When your dog starts burying their toys, we shrug it off as something that a dog just does. But when they bury their food, dog owners start feeling like their dog’s behavior isn’t quite right. The questions start to flow: Why do they bury so many things? Don’t worry, we are here to explain why your dog buries so many things, like toys, food, and anything else that isn’t a bone.
But first and foremost, let us remind you that when your dog buries items, it is normal. There is actually nothing wrong! Let us take a closer look to better understand this behavior.
The Reason Dogs Bury Things
It all goes back to instinctual behavior. The domestic dog has several ancestors that are all wild dogs. Not to mention all of the other canine breeds that wander the Earth in search of food and shelter.
Food is necessary for survival. A dog in the wild does not know when they will see their next meal, and that survival instinct tells them they need to save some things for later. Many animals share this same instinct, not just dogs.
This urge ensures that animals have food during the times that they can’t access ground to hunt.
If you’re asking yourself: “Why does my dog hide treats?” Know that it’s completely natural for your dog to bury a bone in your yard or hide treats where they think these things won’t be found.
All canines do it, from wolves to foxes to domestic dogs.
But instinct isn’t the only logic behind your dog eating and burying some of their food.
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Why do dogs bury bones?
For the same reasons as burying food, dogs will also bury bones. When wild dogs travel in a pack, they would often have to compete for food.
As you know, bones don’t have meat on them for dogs to chew on. Because of this, burying bones ensures a dog that whoever else found their food would not be very satisfied with it. Burying it also keeps these treats away from other canines and scavengers.
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Why is my dog burying their food?
Why do dogs bury their food? Well, there is some logic that explains why your dog may be burying their food, rather than immediately munching away on it. A dog who is burying food could just be acting on their instincts.
However, there are some cases where a dog will bury food to eat later if they feel particularly stressed.
A dog who buries food during their feeding times is giving you a sign of anxiety. They are telling you that they don’t want to eat until later because their environment does not feel safe enough or comfortable enough for them to feed.
When your pet exhibits this behavior, no amount of training can really solve the issue. You may be able to train them to stop digging up your flower garden, but ultimately, there’s something wrong.
Take a trip to a veterinarian to see what may be going on with your pet. Your vet will be the first to tell you whether your domesticated dog is showing signs of behavioral issues, or if there’s an underlying medical issue.
Dogs can get anxious, too. It’s not only a human issue. Anxiety can make dogs feel like they aren’t safe, which makes them stop their attempts at play, hide their toys, or begin digging to try and escape how they feel.
When your dog’s behavior reaches this point, and there’s no clear environmental cause, your dog’s well-being should be at the top of your priority list.
Why Do Dogs Hide Things?
We’ve covered instinct and feeling anxious, now let’s look at other reasons why your dog might be hiding their toy or bone.
The next logical motive as to why your pet may be hiding their toy is possessiveness.
This is more common in households that have more than one dog. Your dogs need to have their own toys and other items will make them want to dig up part of your yard to hide them from your other dog.
They may spend some time digging and hiding, depending on how many animals you have at home. The more competition, the more buried toys there will be.
Now, there is a certain point where this behavior becomes an issue. Though dogs need their own space and prefer having their own things, a dog can become excessively possessive.
When this obsession of their favorite toy, or perhaps the latest cut of meat, turns to resource guarding, it’s time to get your dog some training.
Resource guarding should not be natural behavior for a domesticated dog. It can make them aggressive towards people and other pets if they feel that their prized belongings are being threatened.
So, why do dogs bury stuff? Simply because they want to protect it! The more things your dog is protecting, the more stressed they will likely become. Dog training can be a huge help when signs of overprotecting appear.
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Dogs burying food with their nose, rather than digging with their paws, is nothing to worry about, either. It is just another part of your dog’s instinctual behavior.
If your dog is digging up your yard or flower garden, they aren’t bored. They are probably just trying to find something they buried earlier, or they have found the scent of something they’re particularly interested in.
Look below for some frequently asked questions that you may still have, now that we’ve reached the end of the article.
Q: Why do dogs bury bones and toys?
A: This is instinctual behavior for your pup. As much as they like to play, run, and dig, they also like to hide what belongs to them, so that they can find it again later. This also ensures that no one else finds it but them.
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Q: Do dogs remember where they bury things?
A: It’s not so much their memory that will help them find the thing that they buried, but their sense of smell. Dogs have amazing senses of smell, and unless they’ve hidden their possession too deeply, they’ll find it.
Q: What breed of dog likes to bury things?
A: Dogs that like to dig and hide things are those that have a predisposition for their instinctive natures.
- Kristina Lotz, Why Do Dogs Bury Bones? The Answer Is Surprisingly Simple – The American Kennel Club
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.