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A groundbreaking study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found clinically significant improvements in joint pain, joint function, gait, sleep quality, and overall quality of life among large breed dogs could be achieved simply by switching to the right bed.
One of the most common diseases among larger dogs of 80-pounds or more is degenerative joint disease, otherwise known as osteoarthritis. At least 80% will develop osteoarthritis as larger dogs are more prone to the painful disease. In fact, many veterinarians have stated that every dog will develop some type of arthritis if they live long enough.
While dogs do a good job of hiding symptoms in the earliest stages, as they age, large dogs most often begin showing difficulty standing, no longer jumping up on furniture, wanting to go on shorter walks, avoiding stairs, and restlessness. And, though they may not yelp or cry, these are all symptoms of pain.
Anyone with a large breed dog knows that big dogs come with big challenges: finding the right food, maintaining a healthy weight, providing enough of the right kinds of exercise, and finding basic supplies that aren’t dwarfed by their larger frames. Still, despite catering to our big dogs’ every need and doing the very best we can as pet parents, joint disease and arthritis continue to be the most common ailment they face.
Now, researchers at UPenn have identified an innovative avenue for the treatment of osteoarthritis—the right dog bed. Specifically, the Big Barker.
Results from UPenn’s single-arm study of Big Barker dog beds show significant improvements in pain, mobility, and restfulness for large dogs with arthritis. The study observed 40 large dogs, each with a confirmed diagnosis, over 38 nights; owners reported life-changing benefits.
“It’s an innovative idea, that we could tackle this with a quality mattress,” said Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM. “This study validates that a Big Barker bed is a useful tool in a multi-modal approach to OA treatment. It should be a basic standard of care for large breed dogs.”
During the study, each dog slept on a therapeutic, 7-inch mattress made with a proprietary 3-layered OrthoMedicTM blend of high-density foam. The study data showed clinically significant improvements in Pain Severity, Pain Interference, Joint Function, Joint Stiffness, Gait, and Quality of Life.
Activity monitors on the dogs’ collars tracked night-time movement to assess rest quality. More than half the dogs showed significant improvement, at least 13% decrease in activity. 25% experienced a 33% decrease.
Big Barker’s technology is designed for lifetime support, eliminating uncomfortable pressure points and buffering ground-limb impact. The data shows that participating dogs had an easier time with basic daily activity — walking, running, jumping, climbing — after just 38 nights.
“Our dogs can’t tell us what’s wrong,” says Shannon, a large dog owner himself. “It’s up to us to do our best to keep them as healthy as possible.”
Learn more about the study and Big Barker at BigBarker.com.