Why Do Dogs Bury Bones?


Dogs love to bury things.  They hide them away, like hidden treasure.  It doesn’t really matter if it is a piece of trash, their favorite toy, or your TV remote…if they want to, they will most certainly bury it.  Dogs especially, and notoriously, love to bury and dig up bones.  Why do dogs bury bones?  We find them in the oddest places, like your garden bed or under the couch, dogs just love to hide bones for later.  This is actually a very basic instinct that goes far back in dog history, to their undomesticated days.  Basically, bones are treasures for dogs, which is why they love to stash them.

Dog with BoneThe instinct to bury things comes from the old wild dog days.  Back when dogs hunted in packs, they could often take down much bigger game than an individual dog could.  In the case of something very large, like a buffalo, they could actually end up having meat left over with the whole pack fed.  Not wanting to leave the a future meal for birds and other scavengers, the safest thing they could do was to bury it (which also helps preserve the remains).  Dogs are also evolved enough to realize that there are times of plenty and times of want, so burying bones is actually a way that they save up surplus food for times they cannot find food.  A dog’s body is also very well designed for digging, as opposed to hiding food up in a tree, like a human might do.  This made it a perfectly logical and good choice for dogs to bury their food to store it. So why do dogs bury bones?  Well, they are saving for later of course!

Many modern, domesticated dogs do not have as strong a desire for burying these days because they do not experience lean times as they might in the wild.  However, some breeds are a lot more prone to burying and stashing things than other breeds.  Also, if you do not feed them on consistent schedules, or enough food, they may start to plan for the future and hoard things for when they are hungry but the food bowl is empty.  Some silly dogs will hide food and never go back to it because they are preparing for a scarcity of food that simply never comes.  Sometimes they will also steal things to nest, which is why you may find a shirt or a towel inside their crate one day!