The beauty of having a dog (instead of a cat)?
Dogs don’t scratch the carpet.
Oh wait!?! Yours does…
There are 9 reasons why dogs do this. Continue reading to discover:
- Whether your dog’s actions are a result of OCD.
- The things your dog is trying to tell you by indulging in this behavior.
- What fear and anxiety have to do with your dog scratching the carpet.
- Why scratching the carpet may be a sign that you need to call an exterminator.
- And much much more…
Why is my dog suddenly scratching the carpet?
Your dog is suddenly scratching the carpet due to one or more of the following reasons: boredom, attention-seeking behavior, fear or anxiety, OCD, a medical problem, marking their territory, attempting to claim a crumb or being onto critters such as cockroaches and rodents.
Why does my dog scratch at the carpet before lying down?
Your dog scratches at the carpet before lying down as an instinctual reaction before getting ready for bed. Dogs in the wild would scratch to create a nest for themselves in the ground. By scratching they’d ward off unwanted guests. Plus mark their territory and protect themselves from the elements.
9 reasons why your dog started to scratch the carpet all of a sudden
These are the 9 most likely reasons due to which your dog started to scratch the carpet.
More often than not, dogs scratch or dig at the carpet as a result of boredom. And a whole bunch of pent-up energy.
If you find your dog suddenly having a good go at your favorite rug, you may need to look at your current lifestyle. If you’re too busy, maybe your schedule has affected your pup.
Perhaps you’ve been working long hours. Or you’ve been preoccupied with the kids. So without realizing it, you may have unintentionally neglected your fur baby.
So what comes out of that?
Reduced walks + lack of play time = a bored dog.
Most dogs, even small ones, need to get rid of their energy in ways that stimulate them. If you haven’t had time to walk or play with your dog, they will find other ways of releasing that energy.
One way in which they do this is to scratch the carpet. Regardless of whether they’d get the same result as when scratching the soil. Or in other words – dig an actual hole.
According to Psychology Today, some dogs get pure joy from this scratching action. It’s not surprising then that dogs choose to scratch up the carpet as a way to entertain themselves.
You might also like: Why do dogs scratch the floor?
#2: Looking for attention
Boredom goes hand in hand with your dog’s need for attention.
If your dog is feeling neglected, they will look for ways to get your attention. When one tactic doesn’t work, they’ll change the approach.
Often this will be by doing things you consider naughty. Telling your dog off for scratching at your carpet will only make things worse.
Dogs learn quickly. And they can master the art of getting our attention, whether positive or negative, in no time.
When you scold your dog for scratching at the carpet, they realize this action receives a response. Your dog will then continue scratching in the hope of earning your attention each time.
Read next: Why is my dog suddenly destroying things?
#3: Fear or anxiety
Dogs have the emotional capacity of a 2 – 2,5 old toddler. So it is possible for them to experience fear and anxiety. These feelings could cause them to seek stress relievers such as digging at your carpet.
Take note of when your dog is scratching at your carpet. You will need to determine what factors are stressing your dog and causing him to scratch.
Some situations that might cause your dog anxiety are:
- Separation anxiety.
- Moving to a new house.
- A guest staying in the house.
- Fireworks or other loud noises.
- Rearranging furniture or making other renovations.
In many of these situations your dog will scratch to try and escape the thing that is scaring them. By attempting to dig an exit route.
Check out also: 18 signs of anxiety in dogs
Like humans, dogs can suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a.k.a. OCD. In many ways this is a combination of the first three points.
Confining a dog means they cannot release energy and can become stressed and develop OCD. In a dog, OCD may display itself with scratching, chewing or licking.
If your dog is now spending long periods of time locked up, it is possible that he may have developed OCD.
Read this article next: Why does my dog lick the floor constantly / all the time?
Some illnesses may result in your dog suddenly becoming a carpet scratcher. Dogs don’t understand illness or pain the way we do.
Scratching is a coping mechanism to try and relieve the way they are feeling.
According to pets.webmd some illnesses that may cause your dog to scratch are:
- Brain tumor.
- Skin allergies.
- Thyroid imbalance.
- Thorn or similar stuck in the paw.
You should consult your vet if your dog does any of the following along with the carpet scratching:
- Paw licking.
- Battling to get up.
- Not able to get comfortable.
- Becoming aggressive when you try and stop them scratching.
#6: Having a convo
Dogs scratch as a way to communicate.
They have sweat glands in their paws and when they scratch a scent gets released. Often you will see your dog do this after a bathroom break.
Bringing a new dog into the house might cause your dog to start scratching. That’s because they’re scent marking your carpet.
Even a neighbor’s new dog might have yours acting territorially.
If your new dog is a carpet scratcher it is likely that your old dog has observed this act of joy. And as a result they’re now copying the newcomer.
Who said an old dog can’t learn new tricks?
#7: Making their bed and sleeping in it
Are you experiencing a heat wave? Or maybe it’s a pretty chilly spell? Either way, hot or cold, the weather may be the reason your dog is scratching the carpet.
Dogs are instinctually wired to dig dens. That’s how they protect themselves from the elements.
In warmer weather digging would expose the cooler soil. In winter, the hole with high sides would protect them from wind and cold.
You see, it’s completely normal for your dog to respond to the weather by trying to dig a den.
If your dog is older they may start scratching the carpet in an attempt to build a softer den. An older dog will start finding it more difficult to get comfortable.
This is due to painful age-related conditions such as arthritis.
#8: Oh, crumbs!
The simplest reason could be a missed crumb of food. We all know dogs have excellent noses. Even a small bit of fallen food could have them scratching at the carpet trying to locate the morsel.
#9: Pesky pests
As horrifying as it may be, rats or roaches could be the cause of your dog scratching your carpet. Certain breeds like terriers and Dachshunds were originally bred to hunt vermin.
It is possible that your dog smells or hears the pests under your house. This could be causing them to go crazy scratching at the carpet.
How do I get my dog to stop scratching the carpet? 3 tips
The only way to get your dog to stop scratching the carpet is to get to the bottom of why they’re doing so. Once you know why, it’ll be half the battle won.
#1: Put in the time
If you think the carpet scratching is from your lack of attention, then there are a few easy fixes you can try:
- Puzzle toys.
- Play sessions.
- More yard time.
- Designated daily cuddle time.
- More frequent or longer walks.
- A sandbox where he can dig without damage.
Using these tips will ease your dog’s boredom and stress. It will give him positive activities to take their mind off scratching the carpet.
Training techniques can stop your dog from taking their frustration out on your carpet.
When they start to scratch get their attention by making a sound. Such as smacking your lips for example.
Then get your dog to perform tricks for treats. But away from the scratch zone. Soon enough your pooch will learn that there are more effective ways of getting attention and using their energy.
If you don’t see much success by training your dog on your own, you can always turn to a behaviorist.
#3: Call in the exterminator
If you think the problem might be vermin-related, then call in a pest control company as soon as possible.
Rats and roaches carry diseases. So eliminating them quickly is best for all.
Just be careful with your dogs and any poison that the exterminator may lay down.
Consult with the exterminator how long you should be out of the house. And what you need to do before letting your dogs in.
Also, get the details of the products the exterminator uses in case of an emergency.