Why Do Dogs Dig In Their Beds?

Last updated on: Jan 21, 2024

By: Stephanie Dunne

White Puppy Digging In Bed

Have you you ever watched your furry friend enthusiastically dig into their bed before going to sleep? This hilarious, but sometimes puzzling behavior is quite common among dogs.

But why do dogs dig in their beds? Is it something to worry about? In this article, we'll explore the reasons behind this habit and offer some tips for dealing with it.

Why Do Dogs Dig in Their Beds?

Their Wild Roots

Dogs dig in their beds because of an instinct inherited from their wild ancestors, to recreate a den-like environment.

Wild dogs used digging to create safe, comfortable shelter. This instinctive behavior still exists in our domesticated friends.

Seeking Comfort and Security

Dogs dig to make their bed more comfortable, just like we fluff our pillows. They move their bedding around to stack blankets or make a small pit to feel cozy and secure.

Territorial Behavior

Dogs also dig to mark their territory, and this can extend to their bedding. By digging and moving around their bed, they leave their scent, which serves as a marker that it's their spot.

Adjusting Temperature

If it's hot inside, dogs may simply dig to find a cooler layer underneath.

Hiding Food or Toys

Some dogs might use their bed as a hiding spot for their favorite toys or even snacks. Digging allows them to secure these items for later use.

Breed-Related Habits

Certain breeds are more prone to digging than others.

Terriers and Beagles were bred to dig while hunting, and this behavior can often manifest at home.

Breeds with heavy coats, like Huskies and Malamutes, were bred for harsh climates. They love to dig in their beds as a way to create a temperature-regulated sleeping area. This behavior mimics their instinct to burrow into snow or soil to protect themselves from extreme weather. It provides insulation and a sense of security.

Relieving Boredom, Stress, or Anxiety

Digging can also be a way for dogs to release excess energy or cope with stress and anxiety. This is especially common in high-energy breeds when they don't get enough exercise and mental stimulation.

Health Issues

Digging can sometimes a sign of health problems. For example, dogs with joint pain or discomfort may dig to find a more comfortable position. If you see signs of discomfort in your dog, consult your veterinarian.

Why Do Puppies Dig in Their Beds?

Puppies dig in their beds for many of the same reasons as adult dogs, plus a few more.

Exploration and Learning

Puppies are naturally curious and use their mouths and paws to explore the world around them. Digging in their beds is often an extension of this exploration, helping them learn about their environment and the objects within it.

Teething Comfort

Puppies go through a teething phase where they experience discomfort in their gums. Digging and biting at their beds can provide some relief from this discomfort.

Separation Anxiety

Puppies may dig in their beds to comfort themselves when they are anxious, especially after leaving their mother.

Covering Up Accidents

In the early stages of potty training, puppies might have accidents in their bed, and some will dig in an attempt to cover up these incidents.

Is It Normal for Dogs to Dig in Bed?

You may wonder whether it's normal for your furry friend to dig in their bed. The answer is yes, but with some caveats.

Occasional or light digging is considered normal for dogs.

However, if your dog digs a lot, it can be a sign of underlying issues.

Excessive digging can indicate boredom, anxiety, or other behavioral problems.

It's important to observe your dog's behavior and understand the context of the digging. If it seems excessive or is accompanied by other signs of distress, it might be time to consult a vet or a dog behaviorist.

How to Stop Dogs from Digging in Their Beds

Here are some ways to manage your dog's digging:

Provide an Alternative

Create a special place in your yard for your dog to dig, such as a sand or dirt area. Encourage your dog to dig in this area, and not in the bed.

Offer a More Comfortable Bed and Adjust Temperature

Sometimes, digging is simply a matter of comfort. Investing in a more comfortable bed that suits your dog’s preferences, can reduce the need for them to dig.

Ensure Adequate Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Many dogs dig out of boredom or excess energy. Regular exercise and mental stimulation can reduce undesirable behaviors, including excessive digging. Activities like walks, playtime, and puzzle toys can keep your dog mentally and physically engaged.

Address Underlying Anxiety or Stress

If the digging is related to anxiety or stress, it’s important to address these underlying issues. This could involve creating a more calming environment, training, or in some cases, seeking the help of a professional behaviorist.

Consult a Vet

If you're concerned about your dog's digging behavior, especially if it's sudden or excessive, consult a vet. They can rule out any medical issues and provide further guidance.

Final thoughts

We hope this post has explained on why your companion might be digging in their bed.

Dogs have a lot of strange sleep-related behaviors, like digging. You might also be interested in why your puppy shakes in his sleep - check it out!

And if you just got a new dog, it's time to teach your puppy their name!

Enjoy your time with your four-legged friend!

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