Dogs always seem to find a way to get into the most inconvenient places and one place that many love is the humans’ bed.
Dogs seem to enjoy digging at bedding before flopping down to sleep – but why do they do it?
There are several reasons why dogs scratch at the bed sheets and we’ll explore them in this article.
A common thing that many dogs do is scratching up bed sheets. This usually happens when the dog is trying to sleep on your bed and scratches at it with their claws. Dogs will do this for various reasons from simply wanting to get comfortable through to feeling stressed or anxious. Most often though they are simply making their bed.
Dogs want a comfortable bed
Dogs will go out of their way to find the most suitable place to sleep. They will usually look for somewhere that is enclosed and has a surface that isn’t too hard or too soft.
The ideal sleeping grounds are slightly elevated, sheltered from wind, rain or harsh sunlight and located in a cool place.
So when your dog is trying to sleep on your bed, he or she is probably just looking for a comfortable place that also offers them some security.
Scratching up the bed helps relieve stress
When dogs scratch at their bedding they are actually doing it to help calm themselves down and relax.
It’s how they show that they are in a calm and relaxed state of mind.
Scratching is a type of displacement behaviour that dogs do when they are feeling anxious, nervous or stressed.
It’s also a way for them to show you that they really love the bedding because it takes them time and effort to mess it up.
They’re basically saying “look how much I like this bed, I even want to sleep in the disaster that I’ve created”.
It is an instinctive act for dogs
Although your dog is a pet you should remember that he is also driven by genetic dog instincts.
Digging before resting is a common activity among wild dogs as they clear the ground of pests, insects, rubbish, leaves and anything else that could present danger or impact comfort.
When your dog digs at your bedding he is often just acting out of dog instinct and is, in fact, making his bed.
Why not get him his own luxury dog bed?
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Bed scratching can be an act of marking territory
Dogs have sweat glands in their paws which leave scent that other dogs can detect.
By scratching and digging at your bedding your dog could be marking the bed as his territory.
This can often occur if a new pet has been introduced to the home with your dog asserting his claim over the bed by leaving his scent on the bedding.
Making a nest
Some bitches will undergo phantom pregnancies when they become broody and act as though they are having puppies.
They will often build nests out of household items such as coats, shoes, cushions and even the bedding on your bed.
Some breeds just like to dig
Certain breeds such as terriers are built to dig and will make the most of any opportunity to do so – your bed can be an ideal area to dig up.
Your dog may dig the bed to get rid of energy
All dogs need physical and mental stimulation and, if your dog is not getting enough of this, then he will find ways to expend his energy.
Many problems can arise from a bored dog including chewing and general destructive behaviour which can also include scratching the bedding.
You put clean bedding on the bed
If you’ve recently changed the bedding then it’s possible that your dog is scratching the bed to replenish his scent.
Remember that your dog’s sense of smell is infinitely more powerful and enhanced than yours and that nice fresh and clean bed just needs some doggy odour adding to make it feel like home.
Should you let your dog scratch the bed sheets?
Well, this is up to you.
Most of the reasons for your dog scratching the bed are perfectly natural and will do your dog no harm at all.
The only times that you may need to address this behaviour are if:
Your dog causes damage – the easy way to stop this is to close the bedroom door and not allow your dog into the room or onto the bed.
Your dog is releasing his excess energy – the simple solution is to give your dog more exercise and some mental stimulation in the form of training or games.
If you tire your dog out then he is less likely to dig your bed up.
If your female dog has false pregnancies then she may dig the bed. Get some professional advice from your vet to help her to deal with the symptoms.
Having had bitches that had false pregnancies there are medicines available from the vet that can deal with this.
Dogs often do things that don’t seem to make much sense to humans and digging up the bed sheets can be one of those strange acts that we struggle to understand but which is perfectly normal to a dog.
Remember that your dog’s perspective on life is often very different to yours and if he digs up your finest cotton bed sheets then that’s normal for him.
If you don’t want your dog to dig up the bed then keep the bedroom door closed.
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Last update on 2023-11-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API