5 Reasons Why Your Dog Scratches and Digs the Floor at Night

A dog scratching the floor at night could mean a lot of different things including anxiety and any pain felt from a medical condition. It’s not something you want to encourage if it is a behavioral issue as the constant scratching may lead to damages to your carpet or hardwood floor. Some of the most common reasons for a dog scratching the floor at night can be found below.

1. Your Dog May be in Pain

There are certain medical situations that could cause your dog to act out in a destructive manner. It could be joint-related pains like arthritis or other underlying medical conditions that aren’t easily noticeable for pet owners. Your dog might be scratching or digging the floor to distract himself from the pain or discomfort.

2. Scratching Caused by Cognitive Dysfunctions

This mainly applies to senior dogs but it’s possible the scratching or digging behavior is a result of a cognitive dysfunction like dementia. Unfortunately, clinical signs of canine cognitive dysfunction are quite common among older dogs and it can lead to random behaviors as well as other symptoms like disorientation and restlessness.

3. Your Dog Gets Anxious at Night

Anxiety at night is a possible reason as to why your dog continues to scratch the floor. Rearranging the furniture in the room is one possible way to make your dog a bit anxious as the room would no longer become a familiar space for him. Anxiety could also happen from events like fireworks and thunderstorms. Last but not least, dogs with separation anxiety may also scratch the floor more excessively at night as you aren’t being responsive to him while you are asleep.

4. Your dog Senses Something Underneath

Your dog may have smelled or heard something underneath the floor. For example, rodents like mice are more active at night and your dog sensed their presence. They could start to dig or scratch the floor as a way to investigate what’s happening underneath the floor surface.

5. Your Dog Could be Nesting

Some days may exhibit nesting behaviors at night. Dogs want to be in a comfortable and secure location. To achieve this, they may scratch the floor before they decide to lay down for the night. Their ancestors in the wild would display these behaviors by creating a small den to curl up into. Even though dogs have been domesticated for a long time, it’s still primitive instinct for them to have this nesting behavior inside of your house.

How to Stop Dogs from Scratching at Night

One simple way to prevent your dog from scratching at night is to get them a comfortable dog bed. It’s been established that dogs like beds that have raised edges and those that are round as they mimic a nest or den that the dog is trying to recreate when scratching the floor.

Some dogs, however, may not take a liking to the bed when you introduce it the first time. Some positive reinforcement might be needed before the dog eventually settles to using a dog bed. You might want to get an orthopedic bed if you have a senior dog suffering from joint problems.

Another way to reduce the scratching behavior at night is by making sure your dog gets plenty of activity time. Tire them out (both mentally and physically) to the point they have no energy to do any scratching or digging at night! A flirt pole is one handy tool that can help get rid of any excess energy a dog has before they go to sleep.

If you feel that you are doing everything you can to prevent the scratching, then an underlying medical issue could be to blame. It’s important that you take your dog to the veterinarian in order to get them checked out to ensure no pain or stress from a medical issue is causing the problem.

Disclaimer: The content on MyPetChild.com is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your 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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