Boston Terriers are one of my favorite small bully breed dogs. I have spent time working with Boston’s over the years and each one has a distinct, yet hilarious personality. They are quirky and silly dogs that earned them the nickname of “clown dog” for a reason. Some of this quirky behavior includes burrowing. Boston’s like to sleep and burrow under covers, but why?
Why do Boston Terriers like to sleep and burrow under covers? There are several reasons for this behavior. Instinct is the primary reason. Many dogs, but especially terrier type dogs have an instinct to burrow. This provides Boston Terriers a feeling of security, comfort, warmth, and solitude.
I have witnessed this behavior personally with a Boston Terrier. Often I would pet sit for a neighbor whose Boston Terrier named Luna loved to sleep and burrow under covers. I noticed it would often be for different triggers, and soon realized the Boston Terrier’s affinity for sleeping under covers was more than just a single reason.
Reasons Why Boston Terriers Like To Sleep And Burrow Under Covers
These are a few of the reasons that Boston Terriers like to sleep and burrow under covers. At first I thought these dogs were just being silly, or feeling scared. After doing a little research and observing the behavior more first hand, I unpacked a variety of causes.
The primary motivator for a Boston Terrier sleeping and burrowing under covers is instinct. Though dogs are very domesticated now compared to their ancestors, the idea of burrowing in a den still persists in many breeds. Especially the terrier type dogs that were natural diggers.
This instinctual behavior shown by your Boston Terrier to sleep and burrow under covers helps provide them with a sense of security, comfort, and warmth, which we will cover in my detail below.
Sleeping and burrowing under covers gives Boston Terriers a natural sense of safety and security. This instinct comes from being a den animal. Pregnant female dogs would often give birth in dens to avoid the elements and potential predators. This protection for herself and offspring is still encoded in dogs today.
When your Boston Terrier burrows and sleeps under covers it can often be to escape a fearful situation. They can feel vulnerable and unsafe at times and this behavior provides them with a layer of protection that will help them relax.
Studies have even shown that the tight pressure of blankets and covers will reduce anxiety in dogs as well as humans. The swaddling effect has shown to decrease anxiety and lower heart rates, promoting relaxation.
I found with Luna the Boston Terrier that she would often be under covers and blankets when I came to pick her up from my neighbors apartment. She was alone for the first part of the morning, and the security of the blankets and covers provided her with peace of mind.
Along with a sense of security, Boston Terriers will sleep and burrow under covers for comfort alone. Much like humans, having a comfy blanket to crawl under for a nap is bliss. Boston Terriers seek this comfort and softness.
Much like the instinct to feel secure, burrowing provides a natural level of comfort and familiarity with Boston Terriers. It mimics the den environment, and as pack animals also creates a feeling of closeness that was provided by sleeping with littermates when they are puppies.
When I would bring Luna back to my apartment to hang out she wouldn’t pick out just any blanket or cover to burrow under. She would always go with the softest, fluffiest option available in my apartment.
Boston Terriers have very short and fine coats, this makes them prone to being cold. Burrowing under covers to sleep provides your Boston Terrier with warmth when they are feeling a little chilly.
It is important to provide your Boston Terrier, or any short haired dog, with protection from cool temperatures. They can be very sensitive to the cold and will require some added warmth with soft blankets and covers.
While pet sitting Luna the Boston Terrier I would always keep extra blankets on the couch during the fall and winter. She was very prone to the cold and when not available would begin to shiver. I also noticed she always wanted to burrow in the covers that my Staffy was near. Extra warmth and closeness was her goal.
Sometimes a Boston Terrier will just want some time alone. There was construction happening on my block for what seemed like years when I was pet sitting Luna each week. She would usually get tired of the noise and find a separate room with a blanket to burrow under and sleep.
Dogs have sensitive ears and can become agitated and annoyed with persistent loud noise. Burrowing under blankets and covers will dampen the loud noise and provide some solitude from the racket to relax and have a snooze.
Providing you Boston Terrier a quiet place with some covers to sleep under during loud periods of the day will be appreciated. I noticed Luna would come look at me when it was noisy outside and I hadn’t set out her blanket in the other room. This solitude is important to them.
Is It Safe For Dogs To Sleep Under The Covers?
As a general rule it is safe for dogs to sleep under the covers. Providing your dog with enough room to freely move and get comfortable will give them ample space to sleep safely. Use microfiber or fleece blankets to reduce the risk of your pet shredding the covers, and never use weighted blankets.
Fleece blankets are harder to shred for dogs and therefore making it harder for them to ingest. Large knitted blankets can snag on your dog’s teeth and claws and cause injury, so it is best to avoid these types of knits and materials.
Be wary of strong scented laundry detergents or other possible cleaning materials that may cause allergic reactions or irritations. Boston Terriers have sensitive skin, so harsh chemicals can be very bad for them.
Weighted blankets are far too heavy for a little Boston Terrier. This can restrict their movement and create a hazardous situation if they are unable to freely move. Avoid these types of blankets and covers for your dog.
Can Dogs Overheat Under Blankets?
As a whole dogs are pretty smart and self regulate their body temperature as needed. So long as your dog has enough room to freely move and escape from under the blankets, they will be fine.
Again avoid weighted blankets and ensure your Boston Terrier has room to move as well as a way to escape when they feel the need. Trapping your Boston Terrier under covers and blankets can lead to overheating if they are unable to properly move.
Will Dogs Suffocate Under Covers?
As a general rule when a dog is having difficulty breathing under cover they will move to a better spot. They are smarter than we give them credit for sometimes. When you dog needs to reposition or come out from under the covers they will do so of their own will.
Worth repeating again. Don’t use weighted blankets. Give your Boston Terrier mobility and an escape. Especially because they have shorter snouts and more labored breathing than other breeds, they will need the option to move freely.
Instinct is the major driving force behind your Boston Terrier’s need to sleep and burrow under blankets. Sure it is pretty cute, and sometimes hilarious, but this behavior is not them putting on a show for us. At least most of the time.
Security, comfort, warmth and solitude are all the reasons why your Boston Terrier will burrow under your covers for a nap. Give them plenty of options and opportunity to use this instinct and your Boston Terrier will thank you for it.