Understanding Your Canine BFF: Why Do Dogs Bury Bones?

Understanding Your Canine BFF: Why Do Dogs Bury Bones?

Written By Rebecca Paredes

Apr 18, 2016

Dogs bury bones because they instinctively want to hide food to eat it later. The may also hide their dog bones just to play! But why would your well-fed canine companion want to hide their food instead of eating it right away? It has something to do with your pup’s wild instincts.

Why Do Dogs Hide Bones?

  1. Your pup’s ancestors had to hide food in order to survive in the wild

  2. Your dog may feel bored and want you to play with them

  3. Burying bones is part of healthy digging behavior

Preserving Food In The Wild

Yes, even your silly fluff-butt is descended from ancient canines — and those early dogs had to fight to survive out in the wild. If a dog wanted something to eat, they had to compete against the other dogs in their pack, as well as other animals.

So, cave-dogs hoarded food in order to protect it from other hungry mouths. This behavior was also helpful because it provided a backup resource when food was scarce — a hungry pup could just dig up an earlier kill.

Even though your dog doesn’t have to fight with other animals to survive, food hoarding is still instinctual — which explains why your pup might bury their favorite bone under your couch cushions!

Seeking Playtime With Their Favorite Human

If you’re still wondering why your dog is hiding their bone, they may be acting out like a rebellious teenager. When dogs are bored or simply want attention, they may turn their attention to their favorite toys and dog bones to get you to play with them.

Sometimes, the things they bury might not even belong to them! If you’ve ever stumbled on your phone or watch in an unusual location, your dog may be to blame. This is especially true for breeds that love to dig, like the Dachshund and Siberian Husky.

In fact, some owners have recognized their pup’s love of digging and turned it into a game! According to professional dog trainer Katie Finlay, owners can teach the dog “where it’s appropriate to hide something” and “which items are appropriate to hide.”

Digging For Fun

Burying bones and other items is a healthy, and sometimes messy, dog behavior, so don’t worry if you’ve noticed your pup hiding their bones around the house or yard. However, monitor your dog and make sure they’re playing with safe materials in secure areas.

If your dog spends lots of time digging outside, keep an eye on where they’re digging — some of the chemicals we commonly use to tend to our backyards can be dangerous if ingested by dogs.

But if your dog is simply hoarding their toys, treats, and dog bones, know that there's a simple explanation: instinct!

What’s the weirdest thing your dog has ever buried? Let us know in the comments!