Why Do Dogs Dig and Scratch Their Beds

Posted by Eddie Toy on

It’s no question that dogs are man’s best friend, but sometimes your furry friend can leave you feeling frustrated with their less-than-ideal habits.

Dogs love to dig and scratch, but this behavior can wreak havoc on their surroundings - including their own beds!

So why do dogs dig or scratch their beds? The reason dogs dig in their beds isn't a complicated one. Understanding the reasons behind their digging can help you address the issue and prevent any further damage.

The Biological Reason Dogs Dig

Did you know that your dog’s love for digging is written in their DNA? That’s right - their wild ancestors used to dig dens in shallow holes to shelter and protect themselves from harsh weather and predators. 

Nowadays, our domestic dogs don’t have to worry about surviving in the wild, but their natural instinct to dig holes remains strong. While some dog breeds are more inclined to dig than others, all dogs possess this natural behavior to some extent. 

There are a variety of different reasons your pup could be digging: 

Entertainment: We all know how it feels to be bored when left alone, but what about our furry friends? Dogs also get bored when left to their own devices and often resort to digging to pass the time.

Comfort and protection: If it is hot, cold, or windy outside, dogs might dig a cozy little hole for them to lay in to protect themselves from the elements.

Hunting: Your dog might be trying to catch an animal or insect that is burrowing in your yard.

Escape: The grass always looks greener on the other side, right? Your dog might dig itself out to explore greener pastures, or maybe it saw another dog it wants to play with.

Buried Treasure: Some dogs will bury anything they feel needs safekeeping - think dog toys and bones. Later, they will dig again, this time looking for that buried treasure.

So we’ve established that digging is an inherent behavior for dogs, but why do they channel this urge towards their own comfy beds specifically? 

Other Reasons Your Dog May Dig or Scratch Their Beds

Our furry friends' love for digging doesn't necessarily stay outside, as it can also manifest indoors. This behavior can be triggered by certain stimuli and can even disrupt a pet parent’s bedtime ritual if your dog starts digging in their bed. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons dogs dig in their beds.

Temperature and Comfort

In the wild, dogs would dig and scratch at the ground, adjusting the soil or snow to maintain their body temperature. This skill was crucial for their survival, as they didn't have the luxury of cozy dog beds and heated homes.


Although our furry friends now enjoy the comforts of modern living, their primal instincts remain. So, if your dog scratches and adjusts their bedding, they're likely trying to optimize their sleeping environment for warmth or coolness.

Nervous Behavior

If your dog is digging and scratching a lot, it could be a sign your dog is feeling anxious or stressed. Just like humans, dogs can experience a range of emotions, including fear and worry.

Have you recently moved to a new home or changed your dog's routine? These changes can be particularly stressful for dogs, who thrive on consistency and familiarity. Separation anxiety is another common trigger in dogs.

It's important to pay attention to your dog’s behavior and try to identify the source of their anxiety. This could be anything from loud noises to changes in their diet. Once you understand what's causing your dog's stress, you can work on finding ways to help them cope.

Safety Check

Safety is always a top priority for dogs, even when they settle down for the night. You may have noticed your dog turning in circles before lying down. This behavior has roots in their wild ancestry, where dogs would dig and create a safe sleeping area to protect themselves from predators.

Similarly, your domesticated pooch may still have the instinct to assess their surroundings and adjust their bedding to make it more comfortable and secure. By digging and moving materials around them, your dog may be trying to create a cozy and protective spot to sleep in. 


Dogs have a natural instinct to mark their territory and establish ownership over their space. Their footpads contain scent glands that release a unique odor that signals to other animals that the area belongs to them.

When it's time for bed, your dog may feel the need to claim their space and leave their scent on their bedding. So if you catch your pup digging in their bed, it's actually a positive sign that they love their bed and want to mark it as their own.

This territorial behavior is just another example of how dogs rely on their instincts, even in our modern homes.

How To Stop the Digging

Stopping your dog from digging, scratching, or even chewing their dog bed can be a challenge as it is an instinctual behavior, but there are ways to redirect their behavior. Consider trying these solutions:

Old Blankets: If your dog loves making a nest, provide blankets on top of their bed to create a cozy spot for them to sleep.

Cool Down: Your dog may also dig when they are looking to cool down. If your house is hot, think about placing your dog's bed underneath or fan or air vent.

Relocation: Moving your dog's bed to a quieter or more private area may be a good idea to help them feel safe and secure, which can prevent digging.

No Means No: When your dog starts digging at their bed, use a firm "no" command and reward them with a toy or treat when they stop.

While you are trying to address the digging behavior, consider supervising your dog while they are in their bed. 

How to Prevent Your Dog From Scratching and Digging

If you're looking for ways to prevent your dog from scratching and digging, there are several things you can try. 

One option is to regularly trim your dog's nails to help reduce the amount of damage they can do. Additionally, providing your dog with alternative ways to play and expend their energy, such as chew toys or interactive puzzles, can help redirect their digging behavior. If your dog's scratching and digging is due to anxiety, there are calming supplements or therapies that may help them feel more relaxed. 

Finally, a cozy and comfortable bed is a must-have for any dog. Not only does it provide them with a designated space to rest and relax, but it also supports their overall health and well-being. Investing in a high-quality dog bed from CordaRoy's is an excellent way to provide your furry friend with the comfort and support they need. 

Our dog beds are available in three different sizes, from 30” to 50”, to fit any dog breed. They come with a waterproof cover to protect against accidents, and the 10 inches of eco-friendly polyfoam stuffing will ensure that your dog's bed won't flatten over time. You can also customize the bed by adding or removing stuffing to suit your dog's needs. 

By providing your dog with alternative outlets for their behavior, you can help protect your home and keep your dog happy and healthy.

What Your Dogs Digging Habits Say About Them 

Your dog’s digging may be habitual. If bedtime is most likely when this unwanted digging happens, you might want to schedule some time to redirect your dog during this time.

Just like people, it takes time for dogs to learn new habits. After a month, if your dog has not been digging in their bed, odds are a new habit has been formed. Once these habitual behaviors have changed, it takes little effort to maintain them.

While some people already view their pups as their children, you can really compare the two in a few different ways. Dogs, like children, sometimes engage in negative behavior to get attention. If your dog is digging when they know they are not supposed to, it may be a sign that they are asking for more quality time with you. 

In Summary

Dogs have a natural instinct to dig, even in their bed. This instinctive behavior stems from their wild ancestors who would scratch and dig to create a comfortable and safe place to rest. 

While domesticated, many dogs still exhibit these instinctual behaviors. If you want to save the bed you purchased from damage, there are a number of things you can do.

Offer your dog some old blankets to go along with their bed. Your pup might enjoy burrowing, and that is why they are digging in the first place.

Be patient when trying to redirect this behavior and make sure your dog feels happy and safe in their environment.

Finally, consider buying a dog bed from CordaRoy’s! Whether your pup is a little extra playful, or simply in need of a comfortable spot to unwind and relax, our dog beds are designed with durability in mind. Not only are they supportive, but they’re also incredibly cozy, providing your four-legged friend with the softness and comfort they deserve. 

So why wait? Get your furry friend the perfect place to nap today with CordaRoy’s dog beds! 


10 Dog Breeds Who Love to Dig | VetStreet

Separation Anxiety | ASPCA

Why Do Dogs Walk in Circles Before Lying Down? | Live Science

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