Why do Chihuahuas burrow?
Do you have a bump in your bed? I do! It disappears during the day and reappears at night with a cute little black nose poking out!
Yes- My Chihuahua Bella is a burrower alright! She burrows in our bed, in her bed (on the rare occasions she sleeps in it), and even in her blankets when we cover her with it. She even burrows in the yard sometimes!
Does your Chihuahua burrow? Then read all about the 10 reasons behind their dog’s instinct of burrowing!
Why Do Chihuahuas Burrow? 10 Reasons why Chihuahuas Burrow & Dig!
Here are some opinions from experts as to why Chihuahuas like to burrow and dig:
1. They are small animals
Chihuahuas are tiny dog breeds and they are aware of their small size. Like most small dog breeds like the miniature Dachshund and Yorkshire terrier, a Chihuahua is also an instinctual burrower.
Burrowing and building nests in the ground and the bed is a way of denning for these small dogs and they have retained this trait through evolution.
2. All dogs are denning and hunting animals
Nearly all dog breeds are denning animals.
Dogs have evolved from wolves and in the wild, wolves live in dens and caves. That is why dogs love the secure feeling dens provide and for the same reason, they love to create their own nests inside our homes too.
A larger dog might burrow for other reasons. Where dogs like Chihuahuas, Yorkies, and Dachshunds may burrow for warmth and protection – larger dogs like Huskies dig and burrow out of the sporadic need or instinctual behavior that stems from their need to hunt.
3. For warmth
The Chihuahua dog breed does not have a thick long coat.
That is why they tend to get very cold and might even shake and shiver. That is why they dig and burrow in blankets and go deep under covers, especially in winters.
4. For entertainment
Chis often burrow and dig when they are feeling bored, lonely, or depressed.
Often, the burrowing behavior is more prominent in dogs that do not get adequate physical and mental stimulation.
5. They are prone to anxiety
Chihuahuas are prone to anxiety, so they prefer small spaces and find them more comfortable.
Digging in a bed helps them create a burrow which is like a small nest – a comfortable haven for a small dog that might find large places scary or stifling.
6. For security and safety
Often, Chihuahuas are burrowers because the burrowing action helps them feel more secure and safer.
A burrow or a nest-like resting place helps them feel more protected and less vulnerable to dangers and predators.
7. Female hormones
A female Chihuahua might burrow more than normal when she is in heat or even when she experiences pregnancy or pseudo-pregnancy. When a female Chi is close to whelping, she will start creating a nest for her puppies.
8. Need for affection
Chihuahuas are needy and clingy dogs. They constantly need their humans’ attention.
Often, a Chihuahua owner might have reinforced this behavior by constantly petting or picking up their tiny dog.
If, suddenly, the dog owner happens to be distracted or does not give as much attention as the Chihuahua craves, then it might cause an increase in the burrowing habit.
9. Sickness or aging
Burrowing in Chihuahuas can also increase with age. A senior Chi with loss of hearing and vision might start burrowing more than normal. Similarly, pain or disease can lead to burrowing.
10. Out-of-control burrowing
Often, fear, stress, and abnormal psychological issues can also cause burrowing habit. Such burrowing is sporadic and obsessive.
Please see your vet to rule out any physical or emotional factors that may be the cause behind excess burrowing.
Should You Encourage Your Chihuahua to Burrow
If your dog burrows outside in the yard, you may want to curb the behavior. Burrowing and digging in the soil can bring in germs and also muddy up your house.
However, if your Chihuahua burrows its bed or blanket, then it is okay to let it indulge in the behavior. After all, burrowing is rather instinctual for dogs and you should not really stop them from satisfying that instinct.
If burrowing makes your pet mold its bed to a shape that makes it feel more comfortable and safer, then there is no reason why you should stop your pet from burrowing.
Often, the burrowing automatically ceases when your pet’s needs are met. Naturally, as a dog owner, it is your responsibility to make your pet feel more safe and secure.
In the next section, I will tell you how to curb Chihuahuas out-of-control burrowing.
13 Ways to Control Excess or Obsessive Burrowing in Your Chihuahua
Now that you know the answers to ‘why do Chihuahuas burrow?’ we will take a look at ways to curb this behavior:
1. Physical exercise
A tired Chihuahua is a happier and healthier Chihuahua and we mean this not just physically, but in terms of its mental health too.
Often, digging and burrowing is your pet’s way of telling you that it is bored. With physical exercise, your Chihuahua will tire out and won’t have the energy left for unwanted behaviors.
Two small sessions of exercise like a game of fetch or a short walk around the block can keep your Chi healthy and happy as well.
2. Mental stimulation
Chihuahuas often indulge in digging and burrowing when they aren’t mentally stimulated.
Remember: this is a smart litter dog breed that needs adequate mental activity to keep those feel-good endorphins coursing through its veins.
Provide your pet with some toys, treat dispensers, puzzles, and activities to keep it mentally active and charged.
We recommend Kong toys – fill-up the Kong with some treats and peanut butter and your dog will be too preoccupied for anything else!
Also, get some dog puzzles fill them with treats and soon your pet will forget burrowing.
3. Good diet
A nutritious and healthy diet is what all dogs need for optimum health and well-being.
Provide your Chihuahua with a balanced diet of proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Check out the best food for Chihuahuas to keep your pet healthy and happy.
