Why Does My Dog Scratch My Bed Sheets?

Have you ever tried putting on new bed sheets to find your dog scratching them? 

Some dog owners will find this behavior adorable. Others find it annoying. 

Your dog scratches your bed sheet because they are just like their ancestors who dug and burrowed underground to soothe themselves.

Check out the other reasons your dog scratches your bed sheet. Learning the root cause of their scratching behavior will also help you end the problem.

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Dog scratching bed sheets

Why Your Dog Scratches Your Bed Sheets

Your dog scratches the bed for many reasons. Let’s uncover the mystery one by one. 

They Want to Burrow

Perhaps your dog scratches your bed sheet because they are trying to burrow under the sheets.

Your dog might be scratching the bed sheet, thinking it’s soil or dirt they’re digging. Many dog breeds do this because of their burrowing behavior inherited from their ancestors.

Dog breeds who hunted rats, moles, and other animals in the dirt now find comfort in spaces they associate with the ground or cave. This is what makes dogs den animals

They try to dig and hide under the covers to recharge after dealing with several stressors. 

Small-prey hunting dogs are most likely to scratch your bed sheet or “dig.” These include Jack Russell Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, and Dachshunds. 

Larger burrowers include Huskies. This breed once enjoyed scratching, digging through snow, and hiding under it to stay warm. 

It’s Comfortable

Our furry friends have unusual behaviors that are hard to explain. Sometimes, there’s no scientific reason why your dog scratches your bed sheet. 

They might simply like the feeling of the fabric rubbing against their paws and claws.

Dog’s whole bodies, including their paws, have nerve endings sensitive to touch. It’s not just the whiskers on their eyes, muzzle, and jaws that satisfy their sense of touch. 

Dogs also find it comforting to dig in areas they like. If your bed is a sanctuary for them, they will spend much of their energy spinning, scratching, and playing on the sheets. 

They Smell Food

So you maybe ate a whole box of pizza in bed last night while binging on your favorite show. We’re not judging. But your dog will do everything in their power to find the smallest crumb in your bed sheets.

Your four-legged friend will scratch, smell, and lick every corner of the sheet to get a taste of your pepperoni pizza. They might even chew the part where you spilled hot sauce.

If your dog is a food lover, expect them to look for a great meal wherever they go. Their sense of smell also increases in these situations since they are too eager to try your food.

Do your best to clean up any food residue left behind after snacking in bed. Or keep your dog away from your bed to stop this behavior.

Pregnant Dog is Nesting

Female dogs create a nest when their puppies are about to come out. 

If you notice them scratching your bed sheet and building a protective barrier around them, it’s a sign they’re about to give birth.

Pregnant dogs’ nesting behavior stems from their need for comfort. A nest would be a safe and cozy way to relieve themselves and their future puppies. 

But it’s not just pregnant dogs who do this. False pregnancy or pseudo-pregnancy are terms for canine animals showing maternal behavior but not really pregnant.

Female dogs often nest on your bed after an estrus cycle or a “heat period.” Other signs of fake pregnancy include mammary gland enlargement, vomiting, and bloating. 

Marking Their Territory

Dogs like marking their territory everywhere, from their pooping area to their bedtime spot. One way to do this is by scratching the surface of the location.

Your pooch releases sweat glands on its paws to leave its scent on the spot. It’s a way of communicating with other dogs and humans that this place is theirs.

To know if your dog scratches the bed sheets for this reason, try changing your linen. If they instantly jump up your bed and scratch, it means they’re calling dibs on it. 

Aside from scratching the bed, they might also walk in circles, rub their whole body against it, or worse, pee and poop on it. 

Do not let your dog on top of your bed if they are not house-trained and crate-trained yet. Learn more about crate-training a puppy to prevent this behavior.

They’re Bored and Curious

Dogs’ digging behavior might be a fun way to save themselves from boredom. While it seems harmless, letting your dog be “bored” can lead to them being destructive.

Dogs are always full of energy. If you don’t give them enough exercise and mental stimulation, they will try their own methods.

They will dig in your backyard, scratch your bed, chew your shoes, and ruin the entire house. Instead of suffering from an under-stimulated dog, try taking them for a walk or giving them interactive dog toys for adequate mental stimulation. 

