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11 Weird Reasons Why Dogs Scratch The Carpet / Floor

Why Do Dogs Scratch The Carpet Floor

These past few days, you noticed your dog scratching the floor.

It was easy to ignore at first, but then it continued.

You’ve tried ways to stop your doggo, but nothing is working.

What could be the problem?

Is your dog trying to dig an escape hole?

This might even get you thinking…

“What if there’s something wrong underneath the floor?”

Keep reading to find out:

  • 5 tips to prevent your canine from scratching. 
  • 11 reasons why your dog scratches the carpet or floor.
  • How to know if your female doggo is at the nesting stage.
  • And this is just the beginning…

Why do dogs scratch the carpet / floor?

Dogs scratch the carpet or floor to feel comfortable. Scratching is their way of preparing their sleeping spot. Canines also scratch to leave their scent on the floor as a way to mark their territory. Anxiety, boredom, illnesses, and too much excitement can also cause your dog to scratch nonstop.

11 reasons why dogs scratch the carpet / floor (all of a sudden)

#1: Your dog smells something

It’s not surprising that our dogs have a keen sense of smell. We rarely know how our carpet or floors smell unless it’s something powerful.

Study says a canine’s sense of smell is 100,000 times better compared to ours. 

This explains why pooches can smell crumbs or tiny spills.

Did you use a fruity scent floor cleaner? It can be enticing for your furry buddy.

I once spilled barbecue sauce on our carpet. Our dog kept scratching it until we had to wash the rug several times.

So let’s be careful when handling food, especially when we’re using carpets. The smell may not wash off easily.

Here’s another example…

A friend of mine likes gardening. Every time she comes inside after spending some time in the garden, their dog scratches the floor.

It turns out the floor smells like soil when she comes in. It reminded the dog of going outdoors. 

Keep your carpet squeaky clean to avoid your dog from scratching it.

They’ll want to scratch when crumbs are all over the floor. 

You can also avoid using strong-scented detergents or floor cleaners. 

#2: Your dog has so much energy

You came home after a hard day’s work. Suddenly, your dog starts to scratch the floor and go in circles.

What could be the problem?

Your canine friend has so much stored energy that they need to let it out.

If they were at home the whole day without enough play or exercise, they would find ways to release their stored energy.

Do you know that different dogs vary in energy levels? 

You can determine if your doggo is the type that has low, medium, or high energy.

In this way, you’ll know how much activity your dog needs to keep them healthy and well-behaved.

What are the different energy levels of dogs?

Low energy dogs don’t usually jump when greeting you. Wagging their tail and smiling can be enough.

They’re the perfect companions for the elderly. Since they don’t need a lot of activities, their fur parents can enjoy lounging with them.

Dogs such as Chow Chows, Basset Hounds, Bichon Frise, Pugs, and Bulldogs are the low energy types.

Medium energy canines like to jump and run around but eventually calm down. They love chasing, but these types of dogs know when to stop and relax.

Dachshunds, Whippets, Boston Terriers, and Cocker Spaniels need moderate exercises daily.

Are you up for high-energy dogs? These furry friends are always willing to have physical activities when you take them. 

Beagles, Dalmatians, Labradors, and German Shepherds rarely get tired. You’ll need to have an active lifestyle to keep up.

With proper training and exercise, canines with high energy can even learn how to ride a bike.

If you are sporty, a high-energy doggo would be best for your athletic lifestyle. 

#3: Your dog wants to be comfortable

How do you make yourself comfortable before lying down?

I like to stretch the bed covers and fluff my pillows.

It’s the same for our furry friends. In the wild, dogs make their bed by scratching, digging, or putting grass.

Your domesticated dog is trying to make their sleeping spot comfortable by scratching the floor or carpet.

It may not improve the condition of their sleeping area, but they’ll do it out of instinct or habit.

For your doggo, scratching can improve the quality of their sleep. 

It makes their bed more comfy and cozy. 

#4: Your dog has a canine compulsive disorder

It’s always difficult to diagnose if our dogs have a medical condition unless we observe closely and refer to a vet.

Canine Compulsive Disorder has the same symptoms as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in humans.

Repeating a behavior excessively to feel calm and secure is a sign of CCD. 

Our dogs make normal habits, but it can be due to CCD when it becomes too much.

