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Why do dogs scratch?

Updated on March 11, 2012

Scratching is a common behavior of dogs. Our furry friends scratch the ground before, they lay down. They scratch the ground after urinating and defecating. To the consternation of an owner, a dog will scratch the doggie bed until the cushion and the doggie blanket is a mess. A dog would scratch for no apparent reason. To a dog, scratching is fun.

A dog is noted to have an unaccountable desire to scratch and bite its body.  However excessive scratching is indicative of problem. The dog would frantically scratch the body or a leg, walk in circles…lie down and scratch again until the part of the body being scratched is raw and bleeding. Excessive scratching can be due to a number of reasons.

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Parasite infestation

Fleas, ticks, ear mites can be the culprits that makes the dog scratch excessively. When these parasites make a home in the fur and body of the dog, the infestation will make the pet extremely uncomfortable. Excessive scratching would result to inflamed skin and lesions that can get infected. Fortunately parasite infestation can be easily eradicated. With regular grooming, an owner will notice a parasite infestation before it becomes a serious problem.


After playing outdoors the pet may have been exposed to the allergens from plants and grasses. Allergic reactions cause the dog to scratch. Naturally it would not be possible to remove the plants from the dogs’ environment. Neither would it be a good idea to keep the dog forever inside the house. A change of food can make the dog itch. Obviously there is an ingredient that can not be tolerated by the dog’s system. Take the pet to a veterinary facility. The vet may not be able to pinpoint the allergens but for sure he can prescribe medications that will make the pet comfortable.

The dog’s diet

The dog’s scratching may be the result of a diet that makes the skin dry and flaky. This condition is seen in dogs fed with low quality dog food that mostly contain cereal fillers. Premium quality food would be expensive but apart from providing the pet with good nutrition the healthy skin of the pet will also be ensured.


Scratching the kennel, the door, the carpet and the furniture is the dog’s way of attracting the attention of the master. This behavior is most common in bored dogs. Dogs have high exercise requirements. A pet that is left alone inside the house or leashed in the backyard will manifest its boredom by being destructive.


A nervous dog would frantically scratch. If humans bite the nails when nervous, dogs scratch their bodies to deal with the stress.

Dog Scratching

dog scratching ear (slow motion)

beagle scratching


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