Why does your dog scratch its bed before laying down?

Kövess Péter

2024. March 13 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

A beagle dog stretches on a large sofa. The beagle lies on a brown textured sofa.

Has it ever happened that your dog "digged" its bed or scratched the floor before laying down? Here is how to interpret its behaviour.


Just as we have our own bedtime rituals – a mug of hot tea or reading in bed – so do our pets. If you find your dog scratching at its bed, it may be trying to prepare for sleep in its own way.

If your dog scratches a lot, it is not consciously trying to cause harm; it is probably just acting on instinct

1. Dogs often scratch out of instinct

Some experts believe that the dog’s bedtime scratching may be an evolutionary remnant from the days in the wild before domestication . This behaviour may mimic the way wild dogs dug holes in the ground to spend the night in relative comfort, protected from the cold, the elements and predators.

If a puppy is scratching its pillow on the bed, it might just want to turn it into a soft nest where it feels safe and secure.


Dogs often dig holes in the wild to sleep

2. Scratching may also be used to mark the area

Just like wolves, dogs have scent glands on their paws that secrete long-lasting pheromones. These play an important role in communication between dogs . So another theory is that a dog scratching the floor is trying to send a chemical message to its companions, marking its territory.

3. Sometimes it just follows its nose

In rarer cases, a dog may start “digging” in the home because it is alerted to an unusual smell, which could be from a stray rodent or some forgotten food scraps. All the animal is doing is

instinctively trying to find the source of the exciting smell.


A dog can sense things you can’t

4. Scratching can also express anxiety

Compulsive scratching on the floor or furniture is a different matter altogether. This may indicate that the dog is over-excited or under stress, causing severe anxiety. If you see this, you might want to see a vet before the situation worsens.

bed dig dog scratch sleep

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