What are these common behaviors? Observe closely if your lovely dog does these acts repetitively:

  • Staring.
  • Licking.
  • Pacing.
  • Freezing.
  • Eating dirt.
  • Chasing their tail.
  • Barking in a pattern.
  • Drinking too much.
  • Snapping at nothing.
  • Sucking the side of their abdomen.

These are normal dog behaviors, but there is something wrong when they do it for hours a day.

A good example is when they chase their tails. It’s pretty common for dogs to do that when they’re being playful.

Note: If your dog does it day by day for a few hours, it’s best to bring them to the vet.

What can cause CCD in dogs? It can be hard to determine, but the most common causes are genetics, stressful life events, or physical injury.

As fur parents, being observant of our dogs can help early detection for any condition that needs treatment.

#5: Your dog is nesting

Nesting means your pregnant dog is getting ready to give birth. Your furry friend is now taking steps to make their nest secure.

Research says that dams have maternal instincts to provide shelter for their litter. Scratching can be a way for them to provide a comfortable and safe space for their young.

It’s how dogs do it in the wild. Their instincts tell them that predators may hurt their offspring.

Aside from scratching, digging is another way for them to create a safe nest.

Although your dog doesn’t need to do this in the safety of your home, it can be a difficult habit to break.

Dogs prefer to curl up when they sleep. They may think that scratching the carpet or floor can help them create a den.

However, it’s not only during pregnancy when your doggo is going through nesting.

Other conditions can trigger the nesting stage. 

Mastitis or swelling of mammary glands can make your dog feel that she is pregnant.

Tumors can cause the mammary glands to swell. Another condition is hypothyroidism, which may lead your canine to believe that they’re expecting a pup.

Low thyroid hormones result in weight gain and laziness. Be observant of your dog’s condition.

If the nesting is accompanied by weakness and lack of enthusiasm, bring them to the vet.

The nesting instincts of mother dogs don’t go away just because they’re domesticated.

They will do their best to make a haven for their pups. 

#6: Your dog is excited

Your Dog Scratches The Carpet Floor When He Is Excited

How do you behave when you’re excited? 

We usually clap our hands, shake our feet, or jump a bit. 

Dogs also have a way of expressing themselves when they’re excited. 

Scratching the floor or carpet can be 1 of them. Our dog likes to run in circles when they’re excited.

Did your dog hear a vehicle passing by or other dogs barking?

It can get them excited that they want to go out, but they can’t. 

So, they express their excitement by scratching the floor.

Do your dogs see you preparing to take them for a walk? It can also lead to scratching when they’re anticipating something.

It’s like saying, “Oh hooman, I can’t wait to go out with you.”

What are other ways that dogs show their excitement?

It can be any of the following behavior:

  • Barking.
  • Panting.
  • Grinning.
  • Jumping.
  • Spinning.
  • Hanging tongue.

The next time your dog is anticipating something, observe how they show their excitement.

#7: Your dog is marking their territory

We mark our belongings by putting our names on them. Name tags are pretty common to show ownership.

Some people even engrave their valuables. In the canine world, there are other ways to show you own something.

Let me ask you…

Did you know that our dogs sweat on their paw pads? That’s why they scratch to leave their scent.

Yup, they don’t only mark their territory by urinating. Other dogs can then identify the scent from their paws. 

Your canine wants to say, “Back off. This is mine.” Don’t get them wrong. The message is not for you.

For your doggo, you’re part of the family or pack. If you have other dogs at home, this is a message for them.

Does your dog scratch the carpet when visitors come by? That’s also a reason why they’re marking their territory.

Is your carpet new? Chances are, your furry friend is marking it as theirs.

Canines also do scent marking when you take them to a new route while walking.

They pee on plants or scratch the soil. Though it’s normal for our dogs, you can still train them to avoid soiling or destroying stuff at home.

#8: Your dog is born that way

We all have something that we got from our ancestors. It’s in the genes. 

Scratching can also be innate for your dog. Some breeds naturally have the urge to dig.

Since your furry buddy can’t dig inside the home, they scratch instead. The breeds that like to explore are hunting dogs.

They dig to catch smaller animals. Most of these breeds live to catch rodents.

Some canines dig because they’re made to weather the cold.

These dogs create burrows so they can get warm during the winter season. 

