Dogs have peculiar behaviors, much like we do. One weird and somewhat destructive thing dogs can do is scratch their bed. This normally happens when they go to sleep or when they want to rest in their beds. You have probably seen your pup dig or scratch into the covers before they settle.
What Makes Dogs Scratch Their Beds?
You may wonder why they do it and what could be the possible triggers. Well, here are some of the reasons why:
Dogs are all descendants of wolves and foxes; both these animals lived in the wilderness. They did not have comfortable, warm beds to lay down on as our dogs do. Consequently, they would scratch the ground to make it warm and cozy or remove any sticks or stones in that area. Dogs inherit this behavior from their ancestors, which is one of the reasons why they scratch their beds.
Scratching is their own way of ensuring that the bed is comfortable enough so that they can lie down comfortably. They also do this, like their forebears, to remove any dirt or toys. Sometimes, the material on the bed could be scrunched up, and your dog can scratch it to make it more comfortable.
You might notice your pup still does that even when there is nothing on their bed. That could be because it is an innate behavior.
For Territorial Reasons
Another reason your furry friend can be scratching their bed could be to mark their territory. Dogs have different behaviors to show or mark their territory, such as peeing or pooping in an area. Scratching their sleeping area also helps mark their territory, ensuring another animal doesn’t infringe on their space.
Dogs have scent glands on their paws that they release when they scratch, making it easy to know their territory. The scent is especially helpful to blind dogs who use it to locate their area.
One of the ways you can determine if your dog scratches for territorial reasons is by observing their behavior. If it intensifies when a new dog comes into the house or when you move to a new house, the scratching can be territorial.
To Soothe Their Anxiety
Dogs who suffer from anxiety can turn to scratching to relax. It can also be a sign of overstimulation. The scratching might be accompanied by circling the place they are to lie down on. While this is normal, you must pay attention to the scratching frequency, as doing it excessively can be a problem.
This is especially necessary if they don’t rest after scratching. It is advisable to seek a veterinary doctor’s advice and help if you feel like the scratching is getting out of hand.
To Make The Place Warm
You can tell if your dog is scratching for warmth if they do it underneath the blankets or the bedding. Vigorous scratching is because they want to make the place warmer, which is also something they inherited from their ancestors.
This is a sign that you need to provide warmer covers for them. You may notice that they mostly do this after being outside or on cold days. If they continue scratching after providing extra material, they could be doing it due to natural instinct, and you don’t have to worry.
Copy Cat Scratching
Not all dogs scratch out of an innate drive; some might do it because they saw another dog doing it. This is usually the case for newer dogs or puppies. You should try toning down that behavior before the new dog takes it over. This kind of scratching can quickly become destructive, and you want to stop it before it escalates.
Female dogs about to give birth can go into a scratching frenzy. This can be their way of comforting themselves and preparing the area for their puppies, ensuring they stay safe and warm. It is a form of nesting and is brought about by hormones.
How To Stop Your Dog From Scratching Its Bed
There are different ways to stop your dog from scratching, especially if it becomes a problem. Providing a different, more comfortable bed can be one way to prevent the bed scratching.
Find a firmer bed that they can’t easily scratch through. You might even consider buying a memory foam mattress for your pup. It will mold itself to the dog’s shape, making it more comfortable.
You can also try filling their sleeping area with blankets to give them warmth. They can use these blankets to create a comfortable den. If your pooch shows a particular problem with the blankets, change them altogether. Experiment with various textures and thicknesses until you find one that they like.
The above measures might not apply if your pup’s scratching is for territorial reasons. If that is the issue, don’t change the bed or wash the pillows and blankets. Cleaning the sleeping area will take their scent off the bed, making them scratch more to restore it.
There is no need to stop your dog’s scratching if it is not destructive. You can instead clip their nails to reduce the damage they cause. You might also want to choose a tougher bed that will not get easily destroyed.
So, why do dogs scratch their beds? The most common reason your pooch might be doing this could be for territorial reasons. This behavior is inherited from their ancestors who lived in the wilderness and had to find a warm, comfortable, and safe space to rest.
Observe your dog to see if the scratching could be an indication of an underlying problem. If it is not something you can solve, contact your vet for help.