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Why Do Dogs Dig In Their Bed, Crate, and Blanket?

A dog in bed; why do dogs dig in bed?
(Photo Credit: Ekaterina savyolova | Getty Images)

Have you ever wondered why your dog likes to dig in their bed before settling down for a nap? This peculiar behavior has puzzled pet owners for generations. While it may seem like a simple act of comfort or nesting, there’s often more to it than meets the eye. Some fascinating canine facts uncover the reasons why dogs dig in their bed, crate, or blanket.

Why do dogs dig before lying down and sleeping?

In order to understand dogs’ bedtime digging behavior, we need to journey into their evolutionary past. Once wild animals, dogs developed survival strategies that persist in their modern behavior. Digging, a behavior that was necessary for their ancestors to survive, remains ingrained in their instincts despite domestication.

In the wild, shelter construction was of utmost importance. For dogs residing in regions with harsh weather conditions, digging served as a means of seeking refuge from a cold or wet environment. Additionally, by excavating shallow holes in the ground, they could retain warmth or fashion cozy nests using leaves and dirt, making even hard surfaces more comfortable.

Hence, even though domesticated dogs no longer roam the wild for survival, their innate instincts to dig occasionally resurface when preparing to rest.

However, the inherent drive to construct a shelter is not the sole motivator behind dogs digging in their beds. Territory marking is another reason behind the behavior. Like cats and many other animals, dogs possess scent glands on their paw pads, secreting a unique pheromone. So, scratching at their bed can also be a means for dogs to signal ownership and mark their territory.

In addition, dogs may dig out of curiosity, especially if they suspect something intriguing lurking beneath the layers of their bed, such as leftover food or a hidden toy. So, it can also simply be their way of exploring and uncovering potential hidden treasures.

That said, compulsive digging behavior in dogs might sometimes indicate underlying anxiety. If you suspect this, you should consult a veterinarian.

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