4. Provide it with a comfortable bed
The best way to bring your Chihuahua’s burrowing from outside to indoors is by providing it with a comfortable bed.
Select a bed that is easy to settle into, provides a secure, safe, and warm place for your Chi, and is also easy to clean.
Look for self-warming beds since Chihuahuas tend to get very cold quickly and older dogs often suffer from patellar luxation.
5. Give your Chihuahua the attention it craves
Often, a dog’s burrowing habit can stem from neglect, from being left home alone all day, or if it does not get the attention it craves.
A Chihuahua puppy is also more likely to dig and burrow when it does not get adequate attention from its ‘pawrent’.
Schedule time for your pet: play with it, feed it, bathe, and groom it. Take your pet out on walks or to the mall in its special carrier or on a leash and harness.
When you give your pet the attention it craves, it is less likely to indulge in bad behavior.
6. Reduce triggers of anxiety and stress
Every dog owner must take responsibility in providing a safe and secure atmosphere to their pets. This is especially true for small dog breeds like teacup Chihuahua, dachshund, etc., since these dogs are more prone to anxiety and stress owing to their small sizes.
To reduce triggers of anxiety, use special sound-proof windows and doors. This will help curb outside noises, especially during thunder, fireworks, etc.
Provide your buddy with a safe and calm environment with strict adherence to its schedule and routine.
7. Provide it a crate/kennel
A crate or a kennel is just the thing an anxious Chihuahua needs. Crates and dog kennels have covered roofs and their small enclosed spaces make your Chi feel more secure and safer.
Train your Chihuahua to use the crate from its puppyhood.
8. Desensitize your pet
To reduce burrowing behavior in your Chihuahua, you must also desensitize your pet to loud noises, fireworks, thunder, and even to being left alone for hours.
These days, special de-sensitization CDs are available. They play loud sounds like fireworks and thunder – soon your pet gets used to those sounds without reacting.
With time, the digging and burrowing will also stop.
9. Use calming treats/supplements
Calm your pet with special calming supplements .
Hemp and CBD oil treats and supplements soothe your anxious dog’s nerves which helps prevent excitable urination, excess barking, crying, whining, burrowing, and other behaviors triggered by anxiety and stress.
10. Minimize routine changes
An important way of keeping your Chihuahua stress-free is by sticking to its routine. Minimize routine changes and follow a strict schedule for naps, meals, and exercise.
A stress-free environment with the same routine can help your dog feel calmer and happier.
11. Keep it warm
Since Chihuahuas often burrow in a blanket when they are cold, you may provide some special clothing to keep your pet warm at night.
12. Spay/neuter your Chi
You can stop your female Chihuahua’s burrowing by spaying her at the right age. This will prevent pseudo-pregnancies too.
Even your male Chihuahua can benefit from early neutering as it helps reduce hormonal changes and sexual frustration if there is a bitch in heat nearby.
13. Rule out underlying diseases
If none of the above pointers help put a stop to burrowing, then please see your vet or a canine behavior specialist.
Often times, obsessive burrowing could be due to an underlying health issue. Once you start the appropriate treatment, the burrowing will stop too.
Is it OK for my Chihuahua to Sleep under the Covers?
Such an adorable sight it is when your Chihuahua sleeps under the covers! Naturally, as any dog owner, you’d wonder whether this is safe for your pet.
Like all terriers and miniature breeds, Chihuahuas love to lay under covers. Their wild ancestors did the same since tunnels, dens, caves, and holes kept them safe from predators.
Yes- it is OK to let your Chi sleep under the covers is because the action helps your pet feel safe, stress-free, and happier.
Your pet will also dig under covers for warmth and as long as it instinctively knows when to come out for when it gets oxygen deprived, then you need not worry too much about your pet.
In case your Chihuahua has been burrowing for years now, it won’t be the right thing to do if you suddenly forbid it from doing so. That would only confuse your pet.
You can use lighter covers and comforters if you are worried that your buddy might get overheated or might be oxygen deprived.
FAQs on Why Do Chihuahuas Burrow
1. What does it mean when a Chihuahua digs a hole and lays in it?
If your Chi digs a hole in the mud and lays in it, then it may be to overcome some sort of discomfort.
Either your pet is too hot or cold – either way, digging in the soil helps provide it with the warmth or coolness it desires.
2. Why does my Chihuahua bury its face in the blanket?
Chihuahuas tend to bury their faces in a blanket when they seek warmth, comfort, attention, empathy, or when they are stressed or anxious.
3. Will my dog suffocate under covers?
Even small dog breeds like Chihuahua, Yorkshire terrier, and Dachshund know instinctively to come out for oxygen.
If you fear your pet will suffocate, then use lighter sheets or covers.
4. How to know if your Chihuahua is cold at night?
If your pet shivers, shakes, seeks shelter, tosses and turns, whimpers or cries, lifts its paws off the ground, and/or digs and burrows in the blanket, then it may be showing you that it is too cold.
Why do Chihuahuas burrow?
Chihuahuas burrow when they want to overcome some discomfort – they may be feeling too hot, too cold, or could be stressed and anxious. They might also burrow when they are in pain, or when they want attention.
We hope this guide helps you decode the root of your Chihuahua’s burrowing tendency.