Oh yes, if you have a dog at home, it’s quite likely that you’ve seen your pooch get under a blanket at least once. Dogs simply love this, for several reasons.
And you really can’t blame them - many humans love wrapping themselves snuggly with a blanket, too!
You can imagine doing something like this on a cold rainy day, possibly curling up with a good book, especially if you have a couch in front of a fireplace or something like that.
But what’s in it for the dogs? Well, they have several reasons for cuddling in blankets themselves, so allow us to shed some light on the subject.
Why do dogs love to cuddle under blankets?
No matter if you have a big pup or a small one, cuddling with them is something you should be doing on a regular basis. However, they really love it when there are blankets involved.
There are plenty of images online that show a blanket hanging over a pooch’s head as they play with their owners on their bed or something like that. So, what’s the secret behind this kind of activity?
Well, there are three main reasons dogs love it.
It provides warmth
Obviously, cuddling under the blankets will provide your dog with plenty of warmth. The probability of this reason being the case will be higher if you have a short-haired dog.
We can certainly relate to the warmth being the reason for snuggling up, right?
It provides affection
Since dogs are pack animals, they will always want to feel close to you. And what better way for that than climbing into the bed with you and just chilling out under the blanket for a while.
This is also a way for them to show and receive affection.
You see, if they climb up there to sleep next to you, they’re showing you they care about you deeply and want to protect you through the night. It’s an instinct that has stayed with dogs for millennia because they know everyone’s vulnerable while they sleep.
So, they just want to make sure you get through the night without any problems. Adorable, isn’t it?
But it also works the other way around. By cuddling under blankets with you they will feel loved and more relaxed. This can be especially beneficial for dogs who suffer from anxiety as it’s been proven that their brains go into a much calmer mode in these situations.
They feel protected
A big reason why dogs will cuddle with you under your blankets is because they feel safe there. They are with their pack (you) and know they can trust you to protect them.
Additionally, since they’re covered, they feel hidden from view and therefore protected.
Another reason for burrowing is just taking a moment for themselves if the day has been stressful. They can just take a time-out from keeping everybody safe and recharge a bit.
The science behind dogs sleeping under covers
Of course, there’s a scientific reason for all of this. The reason dogs like this kind of behaviour stems from the fact that their ancestors used to behave like this in the wild because it helped them and their pups survive.
Furthermore, snuggling up to you reminds them in a way of the feeling they (and their ancestors) had in a litter - safe, warm, and being able to trust someone else to take care of them.
However, some breeds are particularly prone to this type of behaviour, so it’s worth exploring it a bit more.
Most known theories
The fact that dogs like to sleep under blankets is a reflection of the instinct to live in dens, many of which were underground.
They were sheltered and could raise their young there, so it makes sense today’s dogs feel comfortable in an environment that resembles it. That’s the main working theory.
However, breeds such as Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes are descended from animals that burrowed into the snow to stay hidden and keep warm. Even today, sledge dogs do that in the Arctic.
There are also breeds such as terriers and dachshunds that were specifically bred from chasing other animals from their underground shelters, so it’s not a big surprise that they like to engage in this behaviour and create an environment that resembles this.
If you have one of these dogs, you may want to consider getting them a pet blanket to protect your bed linen.
Potential risks of your dog sleeping under the blanket
Generally speaking, this kind of behaviour is quite safe for your dog. Adults will just get out of the blanket when they start feeling too hot or that there isn’t enough fresh air for them.
However, if you have a puppy or a small dog, getting untangled may prove to be quite a challenge for them. This also goes for older dogs and dog breeds that may have problems breathing (brachycephalic dogs like pugs, bulldogs, etc.)
So, make sure they have a clear way out from their “den” or try to avoid large blankets that can get tangled easily. Also, heavy blankets can pose a problem for smaller dogs.
Dogs cuddling up to you under the blankets is usually a sign that they are looking to protect you or want you to calm them down. If you don’t want them doing this, however, make sure you set clear boundaries early on.
Some breeds are more prone to this type of behaviour than others because of their genetic legacy and the purpose they were bred for, but all dogs have this instinct embedded deep in them.
A good solution is to get a special blanket for them, but if you just want to cosy up with your best friend on your bed during the night, we certainly won’t judge you.
It really is a very special feeling when you know that your pet thinks the safest place to be during the night is next to you.