What Is Dog Nesting Behavior

What Is Dog Nesting Behavior? All You Need To Know!

Nesting is an instinctual behavior found in all mammals, including dogs. It’s the desire to create and prepare a safe place for a new life to develop. Dogs will often “nest” by gathering comfortable items such as soft toys, blankets, and towels and bringing them back to one designated spot.

Some believe that nesting helps prepare the dog for labor and delivery, while others think it’s simply a way for her to feel comfortable. This blog post will give you a complete set of information on nesting behavior in dogs, its reasons, the common signs of nesting behavior in dogs, and many more.

What is nesting behavior in dogs?

Nesting is an instinctive urge to prepare a comfortable place for unborn puppies or kittens. It’s generally defined as the process of gathering, arranging, and rearranging items into piles known as “nests.”

The nesting nature arises about fourteen days before your furry friend gives birth, continuing throughout labor.

Dogs may also experience nesting days after giving birth due to their protective instincts over their young. The purpose of nesting is to make sure that everything is ready for the arrival of new pups by making sure that all of the supplies are in order and accessible.

What causes nesting behavior in dogs?

A dog’s nesting instinct is triggered by hormones (Progesterone) released into her bloodstream as she approaches her parturition. These hormones make her sense defensive for her unborn pups and inspire her to prepare the den where she will give birth to them.

A female canine starts collecting items such as old clothing, toys, or blankets to make a pile. Some dogs also collect rocks or sticks when they’re in this phase of nesting activity, perhaps because they’re hoping to keep predators away from their litter pups.

What are some common signs of nesting behavior in dogs?

Here are five common signs of nesting behavior:

1) Digging

Dogs will often dig holes in the yard or on the carpet to help prepare their nest. Some dogs even dig holes inside their homes to make themselves a place to sleep and hide from strangers.

2) Chewing

When nesting, dogs will munch the shoes, toys, cushions, or couches. They have an instinctual drive to protect their young, so they chew on items that may harm them. The female dog struggles to clean herself more frequently than usual.

3) Build Up Stocks

Stockpile is another common sign of nesting behavior because it allows dogs to create a safe environment for their puppies. Dogs will hoard items like wipes, coverlets, bed sheets, and small toys while pregnant to use them after giving birth as bedding for their puppies.

4) Decreased Activity

She might avoid going outside for long periods or only go outside at certain times of day or night, like late at night when fewer people are around.

5) Quiet Place

She might even move into a quiet area of the house where she won’t be disturbed by people walking by or other pets. She tries to find new places to sleep (usually in a corner).

6) More Protective

She might become more protective of her food bowls or toys than she usually would be or just plain protective of everything around her. Nesting can lead to aggression toward other animals or people who come close to her den or puppies.

Reasons for Dog Nesting

Dog nesting behavior is natural, but it cannot be capable to their owners. Your furry friend may be trying to tell you something, but what? Here are the possible reasons your dog might be nesting.

why is my old dog nesting

1) Pregnancy

The most common reason dogs nest is because they are pregnant. Dogs expecting puppies will often begin nesting as early as two weeks before they give birth. This behavior is instinctive and helps prepare them for their puppies’ arrival. 

Dogs may also become very protective of their nesting area and may growl or snap at people who come too close to them. If you have an unspayed female dog showing some of these signs, it’s important to test her for pregnancy as soon as possible.

2) False Pregnancy

Dogs will sometimes start nesting when their hormones (Progesterone hormone that increases during the diestrus phase of the heat cycle) indicate that they are pregnant even though no pregnancy is involved. It is called false pregnancy, caused by hormone changes that mimic pregnancy symptoms such as nesting or weight gain.

Pseudopregnancy occurs in both female canines and felines, so if you notice any of these behaviors, do not worry; take your female dog to the vet for spaying.  

3) In Heat

Female canines go into Estrus every four to six months or thrice a year for about nine days. During this, they become fertile and ready to mate with male dogs. During this period, female dogs often exhibit nesting behaviors as their bodies prepare for pregnancy and birth.

