Why Does My Dog Dig at His Bed?

Why does my dog dig at his bed?

Why does my dog dig at his bed? You’ve probably seen your dog scratching up their pillow, cushion, or even their spot on the couch at least once.

If your dog’s nails are well taken care of and not left too long, this scratching behavior shouldn’t hurt bedding and soft upholstery.

Regardless, this behavior seems rather odd to us humans, and we’re going to explain why your dog does it below.

It’s Normal!

When a dog wants to snooze, they’ll probably scratch and spin around their napping spot until they’re satisfied enough to lie down. There’s nothing “wrong” with your dog if he or she does this, it’s an entirely normal and natural behavior!

Why do dogs circle and scratch before laying down to sleep? It’s an innate behavior stemming from your dog’s wolf ancestors. If you’re about to bunker down in the middle of a forest, circling and scratching around your chosen spot tramples down loose grass and leaves, scatters any annoyances like insects or mice, spreads your scent (territory marking), and even lets you scan the area for danger.

Even if your dog sleeps in your cushy bed, they might still circle and scratch. Old habits that helped the dogs survive before domestication die hard.

What to Do?

You might find it a little annoying that your dog scratches at your bedsheets every night. Since this behavior is completely natural and innate, there isn’t much you can do about it. Your dog will probably continue circling and scratching at their chosen sleeping spots, though some things could help mitigate this behavior’s effects.

As said earlier, keeping your dog’s nails well-groomed will lessen the chances of your bedsheets forming holes.

If your dog scratches and digs a lot, making sure they get more exercise could help. Circling, scratching, and digging are all ways for your dog to release pent-up energy. Walking, running, and playing fetch are all great ways to get you and your dog moving.

Having a safe place to scratch and dig holes outside wouldn’t hurt either, especially for more enthusiastic diggers. Some dogs, especially terriers, have stronger instincts, and they need to dig.

Giving them a place to satisfy those urges might just help them dig less forcefully at bedtime.


Circling and scratching before sleeping may seem weird to us, but dogs have been doing it before they were dogs.

Circling and scratching allow dogs to settle the ground beneath them and ensure no danger is nearby. Even though your dog sleeps on comfy pillows or your bed, they’ll circle and scratch because it’s just so ingrained in their mind and body to do it.

Circling and scratching excessively can be mitigated by ensuring your dog gets lots of exercise. For dogs with strong digging instincts like terriers, giving them a safe place to dig outside could help them from digging at your furniture.

Dogs may be fully domesticated, but they’ve still retained a few instincts from their wild days!