12 Reasons Why Dogs Scratch the Floor & Easy-Fix Solutions (2024)

A young girl and her Golden Retriever lying together on a gray area rug.

When your dog is settling down to sleep, you may notice she does certain things before she finally lies down to rest. One of those things can be scratching.

Dogs may scratch at the floor for many reasons, and it’s a good idea to understand the reason so you can determine if you need to intervene.

Why do dogs scratch the floor? Dogs can scratch at the floor for many reasons but usually do so as a way to make the spot more comfortable or because they smell a scent and want to learn more about it or remove it from the area. Dogs can also scratch to mark the area with their own scent.

If your dog scratches at the floor before it sits or lies down, you may be wondering about the reason behind it. Read on to learn more about this type of behavior.

1. Natural Instinct Before Lying Down

For many dogs, scratching at an area before lying down is a natural instinct.

It’s believed that dogs would instinctively scratch to trample down tall grass, make a comfortable indentation in the earth, and access cooler soil before settling in to sleep.

Even for indoor dogs, that instinct is still strong.

2. Trying To Make a Comfortable Spot

Your dog may be scratching as a way to remove something to make the spot more comfortable for her to rest.

Dogs can sometimes smell or notice things that humans don’t, and they may be trying to make the spot flat, dig out a hole to help support their body (a natural instinct), or even warm up the spot.

If your dog seems to be uncomfortable, consider moving her to a different spot, providing a blanket or dog bed, or changing the temperature to ensure your dog will sleep well in the designated location.

3. To Mark the Area With Their Scent

Dogs like to claim certain locations and spots as their own, and they do this by leaving their scent in the location. They can leave their scent behind by releasing pheromones and oils on the surface of their skin.

By scratching the ground, they spread this scent around to ensure other dogs know the spot belongs to them. This is natural behavior and will help your dog feel more comfortable in her bed.

4. To Eliminate the Scent of Another Dog

If the dog can smell the scent of another dog in the spot where they are lying, she may scratch at the spot to remove the scent of the other dog.

By scratching and moving dirt or materials around, the dog may feel as if the scent is being removed as well.

Use odor-removing sprays or powders to remove the scent of the other dog from the floor, and clean it thoroughly often.

5. Anxiety

Dogs can suffer from anxiety if they are left alone, have experienced a major change to their living situation, or when they are introduced to new people or places.

Your dog may be scratching at the floor as a way to relieve stress or anxiety.

Dogs that have anxiety are known to be destructive and can tear up the carpet and other types of flooring.

Consider crating your dog so she feels comfortable and safe in the environment, and provide your dog with affections and a routine to help calm her anxiety.

6. Boredom

When dogs are bored, they can become destructive and demonstrate various behaviors. Your dog may be scratching at the floor as a way to relieve that boredom and feel active.

The dog may be trying to see what is under the floor or may just be scratching to have something to do.

You can help prevent boredom by providing your dog with plenty of social interaction and mental stimulation.

Buy your dog new toys, offer puzzle games (this one is a classic favorite), take your dog for walks, and provide plenty of attention and affection each day.

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7. Excess Energy

Dogs need a lot of exercise to help them get out their energy and boredom.

If your dog is not getting the appropriate amount of exercise or doesn’t have a chance to run and play each day, she may be scratching because she has a lot of excess energy she needs to release and has no other way to do so.

Make sure you take your dog for daily walks and allow her to play outside each day to get plenty of exercise and get rid of the excess energy.

8. Itchy Paws 

Dogs can have infections, injuries, parasites, or inflammation that can cause their paws to be itchy or uncomfortable.

As a way to alleviate this discomfort, the dog may rub her paws on the floor or scratch at the floor. The texture of the ground or floor may feel good on the dog’s feet and help soothe the itch or pain.

Check your dog’s paws for any signs of an injury or irritation and make an appointment with a veterinarian to have any issues treated.

9. Seeking Attention

It’s easy for dogs to figure out what types of behaviors get your attention, and even though they may get in trouble for a certain behavior, they still continue to do it to get any attention possible, even if it’s negative.

Providing your dog with regular attention and affection may help to control attention-seeking behaviors and stop the dog from scratching at the floor.

10. Nesting Behavior

Dogs that are pregnant may scratch at the floor as a form of nesting behavior.

The mother dog will feel the need to prepare an area where she can give birth safely and comfortably and will also want to make sure the area is comfortable for the puppies when they arrive.

Scratching at the floor is a way for the mother to make the floor just the way she wants it before she delivers.

Provide your dog with a comfortable blanket, dog bed, or whelping box in a quiet and calm location so she can deliver her puppies peacefully.

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11. Spilled food or Crumbs

If food or drinks have been spilled on the floor or if there are any crumbs or food debris on the floor, the dog may be scratching to lift up the crumbs so she can eat them. 

She could also be scratching to see if there is any food under the carpet.

Cleaning the floor, using a deodorizing product, and vacuuming up any crumbs or food will help prevent the scent and should stop the dog from scratching at the floor.

Wrapping Up

There are many reasons why your dog may be scratching at the floor. If your dog does this occasionally, it may just be a natural instinct and no cause for concern.

If your dog does it regularly, it may be a sign of a problem that requires your intervention.

Last update on 2024-06-12 at 12:41 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API