Why Do Dogs Dig in Bed?

The information in this article was reviewed and approved by registered veterinary nurse, Beth Walker

Animed Veterinary Nurse, Beth Walker

Most pet owners will have noticed their dog digging in their bed at some point. This instinctive behaviour is very common among dogs, usually before they lay down for a nice nap. But have you ever wondered why they do it?

There are a number of reasons why dogs dig in their beds (or yours!) as well as sofas, or the carpet. It’s a behaviour passed down from their ancestors, and can signify a few different things. Read on to discover the reasons why dogs dig their beds!

To Create Shelter

In the wild, our dog’s ancestors would have dug shallow holes in the ground to sleep in. These holes would help to keep them warm, comfortable and sheltered against the environment. They might also dig up rocks or other debris to make their earthy bed more comfortable.

Now, when your pup scratches their bed, it’s this same instinct kicking in. Despite being surrounded by cosy blankets and safely out of the wild, our furry friends are digging up their bedding to get comfy and feel safe for the night – just like their ancestors did.

To Cool Down

Particularly on hot days, dogs may dig in their bed as a way of cooling themselves down. Outside, deeper earth will be cooler than that on the surface because it’s away from the sun. In their beds, passing air over the folds of their bedding may help them feel cooler.

If your pup digs in their bed a lot when it’s hot, they could be struggling with the warmer weather. A cooling mattress is a great way to make them more comfortable.

To Hide Possessions

In the wild, our dogs’ ancestors would dig holes to hide food and resources. Your pet may well still display this behaviour by burying things in the garden. But dogs might also do this in their bedding, particularly if your pet lives with another dog. They may hide toys or treats under the blankets to protect them. This way, they always know where they are when they want to return to them.

To Mark Their Territory

Dogs have scent glands in their paws. When they dig or scratch their bed, distinctive pheromones are released. It’s their way of letting everyone know who this bed belongs to!

Out of Boredom

Sometimes, dogs dig in their bed to entertain themselves. If your pet isn’t getting enough exercise or mental stimulation, they might dig to release pent up energy and reduce boredom.

Out of Anxiety

Anxious dogs may also dig in their bed as a form of self-soothing. It can be a way of focussing their energy on a task to distract themselves from negative feelings they are experiencing.

While digging in bed is a natural behaviour that many dogs display, it can become destructive. This is particularly the case for anxious digging. If you suspect your dog might be displaying this behaviour because they are anxious, or your dog’s digging is starting to become damaging, speak to your vet.

Wrapping Up

Now you know why your pooch loves to dig in their bed! Just like their ancestors did, our pups scratch at their bedding to mark their territory, hide things, and – perhaps most importantly in the present day – get comfy! Help your pooch snuggle down for a good kip with our range of luxury dog beds from Danish Design.

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