Why Do Dogs Bury Bones?

Instinct, of course. They’re protecting their assets.


The answer to the often-asked question of why do dogs bury bones in the ground is simple: Instinct tells them to bury things they consider valuable, but can’t consume right now, to protect their stash from their packmates, competitors, or other animals.

So, why does your dog hide bones or toys in the house? Probably because he feels he must hide them from another dog (or two, or three), but he can’t get outside to do it.

Burying is a natural behavior going back millennia, and it’s only a problem if it causes too much damage or becomes compulsive. If digging is compulsive with your dog, you’ll need the help of a professional trainer or a veterinarian to find and fix the issue’s cause.

Certain breeds are more prone to digging than others. Terriers, Dachshunds, Beagles, Bassets, and Miniature Schnauzers were all bred to hunt ground-dwelling varmints, so digging is pretty much part of their DNA.

It’s thought that rescue dogs tend to bury bones and food because often they were once starving and learned to cache food. Digging is also a self-soothing behavior if a dog is anxious, often another issue with rescue dogs.

But it’s generally not healthy for dogs to eat bones and flesh that’s been buried, because the decomposition can cause diarrhea, vomiting, or salmonella.

If your dog is digging, or burying toys, in your bed it probably has to do with another instinct, though. It’s his instinct to feel warm and safe where he lies down that makes him dig in your bed.