Why Do Dogs Scratch Their Beds?
by Cherie Velez on Jul 03, 2023
About 70% of U.S. households own a pet. That translates to around 90.5 million families.
The same source lists dogs as the most common type of pet, which makes sense since canines have always been man's best friend. Even so, sometimes best friends do strange things that are hard to figure out.
Does your dog scratch its bed for what appears to be no logical reason?
Keep reading for an answer to the question why do dogs scratch their beds?
They Do It to Mark Their Territory
Your dog might be scratching away furiously on its doggy bed to mark its territory. Dogs have scent glands on their paws that produce their own unique scent wherever they put their feet.
It's easy to forget that your domesticated dog that obeys commands and shows affection is a descendant of wolves and other non-domesticated dogs.
So, your dog might scratch its bed because the behavior is hardwired into its brain.
In addition to scratching its bed, your dog might also scratch on a carpet. It does these things on instinct passed down from its predecessors.
The next time you see your pet scratching its bed, consider that it might be territorial. It's similar to how dogs will pee to mark their stomping grounds.
Your dog might go into a bed-scratching frenzy if you move its doggy bed from one location to another or bring other animals into your home.
In either case, your dog may want to show who's the boss by marking territory.
They Do It to Create a Safe Space
Another reason your dog might scratch its bed is to make its resting place safe.
Even if you've bought a nice dog bed and placed it in an area of the home where your dog can have some alone time, your dog might require more. Remember that canines do certain things out of nothing but pure instinct.
A well-fortified home with a security alarm and loyal people won't be enough to rid your dog of the primal instincts baked into its DNA.
So, your dog might scratch at the spot where it'll be getting some shut-eye to feel safer. Scratching its bed and having a quick look around before sleeping could be the equivalent of you locking the front door before heading to bed.
If you notice that your dog scratches its bed before a dog nap, there's likely nothing to worry about. It's not an indictment against you or anyone else in your family since it's just something your dog does out of routine.
They Do It to Warm Up
Yet another reason why your dog might scratch away at its bed is to get warm. This is especially the case if you've put a blanket over your pet and find that it's engaged in scratching behavior. It could be trying to warm up.
Your dog's predecessors had their own way of dealing with environmental changes. If the weather was chilly, they would scratch away on the ground to submerge themselves under brush or grass before sleeping.
When the weather was warmer, they would scratch at the ground to expose the cooler soil for body temperature regulation.
Observe when your dog typically displays the habit of scratching its bed. Does it happen more often in the fall and winter or during the spring or summer?
Depending on the weather, you can add or remove sheets from your dog's bed so that it feels comfortable regardless of the temperature.
They Do It to Get Comfortable
Dog behavior isn't always easy to figure out, but it's often possible to get a general idea about what your dog is trying to tell you.
If you see your dog scratching its bed, the reason might boil down to its trying to get comfortable.
Do you have a bedtime routine? Perhaps you fluff your pillows, spread out your sheets if you didn't make your bed in the morning, and do other things prior to getting into bed and drifting off to sleep.
Your dog might be doing something similar. Its ancestors needed to scratch on the ground to get comfortable. Sleeping on brush, sticks, and stones was uncomfortable, so clearing a comfortable space was essential.
If your dog's bed is lumpy or unevendue to its possibly sleeping on one side of it most of the timeit might scratch the bed to even things out.
It's worth being observant to get as many clues as you can from dog communication. It might not talk, but your dog communicates verbally and physically. So, pay attention to figure out what your dog's trying to tell you.
You should also consider investing in a higher-quality bed so your dog doesn't need to make its sleeping space more comfortable. Consider a memory foam or orthopedic bed so your dog gets a comfortable resting place.
They Do It Because They're Anxious
Dogs experience many of the same emotions that humans do, and one of those emotions is anxiety.
Recall that most bed-scratching activity exhibited by your dog is because of habitnothing more and nothing less.
However, you should note if your dog continually scratches at its bed but doesn't follow that up by reclining and snoozing. In that case, your dog might be driven by over-stimulation or anxiety rather than by instinct.
If you believe your dog might be anxious, it's best to follow up with its vet. Jot down the issues you've observed so that you know how to explain them to the vet. There's likely something the vet can do to help your dog feel some relief.
They Do It Because They're Curious
Sometimes dogs scratch their beds on account of curiosity. You might not realize that the bed is on top of a toy or something else that has captured your dog's attention. It might not stop scratching until it gets what it wants.
You can check under the bed or under a blanket on the bed to see if you uncover what your dog is digging for, like a miner searching for gold. Whether it's an object or a treat, your dog might go into scratching mode to find it.
They Do It Because They Need to Burn Off Some Energy
Do you take your dog out for a couple of walks a day to stretch its legs, get some needed physical activity, and use the bathroom? If not, your pet might scratch its bed as a sign that it has too much pent-up energy.
Your dog needs to spend time outdoors. So, if you have it indoors too much where you can't get some exercise, your dog could suffer from stress and a lack of mental stimulation.
Have you ever taken your dog for a walk and found that it only wanted to use the bathroom after you returned home? One solution is an indoor natural grass pee pad. It's a great solution for times when Mother Nature's uncooperative.
Another way to increase your dog's activity is to set up playdates with other dog owners so that your dog can mingle and socialize with other canines.
If your dog has too much stored-up energy, it might take out this frustration on its dog bed by scratching at it ferociously. Ensuring that it has healthy ways to use up that energy could result in your dog scratching its bed a lot less.
They Need Something to Play With
Sometimes your dog will scratch at its bed for the fun of it. That's all the more the case if you don't have some toys for it to engage with. Does your dog have enough toys? Do you spend enough time playing with your pet?
You need to play with your pet in a way that's engaging so that it'll be mentally stimulated. Doing so will reduce cases where your dog has to improvise.
Why Do Dogs Scratch Their Beds? Now You Know!
If you've ever scratched your head wondering why your dog likes to scratch its bed, you now have some reasons why this might be the case.
Dogs communicate with their owners on their own terms. So, when asking, "why do dogs scratch their beds?" you need to put on your detective's hat and observe.
The good news is that bed-scratching is usually nothing to worry about.
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They're especially useful if it's raining cats and dogs or if you live in an apartment or condo and can't always take your dog outside.
Whether you want indoor grass or outdoor grass, we have what you need. You can shop in our online store for the natural grass potty pads your dog needs.