Why Do Dogs Scratch Their Beds? 4 Reasons Explained


It’s not uncommon to see our dogs exhibit all sorts of strange behaviors, whether it’s running around with the zoomies, licking their paws, or even scratching their bed. Although these habits are often simplified to “just being a dog,” our furry friends are complex creatures with a range of behavioral and instinctual tendencies. In fact, many are established in dogs’ genes before they are born or develop over the years!

Put simply, there is usually a reason behind your pup’s funny behaviors. Learn why dogs scratch their beds!

Fall is the perfect season to enjoy sweet treats and festive foods with your furry friend! Before you get carried away with pumpkin and apple recipes, it’s important to take a few precautions. Even though there are many safe foods for dogs with an autumn twist, some varieties are a no-go. Follow our dos and don’ts while preparing these seasonal classics.

#1: It’s a Natural Instinct

Wolves, the relatives of our furry friends, can still be found spending the night sheltered under large rocks or on mountainsides in the wild. Because dogs evolved from wolves, it’s likely this scratching behavior originated prior to domestication as a way to protect their newborn pups from predators. Wolves would scratch at the ground to form a den, which would likely be used for generations as a shelter.

The next time your dog starts scratching at their bed or a blanket, just know they are tapping into their innate behavior!

beagle sleeping on bed

#2: Regulate Their Temperature

Despite their insulating coat to help regulate body temperature, dogs feel hot and cold just like us! If dogs dig in their bed, it could mean they are experiencing an extreme, undesirable temperature.

When dogs are hot, they may scratch to remove the top layer of bedding—which is warmer—to get to the cooler layers. Conversely, a dog may fluff up the bedding to create a warmer layer to sleep on when they are cold.

This tendency can be traced back to wild pups moving leaves, sticks, and rocks as they tried to find a comfortable temperature to rest.

#3: Mark Their Territory

If you are a pet parent to multiple dogs, you may wonder: why do all my dogs scratch their beds? Being pack animals, dogs are naturally defensive creatures, especially when it comes to their own space!

Dogs will intentionally leave their scent behind to let others know that the area is occupied. In other words, they are trying to “save their seat.” As dogs do this, pheromones are released from the scent glands located in their paw pads. Because dogs have such a strong sense of smell, this is a useful and effective way to communicate with each other!

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#4: Express Boredom or Stress

Dogs may scratch because they don’t have another way to release their boredom or stress. Our furry friends are active creatures and require consistent mental and physical exercise. Let them safely roam outside on a tie-out cable, take them for a walk (don’t forget to let them stop and sniff!), or play fetch. If they don’t receive proper stimulation each day, your furry friend may find their own ways to entertain themselves—which can lead to behaviors like scratching the bed or even destructive chewing. Inactivity can also lead to higher levels of stress.

If you’re wondering why dogs dig in their bed even after plenty of physical activity, it could be their way of managing separation anxiety or another major change, such as moving to a new home or transitioning to a different diet. A healthy and active lifestyle is key to preventing boredom and stress!

It’s Bedtime—Start Scratching!

You do not need to fret over your dog scratching their bed; it is a completely normal and harmless behavior. If you are worried about the behavior affecting your furniture, however, you can use a dog repellent spray to help train your dog to stay off valuable belongings.

Otherwise, let your pup do what they do to get comfortable!