So if you have one of the breeds listed below, don’t be surprised if they’re natural diggers or scratchers

  • Beagle.
  • Terriers
  • Dachshund.
  • Border Collie.
  • Siberian Husky.
  • Alaskan Malamute.
  • Miniature Schnauzer.

#9: Your dog is anxious

Dogs don’t get anxious for no reason at all. Scratching the carpet or floor can be a sign of anxiety.

Does your dog scratch the floor only during stormy nights? It can be because they’re afraid of thunderstorms.

Let me explain…

Our furry friends dislike thunderstorms due to static electricity. They can feel it. It can even cause them to go into shock.

Some dogs get anxious due to loud noises. 

Here’s what i can share from personal experience…

Our senior dog started scratching the floor when there was construction nearby.

The sound of the big trucks frightened our poor canine. You can observe if these factors trigger the scratching.

My friend’s dog scratches the carpet when she’s about to leave the house. It’s a result of her pup’s separation anxiety.

The little doggie is not used to being left alone by the fur parent. Scratching is their way of saying, “Hooman, I’m afraid.” This is how they cope with the emotions they experience.

Check for other signs of anxiety that your dog may exhibit, such as:

  • Pacing.
  • Digging.
  • Panting.
  • Barking.
  • Howling.
  • Restless.
  • Chewing.
  • Shivering.
  • Cowering.
  • Running away.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Excessive licking.
  • Peeing accidents.
  • Destroying stuff at home.

#10: Your dog is ill

Excessive scratching can mean your dog has a medical condition.

Some illnesses like brain tumors can lead to canines destroying stuff at home.

Please note that this isn’t something they want to do, but they exhibit abnormal behaviors due to their illness.

Brain tumors affect our furry friends mentally. It’s the reason why they become confused, forgetful, or destructive.

Dogs that are usually well-behaved but show unusual actions day by day may have a medical issue that needs treatment.

The symptoms below will tell you that your dog has disorders in the brain:

  • Circling.
  • Neck pain. 
  • Poor vision.
  • Head tilting.
  • Wobbly gait.
  • Abnormal behavior.

Bring your canine friend to the vet once you notice that the scratching comes with the signs above.

#11: Your dog is bored

Your Dog Is Bored

Sometimes, walking our dogs in the same route every single day is not enough.

They get bored too. Canines need mental stimulation as well. 

How do you feel if you do the same activity every day for the rest of your life?

It’s also nice to change routes or try new games once in a while. 

A bored dog might find ways to entertain themselves, such as scratching your newly bought carpet.

They’re not doing it to show you, “Hey Hooman. I’m bored. Entertain me!.

It’s their nature to make themselves busy when they feel bored. They’re simply trying to amuse themselves while you’re not around.

How can you tell if your dog is bored? Aside from scratching your floor, they may show these behaviors:

  • Pacing.
  • Panting.
  • Spinning.
  • Escaping.
  • Destroying stuff.
  • Excessive licking.
  • Too much barking.

If your dog is bored, it’s high time to try something new. Change your walking route. The new scenery will excite them.

A quick trip to the beach to enjoy some water games will spark their explorer nature. 

Don’t have time? An inflatable pool at home will do.

You can also try new and fun games. If you’re used to playing fetch or tug of war, try a DIY agility course.

Create an obstacle using stuff lying around the house. It stimulates your furry buddy mentally since they have to try to get through the course. 

There’s a lot of creative ways we can ease our dog’s boredom. Who knows, this might energize you as well.

How can I get my dog to stop scratching the carpet / floor? 5 tips

#1: Create a comfy space for your dog

As fur parents, we can help them relax by creating a livable space for our doggies.

Here are some tips you can follow to make your dog’s space more comfortable:

  • Hide harmful stuff.
  • Leave plenty of toys.
  • Give access to water.
  • Keep the blankets clean.
  • Choose a room with fewer people.
  • Provide warm and cozy blankets.
  • Make sure the room temperature is right.

How about a good resting area for our female dogs?

If you have a pregnant doggo on the nesting stage, create a whelping box for them.

A whelping box is a safe space to protect the mother and her little doggies.

It must be the right size, or it can cause distress to your furry friend. 2 times the length of your female dog is the perfect measurement.

The whelping box should be roomy so she can move freely. If it’s too large, your furry mama may also get anxious since she can’t reach her pups easily.

