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Why Is My Dog Scratching His Bed or Digging Before Resting?

Written by Adaptil, published on 27 May 2022

We may never be 100% certain on all the factors of why dogs do certain things. But from looking at the behaviour of our own dogs and putting this together with where they have evolved from, we can make educated connections on what they are doing and why.  

Cooling Down 

In the wild, digging behaviours can help dogs find an ideal temperature for sleeping. A dog will walk in circles and scratch away the top layer of grass and soil, exposing the cooler ground beneath to lie in. This can still be seen in our pet dogs at home before they are about to take a nap.

Have you ever seen your dog scratch away at the bed before they lie down? 

Even though this may not be as essential anymore, it is still an instinct that is present. This may be more common when your dog is hot, as an attempt to find a cool spot to snooze in. 

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Getting Comfy 

It could also be a method of making a comfortable bed for themselves, by scratching they make a hole into the ground which they can go into which can is said to also help conceal them better from potential predators (not that our pet dogs need to worry about this). 

Marking Territory

When they scratch, they naturally release pheromones from their paws which marks the bed as theirs. By doing this action they could be telling other dogs that this is their home. 

Anxious Behaviour 

If your dog is worried about something or anxious, they may behave differently. 



Take a look at ADAPTIL's Back to Nature short documentary video: An ode to dog origins, friendship and challenges of modern life. Dogs deserve our support to cope with our modern environment.

If your pup seems uncomfortable, it could be an underlying medical cause that is making your dog restless; so be sure to watch out for your dog’s rest patterns, body language and behaviour. Please contact your vet for a check-up or contact a qualified clinical animal behaviourist (CAB) if you are worried. Take a look at Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) or Fellowship of Animal Behaviour Clinicians (FABC) list for more information or help. 

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