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"Why do dogs scratch the carpet?" Any dog owner will have at one time or another seen their beloved pet scratching at the floor. Be it outside, dog scratching while walking, digging up their bed -  among other things - it’s usually possible to work out the reason or cause. Let’s look in a little more depth at a few examples & reasons behind the behaviour.  

"Why do dogs scratch carpets?" - Anxiety

Dogs scratch at the floor for many reasons, but one common reason is anxiety. Dogs can feel anxious in unfamiliar surroundings, when they hear loud noises or when they are left alone. When a dog scratches at the floor, it may be trying to find a way to escape the situation that is making it anxious. It may also be trying to create a feeling of security by digging in its nails and claws. 

Whatever the reason, scratching can be a sign that your dog is feeling stressed or anxious. If you notice your dog scratching more than usual, try to create a calm environment and provide plenty of opportunities for exercise and play - mental and physical stimulation are both excellent for preventing your dog clawing at carpet. With patience and understanding, you can help your dog overcome its anxiety and enjoy a happier life. 

"Why do dogs scratch beds?" - Marking their Scent

A dog's sense of smell is one of the most important ways that they communicate. Dogs use their urine to mark their territory and leave their scent for other dogs to pick up. They also have pheromone glands between their toes which release interdigital pheromones. 

These pheromones are picked up by other dogs when they sniff the ground where the dog has been scratching. The interdigital pheromones provide information about the dog's diet, health & gender as well as if there are any threats in the area that other dogs should be aware of, as well as their general scent. 

They’re Bored

A golden retriever digging a deep hole

For certain breeds of dogs, scratching and digging is an enjoyable activity that helps to burn off excess energy. In fact, many dog owners will provide their pets with a designated area of their garden where their dog can scratch and dig holes to their heart's content. 

While this may seem like destructive behaviour, it can actually be beneficial for both your dog and your home. Scratching helps to keep your dog's nails healthy and can also help to reduce the drive indoors, potentially saving yourself from damaged furnishing. Additionally, dog digging can provide mental stimulation and can help to relieve boredom. 

If your dog is being destructive with its digging, try to provide as much mental stimulation as possible to tire them out and hopefully stop their digging.

It’s Instinctual

Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, but they still retain many of the instincts of their wild ancestors. One of these is the urge to scratch and dig at the ground. For wild dogs, this behaviour served several purposes. First, it allowed them to create a comfortable sleeping area. Second, it helped them to escape from predators or extreme weather conditions. Third, mothers would use it to dig dens in order to give birth to their puppies. And finally, it would be used to cover their poop after defecation to hide their scent from rivals or predators.

Today, not all dogs will exhibit this behaviour, but for those that do, it can be deeply ingrained and difficult to change. The best way to deal with it is to provide your dog with a designated scratching area - such as a carpeted mat or a patch of dirt in the garden - and to train them not to scratch elsewhere. 

They’re Uncomfortable

a tri-colour cocker spaniel in a red fluffy bed

If you've ever seen your dog scratching at their dog bed, you might have wondered what they're doing. More often than not, this is simply a dog's way of rearranging their bed to be more comfortable. Dogs have a strong instinct to build their nests, and they'll often use their paws to dig and scratch at the floor until they're satisfied with the result. 

This behaviour is most common in puppies and young dogs, but adult dogs will also do it from time to time. So if you see your dog scratching at their dog's bed, there's no need to worry - they're just trying to get comfortable.

A Sign of Ill Health

If your dog suddenly starts scratching at the floor more frequently than usual, it could be a sign of a medical issue. This is especially true for elderly dogs, as excessive scratching can be a sign of mental decline or an attempt to relieve pain from arthritis in their leg joints. 

If you notice your dog scratching at the floor more often, take them to the vet for a check-up to see if there is an underlying medical condition.

1 comment

  • Susan Shaw
    • Susan Shaw
    • November 14, 2022 at 11:27 am

    Unfortunately my dog has been scratching bed spreads lately. This is due to not having
    enough exercise because I have been unwell lately and also she is terrified of fireworks.

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