Why Do Dogs Dig Holes and Lie in Them?

Dogs dig holes for all sorts of reasons. Some breeds are more prone to digging than others, though it often has to do with the dog’s specific personality. Depending on where your dog is digging, it may not be much of a deal at all, or it may be a huge deal.

Preventing the digging often requires learning about the underlying cause of the digging. If you can provide a dog with alternative ways to fulfill their needs, they will often stop digging. When a dog digs a hole and then lies in it, they are likely digging the hole in order to cool down.

In this article, we take a look at why dogs dig holes to lie in and how to prevent them from digging these holes.

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Why Do Dogs Dig Holes to Lie In?

Dogs often dig holes to lie in when they need to cool off during the hotter months of the year. The ground is usually cooler than the hot summer air. Dogs know this instinctually, so they may attempt to cool off by digging a hole. Some dogs are more prone to this than others. Many will dig a new hole nearly every day, while others may only do it once in their lifetime.

This may have something to do with your specific climate. If you’re somewhere hot, then the dog will likely get hot more often, which may encourage them to dig more holes. The dog’s breed can also have an effect. For instance, northern breeds like Siberian Huskies and Malamutes are more likely to dig holes because they were bred for cooler climates.

If a dog digs a hole and then lies in it, it is likely because they are hot. However, it is also possible for a dog to dig a hole for a different reason and then lie in it because it is already there. If your dog digs holes and doesn’t always lie in them, then it is likely for a different reason. This could be due to anything from boredom to separation anxiety.

Dogs that dig holes for other reasons may sometimes lie in them, but they often won’t. If your dog only sometimes lies in holes, they likely dig for a different reason.

dog digging in the snow
Image Credit: Pixabay

What Breeds of Dogs Like to Dig Holes?

Many factors go into whether a dog will dig holes. Some dogs will dig when they are bored. If they aren’t mentally stimulated, they will entertain themselves.

Therefore, more intelligent breeds are more likely to dig holes if their needs aren’t being met. Think of dogs like Border Collies and Labrador Retrievers. Breeds built for northern climates are more likely to dig holes and lie in them, as they get hotter than other breeds.

Some dogs were bred to dig. Terriers were commonly bred to go after rodents and other underground animals. They can often hear rodents under the ground and will go after them, which leads to many holes. However, they aren’t likely to get hot, as many of them have short hair and are built for excess activity.

Do Dogs Lie in Holes When They’re About to Die?

No, this isn’t particularly common. Dogs often try to hide when they are about to die, but usually, this doesn’t mean in the middle of the yard in a hole. Instead, the dog is likely just trying to cool down, which they commonly do by lying in holes.

If your dog is lying in a hole, it likely isn’t because they are dying. However, they may be feeling sick, especially if this isn’t one of their normal activities. Some diseases can cause the dog to feel hotter than normal, so they may dig a hole and lie in it. This is a bit rare, though. Most diseases and common illnesses do not cause dogs to overheat.

doberman digging
Image Credit: Pixabay

Is It Bad for Dogs to Lie in Holes?

No, dirt isn’t bad for dogs, and lying in a hole doesn’t put them at risk for any particular diseases. So, you shouldn’t particularly discourage them unless you simply don’t want holes in your yard.

How Do You Stop a Dog From Digging Holes and Lying in Them?

If your dog is digging holes because they are hot, then the best way to prevent this is to keep them cool. There are many ways to do this. A shaded area that they can access with plenty of grass may be all that some dogs need. Other dogs may need an insulated dog house that can keep them cool in the summer.

If your dog is prone to overheating, you should plan on keeping them inside more often. Some breeds simply don’t handle heat well and will do anything to cool off, including lying in a freshly dug hole.


Featured Image Credit: Konstantin Tronin, Shutterstock