My Chihuahua mix loves to burrow and cuddle. This is a trait that is common for Chihuahuas, and there are many reasons for this behavior. Chihuahuas burrow out of instinct, pregnancy, pseudopregnancy, distress, the need for affection, sickness, to warm themselves, or to just feel safe. Let’s look in-depth at the reasons below why Chihuahuas burrow under blankets.
8 Real Reasons Why Chihuahuas Burrow
Even though there are many reasons why Chihuahuas burrow, there are specific ones that find themselves in almost every Chihuahua out there. Here’s how you can identify why your Chi is sleeping under the covers and maybe help them feel more comfortable while they do so.
1. Burrowing Out of Instinct
The main reason why Chihuahuas burrow is because this behavior was important to their survival before they were domesticated. Like their distant cousin, the prairie dog, Chihuahuas burrows for shelter and protection.
As a small dog breed, Chihuahuas were a target for predators, so it was important to learn how to hide from bigger animals. They couldn’t safely sleep out in the open, which is why they burrowed.
Besides that, Chihuahuas are also related to terriers, who dig in the ground to unearth prey. When Chihuahuas needed to hunt, they would also dig to find a meal. While they don’t need to hunt anymore, Chihuahuas burrow under blankets instead.
2. Burrowing to Stay Warm
Chihuahuas come from Chihuahua, Mexico, which is a region that can be very hot. So, their fur and bodies are naturally adapted to keep cool in their native climate. That’s why Chihuahuas struggle to stay warm enough during wintertime in colder states.
Chihuahuas also have little body fat, so they’re more likely to get cold than furrier or fatter dogs. During the wintertime, Chihuahuas will also want to eat more, which is totally normal. At this time of the year, it’s okay to give them a little more food than usual. This will help their bodies store more body fat, which will in turn preserve the warmth.
Their hatred for cold weather is another reason why Chihuahuas like to lie in the sun. They will often rest for long periods soaking in the sun’s rays. In addition to its radiant heat, they also get their much-needed vitamin D.
The best way for Chihuahuas to stay warm is to wrap themselves in a blanket or burrow between your legs. To help them out, you can opt for Chi clothes made of warm materials like cotton and wool, which help preserve your Chihuahua’s body heat.
Also remember to block any drafts in your house, use humidifiers, and bundle up your pup when you take them outside.
3. Burrowing to Feel Safe
During their development, Chihuahuas used to burrow to protect themselves from predators. Today, the domesticated Chi can get scared by unfamiliar people or objects, which sometimes includes children. Small kids can be unpredictable and scary for Chihuahuas who like steady and predictable movements.
When a Chihuahua gets scared, it will retreat to its burrow, where it feels safe and protected. This is why it’s not unusual to see a Chihuahua bundled up in its owner’s purse or backpack. They’re the right size for these bags, and they look adorable in them. What’s more, Chihuahuas also like to be in bags. They enjoy it for two reasons:
- They like small compact spaces
- They’re close to their person
Plus, they associate their owner’s blankets, clothes, and other personal items with the protection that the owner gives. These items make up their “pack” territory, and Chis are crazy about that!
4. Burrowing to Hide Away
Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed, so it’s no surprise that they choose small spaces to hide in. Small spaces can act as a safe and warm haven for them, where they can hide away from the hardships of being an adorable pup.
There are many small spaces in your home where your Chihuahua can choose to burrow. They can crawl under your bed, hide under a chair, or even go as far as inside drawers. Still, blankets remain Chihuahua favorites.
Their compact size and easy lifestyle make Chihuahuas great pets for people who live in the city. They don’t need wide spaces or big yards and can do quite well with simple exercises. This is also why they’re great pets for elderly people, acting as great comforters and companion pets.
5. Burrowing to Show Affection
Chihuahuas will often attach themselves to one human, which typically is who they see as the pack leader. When they feel affectionate, they burrow next to their leader, showing their love and dedication.
Even though Chis tend to stick to one person, they can also be trained to accept other people. This training involves positive reinforcement, and it’s most effective when the owner gives treats as soon as another person sets foot in the room. Your Chihuahua will eventually learn to associate that person with rewards, accepting them in the process.
However, it’s best to train Chihuahuas when they’re young. At a young age, they’re very receptive, which is why socialization works best during that time.
6. Burrowing Because of a Pregnancy
One of the more serious reasons for Chihuahua burrowing is also pregnancy. Burrowing during this time is known as nesting, which is a primary instinct for any pregnant dog.
Pregnant Chihuahuas need a small space where they can keep their puppies safe after they give birth. Blankets are often an important component of their makeshift shelter, which is where burrowing comes along.
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However, burrowing is not the only sign of pregnancy. Here are some other behaviors you should look out for:
- Your Chihuahua grooms compulsively
- Your Chihuahua will start to “defend their nest from intruders”
- Your Chihuahua will collect toys and other objects, hiding them in her nest
If you think your Chihuahua is pregnant, you should schedule her for an emergency vet visit as soon as possible. If she is indeed pregnant, the vet can give you advice on taking care of her pregnancy.
7. Burrowing Because of a Pseudo-Pregnancy
Female Chihuahuas sometimes experience something called “pseudo-pregnancy.” This is when your dog thinks she is pregnant, even though she isn’t.
