For those of us who share a bedroom with a furry friend or two, seeing them burrow under their (or our) duvets at night isn’t necessarily a strange sight. But why do dogs tunnel under blankets and is this behavior safe?
Certain breeds of dogs are more likely to produce small warrens in their bedding, and in general, such Denning is not harmful to your health. However, some blanket options are safer than others, and dogs of certain ages and breeds require closer monitoring when squatting in this manner. With just a little bit of know-how about dog digging behavior, it’s easier for us to rest next to our comforter-covered canines.
What breeds are prone to digging?
If you live with a terrier or dachshund, you have likely seen at least some ceiling digging behavior. These types of dogs were bred in the past to drive bugs out of underground burrows, and their ancestors were used to creating and squeezing tight spaces to flush rodents out. Therefore, they instinctively feel comfortable in a dark and cozy duvet cover, for example. Huskies also have a tendency to burrow under the covers, as their arctic ancestors dug holes in the snow and embedded themselves in them for insulation (as do today’s sled dogs when they are out and about). Although dog behavior specialists tend to refer to these three breeds as poster puppies for denning, any dog can display blanket digging behavior.
Why do dogs dig?
The ancestors of the domesticated dog settled in tunnels and caves to protect themselves and their young from predators and bad weather, and today’s canines intuitively seek solace in spaces that combine them with the cosiness of a cave. Also, because they are pack animals, dogs tend to look for modern equivalents of the warmth and security that result from curling up with littermates in the undergrowth. They find this comfort in sleeping next to their human “pack members” and snuggling under blankets that smell reassuringly of themselves and / or their owners.
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Dogs also dig in to recharge after a day of stressors. “Removing exposure to the sights and sounds of an active household makes the dog feel safer,” says JustAnswer veterinarian Jo Myers, DVM. “After all, it is your dog’s job to keep an eye on everything in and around the house so they can make sure their family is safe. If she’s buried under the covers in your bed, she can turn off that vigilance and take a break. “
Also, when you are under the blanket there is a barrier between the puppy and noisy outside conditions, such as B. Fireworks or rain storms. Like a thundershirt or a similar diaper vest, duvets can exert an anxiety-reducing pressure on the body of the nervous animal.
Is Digging Safe For Dogs?
For the most part, yes. Healthy adult dogs will thermoregulate – that is, move away from under the blankets – when they get too hot. As long as they can easily get out of their “caves”, there is little danger that they can dive under the covers. However, puppies and smaller breeds can find it difficult to clear certain types of bedding. In addition, older canines and those with breathing problems (including flat-faced dogs such as pugs) can have difficulty moving away from particularly large or heavy blankets. To minimize the possibility of overheating or entanglement, such covers should be avoided.
What blankets are potentially harmful to graves?
Any blanket that a dog cannot easily get out of under is a no-no. An oversized or weighted blanket could prevent pets from leaving their homemade burrows if they are too toasted, as could a blanket with pockets or openings in which puppies could be trapped (e.g., duvet covers). Also, dogs’ teeth or nails can get caught in blankets with holes or loose ends, causing the canines to get stuck in their hiding holes. “Avoid burying your dog in blankets that are so worn out that they are stringy and look more like a net than a blanket,” warns Myers. Of course, heated blankets and heating pads, with their power cords and their rapid warming properties, can also lead to a dangerously oppressive sleeping environment and even thermal burns. Experts recommend choosing comforters made from breathable, hard-to-chew fabrics like fleece, microfiber, and mesh.
Can digging indicate anxiety problems?
Digging blankets in dogs is generally not a cause for concern. However, if digging seems obsessive or is accompanied by wheezing or crying, separation anxiety may be the culprit. You can help release your dog’s tension by providing him with adequate exercise and toy stimulation before leaving him alone. Using dog sitters or dog day care can also come in handy in minimizing your pup’s attachment issues. That said, if excessive digging continues even after the animal’s fear trigger is identified and removed, the behavior could indicate a greater phobia. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on behavior modification techniques and / or medication based on their assessment of your dog’s compulsive behavior.