Why does my dog pull his bedding out of his crate?

It’s easy to fall in love with a dog but sometimes a pet’s behavior will leave an owner scratching their head.

You’ve probably spent a lot of time and effort picking out the perfect crate or kennel for your dog.  Heck, you’ve probably spent good money on the bedding, too, because you want to make it a comfortable space for your dog to relax in.

So, you introduce your dog to its new bed and you’re certain they’re going to love it.  Only then you notice something hinky is going on, and you start asking other dog owners a single question: why does my dog pull his bedding out of his crate?

This is why we can’t have nice things, peanut.

Humans only pull off their bedding when they’re ready to change the sheets, so what’s the deal with dogs?

Why is my dog pulling his bedding out of his crate?

There are several possible reasons why your dog pulls its blanket out of its kennel. Some of this behavior is instinctual and hardwired into a dog’s brain from when its ancestors were wild many, many thousands of years earlier.

Others may be related to what’s going on in the home environment.

  • It’s worth thinking about when your dog pulls his bedding out of his crate: is it before he climbs in to go to sleep? Or is it during the day and what does he do with it afterwards?

  • One place to start is by noticing whether your dog is pulling his bedding out of his crate and carrying it around with him or whether he’s disinterested once it’s out of the kennel.

  • A dog that carries his bedding could be using it as a security blanket similar to how children often do when they’re feeling anxious.

  • This can mean your pet is feeling insecure in the home especially if they do this when they’re home alone.  It’s worth thinking of why your dog might be feeling nervous or fearful and could this be helped with more interaction throughout the day or employing a dog sitter or dog walker? 

  • Some dog calming plug-ins or sprays throughout the home or interactive toys for the dog to play with will also alleviate boredom.  Your dog could also be one of the breeds that don’t like to be left alone for long. There could also be a need for additional training.

  • The dog may also just not like the blanket or bedding.  It could be too soft or too rough on their skin. They won’t like it if the texture doesn’t feel right or if it smells of another dog.  If your household is home to multiple dogs, it might be worth separating the bedding and beds.  If you regularly wash the bedding, then it may be the dog can’t smell itself on the material and will pull the bedding out of the crate entirely. Sometimes, behavior that seems irrational to us is actually in response to something we’ve done quite innocently. You may also notice this behavior in your own bed with the dog scratching at your bed sheets.

  • Your dog might also push the blankets to one side preferring to sleep on the hard-cool plastic of a crate or kennel. Owners shouldn’t feel guilty about this as sometimes, this is just how dogs like to sleep.

  • Bedding can be a choking hazard if it’s ripped or torn so don’t feel like you have to keep putting it back into the crate if the dog isn’t interested in having it in there.

  • If it’s too hot in the crate or kennel, then the dog will drag its bedding out. This is often the case if you then find the dog sleeping on the cold base or bottom. You could try moving the crate to a more temperate part of the house.

  • Puppies can pull on bedding when they’re teething as the soft fabric helps them satisfy aching gums.  The need to chew and drag should stop once they’re grown into their teeth but you may not want them to continue the behavior afterwards.

  • You may inadvertently also have made a game out of putting the bedding back each time the dog pulls it out. Think about it: the dog pulls the blanket or bedding out of the crate and you give it attention and then put it back in again.  It becomes a game that some dogs would be happy to play forever.

  • If your dog is pregnant, then it may be moving the bedding to a safer space to have the puppies. Your dog may be taking a blanket out of its cage because it doesn’t feel secure or comfortable giving birth in the current location.  Female dogs that aren’t pregnant can sometimes get a little broody, too, and may try to nest.

  • Dogs like to dig.  We wrote recently about why dogs scratch at bed sheets and it’s often because that’s what dogs did in the wild (only with soil, not linen).  Dogs used to dig in the dirt to create a shallow hole to lie in. This was for comfort but also for protection against other predators as well as the elements.  Remember, tens of thousands of years ago, dogs slept and lived outdoors.  Your dog may pull his bedding out of his crate because he needs to make it more comfortable.

We hope you’ve found some useful information in our post about why your dog is pulling its bedding out of its crate.  If you’re especially worried about what’s going on, then we’d recommend talking with your veterinarian.

It’s worth saying, too, that sometimes dogs are a lot like us humans.  They can have odd habits or peculiar mannerisms which won’t always make sense to their owners. Finding out why a dog is pulling his bedding out of his crate can be useful if you find the root cause is something that requires attention (like anxiety, for example) but otherwise, it may just be a quirk of their behavior.

If you are worried, however, you should always have a conversation with your veterinarian.