Why Do Dogs Scratch Their Bed & Should You Ever Stop Them?

Are you tired of purchasing a new dog bed every couple of months for your dog’s comfort? And see that every time your pooch tear it up by his continually scratching at it before he lies down to sleep? Understanding why your dog habitually scratches at his bed (as well as the carpeting or other sleeping places) before he lies down and why to do about it may help solve your problem.

Are you interested in a particular topic about your pup’s bed scratching habit? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

Why do dogs scratch their bed?

One of the main reasons why dogs scratch their bed is because it is instinct. All dogs’ ancestors once lived in the wild. Wild dogs sleep on the ground and would scratch the soil and turn in circles as a means of making their beds more comfortable and helping to conceal their position from other predators.

Even after thousands of years of being domesticated, this instinct lives on in most dogs.

Also, it is a way for dogs to mark their territory and make their bed feel like “home” to them. Dogs have sweat glands in their paws, and scratching their bedding delivers their scent to the bed. To a dog, it gives a homey, familiar scent that they feel comfortable returning too.

Why does my dog scratch my bed sheets?

If you allow your dog to sleep on your bed, chances are your bedsheets will be scratched as well. Your pup does this for the same reason. Partly out of instinct and partially to place the scent on the bed, so the pet feels more comfortable and able to relax.

Why do dogs scratch before lying down?

Dogs scratch before lying down for the same reason you may fluff your pillows or straighten your top or bottom sheet. For comfort.

Just like people, dogs like sleeping in positions and on bedding that feels comfortable to them. And scratching and turning is their way of making a place to feel more comfortable.

If you watch your dog closely, you will notice that he may scratch for a while, lie down and get up and scratch and turn some more. This is his way of making his bedding feel comfortable and safe. It’s a form of nesting behavior.

More about dogs nesting behavior

As well as scratching and turning, you may see some dogs burrowing under the covers. They do this to either feel warmer or to hide (from the threat of predators). This, too, is healthy and instinctual behavior on the part of your dog and nothing to worry about.

Besides, a pregnant dog will begin scratching more to build a nest in which to give birth. When you see a pregnant dog doing a lot of frantic scratching and turning, you can be sure she will soon be delivering her litter.

How to get a dog to stop scratching their bed?

It really isn’t advisable to try and stop a dog from scratching their bed. Since this instinctual behavior, stopping a dog from scratching could result in making your dog extremely nervous.

However, there are some things you can do to keep your dog from shredding and scratching the bed. Try cutting puppy’s nails or capping them. Cover the mattress with a thick blanket. Or put some old quilts, you were about to throw away, there instead.

And do I really need to do it?

Since bed scratching is a natural and healthy behavior, you don’t need to prevent your dog from it. All you need to do is to take steps to prevent the bed from being ruined and still allowing your dog to find a way of getting comfortable.

Credits: thanks for the photo to Canva.

dog paws

Disclosure: At Doghint.com we only mention the products that we’ve researched and considered worthy. But it’s important to note that we are a participant of several affiliate programs, including VigLink, ShareASale, Skimlinks, and Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a mean for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate Doghint.com earns from qualifying purchases.  Also, please note that Doghint.com does not intend to provide veterinary advice. All published articles are meant for informational purposes only. And this information should not be substituted for professional veterinary consultation.