There are many things dogs do that look a little strange, some chase their tails whilst others bark at the sight of their own shadow.
When it comes to whippets, they can be peculiar creatures that often take some time to figure out.
One of their favourite hobbies is to burrow, but why do whippets burrow and should I be worried?
In this post we’re going to answer the question “why do whippets burrow so much?”, as well as what it means, and if you should be concerned.
So sit tight, and let’s get to it…
What Does Burrowing Mean?
First, we need to understand what burrowing actually is so that we can easily identify when our whippets are doing it and know what to look for.
Burrowing is a verb that’s used to describe digging (a burrow) to move through or live in. For example, rabbits dig burrows for them to live in and move through, this helps them stay safe and undetected by predators that could be hunting from them.
Dogs also partake in burrowing which can often seem strange to humans, but it’s actually quite natural and something that a lot of dogs do too.
Reasons Your Whippet Is Burrowing
Burrowing can seem a little strange at first, but when you understand why your dogs burrowing then you’ll realise that it’s not that strange after all.
There are a lot of reasons why your whippet may start to burrow, but here are some of the most common;
Often one of the reasons why whippets love to burrow themselves down is for extra comfort. Whippets are notorious for being low body fat and quite skinny dogs, which can be uncomfortable at times as they don’t have a thick body to keep them comfy.
This is why it’s important to invest in a high quality, comfortable dog bed for your whippet to ensure that they are as comfortable as possible.
But even when you do this, you may still find that your whippet loves to try and burrow themselves into their bed even further, hoping for extra comfort to support their slim frame,
Burrowing down for extra warmth is something that many animals do, it’s a well-known fact that underground you’re less exposed to the elements, meaning it’s often warmer the lower you can get to the ground.
Whippets will sometimes burrow if they’re cold, trying to get themselves deeper into their dog bed, looking for some extra warmth on those winter nights.
Following A Scent
If your whippet is anything like mine, when you’re out on a walk you may notice that all of a sudden your pet stops and starts burrowing into the ground.
This is often the case when walking in farmers fields or in rural areas, and what I’ve noticed is that it’s usually always chasing a strong scent from other animals.
Bonnie will do this when we’re walking over fields from time to time, she will stop and start burrowing into the ground, then all of a sudden a little nest will appear and she’ll dig up an old mouse nest.
According to pet experts, dogs are “denning” animals which means they have the instinct to sleep and relax in a protected small space which helps them feel warm and safe.
This explains why a lot of dogs prefer to be left in their dog crate when they’re home alone, as it’s a safe haven where they feel comfortable and free to relax.
If you notice your whippet loves to do this, then giving him the tools to make his own little den is a great idea, such as a bed, blanket and a dog crate.
If you’ve owned your whippet for a while, then you’ll know that they can suffer from separation anxiety when you’re not home.
If your whippets burrowing seems quite obsessive, then it may be a case that they are trying to escape their anxiety by burrowing down to comfort themselves.
Observe your pets burrowing carefully, and if you notice believe it’s a cause of anxiety then you may need to address the cause of this to help get your pet on the right track.
Maybe you’re leaving your whippet alone too long? Or maybe you’re not giving him enough exercise to burn off some steam?
These are all questions you’ll want to ask yourself if you notice your whippet is feeling anxious.
Should I Be Worried About My Whippet Burrowing?
Often new whippet owners can notice their whippet starting to burrow and become a little stressed at this. You may start to think their dog bed isn’t comfortable enough, or that they are highly stressed and anxious.
Often this isn’t the case, whippets enjoy burrowing as it helps them feel safe, secure and warm.
They love to build their own little den with a comfort dog bed and a blanket, they’ll even try to sneak a couple of cushions off your sofa when your not looking to make their den better.
There’s no need to worry about your whippet burrowing, especially if it’s not very regular and you believe it’s for comfort and warmth.
