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Why Does My Dog Scratch My Bed Sheets: 9 Explanations

Why Does My Dog Scratch My Bed Sheets: 9 Explanations

All dog owners are aware that our favorite pets have various habits, some of which can be quite unusual. Some of these habits also relate to the dog’s sleeping time.

We all make our bed, sheets, and pillows before going to bed. Surely your dog has a place where he sleeps, whether it’s your bed, the space under your bed, his own bed, or a small corner in your hallway – every dog finds its own place to rest.

But, have you ever noticed a certain pattern of behavior that your dog shows before sleeping? Have you ever wondered: Why does my dog scratch my bed sheets?

In fact, this is not so uncommon, and probably most of you have encountered this phenomenon with your pet. There are certain reasons for this behavior in dogs, and the explanation for it is given below.

Why Does My Dog Scratch My Bed Sheets?

dog lying on bed and looking at camera

If you are a pet owner for the first time, you might be surprised by certain behaviors you encounter in your dog. But, we want to emphasize right at the beginning that there is always a good explanation for a certain dog’s behavior.

We want to encourage you not to worry, but rather to learn all possible causes that might lead to bed scratching in dogs. There are various reasons why dogs behave like this, so, let’s learn more about why dogs scratch bed sheets.

1. Dog Instincts

If we observe the behavior of dogs more closely, we will be able to connect them with the numerous habits of their wolf ancestors. Not only do we have dog breeds that look similar to wolves – many domestic dogs still display some wolf habits from thousands of years ago.

Before they were domesticated, wild dogs dug holes to protect themselves from extreme temperatures; both from cold and heat.

Since they lived in the wild, dogs would scratch the ground to form a comfortable sleeping surface for themselves, but also to hide from other predators, and to chase away unwanted guests from their bed.

So, many domesticated dogs still show this instinctive behavior today, even though they don’t really need it like they used to, since they don’t live in dens anymore.

2. Territorial Behavior

Scratching the bedding in dogs can be a sign of their territorial behavior, that is, their way of marking their place in the house. Dogs have sweat glands on the underside of their legs and between their toes, and these glands secrete pheromones.

When they scratch the bed, the dogs apply their own scent to it, marking that place as their place to sleep. In this way, the dog wants to tell the other housemates that this place is his only.

When you put the new bed sheets, your dog will probably scratch it in order for beddings to have his scent again.

3. Pregnancy

white dog lying on bed

If you have a female dog that has recently started scratching the bed, your dog might be pregnant. The scratching behavior can be a dog’s attempt to make a perfectly comfortable spot for her labor.

If you have not encountered the dog’s pregnancy before, learn all the signs a dog is going into labor soon.

If the vet confirms your dog is pregnant, you should make a comfortable, private spot for her somewhere in the house. The place should be warm, isolated, and you can put your dog’s favorite toy and blanket to make it as comfortable as possible for her.

In most cases, dogs go through labor all by themselves, but it is essential to show all the love and understanding to our furry friends in these moments.

4. Hunting Dogs’ Behavior

If you have a Beagle, a Dachshund, a Jack Russell Terrier, or any other hunting dog, your pooch might scratch your bed sheets due to its prey drive.

Many hunting dogs that were bred to chase animals such as small rodents will show hunting instincts, such as digging, chasing, biting, and – scratching.

This might be pretty annoying, so, it is essential to start with the dog training on time.

5. Temperature Regulation

In the summertime, when we are hot, we often sleep uncovered or look for the lightest blanket possible so that we can get some sleep. On the contrary, in winter, we cover ourselves with more blankets to keep us as warm as possible.

Our dogs act in a similar way; they try to adjust the temperature to make it as comfortable as possible. Therefore, some dogs will scratch the bedding in order to adjust themselves and not to be too hot or too cold.

6. Dog’s Anxiety

dog covering it's head

A dog scratching might not only be their attempt to mark territory; this could also show that your dog is anxious about something.

Why do dogs get anxious? Well, there are many reasons for this occurrence. Maybe you have just left your puppy alone at home for the first time. This is something that is difficult for all dogs, and they will need some time to get used to not being with them all the time.

If your dog started scratching the bed sheets just after you have started leaving him alone at home, this is clearly a sign of separation anxiety.

For the first couple days you are away from home, your dog will either show you he misses you by just wanting to snuggle with you when you come back home, or he might whine and cry to show you how sad he is for being alone.