During heat, it’s also possible that the scent of male dogs can cause them to feel anxious or stressed out, which makes them want to create their little safe place where they feel secure and comfortable. When a female dog is neutered, she does not show nesting behavior.

4) In Stress

Nesting behavior is observed in your furry fellow when they are anxious or stressed. The newly adopted dogs or moved to a new home sometimes start nesting. Nesting behavior can occur after surgery, when a pet injures or when there are changes in the household.

Is Nesting Normal?

Nesting is regular for pregnant dogs, but it can be distressing if your dog has begun to nest and you haven’t had her spayed yet. If you don’t want your dog to get pregnant, you must get her for spaying before she mates with a male dog and becomes pregnant.

If you’re worried about how long this process will take, speak with your vet about your options for getting spayed as soon as possible.

How long does nesting last in dogs?

It is when your dog may start nesting or preparing for her puppies’ arrival. Nesting can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on your dog’s personality and how close she is to delivering her puppies.

Some female pooches start nesting considerably before others. If she does start doing so, it’s usually best not to disturb her too much during this time because she may become agitated or stressed out.

Can nesting behavior be dangerous?

Dog nesting behavior is normal, and many dogs exhibit it when preparing to give birth. However, some dogs may become aggressive or destructive during this time, so it’s essential to be aware of the signs that your pet is nesting. Some dogs become violent and bite people who approach them too closely.

Benefits of nesting in dogs

  1. It helps the female dog to prepare for the arrival of her new pups
  2. It helps bond the mother with her pups
  3. It teaches them how to care for their young
  4. It helps prevent separation anxiety
  5. It helps relieve stress

What is the purpose of nesting in dogs?

It prepares the female dog’s body for pregnancy and birth by increasing her appetite and making her feel more comfortable with her surroundings. If she’s feeling comfortable in her environment, she’ll have less anxiety about giving birth there.

It helps prepare the den or nest where she’ll give birth so that it’s safe and comfortable for puppies when they’re born.

How to Resolve Your Dog Nesting Habit

This behavior can be very distressing for owners unaware that their dog is pregnant. If a female dog does not spay, she may start to prepare for the arrival of pups by digging in the ground or soft dirt.

Several folks think that they must be off-beam with their dog because she seems so distressed and unhappy when doing it. The best way to help your dog through this time is by providing her with lots of love and attention until the puppies arrive.

If she likes playing fetch, try throwing the ball around more often. If she likes chewing on bones and toys, give her one at least once a day so that she doesn’t feel like she needs to create her toys out of blankets and pillows.

What should you do if your dog is stressed out while nesting?

“The nesting process is very hectic for a female dog, particularly if she has never had pups before,” says Dr. Kathryn of the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center. “This is because hormones drastically change her behavior when a female dog is about to give birth.”

If your dog gets stressed out while nesting, you can try these tips:

  • Please give her a place of her own to relax and rest.
  • Keep the room quiet, calm, and clean.
  • Don’t disturb her unless necessary.
  • Don’t pick her up or move her around too much.
  • If your dog tends to bark at night, try to chew on it before bedtime.

How can you help your dog through the nesting process?

Nesting is a normal part of dog pregnancy, and it can be a little scary. The good news is that you can help your dog through this process with some simple strategies.

  1. Get ready for your home for new arrival pups.
  2. Make available a calm nesting place for your canine buddy.
  3. Provide your female dog adequate care and love
  4. Keep her safe from danger (such as electrical cords)
  5. Leave her alone when she needs quiet time or rest.
  6. Avoid loud noises and sudden movements around her during these sensitive weeks.
  7. Ensure that your canine fur has many playing toys and mental stimulation 
  8. Don’t feed your dog more than usual.
  9. Provide extra comfort if your dog starts showing signs of discomfort.


Dog nesting behavior is normal behavior that can occur during pregnancy and shortly after birth. This post has looked at dog nesting behavior and what can cause it. If your female furry pooch is nesting, you can follow particular instructions to help stop it.

It can be a sign that the female dog is preparing for puppies. Take your canine friend to the vet to make sure she is healthy and to get advice on how to help her through this process. By understanding what causes dogs to nest, you can help keep your home and your pet safe and comfortable.

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