Digging Toys for Dogs

dog diggingDigging is a natural instinctive behavior for dogs. There are many reasons dogs dig which go back to their forefathers in nature.

In nature, a wild dog or relative of the dog will dig dens to keep their young safe and warm. Sleeping in a den protects the young pups from extreme temperatures, both hot and cold and from predators.

Our pet dogs share the desire to sleep in and under things that resemble a den. They often dig at the ground and circle before lying down, as though they’re trying to make a softer resting place. Many dogs do this on the carpet, or furniture or on their own dog bed as well.

If you’re fed up with your mischievous dog constantly destroying your yard, here are some digging toys for dogs that can help control their behavior. 

Why do dogs like to dig

Digging is an instinctual canine behavior passed down from their wild ancestors. These are the most common reasons why your dog likes to dig

Seeking Prey

Some dogs are naturally inclined to seek their prey by digging. In fact, certain breeds such as terriers and hounds are purposely bred to hunt rodents and small game by digging holes.

Stress, Anxiety, and Boredom

If you see your dog suddenly digging frantically, this might mean they are feeling stressed and need to dig as an attempt to escape whatever is causing them fear or anxiety. Additionally, dogs just dig because they have nothing else to do and they need an outlet to release pent up energy. Chronic digging may be a sign that your dog lacks the proper physical or mental stimulation.

Storing Food and Objects

As you may have noticed, some dogs instinctually hide their bones, food, or toys in holes as a way of safekeeping. Unfortunately, dogs don’t have the best memory so they might dig up more holes when searching for their hidden treasures.

Temperature Regulation

Dogs may also be digging holes as a way to escape from the outside heat. If you’ve been inside an underground cave,  you may notice that it may be considerably cooler even just a few feet underground. The Nordic breeds of dogs that are large with thick coats are more prone to behavior.

Why do dogs dig inside

You may have seen your dog or other dogs digging inside at the carpet or floor, or on their beds. This often is to make a spot more comfortable before lying down. However, in many cases, this is the result of boredom and frustration. To cure this behavior it is important to ensure your dog gets adequate physical exercise in addition to mental stimulation.

Chewing is also a natural instinctive behavior for dogs and has many more benefits than just cleaning their teeth and dental health. When a dog chews it releases feel-good endorphins to the brain. Chewing is excellent for boredom and stress relief and making a dog feel calm. To learn more about the benefits of chewing for dogs see this article.

How to stop a dog from digging

This is like asking how do I stop a dog from being a dog? Instead, the best strategy is understanding your dog’s digging reasons and finding ways to minimize digging in unwanted areas.

  • You can find designated sections in your yard for your dog to dig. Additionally, mark off restricted areas by placing obstacles and deterrents around those areas.
  • If your dog likes to store food and treats, don’t allow them to take these objects outside.
  • If your dog is trying to hide the heat, leave an outdoor bed in a shaded area for your dog to escape to when needed.
  • Provide the high energy dogs with plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation. Try our list of puzzle toys as a way of keeping your dog entertained.
  • Strong seeking dogs may be telling you that you have unwanted rodents in your yard that you may want to control. 
  • Anytime you catch your dog dig, try channeling that energy into another activity such a doing a trick or playing fetch. Remember to reward the new behavior with treats or praise.

Toys for dogs that like to dig

Indoor dog digging toys

The latest toy for dogs that dig is the iDig Go from the people that have brought you the iFetch automatic ball launcher. See “Automatic ball launchers for dogs” to learn more.

This is the first dog toy that has been specially designed to cater to your dog’s natural digging instinct. You simply hide their favorite toy or treats in the flaps and let them dig away to uncover the hidden treasure. Not only will the action of digging help burn off pent-up energy, but the mental challenge of working out how to get to the goodies will help to tire them also.

Check out the video to see how this works or view the iDig Go on Amazon.

Indoor digging toys for dogs

If you are unable to get an iDig or are looking for a lower cost option for indoor digging for your dog perhaps try a ball pit like the ones used by children. You can hide treats or your dog’s favorite toy in among the balls and let your dog go to it. Check out ball pits on Amazon.

Outdoor dig box for dogs

dog dig boxIf your dog has a habit of digging up your yard, try a dig box for them. This way they can provide for their nature digging instinct without ruining your garden. Simply fill up a Sand Box with soil or sand, hide some chews or toys in it to encourage them to dig only there. If you choose to use sand be aware that the sand can get quite hot in the warmer weather. Just wet down the sand before allowing your dog to use it. Check out the range of Sand Pits on Amazon

Snuffle Rug

A Snuffle Mat is another great way to provide for your dog’s natural digging instinct and to provide mental stimulation and relieve boredom. A Snuffle mat is a mat that is made of fleece or felt and you can hide dry food or treats into it. If you are someone that is good at crafts you can try to make one yourself or check out the range of Snuffle Mats at Amazon. Our picks for the best snuffle mats are

1. AWOOF Snuffle Mat

AWOOF Snuffle Mat

The AWOOF Snuffle Mat comes out on top because of all it’s small added features that make life a little bit easier. This snuffle mat comes with 5 different zones to hide treats or food in for your pup to find. Having different zones will further stimulate your dog as there is a “grass and flower” area to dig and poke around to try to find treats.

As an added bonus there’s a squeaky toy in the middle! It also comes with 2 handy buckles to fold up the snuffle mat for storage as well as anchoring down the mat so that your pup doesn’t just overturn the mat so the kibble/treats come out. As with all of the snuffle mats on the list, this is machine washable and easy to clean. This snuffle mat is made with oxford cloth and polar fleece which makes for a durable product.

Check out the AWOOF Snuffle Mat on Amazon

2. Stellaire Chern Snuffle Mat

This one makes the list because of the soft material used in this snuffle mat. Dogs with sensitive noses would prefer this one as soft material prevents chaffing. This snuffle mat also has 7 small zones that are different. The muffin tin area is perfect for placing tennis balls snuggly in. It’ll take some effort for your pup to get them out! It rolls up for easy storage and the two straps that tie together can be used to anchor the snuffle pad so your pup won’t turn it over. It is also machine washable and easy to clean.

Check out Stellaire Chern Snuffle Mat

3. Runda Snuffle Mat

Sometimes the simplest design is the best. This one mimics grass using soft felt cloth material. The “grass” comes in 2inch length making it more realistic, great for digging motions and making it harder to find treats/kibble. It comes with 2 suction cups for added stability as well as nonskid backing. It’s machine washable and easy to clean.

Summary – Dog toys for diggers

Digging is a natural instinctive behavior for dogs which they do for a number of reasons. Instead of trying to eliminate the behavior completely, it might be better to understand and manage. These digging toys will allow your dog to satisfy their urges while being less destruction, making you and your pooch both happier.

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  • Joseph Coleman

    A lifelong writer and proud dog dad. Joseph started this blog dedicated to helping other dog owners find accurate information on how to keep their pets at their healthiest through exercise and nutrition. His passion for all things canine shines through in his writing, and he believes that every dog deserves the best possible care. If you're a dog owner looking for reliable advice on how to keep your pup healthy and happy, be sure to check out Joseph's work.