Do Dogs Need Scratching Posts?

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Scratching Posts

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Scratching is often a cat thing. Felines scratch out of instinct, to feel good, stretch their muscles, and relieve stress.

On the other hand, dogs are known for biting. They use their teeth more than their claws.

See, dogs have dull claws while cats have razor-sharp claws. Felines can retract the nail and keep it away from surfaces. Ultimately, this keeps the claws nice and sharp.

Conversely, dogs can only push their phalanx so far and as they walk, their nails are worn out by surfaces that come in contact with them. For this reason, dogs don’t really see the need to scratch their nails on end as they don’t use the claws much.

However, sometimes dogs scratch as well albeit on a lower scale. In most cases, they burrow the ground and once in a while the couch or home furniture.

So do they need scratching posts?

Here’s a detailed guide that answers the question.

Why Do Dogs Scratch?

Here are some of the reasons your dog scratches.

1. Comfort

If your dog has a habit of scratching the sofa or the rug before lying on it, chances are she does that to create a comfortable spot.

In the wild, dogs would scratch the ground before taking a snooze for this very reason.

2. Separation Anxiety

Dogs are so into people that when left alone for too long, they get lonely.

Some breeds are famous for separation anxiety including Bichon frises, German shepherds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Border collies, and Labrador retrievers.

Anxiety can also be caused by other factors such as sickness, the presence of a new pet, moving to a new environment, and being on heat.

To try and ease the anxiety, some pups will scratch things.

3. For Communication Purposes

According to an article published on Psychology Today, dogs scratch the ground after potty time to send a message to other dogs in the area.

Their paws have scent glands that are used to mark territories.

 So in essence, they combine the scent and dig the ground to let other dogs know she or he is around.

4. Boredom

A bored dog can be very destructive. They engage in all sorts of activities to pass time including scratching the couch, walls, and digging holes under the fence.

5. Looking For Something

Sometimes our furry friends dig around the house because they are simply looking for something.

 Perhaps they discovered a rat hiding on your couch or a toy buried in the pillow or a fun toy buried under the pillow.

To get to it, they will scratch and bite.

Do Dogs Need Scratching Posts?

As you think of adding on to your dog’s accessories, the idea of buying a scratching post is likely to come up.

Whether to get one for your pup or not depends on your doggie and the reason she scratches.

For example, if you notice that she tears the house apart just before bedtime, having a scratching post will not help anything. Even with a perfect one, she will still scratch her bedding in a bid to find comfort.

Similarly, a dog that scratches the sofa or the yard because they are looking for something doesn’t need a scratching post. Perhaps the behavior will go away once the doggie gets what she wants.

So, to know if a dog needs a scratching post, you have to get to the root of the behavior.

Here are some instances when having one may prove to be beneficial:

A. Challenges With Nail Clipping

Some pups will not let you near her nails to trim them.

For other pet parents, after cutting the quick of the nail so many times, they develop fear when it comes to trimming their dog’s nails (especially for black-nailed dogs).

In both instances, a scratching post can come in handy.

Here’s a video of a dog who files his own nails using a scratching post.

B. Anxiety Problems

For a dog that tends to scratch when they are anxious or stressed, a scratching post for dogs will come in handy.

Place one at different parts in the house and let the dog relieve stress there when she needs to.

C. Territory Marking

If your dog is already spayed and neutered, the issue of marking territories shouldn’t be a big deal.

However, if the dog is not fixed, have random scratching posts from where they can scratch on.

Parting Thoughts

A scratching post for dogs may be a very effective way of protecting your prized possessions against dog nails.

Once you identify the trigger points for your pup’s scratching behavior, you can determine if she needs one or not.

If she does, get the right post and start teaching the pet how to use it.

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Sable M. is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.