But, this should pass, and your dog will not behave like this forever. We all have to leave our houses, and we need to teach our furry best friends how to spend some time alone (not too long, of course!).

7. Boredom

Your dog digs and scratches your bed sheets, but you cannot figure out why? You should check whether your pooch is getting enough physical and mental stimulation, since he might just be bored.

It is never good when a dog lacks activities, since this can lead him to show all kinds of destructive behaviors. When a dog gets enough daily exercise, it is more likely to be satisfied, happy, and healthy.

Dogs are not meant to be left alone without anything to do for most of the day. So, a daily walk, playing with some new toys, and having company is something that will make any dog happy.

8. Attention Seeking

Your dog suddenly started scratching your bed sheets? You might have not been giving him enough attention lately.

Maybe you have been overwhelmed with your daily obligations, and your dog feels like he is left out. We all know how much attention puppies need, but this does not go away when our dogs become adults; they still need to feel like an important part of their owners’ lives.

A bad thing to do is just to give a dog treat to your pet when you notice scratching or similar behavior in him. This way, you are not repairing an unwanted behavior, but rather – you are encouraging it.

If bed scratching is indeed a dog’s call for attention, you should consider how much time you are really spending with your furry friend.

9. Allergies

One of the reasons why a dog might scratch the bedding are dog allergies. Most allergens come from plants, animals, insects or food. If your pet is exposed to a certain allergen, this can result in an allergic reaction.

The main symptoms of allergies in dogs are itching, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and scratching.

If your dog suddenly intensively scratches the bedding, it is possible that he has an allergic reaction to pollen, mites, or the bite of an insect such as a spider, mosquito, or bee.

If the dog scratches intensively, it is possible that a bacterial infection may even occur. Therefore, if you suspect an allergic reaction in your dog, it is best to consult a veterinarian immediately.

My Dog Scratches My Bed Sheets: Should I Be Worried?

dog lying on bed with orange blanket

As much as we love our furry friends, we must be aware that they will never behave like us and that they will simply often show certain behavior patterns that will not be completely clear to us.

However, it is very good for dog owners to be aware of certain phenomena that they may encounter when sharing life with dogs.

So, should we be worried when we notice a dog scratching our sheets? If you have noticed this behavior, but it did not last long, you do not need to worry. Apparently, it was about something passing and harmless, therefore, your reaction was not necessary.

However, if this behavior has been going on for a long time and if your dog does not respond to your commands to stop, you should definitely not ignore this behavior.

Maybe the dog is bored, maybe he’s trying to get your attention, or maybe he’s anxious or startled and trying to let you know this.

Let’s not forget that the best way to determine a dog’s state of mind is to read its body language. Dogs do not speak, but they can tell us a lot by their howling, scratching, and various body positions and similar gestures.

So, there is no universal answer to the question of whether you should be concerned about your dog scratching the bedding.

This will depend a lot on the general health condition of your dog, and what is most important is that you know your pet well and that you can recognize if something is bothering him.

What Are Some Ways To Get My Dog To Stop Scratching My Bed?

dog lying on bed

A dog scratching your bed sheets might not seem serious at first, but, with time, you might get worried about this behavior in your dog.

Also, it might get pretty annoying if your dog keeps destroying your bed sheets with his excessive scratching.

As we have seen, there are many causes of dogs scratching the bed sheets, and, luckily, there are some things you can do to stop this behavior.

Discover The Cause

Finding out what made your dog start scratching the bed sheets in the first place is the most essential part of solving this behavioral problem.

Your reaction should be based on whether your dog is scratching your bed sheets because he misses you, because he wants your attention, or simply because he is bored.

Any behavioral problem in dogs can be solved, but only when you determine the exact cause of the behavioral change in your pooch.

If you have a female dog that has not been spayed, you should first check whether there is a possibility that your dog might be pregnant.

Keep Your Dog Busy

dog sleeping on bed

A bored dog might scratch your bed sheets and show some other destructive behavior. This is why it is so important to keep your dog stimulated, both mentally and physically.

As a dog owner you must be aware how essential is how often we walk our dogs. This is the best way to keep your dog at healthy weight, to provide it with potty breaks, and to form a deeper bond with your pooch.

How much stimulation a dog needs depends significantly on the dog breed. So, a large dog like Cane Corso will, of course, need more daily exercise than a Pug or a French Bulldog.

This also goes with mental exercise; some dogs constantly need new interactive toys, while some will be satisfied with learning basic commands.

