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Why Do Dogs Bury Bones?
Dog BehaviorDog Food

Why Do Dogs Bury Bones?

Have you caught your dog burying a bone in your garden? You may find this behavior amusing. Seeing your dog digging a hole to bury bones feels weird, but there are reasons for this behavior that make perfect sense.  

Why do dogs bury bones? The article lists and explains varied reasons why your dog hides bones in your yard, what other treasures they bury, and understanding if this habit is bad. 

Why Do Dogs Bury Bones?

If your dog takes the bone and runs straight to the garden to dig and bury it, don’t be surprised. This is normal behavior in dogs. The dog hides bone for various reasons - mainly to satisfy their instincts and guard their resources. 

Ancestral Needs

The ancestors of domestic dogs would not always find meat every day. It means that if they have found a meal for one time, they would not know when they will feast on the next one. Wild dogs and gray wolves would bury their food for survival. They don't want to waste food that they can savor later. 

Domestic dogs do not need to save for later because you will provide sufficient food. However, it’s the instincts that have been passed on to your dog by their ancestors, which is to save food for famine times. 

Food Preservation and Protection

Wild dogs and the gray wolf would preserve and protect their food from other animals. Some birds and other mammals also preserve food by burying them deep in the dirt. 

They bury food because this way, the food does not go bad and can be protected from sunlight and other animals. Other animals may not smell it if the dogs have buried bones and carcasses so deep in the soil, and they can come back and feast on it later when they get hungry. 

Similarly, when you offer bone to your dog to lick, and if they like it, they would bury the bone to enjoy it later, typically following the footsteps of their ancestors. 

Too Many Resources

When your dog has access to too many resources, they tend to save the leftovers by burying them. It is your dog’s instinct to guard resources for later. 

According to an article by American Kennel Club, what you can do to stop this behavior is make these resources limited and provide only when needed. Try offering one toy or treat at a time and keep changing their toys to retain their interest. Also, giving bones right after your dog has a meal may not be a good idea, and stop giving them bones when their tummy is full. 

Another reason your dog likes to dig and bury bones is they may enjoy the hide-and-seek facet of burying. You can train your dog to hide toys or bones on cue. Also, try replacing your garden's dirt with a pile of blankets. This way, your dog can play with you, and you can save your garden from being dug up and destroyed. 

Providing your dog with proper ways to fulfill their instinct - to dig and bury bones or toys helps enhance their life. 

Burying Other Treasures

According to an article by VCA Hospitals, dogs bury anything of value to them, and it not only includes food items. This is why you may often find their chew toys underneath the couch cushion or buried deep inside the clothes in the laundry basket. Dogs’ burying behavior is due to their instinct to guard their treasures (valued items) and enjoy them later. 

Is Burying a Bad Habit?

Burying is a typical behavior in dogs, especially in breeds like terriers and dachshunds, and is usually not harmful. Dogs may also dig and bury toys or bones because of anxiety or boredom. However, constant digging can cause problems. For example, your dog's paws may get injured by the chemicals present in the soil. If that happens, they will require medical and behavioral attention. 


Your dog's burying bones may look funny and adorable but you must keep a check on their behavior. Sometimes, compulsive dogs have a strong urge to dig and they keep digging until their paws get hurt. Also, it is advised to not offer bones to your dog because consuming them can cause intestinal or dental problems in domestic dogs. However, you must provide ways to satisfy your dog’s instincts and help enrich their life and your bond with them.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why do dogs like bones?

Chewing on bones helps the dogs satisfy their natural instincts and the need for mental stimulation. 

Why is my dog hiding food and not eating?

Dogs may hide food to create a safe space for their resources. It happens when the dog feels the food may not be enough and they need to save for another time. Another reason may be when the dog is full and wants to save the leftovers for later.

Why do dogs hide bones?

Dogs hide bones out of their natural instincts to safeguard and preserve food or valuables to enjoy later. 

Why do dogs bury their food?

Dogs also bury their food because of overfeeding. If you are giving your dog too much food, they tend to save the leftovers to devour later.