As a dog owner, you are probably getting accustomed to the sometimes weird habit of your dog. Today, we are helping you understand why would your dog scratch your bed sheets. After all, many people search for "why does my dog scratch my bed sheets," and I thought it would be an exciting topic to discuss today.
When your dog scratches your bed sheets, there is no need to be alarmed. It is an entirely natural behavior observed in most dogs. However, if you notice your dog scratching himself a lot or licking his paws, it might signify that he has allergies. If that's the case, you can look at 21 ways to relieve your dog's itching.
A little bit of history on wild dogs and why dogs dig
It's sometimes difficult to understand why people and pets have a particular behavior. However, it almost always stems from behaviors that previous generations had to learn to survive.
One such behavior in humans is "social proof:" if many people are seen doing something, then it's probably good and safe, correct? Nowadays, reviews and testimonials are so critical when buying a product.
When it comes to dogs and why dogs scratch bed sheets, we can link this behavior to an ancient behavior called Denning. Dennings is where a dog builds and retreats to a shelter. Denning is also observed in dogs' wild relatives like wolves and foxes.
Before becoming domestic animals, dogs had to create adequate shelters. Back then, dogs would dig deep holes to protect themselves against predators and harsh conditions, including cold and heat.
In modern society, you see this behavior when your dog digs up the years on a hot day or hides under the kitchen table during a thunderstorm.
12 reasons why your dog scratches bedding or other objects
I have scoured the Internet for answers and come back with surprising findings. Every one of the reasons below explains a little more about dog behavior, and it helps us understand them better.
1. Look no further: he wants to be comfortable.
You might have got your dog a perfectly (expensive) comfortable dog bed; he won't sleep on it and instead use your bed. But before he does, he will scratch the bed sheets; why? The reason could be that he does not like to feel the lumpy sheets under him.
If you like to make your bed a particular way and feel frustrated every time your dog messes with them, teach the "stop it" command to let him know he should not do that.
2. Check the weather: he may be feeling hot or cold.
Depending on the time of year and the temperature inside your home, your dog may be looking for a cool place to sleep.
The same way we sometimes sleep on the covers in the summer or under the sheets when it's cold, your dog's behavior might be temperature regulation.
Dogs dig their bed in the wild because buried soil is usually neither hot nor cold. If you go about 30 feet deep in the soil, the temperature almost does not vary throughout the year.
Even dogs don't dig that deep, but they know that they might reach a more desirable temperature by scratching and going deeper in your bed.
I spotted my girlfriend's dog sneak under blankets on the couch and then popping out her cute face and ears (she's a chihuahua). Domesticated dogs can't dig in your home, but they can scratch and hide under things!
3. Do you know about paw glands? He might be showing territorial behavior.
Dog owners all know too well the territorial behavior of their dogs and how keen they are on letting every other dog in the neighborhood know they walked there.
However, do you know how dogs mark their territory inside the home? Your furry friend might use his paws.
Paw glands can leave a distinctive scent behind, so digging and bed scratching helps them feel secure and lets other pets know that it's already claimed and off-limits.
If your dog starts becoming aggressive when you come near the bed, he might have taken his territory a little too far. We will discuss a few ways you can train your dog to stay off your bed if that's the case.
4. Female dogs might be expecting babies.
If your dog is a female and constantly scratches the top layer of your bed, then your canine friend might be expecting babies. Pregnancy hormones are weird and curious.
Bed scratching is a natural dog's maternal instinct, and the dog mom is creating a comfortable spot, or nest, for her new pups. If you suspect that to be the case, seek veterinary advice to confirm whether your dog is pregnant or not.
When the pregnancy is confirmed, you can help her get her actual nest ready by providing her with a particular room or open area and making it as comfortable as possible.
She can stop scratching yours and get ready for her puppies by giving her a new bed!
5. It's just a wild behavior called denning.
Dogs are domesticated pets, but it wasn't always the case. Other animals like wolves and foxes dig the soil at night to create a comfortable and safe shelter.
Pet owners keep wondering, "why does my dog scratch my bed," and the answer could be that it's just a wild behavior. For example, a dog digs his bed at night to sleep comfortably.
You might not have soil in your bed, but you have sheets.
6. Could he be searching for food?
I'm not judging; while I like to keep my bed off-limits from food and snacks, it's happened before. If this is your case, your dog may be smelling remnants of your snack and hoping to find a crumb or two.
7. It's in their genes.
Have you researched standard behavior for your particular dog breed? For example, certain species are known for their digging behavior. Look up your dog's breed on Google with the keyword "digging" and see if that's the case.
8. He may be looking for parasites.
If you notice your dog is severe and maybe even feeling anxious while scratching your bedsheets, he may have sensed parasites such as ticks, lice, or mites. If that's the case, your dog will look like he is on a mission.
If he doesn't stop after a couple of minutes, remove the bed sheet, dust it, and lay it again. You may go as far as cleaning the sheets if you suspect he is right.
9. He could be reacting to the heat produced by your bed sheet.
The material of your comforter, seamless covers, or bed sheet could make your dog hot. When you see him dig in your bed, he could simply be looking for a more relaxed layer or more comfortable material for his sensible paw pads.
10. Is he imitating a member of his pack?
Dogs are serious about their pack. A new dog or new pet in your household could be learning behaviors from other animals in your home.
You will know that's the case if you have several dogs, for instance, and this behavior is shared by not just one but at least two dogs in your household.
11. He might have misinterpreted your initial reaction.
The best way to train dogs is with positive feedback, such as treats, praise, and petting.
You might have accidentally rewarded his behavior the first time he scratched your bed sheets. However, you can train him to unlearn this behavior by withdrawing all your attention when he does it.
12. It could also be hunting behavior.
Some dog breeds that are known for hunting may scratch more in general. For example, rat Terriers and Dachshunds were bred to chase underground pests such as small rodents. So again, Google your dog breed to see if that could be the case.
How to prevent your dog from scratching your bed sheets
Let's discuss a few ways to prevent your dog from scratching your bedsheets.
Make your bedroom off-limits.
Whether you keep the bedroom closed or used a baby gate, you can physically make your room off-limits and train your dog not to go there. It's a simple solution, and it works.
Trim your dog's nails
Shortening your dog's nails won't do as much damage. However, it also has numerous benefits, such as preventing diseases, reducing floor damage, and preventing the same type of damage on other furniture.
Set him up with a better alternative
Look at the list of potential reasons in this article and take note of the ones that may apply to your dog. Create a new resting environment for him:
- Include a pressure relief mat. They're cheap and will help your dog relieve his digging habit.
- Include different types of blankets or sheets.
- Make sure it's cool enough. If you suspect your dog is hot, create this environment in a cooler area of your home.
- Add some of his favorite toys and reward him when he goes there.
Adjust your home's temperature
During summertime, you may turn on a fan for your dog. In the winter, give him some extra blankets to feel comfortable.
We have discussed various reasons why your pup does this, whether to mark territory or adjust the temperature and feel more comfortable. Hopefully, this has answered your question and given you ideas on how to prevent this behavior if it bothers you.