Why Do Dogs Scratch The Floor Featured Image

Have you ever caught your dog scratching the floor?

Dogs are quirky animals, sometimes displaying behaviors we don't understand.

Long-time dog owners know that these animals show behaviors that could be weird or funny.

For example, one funny behavior that a dog does is chase its tail.

While one odd behavior that dogs do and humans don't (I hope!) is to sniff each other's butts.

But all of these strange behaviors have meanings.

Tail-catching means they're bored, excited, or even dealing with fleas, while but-sniffing is their form of greeting.

But why do dogs scratch the floor?

That's what we're going to find out!

In this article, we'll discuss why dogs do this behavior. What causes this? And is this normal?

Below, we'll take care of everything you need to know about this strange behavior.

Let's get to it!

Dog scratching or digging floor

8 Reasons Why Do Dogs Scratch the Floor

Scratching or digging is a natural behavior that has evolved from wild dogs.

Dogs scratch on the floor for various reasons, the first one being they're bored!

1. Boredom

One possible cause of dogs scratching the floor or digging is boredom.

Some dogs feel this activity is enjoyable and helps them burn off excess energy.

That's why it's best advised to exercise your dog properly.

Some pet owners will have a designated area in the yard where their dogs can scratch or dig holes for their pleasure.

And even though this can seem like destructive behavior, it can actually benefit dogs and your home (in the long run.)


Well, scratching or digging can help maintain your dog's nail health and can help reduce the drive to dig indoors, which can help prevent your dog from damaging your furniture inside.

Dog digging also offers mental stimulation and helps relieve their boredom.

2. Seeking Comfort

If a dog is scratching their bed, it may be his way of rearranging it to feel more comfortable.

This behavior is usually seen in puppies and young dogs, although adult dogs will also do it occasionally.

Look at it like you fluff your pillow before lying down to get more comfy!

3. Nesting Behavior

If your dog is pregnant, scratching or digging is a sign that she's near her due date.

Pregnant dogs do this to prepare a nest or a den to give birth and raise their puppies.

They're looking for a safe place since they think their puppies are vulnerable to predators.

But to be clear, pregnant dogs aren't the only ones that nest.

Naturally, all dogs have a strong instinct to build their nests.

They often use their paws to dig or scratch the floor until satisfied and more comfortable with the outcome.

Dogs also nest because they need their own personal space.

This nest is their safe place when scared, stressed, or overwhelmed.

4. Dog Instincts

It has been thousands of years since dogs have been domesticated. However, there are still many instincts from their wild ancestors that stay.

And yes, one of these instincts is the urge to scratch and dig at the ground. However, this behavior served different purposes for wild dogs.

First, they are building a safe and comfortable sleeping place. Secondly, it can help them escape predators or shelter during harsh weather.

Another possible reason is that they cover their poop after defecation to hide their scent from predators.

5. Scent Marking

Dogs can communicate through the sense of smell. You see it when they sniff each other's butt.

That's why dogs use their urine to mark their territory and leave their scent behind for others to pick up.

But dogs also have pheromone glands between their toes.

These glands release pheromones that are picked up by other dogs when they sniff the ground where the dog has been scratching or digging.

The interdigital pheromones can also offer information about the dog's general scent, health, gender, diet, and if there are any nearby dangers in the area.

6. Underlying Health Issues

If your dog frequently scratches the floor, it could be a sign that they are suffering from an underlying health problem, especially for senior dogs.

Excessive scratching can be a sign of a mental decline, or they are trying to relieve pain from arthritis or their leg joints.

It is best advised to take Fido to the vet as soon as possible if other symptoms show or if he scratches the floor more often.

7. Attention-Seeking

Some dogs scratch the floor to make you notice them. It's their way of seeking attention.

Even if they have scratched the floor in the past for another reason, it can be a learned behavior.

If your dog receives attention for doing it, he will probably scratch the floors again the next time he wants your attention.

And some dogs don't care if they receive a negative or a positive reaction from their owners as long as they get their much-needed attention.

That's why scolding or shouting at your dog to stop won't help.

Why? Because you are still giving them attention!

Each time you react when they dig, you can reinforce this behavior, and they will try to continue doing it.

8. Anxiety

If you've recently adopted a new pup, they might feel anxious since it's their first time at your home. Of course, he is not familiar with his surroundings!

Most dogs are also scared of loud noises, leading them to scratch.

Watch out for fireworks or thunderstorms so that you can find ways to help relieve their anxiety.

Dogs suffering from separation anxiety may also dig or scratch the ground.

Separation anxiety in dogs is when your dog shows extreme stress from when you leave them alone.

