Being a dog owner means being distinctly aware of your pet's behaviors as they go about their day-to-day routine. You see how sweetly they greet you every time you come home, and how jumpy they get when they know you have their favorite treats… not to mention their occasional restless scratching on the floor!
That's the bit where you start getting restless, too. "Why do dogs scratch the floor?” you start to ask. “Is it something I should be worried about?"
To save your carpet from getting totally wrecked, there are certain steps you can take – but it doesn't alleviate the worry that something might be amiss with your dog’s physical or mental wellbeing.
Fortunately, there’s no need to fret. We've prepared this guide to shed light on why dogs scratch the floor and what it means.
An Annoying Behavior
Dogs will often scratch on the floor at night or before taking a nap. Other dogs also scratch the floor before eating, and sometimes before or after pooping. Some fur babies have a particular area in the house where they like scratching on the floor, like the area under the bed; others scratch when it thunders or whenever there's a loud sound.
Despite all these seemingly varied causes of scratching behavior, we can assure you that it isn't something you should stress over. If anything, it's actually normal for animals like dogs to do this.
This behavior, according to research, is simply just dogs being dogs. As a loving and concerned owner, you can rest easy and soothe your worries. To help you understand the reasons for your dog’s behavior, we’ve put together a list of the possible reasons below.
So Why Do They Do It?
1. TRYING TO GET COMFORTABLE
The most reasonable explanation for this behavior in dogs comes down to comfort. Like humans, dogs have their own preferred temperature for their daily playful scuffing, jumping, running around, and even sleeping. When dogs scratch on the floor, they may be attempting to dig a hole where they can nestle in because they can't naturally adjust to the current temperature of their surroundings.
If you and your dog live in cool climates, they may want to dig a hole to snuggle into for warmth. In warmer climates, they may want to dig a hole in the cool earth. Providing a comfortable dog bed might help prevent your dog from wanting to dig holes.
Dogs can also scratch the floor if they’re finding it hard to get into a comfortable position to rest. If your dog’s scratching behavior is unusual, it may be worth checking with your vet that your dog isn’t experiencing any pain in their joints or abdomen.
2. INSTINCTIVE BEHAVIOR
Another plausible reason could be plain natural instinct. Dogs, no matter how domesticated they've become, are still animals. Digging is an ingrained feature of their behavior, one that can hardly be rewired. They could do it because they like it. Like all other activities of an otherwise active dog, such as running around or barking, they may do it as a natural tendency. The habit might vary from dog to dog, depending on how active they are.
A dog’s instinctive nature also goes beyond entertainment. They could be scratching the floors because they're marking their territory. Dogs have sweat glands in their paws, so when they scratch on surfaces, these glands leave a scent on those spots. This, in turn signals to other dogs or animals that the place is theirs. Even when there are no other dogs around, this instinct can be too strong to ignore!
Pregnant dogs also scratch floors when they feel they're nearing the time to give birth to their puppies, as they prepare a nest area for the new arrivals.
The Consequences of Scratching
As mentioned, scratching is normal behavior for dogs. Being observant enough to take notice of these activities for your beloved pets is already a good mindset to have as a pet owner. If your dog’s scratching behavior is new, it is worth making sure there is no medical reason for the change.
Even if your dog is perfectly healthy, scratching behaviors do come with consequences. While they are to some extent normal behaviors, we still don't want such things to happen at the expense of a very good carpet or wood floors.
This is why we suggest spending enough time with your dog and providing for all their specific needs so that they can be comfortable enough in your home. After all, they may just be restless because they want to play with you. If you spend enough time with them, they will hopefully tire themselves out and lose interest in scratching the floors to dig holes.
Understanding your dog can be stressful at times. Like young children, communicating with them can be difficult; restraining them, even more so. Observing their behavior is one step toward providing enough care for them. We understand that each and every dog is special, and likewise need a specially tailored mode of TLC.
Knowing that dogs’ tendency to want to scratch floors is perfectly normal, it still doesn’t erase the worry of what you should do when you’re not there to monitor their needs. For this reason, a dog tracker is a great idea, and luckily at Fi we have the perfect tool for you. By providing your dog with a GPS tracking collar, you can keep an eye on your dog’s activities at home while you are out, and start to work out the patterns contributing to this unwanted behavior. Consider giving it a go today!