Why do Dogs Dig at their Beds?

Why do Dogs Dig at their Beds?

5 minutes read

We all love our dogs’ right? That is why we are willing to do anything for them. This includes getting what is best for them, from treats to toys, from grooming products to leashes; our dogs must have the very best. This extends to include dog beds as well, plush, comfortable mattresses where our four-legged friends can relax and rest.

A dog might occasionally start digging into its bed. This is also called denning and is done usually due to the dog’s instincts. This isn’t a form of misbehavior mind you and is rather a retention of a dog’s wild nature. Dogs like to hide in areas that they deem safe and comfortable before going to sleep. This might include a dog digging a hole where it can stay safe from predators and cold in winter and heat in summer. This instinct doesn’t diminish when a dog begins to live indoors and that is why you sometimes see your pup digging into its bed or blankets.

  • Its body temperature
  • The dog merely wants to mark the bed as its territory
  • It wants to hide itself
  • The dog might also want to create a nest for its due puppies
  • The most common of these instincts is a search for comfort

If you are interested in learning more about this then carry on reading:

Body Temperature

A dog can feel hot or cold at times and this digging action might be an endeavor to seek out cooler or warmer environments to rest in. this is an instinct and there is no need for you to worry in this regard. Your dog might display this instinct when it can be seen pawing at its bed or the floor.

“Marking” the Bed

The desire to mark its territory can be found in all dogs. There are glands in your pup’s footpads that secrete a unique odor. So, by scratching an area, a dog spreads its scent over the area that it wants to sleep in and delineates it as its own.


Another reason why a dog can start digging into its bed is that it wants to hide. This is mostly found in wild dogs where they dig out holes in the ground to hide from imminent danger. While a dog living indoors certainly can’t achieve this level of digging, its instincts still compel it to do so. The result is therefore the digging action that you see it performing.

Creating a Nest for Puppies

Female dogs, even the ones that are not pregnant, still experience a motherly compulsion to dig. That is because they want to create a nest for their puppies.


You know, it happens often that when we go to sleep, we keep ruffling and rearranging our pillows till we find the right positioning that guarantees comfort. This is something that dogs do as well but they dig at their beds in an attempt to make them more comfortable and relaxing.

What to Do

Contrary to what some people might tell you, this isn’t a sign of misbehavior on your dog’s part. It is an instinct and isn’t something that you can just rip out of your dog’s mentality. Once you understand this, any indignation that you might harbor will be gone. You will then be able to approach this problem with a level head. Yes, this digging might damage your dog’s bedding and occasionally the floor, but this can be resolved.

Some of you might be asking, “How do I prevent my dog from digging into its bed?" As we said before, this is an instinctual behavior and as of such can’t be prevented or removed. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t redirect this behavior into some other area.

The first thing that you can do is not allow your dog in your bed. You don’t want to get it damaged. Also, don’t let it into its bed till you are sure that it won’t dig it up and damage it.

Instead, encourage your pup to sleep somewhere else for a while so that you can keep a close eye on it.

Take some treats and take your dog to the area designated for its sleep. This should be one that can facilitate the digging behavior.

You can arrange some old blankets or use an old mattress for this purpose. Once your dog begins to sleep here, reward it with some treats.

Gradually, it will begin to associate this area with its rest and will dig and rearrange as it sees fit.

Just, forbid your dog from jumping into your bed because hey, a new mattress can cost a bundle and you don’t want that do you?

The Cost

So, what is the actual cost of a dog digging into its bed then? Well, in our opinion, it is minimal at best. But only if the dog digs its bed and the latter was bought at a sale. You know just how expensive dog beds can be. The price tag of dog beds is increased significantly if your canine pal is suffering from arthritis or some other pertinent disease (up to 300 dollars at least). That is why you should discourage your pup from doing so. Do what we suggested and get a different bedding arrangement for your dog. Also, the cost of this behavior can be accentuated considerably if your dog goes to work on your mattress or bed. The dog might scratch and rip it apart, therefore rendering it useless.

So, now that you know the causes of this behavior, you might now be willing to see it in a new light. The thing is this behavior is something that dogs can’t control so you mustn’t get cross. Treat them with love and respect and they will certainly grow out of this phase. We hope that we managed to help you out somewhat in this dilemma.