It can also cause other destructive behaviors such as digging, chewing furniture, etc.

Dog scratching or digging sofa

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Is Digging At The Floor?

If your dog rarely scratches the floor, you shouldn't be concerned.

Dogs might dig or scratch the floor or bed for pleasure or simply try to rearrange their mattress to a more comfortable state.

This is a normal dog behavior that they have been doing for thousands of years.

However, if your dog is excessively digging or scratching, consult your vet, especially if Fido shows other negative symptoms.

Check if your dog exhibits signs of distress, such as howling, chewing, or peeing in the house.

Take measures to help Fido if they show destructive behavior caused by anxiety.

How to Stop Dog Scratching

My dog's scratching destroys our floor! What should I do to stop it?

To tell you the truth, if your dog has been doing this behavior for a long time, it can be difficult to change.

But it is still possible.

One of the best ways to help them stop scratching your beautiful floor is to provide a designated digging or scratching area.

Try a carpeted mat if they want to do it indoors, or get a patch of dirt in your yard. Train them not to scratch anywhere but there.

You can also try the following tips to prevent your dog from scratching the floor.


One of the possible reasons why dogs scratch your floor is that they need to burn off excess energy.

Ensure that you are giving Fido the required time for daily exercise, especially for energetic dogs.

Take him for a walk in the morning and one more at night. And remember to have quality bonding time in the form of play.

Providing them with the appropriate exercise requirement can reduce the risk of this destructive behavior.

Provide a new bed

Maybe your dog is scratching the floor or his bed to find a more comfortable area to sleep.

If that's the case, try to offer a new bed!

Buy a bed with raised edges since it will feel and look like a den or nest.

Sealy Lux Pet Dog Bed | Quad Layer Technology with Memory Foam, Orthopedic Foam, and Cooling Energy Gel. Machine Washable Cover. Large, Modern Gray (Max Large)

You can also try orthopedic dog beds since these beds are specifically designed to support a dog's body and joints and provide the comfort he needs to rest.

I recommend getting the Sealy Lux Pet Dog Bed (pictured above.)

It is a premium orthopedic dog bed with Quad Element Foam for ultimate comfort and support.

You can also bring his favorite toys and blanket to his new bed to help him settle.

Offer new toys

Mental stimulation, together with proper exercise, can alleviate boredom and stress.

Get Fido a chew toy to distract them from scratching the floor.

Interactive puzzle toys can also keep them occupied and mentally stimulated.

Seek professional help

If nothing of these tips work, it's time to seek professional help.

Please consult your vet to see if your pup has an underlying health problem.

Vets can run tests to determine if a medical problem triggers your dog's digging or scratching behavior.

You can also try to consult a pet behaviorist.

A behaviorist can help you choose the proper training program Fido needs to be able to work through this behavior.

Why do dogs scratch the floor

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my dog scratch the floor when excited?

Dogs sometimes scratch the floor due to excitement.

That's because he wants to do activities that he can't do indoors.

He now digs and scratches the floor to release this energy.

Why do dogs lick you?

Licking is a natural behavior in dogs. For them, it is instinctive.

Licking can be their way of grooming, bonding, communicating, and expressing themselves.

If a dog licks you, it can be his way of telling you that he loves you.

It can also be a way of getting your attention, show empathy, or relieve you from stress.

Why is my dog rubbing his face on the floor and scratching?

You might see your pup rubbing his face on the floor and scratching because they might feel annoyed, like wet or dirty fur.

They might feel pain from a bad tooth or an eye problem. Fleas or allergies can also cause it.

Why Do Dogs Scratch the Floor: Before You Go…

If you're a long-time dog owner, you might have seen your pet scratching the floor or their bed. But you might also see them scratching while walking or playing outdoors.

So why do dogs scratch the floor?

It could be because they're bored, looking for comfort, nesting, marking their territory, anxious, or seeking your attention.

Scratching can also be part of their natural dog instincts and an indicator of an underlying health issue.

But for the most part, this dog behavior is often natural and nothing to be worried about.

However, you should still watch out for other signs and symptoms if the behavior becomes excessive.

Pet owners must also monitor their pups for other destructive behavior.

It's best to deal with these problems alongside a vet or a professional.

Now that you know why your dog scratched the floor, would you stop him or just let him be?

Let us know in the comment section!

You can also take a look at our recommended readings below about other weird dog behaviors.


Toby loves spending time with his dog and two cats. They are the best stress reliever and affectionate pets, especially his Belgian Malinois, Shawie. Shawie's favorite activity is running or jogging. But their go-to spot is to chill and swim around a nearby river.