Why Do Dogs Bury Bones?

dog is digging hole in a yard

Dogs definitely have a reputation for burying bones, but most people don’t know why they do it. 

In this article, we will explore some of the reasons for this behavior. Some of these reasons will likely surprise you. The more you understand why your dog does these things, the easier it will be to care for them.

1. Your Dog’s Natural Instincts

The main reason that dogs bury bones is that they have a natural instinct to do so. These instincts go all the way back to their ancient ancestors. Before dogs were domesticated, they would bury their food to keep it away from other animals like wolves.

When a dog puts food in the dirt, it stays fresh until they are ready to eat it. Wild dogs would bury food to ration it when they couldn’t find very much to eat. This explains why modern dogs bury bones and a number of other things they have some sort of attachment to. This instinct can be traced back hundreds if not thousands of years into the past. If you feed your dog with proper dog food you will avoid this problem.

2. Some Breeds are Natural Buriers

The fact is that certain dog breeds are more prone to burying than others. Some of these breeds include Basset Hounds, Beagles, and Terriers. These dogs have a tendency to bury all sorts of things, including bones and toys.

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There are actually quite a few types of dogs that were specifically bred for digging. This is something that has been useful to a lot of people throughout history, especially hunters. Many of these dogs bury things on a regular basis, even if they aren’t trained to do so. This is just part of their natural instincts. They have a natural urge to search due to their pedigree.

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3. Your Dog Is Bored

Boredom can be a powerful driving force for a dog. If your dog isn’t getting enough mental and/or physical stimulation each day, it might start to act out. Some dogs dig and bury bones and other things for this reason.

If you do not provide your dog with enough attention and affection on a regular basis, you are just asking for trouble. This is just one of the reasons why it is important to play with your dog and make sure it gets adequate exercise every single day.

4. There Are Other Dogs Around

If you have multiple dogs in the same house, one of them could bury their bones to keep them away from the other dogs. While it might seem a little selfish, it is just a matter of your dog trying to protect what’s theirs.

A smaller dog might bury something to keep it away from a larger dog because they feel intimidated. If there are other dogs around, this is likely the reason. They simply don’t want their bone to get taken from them by a larger dog.

5. They Are Anxious

Some dogs that have problems with anxiety can engage in digging and burying behavior, sometimes obsessively. This is something that dogs do to comfort themselves when they are feeling stressed out or anxious.

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If your dog does not feel safe for whatever reason, they might bury their bone or something else. This too is common with households that have numerous dogs. There are some dogs that are naturally anxious and may even require medication.

It is important that you get your dog to the veterinarian if this behavior continues to happen on a regular basis. An animal behavior expert could provide you with help when it comes to stopping this behavior and getting your pet the help it needs. Anxiety is not the kind of thing you want to turn a blind eye to with your dog.

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How to Get Your Dog to Stop Burying

1. Identify the Likely Cause

If you want to put a stop to your dog’s burying, there are a few different things you can do. You will first need to understand why your dog is doing this. Go through the reasons we listed above to get a better idea about this.

2. Increase Your Dog’s Exercise

One of the best things that you can do to prevent burying behavior with your dog is to make sure it gets enough exercise each day. A lot of dogs will dog and bury because they aren’t getting enough stimulation. Take your dog for two walks every day and see if it helps.

3. Distract Them with Playtime

When your dog starts to bury a bone or something else, call out their name and start playing with them. Get one of their favorite toys and engage them in some tug of war. This could distract your dog so that it doesn’t even think about burying anything. You can also try playing fetch with them, which tends to work well.

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4. Use a Spray Repellent

If there is a certain area of your yard that your dog is burying things in, you can try spraying it with a repellent. There are lots of different dog repellent products available on the market to choose from. This is really only effective if there is a specific spot that your dog keeps burying their bones at.


  • Most dogs bury bones because it is part of their natural instincts inherited by their ancestors from long ago.
  • There are certain dog breeds that are more likely to dig and bury than others, such as Beagles and Basset Hounds. These dogs were specifically bred to dig, bury and search.
  • Sometimes dogs dig just because they are bored and aren’t getting enough mental and/or physical stimulation each day.
  • If there are other dogs around, especially bigger ones, a smaller dog might bury its bones to keep them safe.
  • Dogs with anxiety sometimes bury things as a way of comforting themselves. This is usually made worse when there are other dogs around.
  • Before you can stop burying behavior with your dog, you’ll need to identify the likely cause.
  • Try distracting your canine companion with some playtime when they begin burying bones or something else.
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