Do you have a ‘burrower’ at home?
A doggo who will push with their mighty snout and paws…
And force their way under the sheets.
Then bury and plant themselves and stay there for hours?
Oh my. Are they hiding from someone? Or…
Just want to be with you?
Read to find out:
- What makes your dog snuggle under the blankets.
- When it’s considered a normal behavior and when not.
- Whether it’s safe for your dog to rest in there for a long time.
- 5 tips on how to handle a pooch who enjoys being nestled so much.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog sleep under the covers?
Your dog sleeps under the covers because they feel comfier in it, seek refuge, can smell your scent, want to stay warm, get cold easily, want to snuggle with you, or it reminds them of their mother’s den. It could also be due to genetics, fear of loud noises, stress, hypothyroidism, and old age.
People also ask:
9 astonishing reasons why your dog sleeps under the covers
#1: It reminds them of their ‘mother’s den’
Some say they’re den animals. While others claim they’re not.
But how can you define one?
It’s said that an animal who digs holes for shelter and lives there for a long time is considered one.
That’s why PetMD and professional dog trainer Adrienne Farricelli oppose the idea. Because canines spend most of their life outside.
They indeed use one at some point in their life.
And that’s a ‘maternity den.’
It’s a temporary shelter made by mother canines after giving birth. This serves as protection from the outside as the pups are vulnerable in that period.
And it’s also evident in African wild dogs.
Watch how the adult canids take care of the youngsters in their den:
A study on free-ranging dogs in India could also prove this.
As it shows that domesticated hounds aren’t likely to create a den as they have a shelter. So only pregnant and stray ones who badly need a temporary dwelling may do it.
So if your pooch has a solid attachment to dark and small spaces, they might have been reared in a den when they’re young. And feel comfort and security in it.
#2: It runs in their blood
Dachshunds and Terriers are the perfect examples of an ‘undercover’ dog.
It’s because they’re bred to chase away vermin underground. So they love staying in dark and enclosed spaces.
But don’t worry, it isn’t out of fear.
They just feel secure in it. And maybe having a lot of fun too.
So, it could also be due to genetics, as there are breeds who can have this kind of behavior.
#3: To ease their anxiety
Your pooch might also feel insecure and want to be cuddled.
They might be lonely or have separation anxiety. And don’t want to be separated from you.
So if you’re not there at the moment, the covers might provide them a sense of security instead.
The pressure coming from the blanket could make them feel surrounded. It’s like they’re being hugged by someone.
This works similar to an anxiety wrap. It creates a feeling of being embraced. Which could reduce stress in dogs.
And it’s proven to do so in humans too!
Oh no, not the wraps. I was only referring to the hugs…
When it’s attached correctly,the anxiety wrap will spread pressure around your dog’s chest. And that releases endorphins or ‘happy hormones.’
#4: It smells just like you
Apart from the sensation of being hugged, your pooch could also like getting under covers due to its odor.
It has your scent on it – the person they love the most. And this might help their anxiety.
Why is that so?
It’s believed that dogs find their parent’s smell comforting. Because somehow, they can sniff your presence through your clothes and sheets.
#5: Due to chilly weather
Does your pooch only do it in winter? Or during cold rainy days?
If so, you might have a seasonal cuddler. Because they wouldn’t snuggle when it’s hot.
But how can you know if your dog feels cold?
Apart from the constant search for something warm, they’ll also:
- Slow down.
- Look anxious.
And they must know that it’s much cozier under the covers. Plus, if you’re also there, they can get more heat.
So what more could a freezing pooch ask for?
That’s why they might only be doing this for the same purpose as humans – to get warm.
#6: They get cold easily
It isn’t the cold season yet.
But every day, you find your furry friend nestled in a blanket like a burrito.
Have they always been like that?
If so, it’s only normal if your pooch has short hair or low body fat. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help much to protect them from chilly temperatures. So they love heat so much.
#7: It’s a barrier from loud noises
Does your Fido also act weird when they go under the blanket?
If they jump on the bed out of nowhere, shaking, panting, and being extra clingy…
Oh no. They might be hiding out of fear.
Have you heard any fireworks? Car alarm? Or a gunshot?
Usually, sudden loud noises scare them out the most. As they happen without warning.
It’s not uncommon for us, humans, to get startled by them too. So imagine how terrifying it would be to dogs who have a great sense of hearing.
So your pooch would retreat if they feelt uncomfortable. And being hidden under the sheets might buffer some of the annoying sounds.
Reading tip: 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Barks At Fireworks + 7 Tips
Does your dog often feel cold all of a sudden?
Or have you noticed them shivering?
If so, they might have hypothyroidism.
It happens when their thyroid gland can’t produce enough ‘thyroxine.’ This hormone regulates metabolism.
One of its symptoms is being oversensitive to cold. That’s why it could be overlooked by some people.
Dogs who have this will also suffer from hair loss. And it’s normally observed on their trunk, tail, and hind legs. Which also causes their intolerance to chilly weather.
So, as a result, your furry friend might always burrow under the blankets or anywhere warm.
Other signs to look out for are:
- Flaky skin.
