Does your dog bury from time to time in order to sleep? Or, does he sleep under the blankets all the time? Many dog owners are faced with the same question: Why does my dog sleep under the covers?
When you see such behavior, you might think your pup is trying to run away and hide from someone. Sometimes, it seems as if they’re simply trying to stay closer to you!
This is one of those dog behaviors that baffle most pet owners. In fact, even I have wondered for a long while, why does my dog sleep under the covers, even during summer?
Here’s what I’ve found:
Why Does My Dog Sleep Under The Covers?
There are several reasons why your dog sleeps under the covers, but most of them come down to his natural instincts. Dogs used to find a hole to sleep in, as this would help them feel safer and warmer.
However, as dogs today are very distinct from their natural ancestors, things are a bit more complicated.
Overall, if you’ve wondered Why does my dog sleep under the covers?, here are some of the possible reasons:
There are some controversies regarding whether or not dogs are den animals. But, what does this term even mean?
Den animals dig holes to get shelter, and they live inside them for a while. They consider dens their home, which is how they got their name.
Canines don’t spend most of their life inside a den. They prefer to live outdoors. However, there is one moment in life when they do live underground.
Mother canines make a temporary shelter that they’ll live in right after they give birth. This is great protection from the outside world, as little puppies are very sensitive for the first few weeks. This is known as a maternity den.
This is very evident in wild and stray dogs, as they are more likely to create a maternity den than domesticated dogs that already have a shelter.
If your furry friend was adopted from the streets, chances are he used to live in a maternity den that he is now reminiscent of. Such dogs will feel secure under the blankets, which is why they’ll love burrowing inside your bed.
Many habits that are strange to us run in the dog’s blood. Certain dog breeds, such as Terriers and Dachshunds, are great examples of this.
These dogs were bred to chase away any vermin, even when it runs underground. They don’t have any problem staying in dark and enclosed spaces – quite the opposite, they’ll love it. Such dogs will feel secure underground and under blankets. Not to mention they’ll think that this is very fun!
While not all dog breeds have this instinct, if your pooch is a hound, you no longer have to wonder Why does my dog sleep under covers? as the answer is clear.
It Helps Ease Anxiety
Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety. This isn’t the same as being clingy. Dogs with separation anxiety will feel terrified at the mere thought of you leaving them alone!
Separation anxiety will make a dog whine and cry the moment you go outside. If you let this behavior go unchecked, it can end with destructive behavior, and your furniture or even walls might end up picking the short straw.
However, blankets can help dogs with their anxiety. They can give your pup the feeling of being hugged, just like an anxiety wrap. When dogs feel embraced, they don’t feel as stressed.
In fact, this is similar to humans. Just think about how much better you feel when you get a hug from someone you trust. The same goes for dogs.
Some dogs love anxiety blankets. These are weighted blankets that apply gentle but constant pressure around your dog’s chest. This can help him feel hugged, which will result in the release of endorphins.
Blanket Smells Like You
If your dog loves to bury under your blanket, chances are he likes that the covers smell like you. Dogs get by with their sense of smell, and they get attached to it. This is why they’ll just adore being around objects that smell like their favorite person.
Not just that, but being surrounded by the scent of their favorite human helps your dog feel less anxious, as it gives him a sense of security.
In nature, dogs used to feel comfortable when they were next to their parent’s smell. This is why they love to stay close to your things. It’s as if they can imagine you’re with them due to the smell of your sheets and clothes.
It Keeps Them Warm
Photo from: @whitewanne.shepherd
Does your doggie only go under the covers during winter? Or, when it’s raining outside and the weather is cold? If so, chances are he is burrowing because he feels chilly and he wants to get warm.
Dogs have higher body temperature than we humans. This is why they usually are seasonal cuddlers, or rather, they love to snuggle with you when they want to get warm.
Small dogs, such as Chihuahuas, especially have a problem with regulating their body temperature. The same can be said for some dog breeds with very short hair, or senior dogs that have waning health.
On the other hand, some other dog breeds, such as Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes, are pretty much used to the cold weather. Still, it is in their instincts to go underground so they don’t freeze to death when they’re sleeping.
There are several ways you can tell whether your dog feels cold. Some of the symptoms include whining, shivering, anxiety, and slower movements. They’ll also try to lay in the sun all the time.
Dogs that hate feeling cold will try to cuddle with you under the blankets instead of sleeping alone in the dog bed. The only exception would be if you’ve bought them a burrowing bed – but even still, they might prefer your company.
It Keeps Them Protected From Loud Noises
Some dog owners might have asked themselves: Why does my dog sleep under the covers during the holiday season? Or, maybe they’ve noticed that their dog runs under the blanket when the car alarm goes off.
Sometimes, you may notice some strange behaviors that occur when your pooch goes under the blanket such as shaking, panting, or even being extra clingy. Some dogs may even bark!