Another reason why Chihuahuas burrow under blankets is a part of the pseudo-pregnancy process. Chihuahuas that experience pseudo-pregnancy will create a nest and get the space ready for their “expecting pups”.
On the surface, pseudo-pregnancy looks a lot like a real pregnancy. Your dog might show physical and behavioral signs of being pregnant, including:
- Weight gain
- Nest making
- Appetite loss
- Collecting of objects
- Enlarged mammary glands
It’s not fully known why pseudo-pregnancy occurs, but it usually happens with non-spayed dogs. Pseudo-pregnancy can also be a sign of an underlying health problem, like irregular heat cycles. These issues may be connected to hypothyroidism or liver problems, which is why regular check-ups are a must.
Even if you know that your Chihuahua isn’t pregnant, it’s still important to look after her health. A pseudo-pregnant Chihuahua has a higher likelihood of becoming obese, so make sure to regulate her eating patterns before it’s too late.
8. Burrowing Out of Stress
Compulsive burrowing in Chihuahuas can also be a sign of discomfort or unhappiness. Chihuahuas and other dogs relieve stress through chewing and digging. Because these behaviors are repetitive, Chis usually find comfort in them.
This is why it’s vital to monitor your Chihuahua’s nesting activity. They could be coping with stressful situations or health problems. Chihuahuas are usually stressed by:
- Loud noises
- New people or dogs
- Unfamiliar situations
If your Chi is under constant stress, you should change something in their living situation. This could be something as simple as giving them new toys or taking them outside more often.
But what if the stress factor is a person? This usually calls for training. Training helps to prevent digging and destructive chewing, which is usually due to separation anxiety. Reward them with highly desirable treats when they show obedience.
Things to Do When Your Chihuahua Burrows
We’ve already listed some things that answer why do Chihuahuas burrow under blankets. But, if you find your pup’s behavior too destructive, here are some additional strategies to prevent your Chihuahua burrowing.
1. Make Sure They’re Comfortable
Always give your Chihuahua enough blankets to wrap themselves in. This will keep them comfortable, and provide an individual space they can rest in when they feel overwhelmed.
If your Chihuahua keeps rolling around in them, try adding additional blankets or getting a thicker and warmer one.
Chihuahuas also enjoy wearing sweaters and sometimes even booties, so try them on your pup when you take them out on walks. You can also try burrowing beds, which are more commonly known as “nest beds” or “pet caves.” These beds look like a cave made of cotton or other fluffy materials, and they typically have a comfy space inside.
Part of making sure your Chi is comfortable includes watching out for any health problems or signs of stress. So, steer clear of stressors, invest in quality food, and visit the vet regularly to stay on the safe side.
2. Make Sure They’re Well Fed
Another answer to the “why do Chihuahuas burrow under covers” is also tied to the pup’s eating lifestyle.
Chihuahuas usually need about two hundred calories a day. Even though they don’t need a lot of food, their diet should be high in nutrients. Try to restrict refined grains or unhealthy snacks, and keep human foods down to a minimum.
Also, don’t forget to adjust the quantity accordingly during the cold winter months. As we noted, Chihuahuas tend to eat more during the winter months, so make sure to provide the best possible food during this time.
3. Make Sure They’re Well-Trained
Different owners have different training approaches for their dogs. Not every Chihuahua needs to be shown on the American Kennel Club circuit or jump through hoops, but all owners can benefit from a well-behaved Chi.
Whatever your approach is, train your Chihuahua with positive reinforcement. When your pup’s burrowing leads to torn blankets or soiled furniture, you can use the following commands:
- Firmly say, “NO” and remove them when they jump onto off-limits beds, pillows, or blankets
- Stay up to date with potty training and crate training so your Chi knows when and how to be obedient
Crate training helps a lot with reducing burrowing because the crate is treated as a reward rather than a punishment. To enforce this, fill the crate with your pup’s favorite blankets or treats. Feeding them in their crates also reinforces this behavior, so your Chihuahua will willingly choose to go into the crate when they need to burrow.
4. Just Let Them Burrow
At the end of the day, burrowing can be an innocent activity for your pup. While allowing your Chihuahua to burrow, it’s essential to keep a keen eye on their behavior. This is to ensure that it doesn’t escalate to unhealthy levels or cause any potential harm to your home.
More importantly, always check if your Chihuahua is comfortable and not distressed during their burrowing sessions. Discomfort in your pet could indicate their need for a more suitable burrowing space or better control over their burrowing habits, which is where you must intervene.
If that’s not the case, with enough blankets, you can use your Chihuahua’s burrowing instinct to your advantage. Simply pick a blanket or two that carries your scent and place them where you’d like your Chi to sleep. That way your Chi will burrow where they’re supposed to, and give you less of a headache while doing so.
Understanding why Chihuahuas burrow shows us that it’s part of their inherent behavior – a survival skill inherited from their wild ancestors.
Embracing these natural instincts can strengthen the bond between you and your pet, improving their comfort and happiness.
Respecting this particular trait doesn’t mean allowing disruption in your home. Plenty of simple measures can be taken to accommodate your furry friend’s digging habits without compromising your living space.
In conclusion, having a Chihuahua that burrows can indeed require some adapting, but it’s all part of the rich experience that keeping such a fascinating breed brings.
Be prepared to consider their natural instincts, make some changes around your house, and spend time training them, all to ensure that they are comfortable and happy and you don’t have to wonder why Chihuahuas burrow all the time.