Why Do Dogs Dig Before Lying Down?

Dogs dig around their bedding areas (and your flooring) for many reasons, whether out of boredom or for comfort.

If your dog is too hot or too cold, he may be digging around his bed to help regulate his body temperature. By: dsix

Dogs circle around their bedding areas and dig for many reasons, whether it be from boredom or for comfort.

Take my pit bull, Bunker, for example. He is the master of digging.

Bunker has a variety of holes — large, small, deep and shallow. His pen, where he sometimes sleeps, is in the same shape. When it rains, it looks as if he has several small ponds in there.

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In the wild, dogs gather leaves and sift through them until they make a comfortable bed. Wild dogs also dig “dens” for a safe place to sleep at night.

Body Temperature May Prompt a Dog to Dig

If a dog is hot or cold, he may dig to find a warmer/cooler place to lie down. He may dig in shaded areas or sunny spots, depending on which avenue of comfort he seeks.

Indoor dogs may dig through carpet in an attempt to cool down. If it’s hot inside, lower the thermostat or leave a fan blowing near where your dog naps.

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When cold temperatures arrive, dogs might dig to prepare a place to curl up, reduce the loss of body heat, and get comfortable. Adding more blankets or old clothing to the bed will provide better padding.

Digging Behavior May Cause Household Damage

That awesome dog bed you bought for your pets? They’ll sometimes scratch into it, too, purely out of natural instinct.

They’ll even try to dig around on hardwood floors. To prevent destruction to carpet, flooring and bedding, remember this easy solution: Keep your “little digger’s” nails trimmed.

Digging Behavior Has Physiological Roots

Here’s another take on why dogs dig where they sleep: Dogs have glands in the pads of their feet, according to Daily Puppy.com. These glands send out a unique odor, which is enhanced by scratching. Therefore, by scratching where they are about to sleep, they are marking that spot with their scent.

Finally, female dogs (even those who are not pregnant) may dig to provide a “nest” for their puppies. I can only look at that as motherly love.

Watch this pup try to make a hole in his human’s bed in this video:

So the next time I walk into my backyard, stepping over the holes, I’m not going to get annoyed. Instead, I’ll remember that dogs do this for comfort, security and because it comes naturally to them.

Gayle Hickman

View posts by Gayle Hickman
Gayle Hickman has been researching and writing about pet behaviors since 2011. In addition to Petful, her articles have appeared on Reader's Digest, Yahoo Shine and WebVet, to name a few.

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