Why Does My Dog Scratch My Bed Sheets?

There’s no ambiguity with the name of this article. That’s because pet parents are specifically searching “why does my dog scratch my bed sheets” every day. We’d bet that you just did as well, and that’s how you found us.

You came here to save your bedding. So, we’ll get right to the heart of the matter and tell you why your dog scratches your bed sheets and what you can do about it.

  • The Main Reason Why Dogs Scratch Bed Sheets
  • Other Explanations for Scratching
  • What Can You Do to Stop the Scratching?
Dog rolling in sheets

The Main Reason Why Dogs Scratch Bed Sheets

Dogs aren’t one size fits all, and neither are their behaviors. When given a chance, many will scratch sheets, but for different reasons. And, none of them include “to be mean.”


Digging or scratching is an inherent instinct amongst many animals. Before being domesticated, dogs would strike at the ground to create a soft place to lie or protect them from the cold. So, even though they’re in a nice, cozy home with a mattress to rest on, there’s still that instinctual behavior.

You might notice that your fur baby hones in on the fitted sheet. That’s because it’s pulled taut. They need to scratch at it to pry it loose to make a sleeping spot that pleases them.

Redecorating Instead of Scratching

Most of the time, when you think they’re scratching, they’re just maneuvering (no opposable thumbs!). Rest assured they’re nothing nefarious going on – they just want to feel safe and comfortable.

Comfort isn’t the only reason why dogs scratch bed sheets, though. Others vary with both the pet – and your sheets.

Other Explanations for Pets Scratching Bed Sheets

While their instinct is typically the motivator, there are other reasons why dogs scratch at bedding:

  • Allergies
  • Boredom
  • Anxiety reducing
  • Odors
  • Nesting


Have you ever had an allergic reaction that made your skin so itchy, it was driving you crazy?

Well, your dog is susceptible to the same kind of behavior. It may or may not be the bedding prompting them to thrash around and scratch. Regardless, they’re trying to get some relief in any way possible.

Again, without those thumbs, they’re not popping open a bottle of Benadryl!

why do dogs scratch sheets, dog on the bed


Believe it or not, dogs get bored too. What do they do when they need something to do? They create an activity for themselves.

Scratching at sheets could give them something to do, as it could be a challenge to untuck it from the corner.

Anxiety Reducing

Reducing anxiety goes hand in hand with instinct. Pets are looking for a way to self-soothe, especially when they’re feeling out of sorts. Maybe little Bella heard an argument in the next room or is tormented by their feline sister or brother.

Scratching at sheets or other things is a way to relieve frustration.


Wait! Don’t take offense here, as we’re not implying anything about you or your grooming habits. When we mention odors as a cause for your dog scratching at your bed sheets, we’re talking about something else.

Do you snack in bed? If so, your furry bed partner could be going after that food smell. Or, if you have other pets, that’s enough to send them on a quest for supremacy.

Did you know that dogs have sweat glands in their paw pads? They don’t keep them very cool. But that sweat is enough to show other pets who’s boss and who belongs in that bed – hence, the scratching and digging.


If you’ve got a male dog, you can skip right past this one. But pregnant female dogs nest just like their human counterparts.

While some dogs are scratching for their comfort or protection, females could be preparing a place for the babies. It’s something to keep in mind if you find out that puppies are on the way, as you might want to buy a new dog bed to save your own.

dogs scratching sheets, why do dogs scratch sheets

How to Stop Your Dog from Scratching

After reading through our list of why dogs scratch bed sheets, you probably identified at least one or two of them that fit your situation.

Once you know the cause, you’ve got some possible solutions.

Covering Inherent Behavior

You’re not going to do anything about combatting your pet’s instincts. But you can save your sheets nonetheless.

The object here is to distract. So, cover your sheets with heavier blankets, also tucked into the corners. Most dogs don’t want to be in such a confined space, so they turn their attention elsewhere.

You could also give little Fido a blanket of his own. Put it in his favorite sleeping (aka scratching) spot, so he digs at the blanket instead of your bed sheets.

A Toy for Boredom or Anxiety

When boredom or anxiety is the cause of dogs scratching bed sheets, the key is to replace their behavior with something else. It’s a bit like a distraction with a blanket or sheet of their own.

In this case, veterinarians recommend a toy that your little fur baby will chew on or play with instead of scritching and scratching at your sheets.

Allergy Relief

If your pet is suffering from allergies and looking for relief, you have to get right to the heart of the matter. Now, if it’s because of the sheets or other bedding, that’s easy enough.

Before you replace anything, though, try washing all of your sheets and blankets with hypoallergenic detergent, and be sure to use a comparable fabric softener as well. That could be enough to alleviate the discomfort.

Instead, if it’s seasonal or airborne allergies, contact your vet to get a prescription or advice.

Additional Reading: Can Dog Beds Cause Allergies?

Odor Remover

The odors are easy enough to address as well. You’ll just want to give everything a good cleaning.

However, if another family pet is the cause, it might be time to consider a dog bed. You can always put the dog bed in the same room. But, a space of their own might be just what the doctor ordered to save your sheets (and your sanity). And, that’s good advice regardless of the reason why your dog scratches your bed sheets.