How to satisfy your dog’s burrowing instinct
Image courtesy of Tall Tails.

Did you know that you can use bedding to support an anxious or transitioning pup? By looking for bedding that stimulates his natural burrowing instinct, you can let him be the master of his own comfort.

When it comes to dog care, bedding often takes a back burner to things like nutrition, exercise and grooming. But the truth is, the right bedding can contribute to a healthier and happier life for your dog – and all it takes is a little extra thought! Here’s why it’s important to create a sleeping space that appeals to your pup, and how his natural burrowing instinct plays a role.

Burrowing instinct

Dogs are, by nature, den creatures. In the wild, they will find (or make) an isolated burrow to sleep in. This allows them to feel safe from other animals and protects them from the ravages of the elements. This space becomes their own, as they shape it to their needs and become more familiar with it. Just because our pampered pooches live in houses with us now doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from that close, protected feeling and the active work of creating the perfect burrow.

Bringing the burrow inside

So how can you satisfy his natural burrowing instinct in the home? Starting from the bottom, a good space starts with a bed. It should be easy to settle into, to wash and to love. A soft bed lets your dog feel like he’s sunken into something, creating that burrowed feeling that appeals to his natural instinct. It also warms a little quicker with his body heat than the floor does, letting him stay cozy and comforted.

Once you’ve invested in a bed your dog loves, it’s time to think about blankets. It’s easy to think that our dogs, with their beautiful thick coats, don’t need blankets the way we do. However, some breeds aren’t as fluffy and other breeds instinctively want to wrap something around themselves to feel safe. A blanket is soft, comforting and easy to manipulate. The active challenge of moving it around and making the bed just right is engaging for a dog’s mind and allows him to build confidence through mastery of his space.

The comfort of a blanket can be extended beyond a dog’s bed. If you have a pup that gets anxious in the car, bring his blanket along for the ride to create a feeling of safety. Is your dog staying with grandma for the first time? Pack his blanket so something familiar is there to help him define his space. Just like a child’s security blanket, your dog’s blanket can make something scary a little more manageable.


Animal Wellness is North America's top natural health and lifestyle magazine for dogs and cats, with a readership of over one million every year. AW features articles by some of the most renowned experts in the pet industry, with topics ranging from diet and health related issues, to articles on training, fitness and emotional well being.