A dog scratching the floor could be attributed to many different things ranging from a medical condition to anxiety. Some dogs are fond of scratching the floor so hard that they end up destroying your hardwood or carpet flooring.
This behavioral trait in dogs becomes worrisome when the scratching becomes constant, making you start searching for solutions to the problem. But before you can get a solution to it, you must first enquire about the reason for the constant scratching.
Why does my dog scratch the floor?
The following are the reasons your dog keep scratching the floor:
The reason your dog scratches the floor may be associated with nesting. Dogs love sleeping in a secure and comfortable location. To get this comfy location, some dogs scratch the floor. Before dogs became domestic animals, they lived in the wild, where they had to prepare a place to sleep by themselves. So they built themselves small dens where they curl up to. Thus, despite the domestication of dogs, their primitive instinct is still intact. So do not be wary when your dog exhibits its nesting behavior.
Dog paws have scent glands. This enhances the olfactory message they transmit to other dogs. Sometimes they scratch the floor to communicate with other dogs. Since scratching creates signs on the floor, dogs combine the signs to create a perfect picture for other dogs to check out.
There is no doubt that the combination of olfactory and visual aspects created by scratching can send a clear message to other dogs.
Dogs are from the wolf family. So, like wolves, dogs have scent glands in between their toes and below their paws that produce pheromones. Dogs communicate with themselves with this scent. Scents created from the glands are usually long-lasting.
You might have come across your dog kicking off dirt when defecating. There is a possibility that it is leaving a message for other dogs - If your dog also scratches the floor inside your home, he may be trying the same thing. However, there is one catch to this theory: dogs spread their scents across places to establish territories. So any other pet that ventures into your home knows that there are territorial markings in place. This serves as a warning to any intruding dog in the area.
Some dogs love the feeling of their paws while scratching or digging the floor, they do it as a kind of entertainment. Others tend to scratch the floor out of boredom, they have excess energy because they do not have enough stimulation either physically or mentally.
When is it a problem?
It is part of the instinct of dogs to scratch the floor. This instinct had been in them right from the beginning of creation before they became domesticated by man. Even with this domestication, the instinct is still intact. This means that it is natural for dogs to scratch the floor once in a while.
But when do you begin to worry about this behavioral instinct?
You must start worrying when the scratching becomes excessive. Excessive and constant scratching of the floor by your dog will complicate issues for both you and your dog if you don’t quickly find a solution to the issue.
Your dog can injure itself by excessively scratching the floor. Apart from the dog injuring itself, it also destroys your hardwood and carpet flooring and ruining furniture as well.
Reasons for excessive scratching
Here are some of the reasons your dog scratch the floor excessively:
Like some humans, dogs also get anxious at night. One way some dogs manage their anxiety is by scratching the floor.
Rearrangement of your room or house from the way it used to be can also make your dog anxious. This anxiety may lead to it scratching the floor surface.
Loneliness can also be a source of such a dog’s anxiety. At night, when you are asleep, your dog is lonely. It is left unattended, and this may make it feel less safe.
Some dogs are like your kids; they get scared at everything. Your dog’s anxiety can result from lightning, thunder, or a storm.
Your dogs can also be threatened by the presence of new faces or pets in your home. In this instance, you need to pay close attention to your dog when you have a friend coming over. You might notice that your dog’s anxiety is higher. Dogs are territorial, so they exhibit their anxiety by scratching the floor.
Pain is one of the reasons some dogs scratch the floor. When a dog is in pain, it may act in a destructive manner. Pain causes stress in both dogs and humans. So the pain of your dog may lead to it becoming stressed out. Your dog's stress level may determine the rate at which it scratches the floor to relieve its stress and pain.
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
This affects the mental health of the dog. OCD occurs in dogs, though not frequently. When a dog is said to have OCD, such a dog exhibits behaviors that exaggerate normal dog behaviors. This behavior is exhibited by the dog for a more extended period than expected and is repeated out of context. In situations like this, the dog is considered to be abnormal.
Dog behaviors that are considered compulsive include scratching the floor, sucking on any part of its body, sucking on its toy, staring into space, chewing excessively, barking excessively, light chasing, fly biting, tail chasing, and spinning.
Solutions to scratching
Now that you’ve known why your dog scratch the floor, what is left is to find a solution to the issue.
The first thing you can do is get your dog its own comfy dog bed. Research has shown that dog loves beds with raised edges and round shapes. This round-raised edge bed perfectly mimics the den or nest your dog is trying to create by scratching the floor.
Ensure that your dog gets enough playtime during the day. You need to train, play with, and exercise your dog regularly. This gets your dog out of energy and wears him out. So by the end of the day, your dog is tired and less likely to put in efforts to scratch the floor.
If you feel it’s an underlying medical issue, reach out to a veterinarian on time to get the dog checked out.
It is normal for dogs to scratch the floor. However, you should be worried when the scratching becomes excessive. The reasons and solutions to excessive scratching of the floor have been discussed above. Utilize the solutions enumerated to reduce the scratching to the barest minimum.