Allow your female dog to stay in the box at least 5 days before the delivery date. It will help your dam to adjust and get used to it.

Help your momma dog achieve their desired nesting area. It should have the qualities listed below:

  • Dry.
  • Warm.
  • Insect free.
  • Waterproof.
  • Has a railing.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Away from electrical cords.
  • Safe from harmful chemicals.

By ensuring their safety and comfort, behaviors such as scratching or digging may lessen.

#2: Caring for your dog with CCD

As we’ve learned, a dog with Canine Compulsive Disorder will repeatedly do common behaviors such as scratching. 

Of course, bringing your canine to the vet is your best bet, but you can also do some interventions at home.

Check out these techniques so you can help your canine with this disorder:

  • Increase exercise time. 
  • Reduce stress triggers.
  • List your dog’s stressors.
  • Reward your dog’s obedience.
  • Encourage calm activities such as lying down.
  • Avoid giving attention to your dog’s unusual behaviors.

Do you want to learn more about CCD? Watch this video of Max, the dog:

#3: Match your dog’s energy level

We talked about how dogs have different energy levels. There are various ways to manage your dog based on how active they are.

Making sure that your dog gets enough play and exercise is a must. It will lessen or eliminate behavior problems such as scratching.

First, let’s talk about how to exercise with low-energy dogs. When we say low energy, it doesn’t mean you’ll cuddle and lounge all-day

Dogs are naturally active, so you’ll still need to spend time playing with them. Low energy breeds can get by with 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Take them for a walk around the neighborhood. A quick game of fetch will also do them good.

Once they’re satisfied, your doggo will be happy to relax with you.

How about medium-energy dogs? 

These types of dogs are great for big families. You can spend 60 minutes running and walking with them.

They can play throughout the day with rests in between. Medium energy dogs are active, but they’ll stop when they have their fill of physical activity.

How to match the level of high-energy dogs?

You should love exercising as well. These breeds can thrive in 60-90 minutes of physical activity per day.

Extra active doggos like to hike or play ball. If you don’t have enough time, you can hire a dog walker instead.

Doggie daycare is also a good option. They can release their energy when playing with other canines.

#4: Start your dog training

If your dog’s scratching causes damage to your floor or carpet, it’s time to train your dog.

Exercising and providing a comfy space for your doggies are a must, but it doesn’t end there.

Training your dog to follow commands can be beneficial for both of you. It can prevent your dog from inflicting harm upon themselves.

Try doing the “leave it” training. Follow the steps below:

  1. Place treats on your hands.
  2. Put your hands behind your back.
  3. Make a fist with your hand, then show it to your dog.
  4. Allow your dog to sniff your hand with the treat inside.
  5. Tell your dog to “leave it” so they stop sniffing your hand.
  6. When your dog stops sniffing, say “yes” and give them the treat.

Remember not to give the treat when they don’t follow the command. You can repeat the steps until your dog gets used to it.

Another type of treat is a scratching rug for your dog. You can buy a durable one and allow them to scratch it. 

Make sure that they know the difference between the expensive carpet and the scratching rug.

Shower your furry friend with praises when they scratch the rug instead of your shiny floor or pretty carpet.

#5: Get help from the experts

When all else fails, it’s time to call the experts. You can contact a professional dog behaviorist to train your doggo.

A behaviorist is an expert who knows about different styles and techniques on how to manage your canine.

We can try our best at home, but experts are there for a reason if we fail.

The dog expert will ask you questions and further information to help determine what kind of training your dog needs.

Do other unusual signs accompany your dog’s scratching? If you think that your dog has a medical condition, don’t hesitate to contact the vet.

Based on the symptoms your furry pal is showing, your doggie will receive the treatment they need.

Lab tests can further check if your dog needs medication.

Experts are called experts for a reason. Don’t hesitate to seek one for your doggie’s troubles.

People also ask:

Why do female dogs scratch the carpet?

Female dogs scratch the carpet when they’re nesting. It’s the time of preparation before giving birth. Dams want to ensure the safety and comfort of their incoming pups. Scratching is their way of marking their territory and making sure their puppies are secured.

Why do dogs scratch the carpet / floor before they lay down?

Dogs scratch the carpet or floor before they lay down to make their space more comfortable. It’s similar to fluffing our pillows and arranging our sheets before we lay down. Canines also mark their area to tell other dogs that it’s their territory.