Why Do Dogs Scratch the Carpet?

by | Behavior

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Many of us have seen our dogs scratch the carpet without knowing why. Whether they are getting ready to lay down and are “making their bed” or just exhibiting naughty behavior, dog scratching can be a sign that owners shouldn’t ignore. So, why do dogs scratch the carpet? Below are some possible causes of your dog’s scratching the carpet behavior and how you can attempt to alleviate the problem.


Whether you have a new dog or a dog that is old and cranky, it is important to understand that boredom can lead to some naughty behavior. These behaviors can manifest in a variety of ways including chewing on shoes, chewing on furniture, or scratching the carpet. The best way to handle this situation is to make sure you’re providing your dog with plenty of positive activities and things to do to prevent boredom from setting in. This is especially true in high-energy dogs or puppies.

One of the most common behaviors related to boredom is for the dog or puppy to scratch the carpet. This is especially true if your dog is at home alone often. While there isn’t much we can do about working long hours, providing your pet with some distractions and fun while you aren’t there can somewhat remedy the boredom situation. Strong toys that they can chew on are always recommended to prevent your dog from scratching out of boredom.

Another trick is to hire a dog walker to burn off excess energy and provide entertainment. Your dog will be healthier, happier, and more prone to sleeping while you are at work.


Anxiety or stress can be a big factor in your dog scratching the carpet. Separation anxiety may be demonstrated by scratching near the front door or where you leave in the morning to go to work. Other tell-tale signs could be using the bathroom in the house, howling, not eating, or chewing. If you believe your dog is exhibiting signs of separation anxiety, it is always best to discuss the situation with your vet and develop a plan to treat the problem.

Other forms of anxiety can be easier to spot. If your dog is digging during a storm or loud noises, stress is most likely the cause. A dog’s natural instinct is to burrow to escape danger. One of the best ways to help your dog cope with the stress is to give them a safe place to go during these events. The dog may feel safe in a bedroom, crate, under the covers, or wherever else. They must have access to this place as it could increase their anxiety if there are obstacles.

Instinct and Breeding

Some breeds are more prone to scratching the carpet than others. This is due to the breed’s developed instinct to dig. For example, terriers and hounds are well known to be ferocious diggers. This trait has been bred into them for hunting and catching small prey such as mice and other rodents over generations.

If you have a breed that is more inclined to scratch the carpet, your main recourse is to ensure your dog is receiving plenty of exercise and attention. Providing a wide range of toys can distract them from digging. You can also prevent carpet scratching by training your pet to not dig in the house, although it could be difficult.

Trimming Their Nails

Trimming your dog’s nails may be the perfect cure for their carpet scratching. Whether you have a dog or a cat, it’s important to trim their nails to avoid pain and infection. A long nail can be painful to a dog and it can also damage your flooring and furniture. In addition, long nails can get caught in blankets or in carpets. If you don’t trim them regularly, they may grow into the skin, causing ingrown nails.

If you don’t want to make the process stressful, you can give your dog treats and talk to them in a soothing voice. Some dogs like to sit on a lap while you trim their nails.

Dogs should have their nails trimmed at least once a week. Dogs with sensitive skin may not like the pressure of the clipper. If your dog hates nail trims, you may have to take them to a vet for sedation to make the procedure less painful.

Excessive Energy

Some dogs will scratch the carpet to get rid of excess energy. This is common if the dog does not get enough exercise and playtime. While some breeds require more activity than others, all dogs should be exercised and played with regularly. Ensuring that your pet has plenty of toys to keep them entertained can greatly reduce their urge to scratch as they redirect their focus to something else.