I also don’t recommend playing with your dog when you see them scratching your bed. They might look cute doing it, but you’re unconsciously rewarding the bad behavior. 

Dogs who scratch your bed sheet might also think there’s a magical item to unearth under it. 

Feed their curiosity in other ways, such as letting them see new places, smell fresh flowers, and taste new food. 

Separation Anxiety

The final reason your dog could be scratching your bed is separation anxiety. This is usually when they only scratch your bed sheet when you’re not around.

Dogs like to fixate on objects that smell like you when you’re away. Some scratch your bed sheets while others lay on your pillow. 

Consult your veterinarian or dog behaviorist if you want to know more about dog separation anxiety

They will run the proper test, provide an accurate diagnosis, and give you a treatment plan for the behavioral disorder.

How to Stop Your Dog From Scratching Your Bed Sheets

There is nothing inherently wrong with your dog scratching your bed sheet. It’s in their DNA to pretend they’re digging as a way to soothe themselves.

If you don’t mind your dog scratching your bed sheet, you don’t have to discipline or train them any further.

But if it is a distraction or nuisance, here are some ways to stop your dog from scratching your bed sheet.

First, let your dog know they did something wrong. You can say a single command word like “No” or “Stop” to tell them.

Remove any reward they can get, such as access to the bed, attention, or nearby toys. Doing so will help your dog associate scratching bed sheets with a negative experience.

Try a no-dog policy on your bed if you’re having difficulty setting boundaries with your dog inside the room. It’s a helpful rule for dog owners whose dogs are hard to manage when staying in your bedroom. 

You can also give your dog a chew-proof dog bed they can call their own. This will help you sleep peacefully in your bed without worrying about them climbing up and digging around. 

It also helps to determine the root cause of your dog’s scratching behavior. 

If your dog scratches your bed when anxious, find ways to eliminate their anxiety completely. Desensitization training, calming supplements, and wrapping your dog can be excellent treatments for this. 

How to Protect your Bed Sheets from Your Dog

The best way to protect your bed sheets from your dog is by not allowing them to stay in your bed.

Some dog owners let their dogs in the bedroom but train them not to jump on the bed. Others completely ban their dog from the room.

If you can’t resist sleeping beside your dog, try buying seamless bed sheets and covers. Choose a product that is durable enough to withstand claws and scratches.

Avoid bed sheets, blankets, and pillow covers with embroidery to prevent damage. You also want to avoid knitted blankets that will trap your dog’s claws between the weave. 

Do Dogs Like Being Under Blankets?

Yes, dogs like being under blankets because their ancestors grew up in small dens that give them comfort. 

Beagles, Jack Russell Terriers, and Dachshunds also hunt small prey animals, so they’re happy to burrow themselves under the sheets to satisfy this instinct.

Some dogs also like hiding under blankets to stay warm and cozy. Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies have this behavior of hiding under the snow, which they might also do with your covers.

Learn why your dog keeps hiding under the covers now. 

Do Puppies Need a Blanket at Night?

Puppies do need a blanket at night if their surroundings are cold. 

Because their bodies aren’t fully developed yet, they cannot regulate their body heat during the cold season. 

Even puppies with thick coats still get cold. One way to help them stay comfortable is by placing a blanket over their bodies. 

Puppy blankets also provide relief from stress and anxiety during stressful nights. 

Find out whether you should give your puppy a blanket or night during bedtime

Can I Sleep in the Bed With My Dog?

Yes, you can sleep in the bed with your dog if they are fully trained. Doing so will provide you with lots of benefits. 

Sleeping with your pup can keep you calm throughout the night. Many people with stress and anxiety prefer sleeping with their dogs, so they have someone to cuddle with when they’re stressed or lonely.

You can also sleep with your dog to have a stronger bond. But this is only possible if your dog is trained to behave correctly in bed.

Find out the benefits of your dog sleeping in bed with you

Your Dog’s Scratching Behavior is an Instinct

When you see your dog scratching your bed sheets, imagine them as hunters in the earlier centuries digging through the dirt to look for small prey. 

Dogs scratch your sheets because the digging behavior has been hardwired in their DNA. They find the behavior comforting, stimulating, and enjoyable.

But the hunting instinct is not an excuse for destructive behavior. Learn how to stop your dog from scratching and digging.