The most important thing for every pet owner is to know how to recognize their dog’s needs and to make a puppy schedule in accordance with those needs.

Trim Your Dog’s Nails Regularly

A dog scratching bed sheets might even destroy it, which will be pretty annoying for any dog owner. For this reason, it is very important to trim the dog’s nails regularly.

When a dog’s claws are too long this can even make it hard for the dog to walk, so, nails trimming should be a part of a dog’s regular grooming routine. This way, even if your dog starts to scratch your bed sheets, it is less likely to destroy it.

Many dogs do not like having their nails trimmed, so, it is important to start with this from a dog’s young age. Also, you can find some useful advice in our article on how to sedate a dog for nail clipping.

Give Your Dog His Own Place To Sleep

dog sleeping on bed

Our dogs love to be around us all the time, even during the sleep. This is probably the reason why your dog is sleeping under the bed – he wants to be close to you even during the night!

Not only dogs sleep under our beds; many of them probably let your dog sleep in your bed, next to you. This might be a problem when your dog starts scratching your bed sheets.

Still, even if your dog develops this habit, there are some ways to repair it.

One way to stop this is keeping your bed off-limits for your pooch. This might sound too hard at the beginning, but, with time, both you and your dog will get used to this new situation, and – both of you will get a better good-night sleep!

For starters, you can put a baby gate to keep your dog away from your bedroom. At the same time, you should start with the crate training.

Crate training might not go smoothly at the beginning, but it is important to be persistent. Once your dog gets used to his crate, leaving him home alone for a couple of hours will be a lot easier.

Also, your dog will have his own comforting place to sleep in your home. With time, your dog will start to love his own new bed!

Additional tip for all pet parents that don’t want to permanently keep their dogs away from their beds: buy seamless covers, since dogs will not destroy them easily even if they tend to scratch them.

Consult A Vet

In some cases, you will not be able to solve the scratching behavior in your dog. If you have tried everything and nothing seems to be working, it is time to consult a vet.

Maybe there is some deeper problem with your dog that a veterinarian will help you solve. So, don’t worry, since there is always something you can do to help your canine friend.


dog lying on bed with covers on

Why Does My Dog Sleep In The Bed With Me?

Most dogs love to sleep next to their owners because this is where they feel the most safe.

Dogs are very social creatures, they are used to living in a pack and like to feel contact with their owners. Sleeping together deepens the relationship between dog and owner, and reduces stress and fear in the dog.

Sleeping with an owner can even increase empathy and reduce aggression in dogs. Many dog owners believe that sleeping with a dog brings many benefits for them as well.

Why Does My Dog Scratch The Bed After I Put Him In His Crate?

Many dogs scratch their crates to make them as comfortable as possible. Also, this could be a way for a dog to mark his territory.

Furthermore, dogs might scratch their beds to make them more safe – in this way, they are checking whether there is anything inside their bed that might bother them during the sleep.

Also, a dog might scratch his crate to make it more warm for him.

This is also perfectly normal and you have nothing to worry about if your dog scratches his crate for these reasons. However, a dog might also scratch his bed due to anxiety.

If you determine this is the cause, you should try to figure out what is causing your dog to become anxious.

Is My Dog Allergic To My Sheets?

Just like they can be allergic to bug bites or to some food ingredients, dogs can also develop an allergic reaction to sheets.

Of course, you probably won’t be able to determine exactly which allergy it is, therefore, if you notice scratching, itching, and coughing in your dog, you should consult a veterinarian.

Also, you should take care that your dog’s surroundings are always clean. All things inside your dog’s bed – bedding, blanket, pillow, toys – should be washed and maintained regularly.


dog lying on bed with owner

We hope you have found your answer on the question Why does my dog scratch my bed sheets?

As we have seen, there are multiple reasons for this behavior in dogs. Our canine friends might be bored, anxious, or this could simply be their way to mark their territory.

If you have a female dog, scratching the bed might mean that your dog is preparing to bring new puppies into this world!

So, scratching bed sheets might mean a lot of things with dogs, and not all of them are harmless.

No matter what the reason is, all pet owners will surely want to know how to stop this scratching behavior. This behavior is not unusual, and does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong with your dog – he simply might be lacking something at the moment.

So, it is essential to give our dogs enough attention and stimulation. Also, it is crucial to provide our pooches with their own beds.

Having their own place to sleep will make our dogs less dependent on us, and will give us a better sleep. Also, you will not have to worry about your dog destroying your new favorite bed sheets!

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