Why Do Dogs Scratch the Carpet?


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If you’ve got a new pooch, everything they do can seem cute. That is until they start to tear things up and make a mess in your place.

Some dogs can suffer from separation anxiety or just have a lot of pent up energy that they need to get rid of, taking to carpet scratching for some relief.

If your dogs scratch, start digging into the carpet, dig into it, or participate in other forms of destructive behaviors, there is a reason behind their habit and ways to prevent it from happening time and time again.

Why Does My Dog Scratch Carpet?

Scratching the carpet is not abnormal behavior for a dog, though it can lead owners to hunt for solutions. There are many reasons why your dog scratches the carpet, some of the most common we’ve included below.

Separation Anxiety

If you’ve got a busy schedule, your dog is likely spending a lot of time at home alone. All this time cooped up in the home can lead them to feel anxious and experience separation anxiety or stress.

When a dog starts to act up, it may start to do a lot of things, including carpet scratching and pawing at open vents. In serious cases, you should get your vet involved.

Pent Up Energy

If you’ve got a high-energy dog, you might be dealing with a situation where your pet needs some mental stimulation. If they’re in your house most of the day lying down and without company, they may resort to anything that gives them something to do.

If you don’t have time to release some of that excess energy, your pets may begin to do some pretty weird things. For example, if they scratch the carpet often, they may have a lot of energy and not know how to expend it.

Instinctive Behavior

Sometimes, there is no underlying condition. Instead, it is just your dog’s behavior, leading them to act instinctively and dig. Certain breeds, including wild dogs, have more digging behavior than others, including those that are typically used for hunting burrowing critters.

With these kinds of breeds, you may find that they cannot help but dig, even if there is no dirt involved. If your dog digs, they might not be able to help it and may get the behavior from other dogs or animals as they grow.

What To Do When Dog Scratches Carpet?

To keep dog scratching to a minimum, there are some things you can do. Because their scratching behavior can be linked to different things, it’s best to first find the reason and then start to think of ways to tackle it from there.

If you notice that your dog digs and is scratching a bit much, here are some things that you can do.

Get Active

Most pet owners will do things with their dogs daily, like take them out for a walk, play catch with them, or even take them for a drive. Things like these are perfect for your dog’s anxiety and stress (and other issues like thyroid imbalance) and will help them (and you) stay active.

Consider taking them to the dog park or, if you have an extra energetic puppy, look into sending them to your local doggy daycare. Daycare for your dog is becoming a new thing for all dog owners, helping them give their pet something fun to do while they’re at work.

Upgrade Their Bed

Sometimes, when your dog starts scratching the carpet, they are doing it to make their lying spot more comfortable. For example, to prep their sleeping area and keep it from getting cold, some dogs will scratch and dig into the carpet, doing so instinctively before lying down.

One way to keep them from doing this is to use your interior decorating skills, creating a new, comfy rest area they won’t have to scratch.

They may make a few turns and sniff their bed a few times before giving it a try, though they will eventually fall in love and make it their staple hang-out spot while you’re away.

Check Their Coat

Most dogs start to scratch when they have an issue with their coat. It could be fleas, scabs, dry skin, or something more serious, so you should check their coat if you notice a lot of scratching. Give them a good brush through and look through their fur to see if you spot anything that could be irritating.

Even if you don’t see anything right away, you should start taking steps to keep your dog’s coat fluffy and clean, bathing them and using a soothing treatment in the winter months as the skin starts to flake off. In addition, you may want to check with your vet for suggestions for any other issues that persist.

Cut and File their Nails

Sometimes, your pup starts scratching because their nails are getting a bit long and sharp. As dogs start to walk on hard surfaces, they feel uncomfortable when their nails are too long and may resort to scratching at the carpet to try and file them down. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed and filed, going to the pros to avoid overcutting.

This may take away the issue, especially if they were scratching at the carpet because of their long nails. But, even if it wasn’t, you can avoid the dangers of your dogs scratch and long nails getting snagged in your carpet, keeping them safe while you’re away.

Bulk Up on Toys

If your dog has a favorite chew toy, maybe it’s time to give them some variety. Dogs have a lot of energy and will often resort to changing up their activities throughout the day to keep them entertained.

Stocking up on playthings and helping them find a new favorite toy could prevent them from scratching carpet.

Take a look at the toy or other goodies that your dog goes after the most, using that as a starting point to find new ones for them to play with.

Then, take a trip to your nearest pet supply store and find some fun toys. As a bonus treat, you can take your dog with you, doing so to allow them to pick out the toy they want.

Consider Crating

Though it’s not a preferred option for many owners, it could be a good idea to consider crating. If you have a new dog, it could be the best thing for them, helping them with their anxiety and abnormal behavior while you’re away. The key to crating is giving your pet enough room and making them feel comfortable inside.