If this is the case, your pup is likely hiding out of fear.
Sudden loud noises can terrify dogs. They happen without warning, and they can hurt a dog’s sensitive hearing. Even we humans tend to get petrified when we hear a firecracker or if someone startles us! Now, imagine how bad this might feel to a dog that can hear things much clearer than we do.
When a dog gets scared, he’ll retreat. The best place for them is to go under the covers where they’ll feel safe. Not to mention that when they’re under the covers, the sounds won’t be as loud.
This one is closely related to dogs that go under the covers because they are cold, especially if you didn’t notice any change in the temperature.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland cannot produce enough of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine. Thyroxine is in charge of regulating metabolism. When the body doesn’t get enough thyroxine, your pooch can experience many uncomfortable symptoms. Oversensitivity to cold is one of them.
Sure, just because your pup is feeling cold all of a sudden doesn’t mean he is suffering from hypothyroidism. However, if you notice some other symptoms, such as hair loss (especially on their tail, hind legs, and muzzle), you might want to consider getting him to the vet.
Fortunately, hypothyroidism doesn’t have to be dangerous. With proper medication, your pup might easily live to the end of the breed’s average lifespan. Still, you’d want to have him checked by the vet. Fortunately, your pet insurance can cover these costs.
They Want Snuggles
Some dogs love snuggle time. They don’t care about the weather, and they don’t care about loud noises. All they want is to spend some extra time with you.
If this is the case, it only means you have an affectionate dog that wants to spend every minute possible with its favorite person. They’ll love to be near you all day long, and it will give them a sense of belonging. They don’t care about their own bed, and instead, want to be very close to their family members.
Dogs are pack animals, and as such, they’ll want to stay as close to you as possible. Some pups feel these instincts much stronger than others.
These dogs will love body contact. Simply lying on your legs won’t do much for them. They’ll want the real deal, and the only way they can get it is if they go under the blanket with you.
Finally, one of the reasons why dogs sleep under the covers is because they are getting old.
We’ve already mentioned that senior dogs get cold easier. Their bodies don’t work as well as they used to, and keeping themselves warm is a task they might have issues completing.
Also, many breeds of dogs are prone to joint problems, such as arthritis. When the weather is cold, their joints hurt even more than usual.
This is most likely due to the increase in the air pressure, which causes joint problems.
While burying under the covers won’t help with the pressure, it can provide comfort for dogs in pain. In fact, if you get them a good dog bed, it might help them get some relief.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Sleeps Under The Covers?
If you don’t mind having a dog sleep under your covers, there is no need to do anything. Dogs cannot get enough air while under the covers; however, they’ll get out when they start feeling uncomfortable, so you shouldn’t worry.
However, there are certain moments when all dog owners wonder when they should do something. Here is what your options are:
Give Them An Escape Route
As mentioned before, if you don’t mind having your dog under the covers, let him be. Of course, if your pooch has respiratory problems, keep an eye on him. There isn’t enough air under the covers, which is why breathing issues might be more prevalent.
The same goes for brachycephalic breeds of dog, such as Pugs. These dogs have breathing issues as is, and spending lots of time under covers can only make things worse for them.
The most important thing is that you always allow your dog to have an escape route. This will help him get some air, and also prevent him from feeling too hot. For these reasons, you shouldn’t tuck the blankets when your pooch is underneath them.
However, as long as your doggie is healthy, there really aren’t any health risks of him sleeping under the covers with you.
Ensure Their Beds Are Warm
Some dog breeds are more sensitive to cold than others. Overall, you shouldn’t let them stay too long in temperatures lower than 10 degrees Celsius, or 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
In fact, if your pup has very short hair or low body fat, then you might want to consider giving them a coat or a sweater during winter. The cold weather might be too much for them to handle.
Also, giving them a warm dog bed might lower the chances of them wanting to sleep in the same bed as you. If your pooch is a burrower, give him a bed with a blanket they can snuggle in.
Make sure that the bed is away from windows and doors, so that it isn’t affected by a draft. A good idea is to get a heated or an elevated dog bed, as these will be less sensitive to outside weather.
Just make sure you’ve taken your dog’s age into consideration, as older dogs might have an issue climbing into elevated beds.
Take Good Care Of Your Senior Pooch
Many older dogs have joint issues, and cold weather makes these symptoms worse. As such, you need to take good care of them and make sure the room temperature is fit for their needs.
Give them comfortable sweaters or coats so they feel warm even during walks. Also, if the weather is too cold, try not to take them on long walks.
If they suffer from joint pains or spasms, give them a heating pad as this can help. Make mild corrections to their diet as well, as this can help them be as healthy as possible. In fact, high-quality dog food is essential to a dog’s well-being.
The healthier an older dog is, the less he’ll want to disrupt your sleep by going under the blankets. Not to mention how this will help him if he is having breathing troubles that are worsening when he is under the covers!
