Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Carpet Digging

Question from Patti in Newark:
I have a 10 year old lab who recently started to dig at our carpet. He does it in various areas of our house; upstairs or downstairs, it does not matter. He will claw at least 8 times and then he lies down at that spot.

He has started to dream in the past few months. He will move and make noises..never did this before..interesting.

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
It does not sound like your lab's digging is due to a medical issue. I suspect he is digging at the carpet before he lays down as part of nesting behavior. My own dog used to dig both the carpet and her dog bed before laying down. She never destroyed the carpet, but made nail tracks that we easily remedied with a run of the vacuum.

I would be concerned if your dog dug at the carpet and then eliminated on it. Carpet fibers can be very dangerous if swallowed, so be sure no loose pieces are likely to be ingested. As long as your dog is not eliminating in the house, ruining your carpet, or eating strands of carpet, I do not see any reason for crating him or confining him elsewhere.

If your dog is making noises while sleeping, it is likely due to a dream. Dogs tend to sleep deeper as they age, so this might account for this new behavior. Seizure activity can manifest with leg paddling and vocalizing. If you have any concerns, consult your veterinarian.

Posted October 4, 2009

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