If you have a furry friend, I bet you definitely asked yourself: “Why Do Dogs Dig on Beds?” You probably were in this same situation before: your perfectly made bed with pretty fluffed up pillows all of a sudden gets messed up by a four-legged creature jumping on it and starting to wreak havoc by rolling, digging, scratching, chasing, and later when your pal is all done engaging in mischief, it starts cuddling up to you. Is it normal or something to worry about? Let’s find out and “dig” into this dog-digging problem.
History Of Dog Digging
First of all, I want to reassure you: typically, dog-digging is completely normal. This great doggie “tradition” goes all the way back to their wolf ancestors: wolves would have to sleep in the wilderness, in the open air, and would have to look for a suitable spot to rest for the night. They had to get rid of insects, pests, twigs, rocks, and other hard objects that would be in the way of curling up like a pretzel and catching some good z’s. The only way to do this was to “fluff” the ground with the paws, so it would become their comfy bed.
Also, by digging in one particular spot, a wild dog would give it its own scent, since doggie feet have these unique scent glands located right on the soles. This ritual would serve as an indicator to other animals that this place is occupied, so nobody would try to take over the spot our territorial fella specifically chose for its convenience.
After all, don’t the two-legged do similar things before bedtime? We also like to fluff our pillows, as well as throw on an extra comforter to keep ourselves warm on a chilly winter night. Just another good proof that we are also animals, just more sophisticated versions.
For canine mothers, digging was always not only a “call for comfort,” but also a safety precaution: she has to give birth in a safe, warm, and cozy place. Therefore she would have to dig a den to hide her offspring from predators while keeping them and herself comfortable, shielded from harsh winds by the den’s walls. Hence, the wild ancestor dogs transferred this habit for future generations to come.
Why Does My Dog Dig On My Bed?
So why do dogs dig on beds? As any dog owner, you know that dogs like to sleep in a pack, like their wild predecessors used to do. Therefore, your pooch thinks of you as one of the pack members. The best-case scenario is that it considers you as a pack leader, the one to look up to and follow. Hence it will happily curl up to you to keep his master warm.
Isn’t it nice indeed when you get out of the shower and plop yourself on a nice warmed-up in advance bed on that freezing winter night? I’m sure you agree that it is definitely one of the great bonuses of having a four-legged pal. Even if he messes up your perfectly fluffed pillows, it is worth it because you get a very cozy sleeping spot in return.
By the way, Pugs, for example, are known to be one of the best bed-warming breeds. Just throwing it out there in case you were still looking for a fluffy friend to add to your “pack.”
Also, your pal will dig to help regulate its body temperature: when it’s hot, it will try to find the coolest spot on the bed and sleep there. On the contrary, when it comes time for chilly weather, it will fluff the covers to make its bed more cushiony for a “toasty” and comfortable sleeping experience.
Learn more about: Leaving Pugs Home Alone
Now, since we’ve covered very valid reasons for dogs digging in bed, some digging and scratching behaviors are not normal and owners have to be wary of them.
Dog Digging In Bed: When Should I Worry?
In some instances, dog bed-digging could be an alarming sign that something is wrong.
- Joint Problems: if you happened to have an older dog, the digging and scratching could be a sign that they are trying to find the least painful position for sleeping as they have joint inflammation, like arthritis or osteochondrosis. It should be beneficial to go check it out with an animal health practitioner.
- Mental Health Issues: another reason could be anxiety or OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) problems. When your dog is anxious, it is trying to calm down in any way possible. And if digging helps it to relieve some of the built-up tension, it will surely engage in this type of behavior. While you may not mind it doing so on its own bed, you won’t like it if it’s doing it on your $2000 couch. Noticed your pooch digs excessively? Time to pay your vet a visit.
- Plain Boredom: yep, simple as that. As a pet parent, you are most likely familiar with the fact that a bored pet is a recipe for disaster. In case your furry companion doesn’t have enough toys to play with or doesn’t get enough exercise throughout the day, it will come up with some other ways to occupy itself. And that doesn’t necessarily mean it is something you are going to approve of.
Nobody wants to come home and find holes in the bed/couch, torn-up pillows, badly scratched wooden floor, and, most importantly, chewed-up wires. Good thing if your mischief didn’t hurt itself in the process of slowly destroying the house from the inside.
Major takeaway? To prevent dog digging in bed, you need to make sure your friend has enough toys to play with and is fully supervised at all times.
How To Stop Your Pooch From Excessively Digging?
- Provide Enough Physical Stimulation: like we were saying earlier, a bored dog becomes a bad dog. Therefore, try to exercise it at least 2 times a day, for about an hour total.
- Mental Stimulation Toys: puzzle toys work best at keeping your pooch engaged for prolonged periods of time. The ones where a furry pal has to figure out how to get to the treats are really cool. Try Kong toys, you won’t be disappointed.
- Designate One Digging Spot in the Yard for Your Pooch: if you noticed the little hooligan is digging up dirt all over the place in your yard (including those freshly-planted tomatoes), choose one spot where you allow it to dig and teach it to only do it in that particular spot. Reward every time a furry fella is doing the right thing.
We have covered the subject of dog-digging and fully answered the question of “Why Do Dogs Dig on Beds?” The main thing is that you have to be able to tell the difference between normal digging behavior and the one that you should pay attention to. As soon as you notice an abnormal, anxiety-driven scratching, you should take your dog to the veterinary specialist without delay.
Family Dog Expert Author
Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.