Why Does My Dog Dig Its Bed?

Why Does My Dog Dig Its Bed?

Have you experienced settling in for the night only to observe your dog perform his bedtime ritual? He might fluff everything around by scratching at the bedding and circle three times before curling up into the bed. 

While this routine may put a smile on your face, it might also raise the question “Why do dogs scratch their beds?” 

Also called denning, this behavior, however, is not something to be worried about. In fact, it’s completely normal for dogs. Learn more about why do dogs dig their beds and what you can do if you want it to stop 


  • Why Does My Dog Dig Its Bed?
    • 5 Reasons Why Your Dog Digs Its Bed
      • 1. Its Body Temperature
      • 2. Marking Its Territory
      • 3. Behavioral Instincts
      • 4. Nesting Behavior
      • 5. Comfort
    • What Do I Do If My Dog Is Digging Its Bed?
    • Frequently Asked Questions
    • Conclusion

5 Reasons Why Your Dog Digs Its Bed

Although we may not know exactly why–since they can’t say what’s on their mind. These five theories are the best that we know of:

1. Its Body Temperature

Why do dogs dig in their bed? Digging can be instinctive and habitual for dogs. In nature, a ‘dog digging in bed’ is an essential method in the wild for temperature control. In cold weather, digging a hole helps wolves to be immersed in available body heat.

When it’s hot outside, on the other hand, dogs may dig up a bed of cool soil, exposing a greater surface area of their bodies since they have limited sweat glands.

That is why it’s natural for dogs to burrow into the resting place and maybe evident with a dog scratching his bed or pawing a hard floor.

2. Marking Its Territory

Bed-scratching can also be a natural way for dogs to mark their territory. You’re probably familiar with a dog urinating on objects to claim them as their own. The same is true when a dog does a couple of bed digging. Your dog’s foot pads have glands in them which release an odor that is unique to your dog.

A dog digging on the soil or scratching at trees is often for the same reason. Your dog is more likely to come back to a bedding area if they already feel it’s his. So if you’re wondering, ‘why my dog dig in his bed?’ it’s likely because he wants to mark that spot with his scent glands.

3. Behavioral Instincts

Denning is part of a dog’s instinct. They create a den or a safe space for themselves to hide in, just like they would if they were out in the wild.

A shallow hole would allow them to have a resting spot that is comfortable for them to sleep in and protected from any potential intruders for the night.

Although this is not necessary, since your dog is living inside a home, but the instinct still remains and can lead to a ‘dog digging on bed’ behavior.

4. Nesting Behavior

Another reason for your dog digging its bed is its maternal instinct. Your female dog’s bed-scratching behavior will begin to intensify when she is getting ready to have her puppies [1].

This action is called ‘nesting’, and it’s a natural, hormonal reaction to any dog that is feeling a bit broody. So keep a close eye on your pregnant dog if you notice her doing this. This might mean your dog is close to birthing.

5. Comfort

The most obvious reason why dogs dig their bed is comfort. Just like how humans fluff their pillows and arrange the bedding to their liking, dogs may do the same thing. If a dog is arthritic, for example, you may notice him making a circle and digging at the bed in an effort to lessen the pain.

What Do I Do If My Dog Is Digging Its Bed?

Now that we have covered your ‘why do dogs dig in the bed?’ question. It’s time to discuss what you can do with this type of behavior.

Take note that your dog’s digging or scratching habit is driven by its natural instinct which also means he is not misbehaving.

Taking this into consideration will help as you make an effort to redirect your dog’s behavior. Here are a few tips you can do if your dog is digging its bed:

  • You can opt to only allow your dog on your bed when you are able to check out her behavior or decide not to let your pet into your bed.
  • If you want to encourage her to nap elsewhere, you can make a cozy space for her to sleep in where she can scratch or dig as she pleases. This place can include an old rug or blankets, a dog bed, or all three.
  • Open crates or boxes are also helpful. You can encourage your dog to rest in this place by offering treats and praise when he chooses that as his sleeping area.
  • Try relocating his bed to a more private space.
  • If your pup keeps scratching the floor and leaving marks, consider investing in nail caps or training classes.
  • When you are not around, always keep your bedroom door closed to help keep your pup off your bed.
  • When you are supervising your dog and he suddenly jumps on the bed, you can shout “no!” as many times as required to get him off the bed. This will teach him that this behavior is not considered.
  • To increase your dog’s comfort, though, you have to be mindful of your indoor temperature and cool your home by setting an air conditioner or a fan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need To Take My Dog To A Vet If It Is Digging Its Bed?

Yes, you need to take your dog to a vet if it is digging its bed especially when it’s becoming compulsive despite attempting several ways to stop it. You might need a little help dissuading the behavior if it’s actually a compulsion. 

You could try to schedule a behavioral consultation with your vet or a trusted trainer. However, if your dog’s digging is within the normal state, and its cushion is not being shredded completely that it becomes unsafe or unusable, then there’s no need to take your dog to its vet.

What Can I Do To Prevent My Dog From Digging Its Bed?

Since this behavior is instinctual, you cannot necessarily prevent your dog digging its bed, but you can redirect it. These include settling commands if your pup knows them or use the down to teach him that he’s not allowed in your bed. 

You can also stop the dog digging using a toy or a treat. If your dog is damaging your bedding consider offering him his own cover or blanket to dig at to spare your good stuff. You could also treat them to a snuffle mat or increase their activity through physical and mental stimulations. 

Perhaps, your dog is just bored and finds digging fun so it’s better to give him a different activity to do.

Do I Need To Change My Dog’s Bed If It Is Always Digging It?

Yes, you need to change your dog’s bed if it is always digging it. Particularly if his excessive digging and scratching have completely shred his bed. Sadly, even the best dog beds cannot prevent a dog’s natural instinct to dig. But you could try investing in a high-quality dog bed that provides comfort, support, and durability.


Your furry friend’s digging might not have anything to do with her bed. It could just be one thing in which she enjoys doing. Dogs dig around for plenty of potential reasons, even if there’s not much to “dig” on his bedding or your carpet.

We hope we helped you unravel the mystery of “why do dogs dig on the bed?” Don’t worry, as long as your dog’s indoor digging behavior doesn’t seem obsessive, there’s no need to be concerned about it.

The same can’t be stated for your dog’s bed, however. So think about buying in one that stands up to pre-sleep, late-night attacks.

Kathy R. Conner
Kathy is a licensed veterinary surgeon and writer in Miami. With over 20 years of experience in deal with pets and small animal, she hopes to share her knowledge on what she learned throughout her life to all animal lover. On her free time, she likes to attend Yoga and Meditation classes.

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