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Dog Buries Bones: Why It's Instinctual in Dogs

Dog Buries Bones: Why It's Instinctual in Dogs

Why does a dog bury a bone? Your dog may bury a toy or bone, dig it up, and bury it somewhere else. This is completely normal. Your dog may even "bury" items on furniture, under carpets, or in his bed. Sometimes they even bury things in piles of laundry. Are you wondering why dogs hide bones? It is an instinctive behavior that comes from the nature of the dog itself. Although our domestic dog has been domesticated for many years, he still has the desire to protect and save his food, which comes from his ancestors as wild animals. Find out the reasons and how you can stop them.

Why do domestic dogs bury things? Is it the same with wild dogs?

dog, bones

As pets, most dogs no longer have to hunt for food. So why do dogs still hide food? First, it's their natural instinct, and dogs have the urge to make sure they have food later. So they sometimes bury their food to make sure their needs are met.

Another reason is that they are full and want to save the food for later. Giving your dog too much food, toys, or treats can cause him to hide them because he doesn't want to risk them being taken away.

Dogs also bury objects as a game. They may want you to play with them, and they may even bury things that are valuable to you (like keys, the remote control, or shoes). If this happens, your dog may be bored or lonely and looking for attention.

Do dogs remember where they buried their bones? Is it part of a dog's natural instinct to bury their bones?

Yes, dogs can remember where they buried their bones. It's part of their natural instinct to hide food for later. This behavior has been observed in wild dogs and their ancestors, wolves. Dogs bury their bones to dig up later when they are hungry or when they cannot find another source of food. It is a survival instinct that is still present in many dogs today, even though they live in human care and are fed regularly. In this blog post, we want to take a closer look at why dogs tend to bury their bones, how their behavior has changed over time, and whether there are concerns about the safety of bones for dogs.

Dogs bury bones as a form of survival

dog, bones

Dog buries bones: Why do dogs do this? Because it is a dog's natural instinct to keep their belongings protected and in a safe place. Dogs used to bury objects as a form of survival. They roamed in packs and hunted for their food. Once they caught something, they didn't want to risk losing it. So they buried it. Later they came back to eat it.

Burying their food helped with many things. Other living things couldn't find it. The food stayed fresh longer because it was underground and cooler. And it's been "marinated" with a decadent, earthy flavor.

What breed of dog hides things?

Group of dogs

Some dogs are more prone to digging than others. Hunting dogs like beagles and hounds are weather driven and enjoy collecting. Terriers, huskies and German Shepherds are also known for their burrowing behavior. Although breed plays a role, all dogs are notorious for their clever hiding abilities. Many dog ​​breeds have a natural instinct to hide or collect things. Some of these breeds are for example:


Terriers are known for hunting and catching small animals such as mice and rats. They also have an instinct to hide their prey.


Dachshunds are hunting dogs and have a natural instinct to find and hide prey.

Golden retriever

Golden Retrievers have an instinct to collect things and bring them to their owners. However, you can also try to hide things.

Australian Shepherd

This breed of dog has a strong herding instinct and can tend to hide what they consider to be "their flock."

Jack Russell Terriers

Jack Russell Terriers are hunting dogs and have a natural instinct to hide their prey.

However, it is important to note that any dog, regardless of breed, can have the instinct to hide things.

Is burying harmful?

Burying treasure - both food and other items - is a natural tendency for dogs. Usually this isn't harmful, but constant digging can cause problems. Some dogs dig compulsively until their paws are sore. Paws can also be injured if they come into contact with chemicals in the soil. These dogs require medical and behavioral treatment.

Even though dogs like to bury bones, pet owners shouldn't give them bones in the first place! Even though their wild ancestors ate carcasses (with bones), domestic dogs can develop intestinal or dental problems if they eat bones. So feed your dog an appropriate amount of dog food twice a day and count your dog's tendency to bury treasure as a legacy of his ancestors.

How can I stop my dog ​​from burying things?

You can stop your dog from burying things by rotating his toys, playing with him, taking him for a walk, or taking him to the dog park and giving him the attention he needs. Never scold your four-legged friend afterwards, because he will not understand what he is being punished for. If the problem persists, you should consult your veterinarian or seek the help of a professional. We recommend Doggy Dan's online course, which you can do from the comfort of your own home. You can also learn more about why your dog does other stupid things, like: B. chasing its tail or digging holes.

Can I make burying items a game?

If you see your dog burying bones, you can even make a game out of it by asking your dog to retrieve the bone if he has hidden it. Giving him a command like "get your bone" can be a fun game that is less destructive but still satisfies his instinct to hide and retrieve valuable items.

Now that you know why your four-legged friend buries his bones, you can forgive him if one ends up in the washing machine. After all, he is driven by a survival instinct that goes back thousands of years.

As always, you should consult your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your dog's behavior.

Other Reasons Why a Dog Buries a Bone

Stress or anxiety

If a dog lives in a stressful environment that makes him anxious, or if he is new to a home and doesn't yet know how he fits in, he may feel the need to bury or hide things he wants to keep to himself . Suppose a dog previously lived in a situation in which things were often taken away from him. In this case, he will probably hide something important to him in a safe place. In multi-pet households, a dog may fear that another animal will take away his treats. That's why your dog hides favorite items like food or treats, chew toys, and bones - and then eats them out of sight of other pets (think of your Halloween candy and your greedy older brother).

In severe cases, a dog may need to hide or guard all types of items it considers particularly valuable, which can lead to resource guarding. This serious problem must be treated by a certified dog behaviorist or veterinarian.


It's no surprise that a dog who lacks mental and physical stimulation in his environment will find something to do. Often this preoccupation takes the form of behavior that is undesirable (for us humans), such as: B. digging up the garden or digging a narrow, muddy hole in the flower garden. Finally, these holes can serve as additional storage places for your dog's toys or that brand new marrow-filled bone you gave him as a gift.

To prevent your yard (or living room) from becoming an excavation site, provide your dog with daily activities that challenge both his mind and his body. Take him for a walk and let him sniff, play fetch and tug of war, and do some fun trick exercises with positive reinforcement. Schedule time into your day to practice basic skills so your dog has access to stimulating reinforcement opportunities every day.

Dogs do all sorts of things that may seem strange to us humans, but have a real function for your dog. Make sure your dog is healthy, happy, and has access to safe places to eat. Lots of great ways to keep his brain and body busy to help prevent your dog from turning your yard (at least not entirely) or your home into a dog poop pit.


If you see your dog burying bones, it indicates a natural instinct in dogs. It serves as a protective mechanism to secure food for later and can also be seen as part of territorial behavior. However, some dog breeds are known to express this instinct more strongly than others, such as hunting dogs or terriers. It is important to ensure that items buried by dogs are safe and do not pose a danger to the dog or other pets. It is also advisable to watch the dog bury objects and make sure that he can find them again.