Why Do Dogs Scratch Carpet? 5 Important Things You must Know

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Dogs are known as man’s best friend. They’re cute, playful, and oh so friendly.

On top of that, they’re fiercely loyal and think of you as a part of their pack that they need to protect.

Most of the time a dog will be better company than most people. They know when you’re happy, sad, angry, or overwhelmed and they always know how to make you feel better.

Basically, dogs are the best pets ever.

Sometimes though, they make really bad roommates and they do things that make us as their owners want to pull out our hair in frustration.

One of those things is digging and scratching carpeting.

You’re at home, sitting on the couch relaxing with your pup and suddenly they decide that the corner of the carpet is the most interesting thing your dog has ever seen in their life.

They start sniffing, then next thing you know your dog is scratching or digging and tearing up your beautiful carpet!

Most of us have seen our dogs exhibit digging behavior, but usually it outside in the dirt, not inside your home.

Outside it’s cute when your dog gets excited and digs in the ground to bury a bone and then rolls around in the dirt wagging their tail.

When your dog starts doing that to your carpet though, suddenly it’s a whole lot less cute.

So what causes this kind of destructive behavior to overtake your usually amazing furry best friend?

Keep reading and I’ll tell you the things that cause it and what you can do to prevent your dog from scratching the carpet.

Why Does My Dog Try To Dig In the Carpet?

There are a lot of reasons why your dog may scratch the carpet, all the way from primal urges, to boredom, to anxiety.

The most common cause of carpet scratching in dogs is that your furry companion is seeking your attention.

When your dog scratches the carpet, they know that you’re going to react. Immediately you’re going to try to find a way to stop them from ruining your carpeting.

In this way, dogs are kind of like kids. When they start acting up, it doesn’t matter if the attention is negative because it’s still attention that they previously didn’t have.

Usually, when a dog behaves this way it means that they have a lot of excess energy that they desperately need to get out!

One of the easiest ways for pet owners to fix this behavior in dogs is to play with them to get out all that energy!

Whether that’s rough-housing, playing tug-of-war with their favorite toy, playing fetch, or simply taking them for a stroll, dogs need their owners to spend one-on-one time with them.

This is really common in hyper dog breeds, so if you have a high energy dog make sure you’re taking them for enough walks, playing with them often, training them, and giving them interesting toys to play with when you leave.

Pretty quickly you should see their behavior change for the better, and your flooring and carpets will thank you.

Beagle dog tired sleeps on a white carpet floor

Why Does My Dog Scratch the Floor So Much?

In some dogs, this kind of scratching behavior can be a sign of separation anxiety.

A lot of the time the reasons your dog seems to always scratch at your carpet while you’re away is that they seriously miss you while you’re gone and don’t have other ways of telling you.

Separation anxiety in dogs is one of the most common things your dog may be experiencing, especially if they’re new to your family and home.

After all, while their owners get to go out and explore the big, wide world and interact with others whenever they want to, a dog’s only constant companion is their owner unless you have other dogs.

If you suspect this is the cause of their scratching, try to spend more time with them while you’re at home and give them an interactive toy filled with cookies, or even a puzzle toy for them to solve and play with.

This helps keep them engaged and interested in something so that they don’t worry as much about you coming home.

Another thing that may help their anxiety, especially in the beginning, is to have a friend or neighbor come to check in on them If you know you’re going to be away for a long period of time.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Scratching the Carpet?

Although all dog lovers appreciate their furry friends, they usually don’t appreciate their interior decorating skills.

Dogs may think they know what’s best for our home but unfortunately, they don’t have all of the info needed to properly decorate.

While we can critique our dog’s design choices all day, your carpet may benefit from a more hands on approach to correcting their behaviors.

Make it a habit to walk your dog a few times every day and get them some more interactive toys to play with that will challenge their brains.

By focusing their attention and energy on another task, such as figuring out how to get their cookies out of a toy, you’ll help break them of their destructive behaviors and anxiety.

Why Do Dogs Scratch Their Beds Before Lying Down?

Our friendly domesticated companions aren’t that different from the wild dogs they came from.

Scratching is a dog behavior that has roots in behaviors that dogs exhibit in the wild.

When you notice that your dog seems to make circles around the site where he sleeps and will smell his bed before he starts digging away at it, know that that behavior is completely normal.

Dogs like to nest. They like to make sure that the den they’re sleeping in is safe, secure, and comfortable.

That also means if they catch a scent that doesn’t belong in their territory, such as another animal, then they’re not going to relax until they’ve made sure their sleeping area is secure.

If their sleeping area isn’t the right temperature, that is if it’s too hot or too cold, your dog may start scratching at their bed or carpet where they usually lay.

In the wild, dogs may dig into the dirt to find a cooler or warmer spot to lay.

The first thing you should do is check the spot where your dog sleeps for any drafts, hot spots, or open vents.

If it seems comfortable and that the scratching is just a habit your dog has when making his den, then you may want to try getting them a bed with raised sides to lay in.

If your dog is a chewer and not a fan of sleeping in a dog bed, then try laying down some old blankets over the area where your dog tends to do their digging.

It may not completely stop them from digging, but it will definitely help protect your carpets more.

Beagle dog tired sleeps on a carpet floor

What Can I Do To Keep My Dog From Scratching in the Future?

If none of the solutions we’ve outlined here help your dog fix his digging or scratching behavior, then there may be something more serious happening that requires the attention of your vet.

If sometimes the way your dog digs seems almost obsessive and you notice their eyes glass over while they tear up your floor, then your dog may have an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

While rare, if you can’t seem to break your dog’s attention while they’re scratching the way to the bottom of your floor, then it’s time to bring the question up to your dog’s vet.

An even more serious issue may be the culprit if you can rule out stress and boredom as reasons why your dog likes to scratch the carpet.

Although your dog is likely just in need of behavioral training, if you notice them constantly licking and biting at their paws, it could be a sign of a thyroid imbalance, serious allergy or skin condition, or brain tumors.

If at any point your dog becomes aggressive toward you when you try to correct their behavior, seek medical help from their vet immediately.

The sooner they can diagnose what’s going on with your dog, the more they can help them.

The most important thing to remember is that your dog doesn’t scratch your carpet because they’re bad or they’re trying to upset you.

Often it’s something completely out of their control like stress, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or a number of other reasons.

If you can’t figure out what’s causing your dog’s behavior, then bring up any question you may have to their vet. It’s their job to help you find out what’s wrong and to give you more information.

A dog is one of the best friends a person could ever ask for, and in the opinion of the author, if it takes a ruined carpet or two to find out exactly what that dog needs to make their life better, then it’s worth the lost carpet.

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