Why Do Dogs Bury Bones & Other Items?


Breaking Down The Reasoning Behind Why Dogs Dig And Bury Things

Have you ever given your dog a bone or toy only to watch them run and hide it in a hole in your backyard? This is a common occurrence with some dogs, yet many dog owners don’t fully understand why their dogs do this. Thankfully, the pet professionals at ParaMount Pet Care have you covered! This article will take an in-depth look into why some dogs love to bury bones and other objects. 

An Odd Behavior

Dogs have been burying bones for as long as we’ve been domesticating them. It is a common occurrence in most dogs, but not all dogs. To us it may seem strange, but it’s hard to wrap your head around the way dogs think sometimes. Dogs have been known to bury bones, toys, stuffed animals, tv remotes, and nearly anything else they can fit in their mouth. So the question is, why do they do this?

Instinctual Urge

Burying bones and other objects is a natural instinctual urge for most dogs. Dogs do this because it is ingrained in their history. Modern day dogs are descended from wolves and were domesticated thousands of years ago. The exact year is still debated today, but a safe guess is at least 14,000 to 20,000 years ago. Wolves operate on a feast or famine diet meaning they will feast and gorge themselves when they do find food because they don’t know when they will get another opportunity to eat. 

Save The Leftovers

Because wolves operate on a feast or famine diet, they will not waste any food. Instead, they will bury their leftover food in the ground. This will help preserve the meat longer and allow them to return to the spot for another quick meal. This is essentially buried treasure in the eyes of a wolf. The same applies to modern day dogs. Dogs will bury their most prized possessions (bones, food, toys, etc.) so they can come back to them later. 

Old Habits Die Hard

Unlike wolves, your dog doesn’t have to hunt or search for food. Even though dogs are provided with daily meals, they still sometimes feel the need to bury their resources. This is simply an old instinct that makes up who they are and where they come from similar to other habits such as hunting or herding. 

Breaking The Habit

According to the A.K.C. (American Kennel Club), burying resources is a natural & instinctual habit that can be broken. A good way to curb this behavior in your dog is to limit the amount of resources you give them. If your dog likes to bury his toys, then try giving him only one or two at a time. You can also rotate what toys they have access to every week to avoid boredom. 

As for breaking the habit of burying bones, we suggest only giving your dog bones at certain times of the day. Avoid giving your dog a bone immediately after they’ve eaten as they will most likely try to bury it and save it for later. Try waiting an hour or so after meals before giving your dog a bone to chew on. 

Digging Can Be Enriching

Now that we know why dogs like to bury stuff, it’s important to acknowledge that this behavior can be fulfilling for dogs. This instinctual behavior provides your dog with a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of comfort. While nobody wants dozens of holes in their backyard, we shouldn’t outright deny our dogs the opportunity to dig and bury.

We recommend giving them a different outlet instead. You can try letting your dog bury their toys underneath some blankets or in between the couch cushions. If you have the space, you can also put a dirt box (like a sand box, but with dirt) on your property. This way your dog can still embrace their natural instincts through digging and burying. 

More Articles Like This

We hope you enjoyed this article and that it helped shed some light on the seemingly odd dog behavior of digging and burying resources. For more informative articles like this, be sure to check out the ParaMount Pet Care blog section by clicking here. We post new articles every Thursday, so be sure to check back regularly. Thanks for reading and happy tails!