Why Do Dogs Scratch Their Bed Before They Lay in It

Why Do Dogs Scratch Their Bed Before They Lay in It

If you have a furry friend at home, you may have noticed them engaging in a peculiar behavior before settling down for a nap or sleep – scratching their bed or blanket. While it may seem odd, dogs have instinctual reasons behind this behavior. Here’s why dogs scratch their bed before they lay in it:

1. Marking their territory: Scratching their bed helps dogs mark their territory by leaving their scent behind. Dogs have scent glands in their paws, and scratching releases pheromones, which not only mark their territory but also provide a sense of familiarity and comfort.

2. Creating a comfortable space: Dogs scratch their bed to create a comfortable spot to lie down. By scratching and pawing at the surface, they are fluffing up the bed or blanket, making it softer and adjusting it to their liking.

3. Relieving stress or anxiety: Scratching their bed can help dogs relieve stress or anxiety. It may be a way for them to release pent-up energy or frustration, providing a sense of comfort and security.

4. Maintaining body temperature: Scratching their bed can also be a way for dogs to regulate their body temperature. By scratching and kneading the surface, they create a small nest-like area that can help them stay warm or cool, depending on the weather.

5. Digging instinct: Dogs have an inherent instinct to dig. Scratching their bed mimics this behavior as they may be trying to create a den-like environment, similar to what their ancestors would do in the wild.

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6. Preparing a sleeping spot: Dogs may scratch their bed to prepare a sleeping spot that is free from debris or uncomfortable objects. This behavior ensures they have a clean and safe place to rest.

7. Habitual behavior: Lastly, scratching their bed may simply be a habitual behavior that your dog has developed over time. They may have learned that scratching the bed is associated with relaxation and sleep, so they continue to do it even if the reasons behind it are not clear.


1. Is it normal for dogs to scratch their bed before lying down?
Yes, it is a normal behavior for dogs to scratch their bed before settling down.

2. Should I be concerned if my dog doesn’t scratch their bed?
No, not all dogs exhibit this behavior, and it is not a cause for concern if your dog doesn’t scratch their bed.

3. How can I discourage my dog from scratching their bed?
If you find the scratching behavior bothersome, you can redirect their attention to a designated scratching post or provide them with a different type of bedding material.

4. Can excessive scratching damage the bed or blanket?
Excessive scratching may cause some wear and tear on the bed or blanket over time, but it is generally not a significant concern.

5. Can scratching their bed be a sign of anxiety?
Yes, scratching their bed can sometimes be a sign of anxiety or stress. Observe their overall behavior and consult with a veterinarian if you have concerns.

6. How can I make my dog’s bed more comfortable?
You can add extra padding or a soft blanket to your dog’s bed to make it more comfortable.

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7. Is scratching their bed a sign of a medical issue?
In most cases, scratching their bed is a normal behavior. However, if your dog excessively scratches or shows signs of discomfort, it is best to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues.