While most reasons why your dog is scratching the floor are innocent, there are a few that should have you worried. These can be broadly classified as psychological and physical distress.
Psychological distress in dogs can be anything from post-traumatic stress disorder to separation anxiety.
In these cases, the dog may be scratching at the floor as a way to get some psychological release and feel safe. You will also notice other bizarre behavior like increased vocalization, panting, reduced appetite, and changes in their overall mood.
When your dog is in pain, they will do whatever they can to distract themselves from it. Sometimes this comes in the form of scratching at anything they can reach, including the floor.
It is not fully understood why they do this but it happens enough times to be considered a possible reason why your dog is scratching your floors.
Why Do Dogs Scratch The Floor Before Eating?
Dogs scratch the floor before eating, mainly out of habit. Here are some of the reasons why this habit arises.
Looking For A Place To Hide The Food
Dogs in the past used to hide food to either eat later or to hide their tracks from other predators who may try to steal it from them. This instinct stuck, which is probably why your dog tries to scratch the floor before or while they eat.
Dogs love food, and this is not a secret. If your dog is excited enough about their mealtime, they could end up scratching your floors to redirect all their elation. These dogs also display habits like barking or growling while they eat, as well as eating very quickly.
Warn Off Competition
Finally, your dog could be scratching the floor before eating to scare aware anyone or any other pet in the house that the dog fears will try to take their food. By scratching the floor around the food, the dog is basically marking that entire territory as their own.
The scratching behavior also makes them appear menacing to potential competitors or fierce rivals.
Why Do Dogs Scratch The Floor After Peeing?
Dogs may scratch the floor after peeing as a way to try and bury the pee to hide their scent. However, this behavior is not very common, especially with socialized dogs that feel safe and comfortable in their homes and adoptive families.
Why Do Dogs Scratch The Floor At Night?
Your dog may be scratching the floor as a result of its nesting instinct. This is common with floors that are carpeted or strewn with clutter. As the dog scratches, they will pull the material together to the perfect little pile for them to rest on.
Dogs also scratch floors at night out of anxiety. This is common with dogs prone to separation anxiety either due to breed predisposition or exposure to traumatic events. The scratching here is a way for the dog to help reduce their anxious energy.