There are many reasons your dog might scratch the floor. This article will explain those reasons and discuss options to stop your dog from scratching the floor.
Why Does My Dog Scratch The Hard Floor?
Experts believe that floor-scratching is linked to a dog’s primal instincts. However, there are also emotional reasons for dogs to scratch the floor.
The following explanations will be discussed in this article:
- Stress relief
- To feel secure
- It’s a habit or compulsion of theirs
- To mark their territory
- Because it feels good
- Fear response
Why Does My Dog Scratch The Carpet?
There are a few reasons your dog could be scratching the carpet:
- Comfort. Your dog may have decided the carpet is not comfortable enough for their standards, and are now trying to correct that with scratching.
- Stress relief. Your dog might just be excited or stressed. In that case, this is just their way of getting that out there.
- Curiosity. Your dog may have smelled something else on the carpet, like food or another animal, and is now trying to get to the bottom of it.
Why Does My Dog Keep Scratching The Floor After Giving Birth?
There are several reasons your dog may feel the need to scratch the floor after giving birth.
The main reason she might be doing this is to create a safe and comfortable place for the puppies. It is her way of nesting. If you’re concerned about this behavior, you can try to mitigate it by giving her alone time with the puppies. You could also take her outside to get some fresh air. This behavior will stop as your dog gets more comfortable.
It could also be a sign of aggression. Some dogs become aggressive after giving birth due to hormonal changes and general discomfort. Other signs include biting, growling, and snarling. The behavior should only last a few weeks. In the meantime, you should try not to provoke her: don’t get in her safe space and only help with the puppies when necessary.
You may need to take your dog to a vet if they exhibit other symptoms such as:
- Excessive anxious behavior
- High fever
- Loss of appetite
- Panting excessively
- Refusing to nurse the pups
Why Does My Dog Scratch The Floor While Sleeping?
If your dog is scratching the floor while they’re asleep, it may be an unconscious habit, like when people grind their teeth at night.
Why Does My Dog Scratch The Floor When Eating?
Your dog may be being possessive. They could be trying to claim the territory, so to speak.
Dogs sweat from their paws, so scratching can be considered a territorial act. Sweat is a unique scent that can be enhanced by the dog’s scratching. Sweat is related to pee, so just as dogs pee on things to claim their territory, they also claim territory by transferring their sweat.
Why Do Dogs Scratch Floor Before They Lay Down?
Your dog may be trying to make the area more comfortable for themself before lying down.
Before they were domesticated, dogs had to dig out space for themselves to sleep in, like a bird building a nest or a lion claiming a den.
They also used to scratch at the ground as a means of regulating the temperature. If it was too hot, they would find a cooler ground to sleep on by digging it up. If it was cold, digging could make a more insulated space for the dog to sleep.
Why Does My Dog Scratch The Floor Before Eating?
Your dog is acting on their instincts.
In the wild, dogs would take food and bury it to save for later. Your dog may be trying to recreate that behavior by scratching the floor.
Why Does My Dog Wake Up And Scratch The Floor?
If your dog always scratches the floor as they wake up, it may be a compulsive behavior of theirs. You might have a similar habit when you wake up, like rubbing your eyes or scratching your back.
Why Do Dogs Scratch The Floor After They Poop/Pee?
If your dog is doing the scratching outside, they may be trying to eliminate another dog’s scent. If they feel like their poop or pee wasn’t enough to get the other dog’s smell out, they might try to scratch it out instead.
Another explanation relates to the dog’s instincts. Wild dogs may scratch the ground after they pee or poop to mask the odor and avoid tipping off potential prey.
Why Does My Dog Lay On His Side And Scratch The Floor?
Your dog might be bored.
Your dog could consider scratching a form of entertainment as well as a way to get out any energy they have. Scratching can be an easy answer to their boredom, especially if they have no toys or humans to play with.
Why Is My Dog Panting And Scratching The Floor?
Your dog may be stressed. Stress relief is one of several reasons dogs scratch the floor. Panting, especially when the dog has not exercised recently, is another sign of stress.
Why Is My Pregnant Dog Scratching The Floor?
Like with newly mothered dogs, pregnant dogs are scratching the floor as a way of nesting in order to prepare for the future puppies. In pregnant dogs, this is actually a sign that the dog will go into labor soon.
Why Does My Dog Scratch His Head On The Floor?
There are a few reasons your dog might scratch their head, including:
- To leave an impression. Your dog might be trying to rub their scent off on the floor to mark their territory.
- To scratch an itch. Your dog might have an itch or discomfort on their head or in their ears. You should take a look at it, since it could be an infection or allergy.
- To iron out their wrinkles. Some dogs, such as bulldogs and pugs, have deep wrinkles. These need to be cleaned out regularly, since they collect dirt and bacteria. If you don’t clean them often enough, your dog will be uncomfortable and will try to relieve themselves by rubbing their face on the floor.
- To get clean. In a similar way, your dog might rub their face against the floor to clean their face, since they can’t really lick it clean.
- To do it. Some dogs simply develop a face rubbing habit because they like how it feels.
Why Does My Dog Scratch The Floor When It Thunders?
Your dog might be trying to get out their anxiety.
If your dog is scared of storms, they might be trying to scratch the floor in an attempt to create an exit tunnel. They might also be looking for something they can have control over as a part of their fear response.
