Dogs always seem to make such a big deal out of getting into bed, don’t they? Firstly, they need to pick a favorite toy to take with them, and then there’s the scratching and digging of the bedding material. And then they circled repeatedly before eventually sitting down in the very first position they were in. Why do dogs scratch beds and couches and circle endlessly before bedtime?

Why don’t we find out?

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  1. Why Do Dogs Scratch Their Beds
  2. Why Does My Dog Dig in My Bed
  3. Why Do Dogs Spin Before They Lay Down
  4. Why Does My Dog Scratch His Bed at Night
  5. Why Do Dogs Dig on the Bed When Excited
  6. Conclusion

Why Do Dogs Scratch Their Beds

We often discipline dogs for digging in the garden, but it’s a perfectly natural behavior for them. Not digging is unusual for them because generations before them did a lot of digging. It’s a natural and normal thing for them to do.

To understand it, you need to take yourself back to a time when canines were still wild. We domesticated them somewhere around 20–25,000 years ago, but that doesn’t mean we’ve taken away all their natural behaviors.

Back in pre-domestication days, dogs wouldn’t have a comfortable bed to sleep in in a warm, cool, and safe home. They would dig holes or pits in the ground to curl up in. The deeper earth is cooler than at the surface, and the hole also offered some protection from predators. Your dog is likely mimicking this action without even realizing it.

Why Does My Dog Dig in My Bed

How many times have you woken up too hot, turned the pillow over to get to the cool side, then fallen asleep again? Well, your dog digging or moving the sheets around in your bed is potentially the equivalent. If you watch the footage from your Petcube Camera, you’ll see that your pet does it pretty much every time they go to sleep.

Not just a way to move the bedding around and get comfortable, dogs will dig or move around the bedding to get some air through it. What you need to remember is that dogs have likes and dislikes just like humans do. Your dog might just prefer your bed a certain way before they go to sleep on it. Alternatively, maybe they’re getting the bed ready for you to get into it. (We can pretend it’s that if you like.)

Read more: 11 Funniest Pets Caught on Petcube at Night

Why Do Dogs Spin Before They Lay Down

I can’t help but laugh when I see George the Bulldog circling like a vulture on his orthopedic bed before finally slumping down. It’s a weird bedtime ritual, but it’s not really any different from human ones. We brush our teeth, put things away, and get our nightclothes on. Dogs essentially do the same, just without the toothbrush, putting the dishes away, or getting their PJs on.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals study, repeatedly spinning before lying down is an inherited behavioral quirk that dogs themselves probably don’t even understand.
Once upon a time, pre-domestication, your cherished companions didn’t have you and your home to protect them. They had to protect themselves. Turning around repeatedly is likely a compulsive act that stems from keeping an eye out for predators and determining the right position to sleep in to avoid putting themselves at risk.

Why Does My Dog Scratch His Bed at Night

Again, going back to times when dogs were lucky to get a hay floor to sleep on, let alone an actual bed, they’d often sleep on the ground. When that was outside, the ground would be rocky and uncomfortable, so the dog would scratch and move things around to get all the rocks and hard bits out of the way.

Inherited traits like these take many thousands of years to fade away. Even though your dog doesn’t need to do these things to get comfortable, they do them because they feel like they must.

Before they were domesticated, ancient dogs had more teeth, more crowded teeth, and shorter snouts. They were also believed to eat mammoths, horses, and reindeer, according to studies performed on fossils of the Paleolithic dog, which existed approximately 30,000 years ago.

Dogs have changed quite a bit since humans came along, but many of their behaviors have not.

Why Do Dogs Dig on the Bed When Excited

I’m sorry to give you unwelcome news, but when dogs dig on the bed excitedly before bedtime, you’re probably not giving them enough exercise, enrichment, and stimulation. They’ve got a whole load of energy stored away, and because it’s bedtime, they need to get it all out to go to sleep.

Keep track of how often your furry friend gets the zoomies before bed, then see how it ties up with how much exercise and mental stimulation they’ve had that day. A direct correlation means your pet is bored and destructive, and/or they’re not getting enough exercise.

Most of these causes are benign and won’t cause any harm whatsoever, but if you are concerned about the behavior for any reason, have a chat with your 24/7 online vet through Petcube Emergency Fund. Conditions such as forebrain dysfunction, brain lesions, ear infections, toxic poisoning, dementia, and canine distemper can cause dogs to circle around repeatedly or act in other ‘strange’ ways.

Read more: What to Do When the Dog Won't Sleep?


There are several reasons why dogs dig, scratch, circle, and mess up their beds before finally falling asleep. Alongside the ones I’ve already mentioned, these could be the causes:

  • You have a breed that loves digging, such as Jack Russell terriers;
  • Doggo wants to play with you;
  • Your female dog is pregnant;
  • They’re hiding something, such as a toy or food (common in multi-pet households);
  • Your pet is distressed or anxious and looking for a calm, quiet spot;
  • They’re using scent glands on their paws to mark the bed as their territory;
  • They’re feeling the instinctive need to dig.

Digging is natural for dogs, and to some extent, you should be prepared for it. It’s not a behavioral trait you can completely remove, but you can teach your pet to dig only in certain areas, such as a patch in the backyard.

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