However, if you feel your whippets burrowing is a concern, and you notice a change in the behaviour of your pet, such as noticing more anxiety, whining etc.
Then you may want to look at other options to help your whippet overcome this anxiety. You can check out our full post on whippet separation anxiety which will help your furry friend work their way through anxiety.
For the most part, burrowing is something most dogs love to do, whether it’s following a scent and digging in the ground, or it’s hunkering down into their dog bed for extra comfort.
Should I Encourage Burrowing?
If your whippet enjoys burrowing, then it should very much be encouraged and something that you allow your pet to do as he pleases.
Burrowing helps your pet feel safe and secure, so why not let them do this in their dog bed or crate to feel more comfortable.
If your whippet is starting to burrow in places that you don’t want him too, such as on your sofa or in your belongings, then it’s wise to redirect him into his dog bed where it’s comfortable and he can burrow till his heart’s content.
Whippets can have long and sharp nails which will make quick work of a leather sofa, so it’s important to keep an eye on this behaviour if you don’t want some big expenses coming your way.
If you feel your whippets burrowing is obsessive and there is an underlying issue such as stress or anxiety, then it’s always best to speak to a veterinarian who can guide you to helping calm your whippet down and help manage his anxiety.
One thing to take into account is that the energy behind a whippet burrowing is purely because they’re hyperactive, meaning they have a lot more energy than the typical dog.
Burrowing can be a way for them to let off steam, so if you feel your whippet is burrowing to do this then you may want to consider giving them more exercise than he’s currently getting.
This way you’ll stop your whippet burrowing in your back garden or ruining any home furniture.
As a whole, I allow Bonnie to burrow as much as she pleases providing it’s in a space that she won’t damage anything.
She loves to burrow when we’re out on walks to dig up old mouse nests when she smells one, it’s a way for her to burn calories and she enjoys doing it so I’m all for it!
I’ve mentioned above that you should be aware of the reason why your whippet is burrowing, whether that’s anxiety, stress or to keep warm.
If this is the case then you may want to consider making your whippet a nice cosy den where they can relax and feel comfortable when you’re not at home. You shouldn’t be leaving your whippet home alone for hours on end, but if you do need to leave home for a while then why not make your whippets resting place as comfortable and warm as possible.
These tools will give your whippet his own space so he can relax and feel secure whilst you’re not home, acting as a “den”, which all dogs love. Something else you may want to consider is perhaps bringing another dog into your home to keep your whippet company.
Now, of course, not everyone can do this as another pet is a big responsibility, but whippets love to socialise and would often feel much calmer with another dog to keep them company.
This certainly isn’t essential to help your whippet overcome anxiety or his burrowing, but it can be a great way to help anxiety and relieve stress, whilst also having a new friend to keep them company.
So, why do whippets burrow so much? Whippets are dogs that simply love to burrow, it’s a way for them to blow off steam and burn some extra calories when they’re outside on a walk. But what if your whippet is burrowing inside?
Well, this could also be because some whippets are hyperactive, but may also be because they’re cold, uncomfortable or simply want to build a den for themselves. As a whippet owner, you shouldn’t be worried about burrowing unless it’s becoming a problem.
Burrowing is completely natural and something that dogs enjoy, especially when they’re following the scent of another animal.
If you feel your whippets burrowing is because they’re anxious, stressed or lonely, then you can help by making your whippets space more comfortable, but you should always speak with a veterinarian if you’re concerned.
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this post and learned a thing or two about whippets burrowing, this really isn’t something you should be concerned about and is just your dog following his natural instincts.
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Hello. I’m Luke- the founder of WhippetCentral. I’m somewhat of a whippet nut and have been for most of my life. In that time, I’ve owned and raised numerous whippets. Bonnie is my latest girl; she is currently eight years old and keeps me very busy! Understanding the need for whippet-specific content, I decided to create this blog to share what I have learned and to share my expertise regarding owning and raising whippets – the right way!