If you have a smaller dog, you could go for a very large crate, giving them plenty of space to play, rest, and even relive themselves if needed.

On the other hand, you might need to invest in a larger crate or use door blockers in the kitchen or a room to give them plenty of space for bigger dogs.

Destructive Behavior in Dogs: What It Means

If your dog frequently plays, explores your home, and gets excited, a vet thinks they’re pretty normal behaviors. But, on the other hand, there are some behaviors that are considered destructive, leading dogs to destroy your home or other property while they’re at it.

Dogs will never destroy things to get revenge. Instead, there is an underlying issue, such as anxiety, that’s behind their behavior. So what is your dog saying with its destructive behavior?

#1. I Have Anxiety

Your dog may be suffering from anxiety, stress, or obsessive compulsive disorder, which could trigger disruptive behaviors. For example, they could start paw licking, scratching on the carpet, and even tearing up things in your home like pillows or blinds.

How to fix it:

Try making your pet feel safe. Seek veterinary advice if you notice that your dog is getting too much to handle, seeking suggestions that will make them feel good.

Some things you could do include crating, stocking them with toys, or turning in the TV or music, so they have some noise while you’re away.

#2. I’m Scared

If your dog is a scaredy-cat and runs away from loud noises, it could start behaving badly. When a storm comes or other loud noises, your dog could react by destroying things in your home, including your furniture, scratching the carpet, and even your baseboards.

How to fix it:

Try eliminating loud noise and giving them a spot in your home where they feel safe. For example, if you notice that they run under the bed, try putting their favorite toy there to have something near when they feel scared.

#3. I’m Bored

Dogs with a lot of energy could start exhibiting disruptive behaviors. When you leave for the day, your dog is left alone, looking for something to do until you get back. When you’re back home, you should take them for a walk or run and help them work some of their energy off and keep your dog’s attention active.

How to fix it:

Try to be more active with your dog, taking them out more than a few times a day. Shoot for the morning, right when you get off, and before you take off to bed, letting them stretch their legs, run a bit, and get a whiff of the great outdoors.

#4. Look At Me!

Sometimes, pets will start doing things for the sake of attention seeking. For example, they can scratch carpets surfaces, take off running, and even start barking.

How to fix it:

The key here is to take breaks and give your dog your undivided attention as much as you can. This will keep them happy playful and reduce their destructive behaviors when they have your attention.

#5. Don’t Be Mad at Me

Some pet owners are hard on their dogs, which is not always a good way to make them obey. Instead, owners should think about other ways of training their dogs instead of getting mad at them, understanding that sometimes dogs just can’t help it and start scratching just because.

How to fix it:

You could try putting your dog through some obedience classes or try training them yourself. In most cases, dogs act like this because they don’t know any better, so it’s best to be patient and keep them from feeling scared of you. For suggestions, contact your vet.

Related Contents:

Keep Dog Scratches at a Minimum

If you’re busy looking into your dog’s digging as a behavioral problem, you might miss something that’s very obvious. Some dogs dig into carpets for very simplistic reasons, leaving you nothing to do but clear up the problem to get them to start. Some of these key things include:


You might not be able to see or smell a single crumb in your carpet, but your dog has much stronger senses than you. So if you have a few crumbs or something savory in your carpet that make your pup excited, they might take to scratching the carpet and sniffing to try and get it out. Pass a vacuum throughout your house to be sure and see if they stop.

Your Attention

Sometimes dogs get into the habit of behavior because they know that they will get your attention. For instance, if they bark and you talk to them, they know that they can get your attention without going to great lengths.

Same thing if they start to scratch the carpet or start digging. Instead, you may need to train them to do something else to get your attention.


Some dogs dig just because. There is no behavioral issue; digging is just something embedded in their DNA. This is especially true with puppies; most of them are not trained yet. It could be something that they eventually grow out of, realizing that it’s not the same as digging outside.

Keep your Dog from Scratching your Carpet

If your dog is constantly digging in the house, there are ways that you can prevent them from scratching your carpet. The key is to first get down to the bottom of their innate behavior, finding out where it’s coming from in the first place.

Once you know where the dog scratch is coming from, you can take steps to keep them from doing it. In some cases, scratching is completely normal, just part of the way that dogs do things.

In others, there is an apparent reason why your dog may be scratching carpet and participating in destructive behavior.

Keep your doggy happy and keep your house and carpet from getting destroyed with these suggestions on how to stop your dog from scratching. The number one thing you need is patience, especially if your doggy is new.

It can take some getting used to and some training. Still, eventually, you can get them to stop digging one way or another, whether it’s with veterinary treatment options or just taking eliminating their source of anxiety.