Why do dogs dig in their beds?

Imagine this - your dog is just getting ready to call it a night after a day of racing around the house, knocking things off tables, and scampering down food. But just before it gets ready to settle, you notice it kneading its bed and digging in it - forming a depression in the blankets. Does that sound like something your pet does?

It could be a pup with an entire 20-minute routine that involves scratching the bed and moving it around until it is perfect, or an older dog just circling its bed until it settles in. You might have just caught yourself smiling at your pet’s nightly ritual from time to time and we agree, it might seem cute. In reality, this trait is something that goes a whole lot deeper (no pun intended).


Photo by Jodie Louise from Pexels

Every dog is different and if you do not have a digger, you might have a pup who circles their blankets a dozen times or pawing away at the fluffy dog pillows. Have you ever wondered though, what the reason is behind your dog’s constant digging and scratching?

1. To Keep Itself Warm

The number one reason you can conclude from watching your dog dig its bed is that it is looking to create a warm space for the night’s snooze. Given that your pup has a limited number of sweat glands, dogs usually dig into the Earth to expose their bodies to colder soil. On the other hand, when it gets colder, you will most likely find your pup curled up like a cute, furry pillow that allows it to concentrate all its body heat.

Try a waterproof dog bed to help keep your pup warm and comfortable all days of the year!

2. Your Pup is Bored

Dogs dig from time to time and this is okay. It becomes a problem, however, when your dog seems to be digging its bed on a regular basis, almost obsessively. One of the possible reasons for this is that it might be feeling anxious and stressed and are seeking ways in which it can channel its feelings.

Try channeling all of that excess energy with a range of fun games indoors designed especially for your pup!

3. To Comfort Themselves

This is similar to how we arrange our beds and fluff up our pillows during the night. Arranging the bedding in a manner that will most allow it to settle in for a night’s sleep is a big reason why dogs dig into their beds. Creating a space of rest for themselves is one instinct that has come from evolutionary cycles, resulting in your dog making a cozy little space for itself to sleep.

We mean, who doesn’t want a safe space to retire to after a long day of running around and playing?

4. Marking their Territories

Did you know that your dog has scent glands present at the bottom of its feet? This is not unlike other four-legged creatures including their feline counterparts. Therefore, scratching or digging a hole in the bed could be a sign that your dog is marking their territories with the pheromones secreted from their feet.

Marking their territories in bed signified that it is “theirs.” This will deter any other pets in the house from infiltrating your dog’s favorite place, and this might even include you!

5. Camouflaging Themselves

Back to that time in evolution where dogs were largely wild, digging up their surroundings was important to keep them safe from any predators while they took a nap. With domestication, however, the threats are virtually non-existent (if you don’t count an incoming toddler while you are napping), but the trait remains. This could be a reason why your dog is digging up spaces for itself in the blankets you have arranged for them.

If you want to add to the fun and help them remember they are safe with you, get a matching collar and bracelet set to celebrate your unique connection!

6. It’s a Workout!

If there is one thing you know about dogs, it is their absolute love for energy. Digging is a great exercise for your pet, allowing them to flex muscle groups that haven’t been used in some time. This can also work to satisfy the need your pet has to keep busy. Dogs require activity, so digging up their bed before sleeping could help release any pent-up energies.

Read on to discover how you can create workout spaces for them indoors, allowing them to work with their excess energies, keeping them engaged throughout the day!

7. To Hide Toys from You

Dogs can be sneaky collectors, and if they have something they want to come back to later, then they might choose to dig it up and hide it in the safest place they can think of - their bedding!

There might be 2 instances as to why your dog is hiding toys or treats in their burrows:

  • If there are multiple dogs in the household, dogs might make holes for themselves to help hide their belongings from their rivals.
  • If they think they have something which you might not let them have, your dog will most definitely try to hide it in the holes dug up in their bedspreads.

8. Your dog might be going into labor

If your dog has started digging in their bed specifically, it could be because they are preparing a nest in which they can give birth and spend a couple of weeks there. She might choose to dig around in her bedding, creating a safe space for her to keep her babies warm and comfortable.

Given that a mother’s instinct is to create a warm and comfortable space for their offspring, your dog’s nesting behavior becomes evident towards the end of her pregnancy.

You can try to create a safe space for her by setting aside a comfortably-sized box filled with the right materials that can help keep her newborns safe and taken care of during their first few moments.

What To Do When Your Dog is Digging its Bed

Understand first that your dog’s digging behavior is its instinct. This will help you significantly redirect its behavior. If you have a large yard, you could consider setting up a dirt box filled with treats and toys that they can spend a significant amount of their time digging up. If you go on walks with your pet, find places where they can dig to their little heart’s content. There are several dog parks available where a specific digging zone is demarcated for your pet, allowing them to express their instincts to their heart’s desire.

You can even go the extra step by arranging magazine pages and newspapers in a cardboard box which they can use to scratch away. Adding some treats to the box and shaking it up before passing it over can create the much-needed redirection of your dog’s energies.



Improve your dog's quality of life with these simple tricks which you can implement immediately.