drops are bound to land on the bed at night.
So while it’s not recommended, I wash it with hot water and it works for me.
The waterproof liner, on the other hand, is only ever washed with cold water to avoid losing its waterproofness.
Good news: My waterproof liner has not suffered any significant staining. Even the blood stains could be removed in one cold washing cycle which was quite surprising to me.
This brings me to the waterproof liner.
The waterproof liner is quite pricey at an additional $70-$100 but it’s worth it, especially for big drooling dogs.
Some recommend the waterproof liner solely for incontinent dogs or puppies.
However, I’ve seen foam that has not stayed as fresh as mine and I’d like to think part of that is due to the fact that I protected the foam.
In fact, the Big Dog Mom’s review shows that her 6+ year-old foam suffered a bit of yellow staining but that may just come down to how you use it. She noted that it still doesn’t stink.
I’m happy to say that our foam is not smelly at all either and suffered no permanent stains.
Also, a big plus for me is the fact that it does not stick to dog hair.
Opinions on this differ a bit.
Some owners note that dog hair clings to the bed but I honestly have not noticed that to the same degree as in other microfiber beds.
If you do notice hair, it’s easier to brush off.
The quality of Big Barker beds is superior to most popular dog beds which is to be expected, considering the price point. The cover has no degradation after dozens of wash cycles and the foam hasn’t flattened in the last few years.
I did manage to rip off a very small chunk of my bed, which is largely my own fault.
The bed looks sturdy but I wouldn’t recommend ripping off the cover when washing or grabbing the bed by the headrest, that’s how it happened.
Also, I’ve noticed a couple of fraying threads on the inside which don’t influence functionality though.
This bed is definitely not chew-proof but it’s not advertised to be.
It’s tear-resistant meaning that scratching probably won’t harm the fabric, but full-blown chewers might need a truly chew-proof dog bed.
My Rottweiler occasionally digs a bit at her bed and jumps on it or starts running, but she absolutely never chews it so I can’t attest to how much chewing it can resist.
Price, Size, Colors
The Big Barker dog bed is on the more expensive side but may be worth it for you, considering how long it should last and the benefits in potentially saved vet bills.
There are 3 editions: Sleek, Headrest, and Sofa.
All three of these come in L, XL, and Giant.
If you’re unsure about the size, they have a size guide and lots of examples.
Surprisingly, the website’s prices are $40 lower for all Headrest and Sofa editions than they were in March 2023. Keeping an eye out for discounts might be worth it.
Expect to pay an additional $70-$100 for the waterproof liner, $40-$60 for the cooling function, and $30 if you want your furry friend’s name on the bed.
My Big Barker would cost around $400 right now.
I’m absolutely intrigued by the KulKlote cooling function for hot summers, may have to get that for my next Big Barker!
Another fact I love is that you can get the cover separately so you don’t have to replace the whole bed should something happen to the cover.
However, that replacement is quite pricey in my opinion.
Colors you ask?
The Big Barker comes in Charcoal Gray, Khaki, Chocolate, Burgundy, Rose, and Purple.
Update (07/2023): I originally mentioned that I was a bit disappointed that the “Royal Purple” was only a limited-time offer as I found the color pretty cool.
Happy to say they’ve included that color option recently.
Now I feel like there’s a solid color choice for everybody.
I picked gray, just wanted an option that was as unobtrusive in my home as possible.
Do I Recommend The Big Barker?
All in all, I can definitely recommend the Big Barker dog bed if it doesn’t break the bank for you. The certifications and the fact that it’s made in the USA are major selling points for me.
I might prefer a natural undyed cotton fabric and swapping foam (even if it’s US-made) for natural rubber as it’s used for regular mattresses but that’s my personal preference.
That ties into overall sustainability as I’d love to see recycled material in the covers/liners or perhaps a take-back guarantee so the foam can be recycled in-house. Another idea would be running the manufacturing process on green energy.
However, longevity is one of the key points when it comes to sustainability and the Big Barker bed ticks this box.
If you don’t replace it due to changing trends or your dog chews it apart, I’m pretty sure it will hold up longer than most other beds out there.