Help Them With Their Anxiety
If you suspect that your dog is going under the covers because he has anxiety, then the best way to deal with this behavior is to tackle the problem itself. However, to do so, you must first know what’s causing the anxiety.
Do they hate loud noises, or maybe new people? Or, does your pup get anxious at the mere thought of you leaving the house?
If it’s any of the former ones, try avoiding the triggers for a while. This can help your pooch calm down. You might even want to consider playing some soothing music – believe it or not, dogs love classical music!
Once your dog has calmed down, try making him used to the things that trigger him. The best option is to gradually expose him to what used to cause him issues. Don’t force him to do things he is not comfortable with at once. Give him some time.
To do this, start by exposing him to the things that he is afraid of from a distance while giving him treats. As he slowly gets used to them, make the distance shorter and shorter.
In the case of sounds, play them silently, before making them louder. Just make sure you do this gradually. Also, give him lots of positive reinforcement whenever he stays calm.
Just be patient. You cannot make a dog overcome his fears overnight. This is something that takes time – sometimes even months.
If the cause of the anxiety is separation, things can get a bit more tricky, but don’t worry as you can still deal with this. The goal is to make your departures less dramatic and to prevent your dog from being overly excited whenever you come home.
The best method is to occasionally dress as if you plan on leaving, but stay inside your living room. Once your pup stops reacting whenever you start putting your shoes on, it’s time to go outside, but come back in a few seconds. Keep repeating this, and prolong the time you spend outside.
If your pooch is very excited when you get home from work, try ignoring him as much as possible. Don’t give him treats unless he is entirely calm.
When you do leave, make sure he has plenty of toys that will keep him entertained for as long as you’re outside. A dog that is bored is more likely to express destructive behavior. He might even destroy the blankets he is hiding under!
Give Him A Safe Space
Not all people love to snuggle with their dogs, and that is okay. It is also okay if you don’t want to have a dog on your bed. Maybe you think your pooch is feeling well when under the covers for a prolonged period of time. There are many reasons why you’d want your dog to stay away from your blankets.
The best thing to do is to provide your pup with a safe space that he can use instead. This will give him a retreat for when he is feeling anxious, or for when he needs to sleep comfortably at night.
The most important feature of this space should be that it is in a calm and very cozy place.
Some dogs love their crates, and all you need to do is give them a nice, warm blanket they can sleep on. If your pooch cannot bear being away from you, move the crate or the dog bed next to the bedroom – or even inside the bedroom if you don’t mind! This will provide you with peace of mind.
Instead of a blanket, you might want to give your dog your old shirt. It will have your scent on it, which can help calm him down.
Why Does My Dog Like To Sleep Under The Covers Next To Me?
The main reason why a dog might want to sleep under the covers is that he wants to stay close to you.
Dogs adore their pack companions. In the wild, they would all sleep together, as close as possible. If you’re ‘hiding’ under the blankets, your dog cannot stay next to you, at least in his eyes. This is why he’ll want to go under them with you.
This is usually nothing more than a sign of affection, and a canine way of expressing his love to you. By doing this, your pooch will let you know that you are his favorite person, and that the covers cannot keep you apart.
The answer to this question is simple: This is how your dog feels comfortable.
But, let’s go a bit deeper.
Small dogs feel especially comfortable when they sleep between their owner’s legs, as this helps them feel cradled. They can fit between your legs comfortably as if they have two pillows on each side.
Even larger dogs enjoy this pose. They love to stay on your legs as it feels good to them.
Another reason why dogs love this is because your legs are warm. When they sleep on your legs, it’s as if they have two heating pads. Your legs are warm, which provides them with the heat they love.
Should I Allow My Dog To Sleep Under The Covers With Me?
Essentially, there is nothing wrong with allowing your dog to sleep under the covers. However, you might not want to allow him to do so when you’re in the bed with him.
Sure, you likely want to spend every moment possible with your pooch. Still, most experts would agree that sleeping with your dog isn’t the best thing you can do – at least for you and your health.
When you have your dog in your bed, you’re likely to wake up more often, which will result in less sleep. This won’t just make you tired, but it can be bad for your overall health.
Not to mention that breathing in too many dog hairs can give you breathing problems! This is especially bad for people with dog allergies.
However, the same experts would say that there are many benefits if you have your dog sleeping in the same room as you – just not in the same bed.
In the end, it all comes down to your taste and preferences. As long as your dog is healthy, there is no need to worry.
And, if you still ask yourself, Why does my dog sleep under the covers, as long as the cause isn’t some health issue, the answer doesn’t really matter. If you don’t mind him doing this, let him be. However, if you do mind, a dog trainer might help you teach him out of this habit.
Each dog is an individual, and has his own personality. As such, the causes for this behavior can vary.