Why Does Your Dog Scratch His Bed?
17 January, 2018
dog scratch at bed

Dogs love to sleep anywhere and everywhere!  And sometimes before settling into their bed or even a sofa, they tend to scratch or dig before lying down.   While this peculiar behavior is cute, it can be aggravating if your pup constantly ruins his bed or new sofa.   Then, why is it that your dog scratches at his bed?


There has been some schools of thought that digging at bedding, upholstered furniture or rugs and carpets is similar to digging a hole or spreading bedding to make a nest.  This is the most likely purpose when a dog then lies down in the specific spot he was scratching.  Dogs dig holes for protection from extreme heat and cold, and the scratching is the transformation of his soft bed into a nest or den before he feels truly safe.

Marking territory

Dogs, like wolves, have scent glands on the bottom of their paws and between their toes that secrete pheromones. Spreading their scent helps dogs communicate on a nose-to-nose basis, and the scent produced from these glands can be long-lasting.  If there is more than one dog in your house- this could be the reason.

Investigating what’s in or around the bed

Scratching or digging inside a bed can also be a way for your dog to investigate something that sparks his interest, whether it’s a delicious smell or a fascinating sound.  Tis can be particularly applicable in a sofa cushion where there really might be some hidden food!

Just want to get comfortable

Just as we smooth the sheets and fluff the pillows on our beds, your dog might have the urge to rearrange their bedding for greater comfort. Digging, circling and trampling may have once shifted sticks, stones, leaves and grass into a position more to their liking when outdoors and the instinct is the same.

Getting the right temperature

Scratching could also be an attempt to get a more appealing temperature zone, either warmer (by removing snow) or cooler (by reaching a cooler stratum of earth). Dogs often dig such holes outdoors, and may repeat the behavior indoors by habit.

How to stop the scratching

If you want to stop this behavior so you don’t have to buy multiple beds, there are a few things you can try.  Add more blankets to your dog’s bed or offer softer textures.  You can even try one very heavy, large blanket on the bed.  And invest in a high quality bed that is supportive and durable.  If your dog is attacking the sofa, try to make your bed more appealing and re-train your dog to use the bed.

If your dog’s scratching has become an issue, see if your veterinarian has any ideas to stop this.  However, if the scratching is just the bed and there isn’t any damage, just consider it as one of your dog’s cute but strange habits!

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