Dogs and digging often go together. Digging can be a headache, especially if your beloved pet keeps ruining your garden. While this behavior cannot be helped, you can provide an alternative solution, such as investing in toys for dogs that like to dig.
What are the best toys for dogs that like to dig? Digging mats, squeaky toys, treat stuffers, chew toys, and snuffle mats. To narrow it down, we will be focusing on the following 5 toys in this article:
- i-Dig Digging Mat
- Tough Seamz Rhino
- Petrip Dog Snuffle Mat
- Benebone Maplestick Chew Toy
- PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat.
Digging toys are effective in channeling dogs’ digging behaviors into healthy recreational activities. This keeps them active while keeping backyard mess at bay.
In this article, we discuss why digging toys are essential, and how to turn digging into a productive activity. We also discuss how and when to best use digging toys, and the different toys for dogs who like to dig.
Why Digging Is Not A Bad Behavior
Why do dogs like to dig anyway?
Dogs burrow because of built-in instinct, just like dogs bark and sniff. Why do they dig? Several reasons:
- Dogs dig to find prey that burrow underground like rodents.
- Dogs burrow to create a bed for them to lay in. It keeps them cool in summer and warm in winter.
- Females dogs with puppies will dig to create a safe haven or ‘den’ for their family.
- It allows them to keep food away from other dogs or stash food for an emergency.
- It also can signal playtime for them as it entertains them.
As a dog owner, you can take burrowing as a sign of boredom, especially if your dog is the only pet in your household. They act out by digging when they are not getting enough physical or mental stimulation.
Terriers, Dachshunds, and Beagles are the more common diggers out there.
Digging can mess up your lawn, but it does not automatically mean that dogs that dig are toxic or hostile breeds. When done correctly, burrowing can be turned into a healthy activity for your dog.
Do I Need To Invest In Digging Toys For My Dog?
As mentioned above, dogs burrow out of instinct. This means digging anything they find appealing, even your personal items. If left unattended, they can destroy anything and everything.
It is challenging to figure out how to get a puppy to stop digging, especially when they are not yet trained.
You have two options: prevention and distraction. You can try and prevent your dog from digging by spraying the area they like to dig with some smells that dogs positively hate. And/or you can distract your dogs from digging through toys.
It is smart to invest in toys for dogs that like to burrow to save your precious things from being torn into pieces. This will keep them entertained while keeping your household items safe. This is a definite win-win situation for you and your pet.
For domestic dogs, digging keeps them active mentally and physically. There are a variety of digging toys in the market.
Some popular digging toys include:
- Squeaky toys that produce engaging sound
- Dog treat puzzle games where you can hide treats inside for burrowing
- Treat stuffers, or treat-dispensing toys which encourage paced eating
- Knotted ropes and chew bones
You can also make your own dog toys or find something that you already have in your household.
How & When To Best Use Digging Toys
Digging toys are suitable for indoor and outdoor use, which can be a great advantage if you have a playful dog.
Create a dig pit for your dog. If you have an open space at home, you can assign one specific area for digging purposes. You can make borders around it to keep all the mess within the digging perimeter. This way, your dog can dig to its heart’s desire while keeping the rest of your backyard tidy and free from holes.
Or what about investing in a sandbox as a dog pit? You can distract your dog from digging up the lawn or your favorite rose bushes with sand. You can make it more fun by burying treats like chew bones or a favorite toy and watch them dig! When the sandbox isn’t in use, just cover it up to keep your yard nice and tidy.
What can you do to stop your dog from being attracted to (and digging) specific areas in your yard? Have a listen to advice from Emily at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter from one minute 29 seconds into the video below:
If you have the budget and space for it, you can invest in an agility tunnel. This definitely extends your dog’s playing area. This is especially useful for large breeds that require more space for playing. Agility tunnels test your dog’s endurance while letting them have fun under the sun. As a result, this takes their mind away from mindlessly digging spots in your backyard. It also exhausts them in a good way, which leaves them with more appetite for their next meal.
What about indoor digging? Does your dog “dig” on the couch, in the bed, on the carpet, or among your best cushions? Your dog does this to make the space comfortable.
For an indoor digging setup, you can prepare all the digging toys and have your pet play with them anytime. Knotted ropes, chew bones, and squeaky toys are just some digging toys they can use any time of the day.
Here at Outdoor Dog Fun, we only recommend rope and squeaky toys when you can supervise your dog’s playtime? Why? Rope toys can be dangerous with rope threads unraveling and being ingested by your dog.
Dogs can also swallow the squeakers in a toy and the stuffing inside a plush toy. Again, this is a choking hazard.
Always read the manufacturer’s instructions with chew bones. Some brands recommend chew bones for supervised playtime only. This is because they can splinter and damage your dogs’ gums.
And we don’t recommend these toys if your dog is an aggressive chewer.
If your dog is motivated by food, use treat dispensing toys like a treat stuffer to make it more challenging. This also encourages paced eating so they can chew and swallow food appropriately.
What Are The Best Toys For Dogs That Like To Dig?
We will look at toys for dogs that dig and also discuss their function, usage, and which toy best suits which size or breed.
i-Dig Digging Mat
Some digging toys can be as simple as a digging mat.
