June 29, 2022

8 Reasons Why Your Dog Scratches The Bed Sheets And What Can You Do About It

Have you ever wondered why your dog scratches the bedsheets? Here are some tips for dog owners!

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As a dog lover, have you ever wondered why your dog scratches bed sheets? I used to see my furry friend scratching on his blanket, and the question arose; why does he do that?

Dogs scratching their bed sheets are a common problem for dog owners. Many fur parents know that dogs scratching their bed sheets is a widespread behavior. Here are several possible main reasons why dogs scratch the bedsheets, and possible explanations that maybe will shed some light on the situation.

It's Their Natural Instinct

Dog on top of a white bedsheet lying on his back..

Dog digging bed is mostly caused by natural instincts, rather than bad behavior.

The main reason is that your dog has an urge to adjust its comfortable sleeping position. This urge may cause it to scratch or dig into bedsheets and pillowcases. That's his sleeping habit. Your pup is only doing what the dog’s wild ancestors have done for years! This can be traced down to their ancestors, wild dogs. As their ancestors made their beds out of sticks, rocks, and dirt, and naturally scratched their beds' surfaces to make them look comfortable. Some dogs digs a shallow hole as an act of self-preservation. If so, it shouldn’t be surprising that your domesticated friend sometimes exhibits such dog’s behavior.

They Are Marking Territories

Dogs marked their territories in the wild by scratching the ground to leave behind a distinctive scent. Dogs have scent glands at the bottom of their paws that secrete a scent when they scratch. They will also rub themselves against objects whenever they're excited to leave behind some of their scent on them. They couldn't understand that we didn't like them scratching our sheets, so they did anyway. 

Most experts agree that the spot turns into a place that feels more like theirs—one they’re likely to return to, which is more likely to mark their designated resting spot. Perhaps this is one of the various reasons why bed scratching behavior intensifies whenever there’s a new visitor or a new dog in the household.

If you are introducing a new pet to your home for the first time, be sure to introduce it to your dog slowly. If your dog shows signs of aggression or territorial behavior toward the new animal, consider talking to a pet behavioral specialist.

If you've come home and know dogs get territorial when he picks up another scent, change your clothes, shower, and maybe use an odor-neutralizing spray to remove the scent.

They're Just Trying To Get Comfortable

Naturally, you have laid the bedsheet in a way that suits your taste, but your dog has another plan. As part of his desire to have a very comfortable place, he could decide to scratch the bed sheet and maybe blankets to suit his taste and comfort. This is just his natural way to have a nice place.

Your dog doesn't need a perfect spot to rest his head, but he does want a comfortable spot or a safe place where he feels secure. Digging is your dog's way of clearing away any natural debris like twigs and rocks. This is why you'll often see dogs digging around in their beds before they settle in for a nap. They want that spot to be just right. So it’s a good idea to let your dog sleep in a durable bed that suits his scratching habit.

Pet owners can solve this problem by providing their dogs with a more comfortable sleeping spot. Whether you've got a puppy that just likes to dig and scratch, or an older dog that has arthritis, comfortable space is essential to solving the problem of your dog scratching the sheets before they settle in for the night. 

There are hundreds of options on the market for different types of beds, from plain blankets to heated beds, or even orthopedic memory foam. If you're looking for something that'll last longer than a few months, it's a good idea to find a bed that is washable and durable. 

They Are Curious

Another reason why dogs dig is to discover something. If they are thinking that something exciting is hiding under their bed, like leftover food or a toy, they might dig to find out where it is.

If a pet owner loves eating a meal in bed, there's a good chance that food bits or odors are left on the sheets, and your dog can sniff them. As they scratch bed sheets, they will not find any food, and they will just keep scratching.

One easy solution is not to eat all your meals in bed. Do you have to veto pizza in bed, or do kids sneak cookies out of the kitchen and hide under the covers to eat them? Removing food smells will keep your dogs from scratching your bed.

If you insist on eating your dinner in bed, either change your bed or eat your food on a tray where none of the food falls onto your sheets or duvet.

There's Something Biting Them

Dogs are very sensitive animals that can detect potential parasites on surfaces. Perhaps they sensed something crawling on such as tick or lice and mites on the bed and were attempting to get rid of it.

They will scratch off these parasites into their new bedding so that they can get some relief from the itchiness and pain. So if you observe your dog scratching your bed sheet before sleeping, then check his fur for these parasites. If you find them, take steps to treat them by going to a veterinarian.

They’re Bored

This is probably the most common reason a dog will do anything destructive.Anxious dog, those who don’t have enough stimulation will be looking for something to do. Often dogs find a way to work out their boredom and frustration. 

If this is the case, you’ll want to increase their daily physical and mental exercise. It might mean adding an extra walk or two a day, longer walks, or adding in some training sessions focusing on positive reinforcement. If your dog is particularly intelligent, you can teach them multiple tricks back to back until they are completely worn out mentally!

Toys that keep your pup busy while you’re away are great ways to keep them mentally stimulated and physically tired out. Try giving them puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys that will keep them busy when you’re not around. They are also proven to reduce separation anxiety - a common trigger for scratching and chewing behaviors.

By keeping them occupied with some entertainment, they won’t feel the need to seek out their bedsheets and do new habits. Always give your pup a big reward for their good behavior.

They Are Cold

Does it ever cross your mind if your dog feels cold? So this is why your dog may be scratching the bed sheets because they are in a cooler place. If this is the case, your dog may be trying to make a warm place for them by scratching at the sheets so that your dog can get under them. For dogs, temperature regulation is a must for them to feel comfortable.

The best thing would be to give your dog more blankets so that he is kept warm in the cold temperatures. Place some extra blankets on their beds for them to snuggle into and stay warm.

There are also some great dog clothes you can purchase to dress your dog in, to keep them warm during cold weather. You could put a heating pad in the room they’re in, just for an extra boost of warmth, but make sure it is safe and away from them so they cannot burn themselves or get into any accidents with the heater. 

They Have Allergies

Your dog might be having an allergic reaction to the detergent that you are using for your bedsheets, and they might feel uncomfortable while they are lying on your bedsheets. They may scratch at your bedsheets to remove any of the things that might be making them uncomfortable.

Skin allergies would also cause the animal to bite, scratch, and lick too much. There are also some sores or red spots on their skin where they have been scratching too much. If this is the case, it’s a better idea to change your detergent to an environmentally friendly or gentle option. Ask your vet about any treatments you can give your dog for skin allergies.

They Are Nesting

When about to give birth, the female dog often scratches her bed.

In the canine world, such behavior of pregnant dogs is indicative of maternal instinct.

It's normal for a mother dog to dig and scratch at her bedding before she gives birth. She's making the resting place comfortable and safe for her pups. The good news is that maternal nesting doesn't last forever. Your dog will need to be available for nursing her pups. Well, if you are a paw parent and your dog breeds, you must provide her an open crate and a bed that suits her nesting instincts.

Strategies To Help Your Dog's Scratching Behaviors

It is the pet owner's job to provide a high-quality dog bed to suit your dog’s comfort. Unfortunately, a dog's natural instinctual behavior resurfaces even on the best beds. Try these tips to see if your dog begins to use his bed area as intended.

If you're interested in finding out why dog are digging in their bed, we hope this article was helpful! If your dog’s unwanted behavior, like scratching, appears to be destructive or has become especially bothersome, a veterinary appointment is probably a good idea.