If you’re a Chihuahua owner, you’ve likely noticed your furry friend’s penchant for burrowing under blankets. This behavior, while endearing, may leave you puzzled. Why do these tiny canines love to burrow so much?
In this article, we’ll explore eight real reasons behind this unique behavior, shedding light on the instincts and preferences that drive your Chihuahua to create their cozy hideaways.
Why Do Chihuahuas Burrow?
Chihuahuas are known for their burrowing behavior, a trait that is not only adorable but also deeply rooted in their instincts and survival tactics.
From seeking warmth to feeling safe, there are numerous reasons why your Chihuahua might burrow under blankets. Understanding these reasons can help you ensure your pet’s comfort and well-being.
Let’s jump into the eight real reasons why Chihuahuas burrow under blankets.
1. It’s Instinct For Chihuahuas
Before they became our beloved pets, Chihuahuas had to survive in the wild, and burrowing was a key survival tactic. Much like their distant relatives, the prairie dogs, Chihuahuas would burrow into the ground to create a safe shelter away from predators.
This instinctual behavior has carried over into their lives as domestic pets. Although they no longer need to hide from predators, the instinct to burrow remains.
In the wild, burrowing served multiple purposes. It was a way to escape from larger, more dangerous animals. It was also a way to create a safe and comfortable place to rest and sleep. Burrows protected them from the elements, providing warmth in cold weather and coolness in hot weather.
Today, instead of burrowing into the ground, they burrow under blankets, creating a cozy and safe den. This behavior is a testament to their adaptability.
They’ve managed to take an instinctual behavior and adapt it to their new domestic environment. The blankets in your home are their new ‘soil’, providing them with the comfort and safety they instinctively seek.
2. Chihuahuas Like to Stay Warm
Chihuahuas are not built for cold weather. Unlike breeds such as Huskies, which have a thick coat of fur to keep them warm, Chihuahuas have a thin coat and less body fat, making them more susceptible to the cold.
Chihuahuas Aren’t Suited For Cold Environments
Chihuahuas originate from a hot region in Mexico, and their bodies are naturally designed to keep cool rather than warm. This is why they seek out warmth, often burrowing under blankets to preserve their body heat.
During winter, they may eat more to increase their body fat and stay warm. However, it’s important to monitor their food intake as Chihuahuas are prone to obesity. Overeating can lead to a host of health problems, including joint issues, heart disease, and diabetes.
In addition to seeking warmth, Chihuahuas also enjoy the comfort that burrowing provides. Wrapping themselves in a blanket mimics the feeling of being in a burrow, providing a sense of security and comfort.
This is why you’ll often find your Chihuahua snuggled up under a blanket, even when the weather isn’t particularly cold.
3. Chihuahuas Like to Feel Safe
Safety is a fundamental need for all animals, and Chihuahuas are no exception. In the wild, burrowing was a way for Chihuahuas to protect themselves from predators. Today, this instinctive need for safety is still present, even in a domestic setting.
Chihuahuas are small dogs, and their size can make them feel vulnerable. Burrowing under blankets provides them with a sense of security, a place where they can hide from perceived threats.
This behavior can be particularly noticeable in new environments or around unfamiliar people or animals.
In addition to providing a sense of safety, burrowing can also provide a sense of comfort. The enclosed space of a burrow (or under a blanket) can be calming for a Chihuahua, helping them to relax and feel at ease.
Moreover, Chihuahuas are known to be quite attached to their owners. They often see their owners as a source of protection and security.
By burrowing under the blankets, they are not only seeking a safe spot but also staying close to their owners, which gives them a sense of safety and security.
4. Chihuahuas Like Small Spaces
Given their small size, it’s not surprising that Chihuahuas are drawn to small spaces. These spaces can provide a sense of security and comfort, similar to the feeling they get from burrowing under blankets.
Small spaces can also be easier for Chihuahuas to heat with their body warmth, making them an attractive option in colder weather. This is why you might find your Chihuahua snuggled up in a small space, even if there are larger, more open areas available.
Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dog, and they often feel most comfortable in spaces that are proportionate to their size. A large, open space can feel overwhelming and expose them to more potential threats, while a small, enclosed space can feel safe and manageable.
5. Chihuahuas are Affectionate
Chihuahuas are known for their affectionate nature. They often form strong bonds with their owners and enjoy spending time close to them.
Some Chihuahuas Have a Reputation For Being Mean
While Chihuahuas can be protective and sometimes snappy, this behavior is often a result of fear or anxiety rather than aggression. Proper socialization and training can turn your Chihuahua into friendly and affectionate pets.
Burrowing under blankets can be a way for Chihuahuas to show their affection. By choosing to snuggle up close to their owner, they are expressing their trust and affection. This behavior can also provide comfort to the Chihuahua, as the scent of their owner can be calming and reassuring.
Chihuahuas are also known to be very loyal to their owners. They often choose one person in the household to bond with and will follow this person around, wanting to be near them at all times.
This strong bond can be seen in their burrowing behavior, as they often choose to burrow in places that smell like their favorite person.
You May Also Like: Can Chihuahuas Swim? Safety Precautions
6. They Might Be Pregnant
Pregnancy can bring about a host of behavioral changes in dogs, and Chihuahuas are no exception. One such change is an increased tendency to burrow. When a Chihuahua is pregnant, she may start to burrow more frequently as part of her nesting behavior. (1)
Nesting is a natural instinct in pregnant dogs, driven by the impending arrival of their puppies. The mother dog will seek out a safe, comfortable space where she can give birth and care for her puppies.
In the wild, this would typically involve digging a den or burrow. In a domestic setting, this instinct can manifest as burrowing under blankets or in bedding.
A pregnant Chihuahua may also become more protective and territorial as her due date approaches. This can further increase her desire to burrow and nest, as she seeks to establish a safe space for her and her puppies.
If you notice your Chihuahua burrowing more frequently and suspect she might be pregnant, it’s important to consult with a vet. Pregnancy in Chihuahuas, particularly unplanned pregnancies, can carry risks and complications, so professional guidance is crucial.
7. Your Chihuahua is Experiencing “Pseudo-Pregnancy”
Sometimes, a Chihuahua may exhibit behaviors associated with pregnancy, such as burrowing and nesting, even when she’s not actually pregnant. This is known as a “pseudo-pregnancy” or “false pregnancy,” and it can be quite confusing for both the dog and her owner.
Pseudo-pregnancy can occur in response to hormonal changes in the dog’s body. The dog may gain weight, her abdomen may swell, and she may even produce milk. She may also start to exhibit nesting behaviors, including burrowing.
While pseudo-pregnancy can be unsettling, it’s generally not harmful to the dog and will usually resolve on its own. However, if your Chihuahua is showing signs of pseudo-pregnancy, it’s a good idea to consult with a vet.
They can rule out actual pregnancy and provide guidance on how to manage the dog’s symptoms.
8. They’re Distressed
Just like humans, dogs can experience stress and anxiety. And just like humans, dogs have various ways of coping with these feelings. For Chihuahuas, one such coping mechanism can be burrowing.
Burrowing can provide a sense of safety and comfort for a distressed Chihuahua. The act of burrowing itself can be soothing, while the enclosed space created by the burrow can provide a safe haven where the dog can relax and feel secure.
If your Chihuahua is burrowing more frequently or intensely than usual, it could be a sign that they’re feeling stressed or anxious. It’s important to identify and address the source of their distress.
This could be anything from a change in their environment, to a new person or animal in the house, to an underlying health issue.
If you’re unable to identify the cause of your Chihuahua’s distress, or if their burrowing behavior becomes obsessive or disruptive, it’s a good idea to consult with a vet or a professional dog behaviorist.
They can provide guidance and help you develop a plan to manage your dog’s stress and anxiety.
4 Things To Do When Your Chihuahua Burrows
While burrowing is a natural behavior for Chihuahuas, there are things you can do to ensure your pet is comfortable and safe. Here are four things you can do when your Chihuahua burrows:
Keep Them Comfortable
Comfort is key when it comes to burrowing. Ensure your Chihuahua has access to soft, warm blankets that they can burrow into.
If you notice your Chihuahua burrowing into a particular blanket or piece of furniture, consider dedicating that item to them. This will allow them to burrow freely without causing damage to other items in your home.
Feed Them Enough
Chihuahuas, like all dogs, need a balanced diet to stay healthy. If your Chihuahua is burrowing excessively, it could be a sign that they’re not getting enough to eat or that they’re not getting the right nutrients.
Consult with your vet to ensure your Chihuahua’s diet is meeting their nutritional needs.
Keep Training in Mind
While burrowing is a natural behavior, it’s important to ensure it doesn’t become a problem. If your Chihuahua is burrowing into inappropriate places or causing damage, it may be time for some training.
Positive reinforcement techniques can be very effective in managing burrowing behavior. Reward your Chihuahua for burrowing in appropriate places and gently discourage them from burrowing in inappropriate ones.
Just Leave Them Be
Finally, remember that burrowing is a natural, instinctive behavior for Chihuahuas. It provides them with comfort and security and is a normal part of their behavior.
As long as your Chihuahua’s burrowing isn’t causing any problems, there’s no need to stop them from doing it. In fact, allowing your Chihuahua to burrow can help them feel more at home and secure in their environment.
Understanding why Chihuahuas burrow can help you better cater to their needs and ensure they’re comfortable and happy. Whether it’s an instinctual behavior, a need for warmth, a desire for safety, or a sign of affection, burrowing is a natural part of a Chihuahua’s behavior.
However, if your Chihuahua’s burrowing behavior changes suddenly or if they seem distressed, it’s important to consult with a vet. Changes in behavior can sometimes be a sign of underlying health issues.
Remember, every Chihuahua is unique. What works for one might not work for another. It’s important to observe your Chihuahua and learn their individual preferences and behaviors. This will help you provide the best care for your furry friend.
In the end, the most important thing is that your Chihuahua feels loved and cared for. So, whether they’re burrowing under a pile of blankets or snuggling up next to you on the couch, make sure they know they’re a valued part of your family.
I hope this article has given you some insight into why Chihuahuas burrow and how you can support this behavior. Happy burrowing!
Be Sure to Read: How to Show a Chihuahua Dominance: Mastering Leadership