- Weight gain.
- Black patches.
- Toenail and ear infections.
But relax. It isn’t life-threatening. They’ll need some medications to recover though.
#9: To snuggle with you
For some Fidos, every night is snuggling time. Whether it’s hot or cold.
If they’re asked to choose between their bed and yours, they’ll pick the latter.
Your pooch might be an affectionate one. Or they want to feel loved or a sense of belonging.
Aside from the fact that it’s warm beneath the covers. They also like it because you’re in it – their favorite human.
And they love body contact. So they’ll crash between your legs just to feel safe and connected with you.
You might also like: 11 Real Reasons Why Your Dog Sits So Close To You + 7 Tips
#BONUS: Old age
How old is your pooch?
They might not be getting any younger. And could be more sensitive to cold than before.
Vetstreet says that senior dogs will now find it hard to maintain their body temperature.
Aside from that, they could also have arthritis.
Their joints will hurt even more when it’s cold and rainy. And experts say it’s because of the drop in air pressure.
So your furry buddy might prefer to burrow under thick blankets for comfort. And to relieve pain as well.
5 tips on what to do if your dog sleeps under the covers
#1: Let them be
If they’re on their own, there’s no problem with that.
Given that they also have no respiratory problems. Or they’re still young to get up and regulate their own temperature.
Just make sure they have an ‘escape route’ when they feel hot and want some air. So avoid tucking the blankets. And only use ones made of breathable fabric.
Can I sleep with them?
Well, there’s no problem with that if you both enjoy snuggling together. But…
Preferably not at night according to experts.
Research says that you’ll get less sleep and often wake up tired when your Fido is on your bed. As you’ll get interrupted by them many times. So less sleeping time for you.
But having them rest in your room, meaning off your bed, will improve your sleep quality.
So, it could still be a matter of taste.
Are there any health hazards?
Vets say that there’s nothing to worry about. As long as your Fido is being regularly cleaned and checked, all is well.
#2: Keep them warm and cozy
Is there a standard room temperature for them?
For dogs who have a low tolerance to cold, experts say it shouldn’t be less than 10 °C (50°F).
If they have short hair and low body fat, you may need to give them a sweater or coat.
Give them a blanket and a warm bed as well. Then place it away from doors or windows to avoid drafts.
It can be heated or elevated from the cold floor. But consider their age. Elevated ones would be problematic to an aging pooch.
Also, take advantage of the sun. You may go out in the late afternoon when it’s not too hot. And have a short walk or play with your Fido.
You might also be interested to know: Why is my dog suddenly sleeping on the floor?
#3: Take care of your old pooch
Joint aches are common in senior dogs.
So keep them warm by adjusting the room temperature. Or by making them wear some comfy dog sweaters or coats.
Heating pads could also lessen muscle pain and spasms.
And watch their diet and keep them fit with light exercises – walks with a lot of rest.
#4: Calm their anxiety
It’s important to know what triggers it first.
Are they noises? People? Or the act of you leaving the house?
If it’s the former ones, you may need to avoid them in the meantime. And even play some soothing music for dogs, particularly classical ones, when your dog’s anxious.
While you’re keeping them calm, slowly try to make them get used to it.
How? By exposure.
But if they’re scared of unfamiliar people, don’t force them to interact with one right away.
So, you may begin from a distance that’s most comfortable for your dog. Then always reward them for not being nervous. Even with the presence of another person.
As you carry on, slowly move closer and closer. Until they learn that it isn’t scary at all.
If they’re spooked with a noise, play that certain sound. Then gradually raise the volume if they seem alright. And give them praises and treats when they’re calm.
But let’s be real. Making them overcome their fears won’t happen real fast.
So they’ll need your consistent effort and lots of patience along the way.
You may need to make your departures and arrivals less dramatic.
I know this might sound easier said than done. But this would help in making them less excited.
So act cool and put on your best poker face while your Fido begs for your attention (which is hard to resist).
Only come to them if they’re calm. Then act indifferent again when they go back to their bad behavior.
Leave them with treats and puzzle toys to keep them busy. And make sure they’re getting enough (physical and mental) every day.
This is to avoid them from getting bored. Which could make them more prone to worrying.
Note: Treats aren’t working on your pooch? It might be a more serious problem. So consult your vet right away to rule out any medical issue.
#5: Provide a ‘safe place’ for them
Are you not much of a snuggler?
Or are you just worrying about their comfort and safety when they’re under covers?
It would be best to give them a safe place instead. Where they can retreat when they feel anxious. Or sleep comfortably at night.
Make it as cozy as possible.
There are cubby-style beds out there if they truly enjoy one. Or get a crate and cover it up with a blanket.
Ensure that it’s the right size for your pooch. Not that big, but not too small either.
Place it near your bed or anywhere in your room. So that they can still see you and worry less.
You can train them to go there on their own by using treats and praises.
Some Fidos will burrow to seek security and comfort. So, try to provide them both to make them like it and stay there.
Note: Placing an old shirt of yours in there might also calm them. They might have liked the smell of your sheets because they have your scent. So it could also work.