Why is My Dog Scratching the Carpet?

dog lying on carpet

There are times when dogs start to scratch your carpets. This can frustrate you and make you worry about your expensive carpet being damaged. If you tried to scold your dog to get it to stop scratching carpets and it did not work, then it is time to pay attention to the root cause behind your dog’s behavior.

Destructive habit
Some dogs become destructive and will not stop scratching your carpets. This happens because he or she has too much energy. Think about methods that will help to channel your dog’s energy into something more productive. Try involving your dog in some playful activities or giving him or her some toys to play with that will help to occupy their mind and divert their attention from your carpet. If you have a backyard, by all means, let your dogs out to run off some of the excess energy. You can also take your dog for more walks or hire a dog walker if the problem seems more prevalent when you’re away from the house. In short, the goal is to try to distract your dog’s attention from your carpet.

Fear or anxiety
If your dog always seems to claw at the carpet in response to certain stimuli, they may be experiencing fear or anxiety. For instance, some dogs bark or hide under the bed during thunderstorms or when cars honk their horns. Other dogs respond in different ways, so if yours picks times like those to scratch the carpet, he may be trying to escape. Additionally, dogs can experience separation anxiety when their owners are away from the home. If you believe your dog is experiencing some kind of distress (rather than just boredom or excess energy), one way to prevent your dog scratching the carpets is by hiring a professional trainer who will help to calm your dog.

Illness
Illness, whether physical or mental, is another reason for dogs acting unusually by scratching carpets. Such behavior changes could indicate conditions like a thyroid imbalance, a brain tumor, or another illness which your veterinarian would need to diagnose. If you are concerned about a change in your dog’s behavior, keep track of how often if happens, if there are outside stimuli, and any other relevant details. That information will help you determine whether it’s time for a vet checkup and it will be useful for the vet as well.

OCD
Some dogs scratch carpets because of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This condition arises when your dog is under stress or is in need of additional training. Other OCD-related behaviors can include inappropriate chewing, pacing, and things that indicate the dog may be stressed or acting out. Consulting a trainer or behaviorist is the best course of action.

Natural instinct
Dogs are also known to scratch carpets before laying down and may have natural instincts to hide treats by digging. If the behavior is only occasional and not destructive, it may be simply part of your dog’s natural doggy-ness. Even though we treat them as part of our families, we have to remind ourselves that they are animals, after all. When it crosses the line into regular or problematic behavior, you may want to consult a professional.

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