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We all have our own quirky bedtime rituals, but why do dogs scratch their beds before they lay down to sleep? You may have noticed that, along with turning a few circles, your pooch needs to dig and scratch their sleeping area before they can settle down for a good night’s rest.
You may be finding this habit a little vexing, especially if you’ve invested in one of the best dog beds to make them as comfortable as possible only to see it systematically destroyed each night, but apart from potential costs there is nothing to be concerned about. In the wild, dogs evolved to dig and scratch at their intended sleeping site to make it more comfortable to lie in. Dogs don’t just mark their territory by leaving little messages to each other by urinating on mailboxes and car wheels, they also do it by using scent glands which are located on their paws. This hiding instinct is why dogs will so often burrow into their bedding, leaving just their nose peeking out of their newly created blanket fort. Simply trimming your furry friend’s nails regularly will slow them down when it comes to ripping and shredding things, as their claws will be less sharp. If you have the room, making them a den of cardboard boxes in some area of the house that doesn’t have anything precious that can be destroyed will keep them away from the furniture and soft furnishings.
What does it mean when your dog scratches his bed?
Bed-scratching can be territorial behaviour. Dogs are naturally driven to mark their territory. … Dogs have glands in their paws that leave a distinctive scent on bedding or other objects whenever they scratch. You may only see a tattered blanket, but your dog may see and smell a space that he has made his own.
Why do dogs dig on beds and couches?
Dogs will dig to warm up their beds in the wild or to find a more comfortable sleeping position, much like how humans fluff their pillows before sleeping. Sometimes, dogs will dig on furniture out of boredom. They may not have enough toys or enough exercise going on in their daily lives to occupy themselves.
Why do dogs dig at the carpet before lying down?
The main reason why dogs scratch the carpet or bedding in the middle of the night is because of their inherited burrowing instinct. … Dogs want to feel comfortable and safe while they sleep, so they will scratch and dig the carpet to create a comfortable sleeping area for the night.
If you have a dog at home, you’ve likely noticed they’ve got some strange bedtime rituals—like turning in a circle a dozen times before settling down or snuggling up with their favorite blanket. You may have even noticed your favorite pup scratching and digging at their beds (you may even have a pile of dog bed stuffing on your floor as proof!).
The reason why almost every dog digs at their bed is that it’s a natural instinct in order to make a comfortable, warm place to lie down. Digging became a way for dogs living in areas with particularly cold or wet weather to find protection against their environment. To mark territory – Like cats and many other four-legged creatures, dogs have scent glands on the bottom of their feet, which secrete a distinct pheromone. If they think there’s something exciting hiding under the cushions of their bed, like some leftover food or a toy, they might dig as a way of uncovering it. Your pup can always benefit from a good manicure—regularly trimming your dog’s nails can help minimize the damage he may do to his sleeping area.
While you’re going through your bedtime routine of brushing your teeth and setting out your clothes for the following day, you may notice that your pup has a routine of his own: scratching at his bed before lying down. There are a few reasons dogs scratch at their beds. Most do it out of instinct to make the space safe and more comfortable, but it could also be a sign of anxiety or distress. We’ll explore these possibilities below to help you figure out if your pup’s behavior is perfectly normal or cause for concern.
Image Credit: rad fx, ShutterstockYou may have a pampered Poodle or an adorable and fun-loving Labrador in your family, but all domesticated breeds are descendants of wolves and other wild dogs. Staying even partially below ground level would mean added protection, and this instinct to create a safe place was maintained over thousands of years and can contribute to your dog’s bed-scratching routine. Their ancestors living in the wild would be sleeping on leaves, sticks, brush, and dirt, and scratching at the ground before they retired for the night would mean a more comfortable place to rest. Chances are your dog’s tendency to scratch their bed before settling into sleep is perfectly normal, and the behavior is likely an instinct they’ve inherited. From the thousands of years your dog’s ancestors have survived in the wild, your pup has learned to scratch at and circle in their bed for safety and comfort. With a degree in Education and a love for writing, Nicole aims to share her and others’ expert pup-knowledge with dog lovers worldwide with Doggie Designer
It’s easy to understand why your dog wants to dig a hole in your backyard. Watching them attempt the same thing on their indoor bed, however, is a lot more confusing. If you see your dog furiously scratching at a bed, couch, or carpet, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re trying to escape your home. According to The Dodo, the puzzling habit is likely a survival instinct left over from their wild ancestors.
When a dog scratches at a cushion, they may simply be trying to prepare a more comfortable spot the same way you might fluff your pillows before bed.
1. It Could Be Territorial
You may have a pampered Poodle or an adorable and fun-loving Labrador in your family, but all domesticated breeds are descendants of wolves and other wild dogs. It’s likely that your pup has inherited the instinct to scratch its beds from their ancestors who lived in the wild.Dogs have scent glands in their feet which help spread their distinct aromas onto the ground. Just like your dog will urinate on things to “mark their territory,” your dog may be scratching at their bed to mark it as their own. You may find that bed scratching intensifies if new animals are brought into your home or if you and your dog move to a new place. If that’s the case, territory marking is likely your answer!
2. It Might Be to Make the Space Safe
A soft and luxurious dog bed in your locked and alarmed house may seem perfectly safe to you, but your dog will still have the instinct to make their sleeping space safe before settling in. Their wild ancestors would turn in circles and scratch at the ground where they intended to sleep for safety and protection.One thing this accomplished was making sure nothing was hiding in the brush or grass that could hurt them. Clawing at the ground and walking around on it before lying down would scare away any rodents or snakes that may be around, making their new bed safer.Wild dogs would typically dig to make a sleeping area that wasn’t visible from far away to help prevent attacks from predators. Staying even partially below ground level would mean added protection, and this instinct to create a safe place was maintained over thousands of years and can contribute to your dog’s bed-scratching routine.
3. It Could Be for Comfort
Another reason your dog may be scratching at their bed is for comfort. Their ancestors living in the wild would be sleeping on leaves, sticks, brush, and dirt, and scratching at the ground before they retired for the night would mean a more comfortable place to rest. Moving around their makeshift bedding would help clear the area a bit and make a more level surface for sleeping. Your dog’s scratching may be based on this inherited ritual or not — they may be scratching out of instinct, or they may really be trying to get the bedding material underneath them a bit more comfortable.
4. It’s for Warmth
If you find your pooch scratching underneath blankets in their bedding area or vigorously scratching their bed, they may also be searching for warmth.Your dog’s ancestors relied in part on the environment to help them regulate their temperature, and scratching at the ground to get underneath leaves, brush, or dirt may have been in an effort to insulate themselves from cold temperatures while sleeping. It may also have been to expose the cool earth in warmer temperatures.Your pup may actually be cold or warm in your house, or they may, again, just be acting out of instinct. If you find that they scratch at their beds more in the winter, you may want to provide your pup with a blanket just to make sure they can find the warmth they’re looking for if needed.
5. It Could Be Anxiety
If your dog scratches casually and then settles down to sleep, the likelihood is that they’re just acting out of instinct. If that’s the case, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if your dog scratches at their bed excessively or compulsively and the scratching isn’t followed by rest, it may be a result of anxiety or over-stimulation and not instinct at all.If you think your dog’s scratching might be an anxious behavior, speak with your vet to find out the best course of action and possible treatment.