Top 3 Reasons Why Dogs Scratch and Dig the Floor at Night

Context is important to determine if there is something wrong with your dog whenever he starts to scratch and dig the floor at night. Here are the most common reasons that may explain the behavior.

1. Your dog is nesting

Nesting is a natural behavior and could be more prevalent at night. The dog could just be trying to make himself comfortable and warm before he goes to bed. Scratching and digging are behaviors that the dog may have picked up from his ancestors. For wild dogs, they may have scratched the leaves and soil to make themselves a comfortable sleeping spot. The same goes for your dog.

2. Your dog is sick or in pain

Your dog might have a sickness that causes more discomfort at night. For example, the dog might have certain joint pains that hurt more whenever he tries to lie down. Older dogs may suffer from cognitive dysfunctions like dog dementia. They may have woken up at night and temporarily forgot where they were. The anxiety may cause the dog to constantly scratch and dig the floor at night.

3. Your dog is bored

Dogs may show a greater likelihood to scratch the floor at night if they didn’t get enough exercise (mental and physical) throughout the day. The dog may have excess energy to burn and constant scratching is one way to get rid of it. Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise and play time if you have been slacking on that front. Tired dogs are happy dogs. A tired dog will find no need to scratch the floor at night if they have no energy to move.

How to stop a dog from scratching at night

Assuming it isn’t due to a health issue, one way to minimize the scratches and damage to the floor is by introducing an old towel (or equivalent fabric material). It should be something you don’t mind your dog scratching and damaging. Placing the towel on top of the spots where your dog scratch at night could help them maintain their natural behaviors of nesting while also minimizing any damage to the floor and carpet.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


  • Margie | 01/10/2020

    My shih tzu licks her paws a lot

  • Mary | 18/10/2021

    My shih true licks his paws and soaks them usually at night

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