This usually comes in an easy to setup design with simple operation for you and your dog’s convenience. So, if you are looking for the best digging mat for dogs, take a look at this i-Dig Digging Mat.
You can also put snacks in this mat to encourage interactive fun. As a result, this rewards your dog with a delicious treat after a good burrowing session.
Suitable for any dog size and breed, this i-Dig Digging Mat is perfect for indoor use.
It has a portable and foldable build that makes it easy to take on your travels and store when not in use.
Also easy to wash with its 100% machine washable material.
Can entertain your dog for a good 10-20 minutes, which is, typically, the amount of time spent digging holes.
The only downside of this is if your dog has too much fun and tears the fabric during intense use. Other than that, you have nothing to worry about! Everything is all set for your dog’s enjoyment. Overall, this i-Dig Digging Mat is suitable for dogs in all stages.
Tough Seamz Rhino
Some digger dogs prefer plushies. If this is the case for your furry pal, you can have the best plush toy for a digger with this Tough Seamz Rhino.
This is an interactive, squeaky toy built to last 2x longer than other plushies. It also has double layered and double stitched material.
It has a strong tug handle, unique animal sounds, and is travel-friendly for use anywhere.
This Tough Seamz Rhino also comes in unique cartoon design, making it stand out in the stash of your dog’s other toys.
Petrip Dog Snuffle Mat
Dogs need lots of playtime, so keeping them entertained every couple of hours is a must. For the best squeaker mat in the market, our bet is on this Petrip Dog Snuffle Mat.
It hides treats in the mat to encourage paced eating while keeping your dog entertained. You can also hide toys inside for a quick game indoors during rainy days.
It has a dual-use design so you can lay it as a mat or fold it into a bowl, whichever you prefer.
Overall, it has three sizes: storage size, slow food bowl size, and smell pad size.
With its anti-skid base design, you can be sure this will not move as easily when nudged.
The Petrip Dog Snuffle Mat is 100% machine washable and uses environmentally friendly material which is built to last.
Use the adjustable belt to modify the size of the mat or to hang it on a rack for storage.
Benebone Maplestick Chew Toy
Don’t give your dog regular sticks to chew as they can splinter and hurt their gums. Get the next best thing: the Benebone Maplestick Chew Toy!
This imitates a bone structure, making it easy for your dog to hold and chew it.
Made with nylon and real maple wood, this toy leaves zero splinterings and zero dirty mess. It comes in three sizes: small, medium, large, so you can choose the best one for your dog.
You can use it for excellent bonding time with your furry friend by having a game of fetch.
You can also leave your dog unsupervised without worrying about any choking hazard.
Either way, this Benebone Maplestick Chew Toy will keep your pet occupied anywhere, anytime!
PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat
Not yet convinced with this list? How about a runner up for the best snuff mat, like this PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat?
This is more straightforward than the Petrip Dog Snuffle Mat, but has the same great function.
Engage your dog’s sense of smell by putting treats between the fabric.
This will challenge them to sniff out their snacks while letting them have fun in the process.
The PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat is machine washable and handmade from virgin and upcycled materials. As a result, it is more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Last but not least, this mat is suitable for dogs of all breeds, age, and size.
Purchasing a digging toy depends on your dog’s breed and behavior. Some toys are only suitable for small breeds, and some are better for large dogs. You would also have to consider your dog’s behavior, such as how often your dog digs, and how energetic or calm it can be.
However, if your dog is serious about digging, your best bet would be on the Petrip Dog Snuffle Mat. This gives lots of wiggle room to burrow about and find delightful snacks in the process. This offers a safe playing space with its soft felt fabric and a non-slip base. You can also change its design from mat to bowl to promote healthy well-paced eating. Overall, this helps your dog stay mentally sharp and physically active.
The Petrip Dog Snuffle Mat imitates a digging environment that your dog can enjoy indoors.
Why do dogs dig in the dirt?
Dogs dig in the dirt as an instinct for different reasons. This includes entertainment, prey hunting, comfort and protection, attention, and escape. They could be bored, looking for a nearby water source, or wanting your attention.
Why do dogs dig inside the house?
Dogs dig indoors for entirely different reasons than they dig outdoors. Dogs sometimes dig floors inside the house to dig up crumbs of food or to follow a trail of a compelling scent. They may also do this, especially on blankets, beds or pillows to “fluff up” their bed before sleeping. Indoor digging could also be a sign of excitement or anxiety, such as when your dog sees a squirrel by the window. This could also show excess energy from high energy dogs, such as German Shepherds, Terriers, Beagles, and Siberian Huskies.
Is there a spray to keep dogs from digging?
You may purchase spray from a pet store or make your own concoction to keep dogs from digging your backyard. For DIY spray, use citrus scents; sun-dried coffee filters soaked with vinegar or ammonia; citronella oil, mustard oil, or alcohol.
How to wash plush dog toys (with squeakers)?
Most plush dog toys are machine washable. But for safety purposes, always check first.
If so, wash with gentle detergent and vinegar to thoroughly remove soap residue. Take off the squeaker if it is removable. Otherwise, the plush should be able to protect the squeakers during cleaning. If you’re not sure if the plush toy is machine washable, you can always hand wash it with a gentle detergent.