Or, it could just be a way of expressing their stress, the way a human might bite their nails.
Why Do Dogs Scratch The Ground When Barking?
It depends on why they’re barking. For example, if they’re barking at another dog, they may be scratching the ground as a way of announcing their presence to the other dog.
Why Do Dogs Scratch The Ground With Their Back Legs?
Dogs have glands in their feet, which contain pheromones that get released when they scratch the ground with their back legs.
This used to be a way for dogs to mark their territory, since the pheromones would be absorbed into the ground and make it known to other dogs that they were there. Domestic dogs don’t really need this, so it’s just a natural instinct at this point.
It can still be a way to mark their place. If you see your dog sniffing the ground before pooping or peeing, they might be trying to sniff out their own pheromones so they can find their spot again.
Why Do Female Dogs Scratch The Ground?
Female dogs scratch for all the same reasons as male dogs.
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Scratching The Floor?
Make sure they have a cozy place to sleep
If your dog is scratching the floor to make it more comfortable, you could stop them by providing them with a spot that meets their standards.
Studies have shown that dogs prefer a rounded bed with raised edges, possibly because it resembles the space they were trying to recreate for themselves when they started scratching. Make sure that it is big enough for the dog, and has blankets and soft cushions to keep things warm and cozy.
To get your dog accustomed to the new bed, reward them for lying down on it.
Make sure they’re getting enough exercise
If the dog is trying to get out their excess energy by scratching, you should do more to help them toward that goal. Play with them for more time, and take longer and/or more frequent walks. If you don’t have the time, make sure your dog has access to toys that can keep them stimulated.
This may not stop the behavior, but it could significantly reduce it.
Think about the thermometer
If your dog is trying to regulate the temperature of their surroundings, it could be too warm or too cold for them. Did the season just change? Is there a draft in the room? Is the floor cold?
You might be able to get them to stop scratching by changing the house temperature to their preferences. If the floor is too cold, you might lay down a blanket or get a carpet.
Look into ways of reducing their anxiety
If you think the scratching is a fear response, or otherwise a way of coping with their anxiety, you might want to find another way to relieve their symptoms.
If they’re only scratching at night, they might be afraid of the dark, which you might be able to fix with a night light.
Supplements like Canna-Pet can be a quick and easy way of reducing their anxiety. However, if you could also consult your vet for advice.
When you see your dog scratching the ground, give them something more interesting to focus on. Direct their focus to a toy or treat. The dog might be more interested by virtue of the fact that you’re involved.
Always use positive reinforcement when the dog stops scratching the floor so that they know that not scratching the floor is a good thing.
Keep a clean home
One of the reasons your dog could be digging around is because they’re curious about a smell they’ve encountered. Make sure to clean properly (especially after dropping food or spilling a drink) to avoid piquing your dog’s curiosity.
Give them something to dig
If your dog scratches for the fun of it, you could try redirecting their focus from digging up your floor to something you’re okay with them scratching, like a sandpit. Encourage them to do their scratching there by redirecting them.
Is Them Scratching The Floor A Medical Condition (Is It Normal)?
Usually, when a dog scratches the floor, it’s just them acting on instinct.
However, there are some instances where the scratching was a sign of a medical condition, especially one that causes destructive behavior in dogs. You might want to pay closer attention if your dog started floor-scratching out of nowhere or if they’re doing it a lot more than normal.
If you’re concerned that this is the case, you should take your dog to the vet to see if they can figure out what’s wrong.
Do All Dogs Scratch The Floor?
Because there are so many different reasons that dogs scratch the floor, and because some of them are instinctual, chances are that your dog scratches the floor.
It is possible for there to be dogs that don’t scratch the floor, and in some cases you can stop your dog from scratching the floor. Therefore, it would be a generalization to say that all dogs scratch the floor.
Can It Cause Harm To The Dog If They Scratch The Floor?
Scratching is not generally dangerous for the dog. More often than not, it’s something your dog does to relieve itself of stress or boredom, or it’s just an instinct of theirs.
What Your Dog Is Trying To Tell You When They Scratch The Floor?
Usually, your dog is scratching the floor for their own personal reasons. Sometimes, though rarely, they could be trying to get your attention.
They have separation anxiety
If your dog only seems to scratch when you’re not around, it may be that they have separation anxiety and scratching is a form of relief for them.
If you’ve noticed other symptoms of separation anxiety, you should speak to your vet.
They’re in pain
When a dog gets hurt, they might shout out at first. If you’re out of the house when that happens though, you wouldn’t know your dog got hurt. Your dog can’t just walk up to you and say they’re in pain. They might be scratching the floor to get your attention so they can tell you they’re in pain.
If your dog is scratching before they lie down, they could be trying to tell you that it’s not comfortable enough. You could get them a comfier place to sleep.
As stated earlier, scratching can be an easy stress reliever for your dog. If they’re stressed, they may look to you for comfort to help them reduce their anxiety.
If your dog is really only scratching the floor for the fun of it, then they may not be getting enough stimulation throughout the day. It is important for your dog to have a wide variety of toys to play with, and it is also important for them to get enough exercise. Take them on walks, play fetch with them, drive them to the dog park.
Just like with stress, they could be trying to tell you they’re afraid. If this is the case, then they probably don’t scratch the floor that often; just when they feel trapped by whatever it is they’re afraid of (such as a thunderstorm).