Circling around before lying down is likely a residual instinct from when their ancestors lived out in the wilderness. Your dog’s ancestors would have paced in circles to flatten down and warm their sleeping area. By going in circles, they effectively would have carved a nice cozy nest, just big enough for themselves, out of dirt, grass, snow, or whatever the area had to offer.
Lots of dogs will also dig at their bed area. With durable building materials, like those used in your house or furniture, all they accomplish is scratching up your hardwood or warring holes into your cushions. However, back in the wilderness, they would have dug a shallow hole to shelter themselves from the elements. A shallow hole could have kept them warm and cozy in the winter, cool and comfortable in the summer and perhaps even make them harder to detect.
You only need to be worried about their pacing and scratching if it’s wrecking your furniture or if it’s excessive. If your dog is pacing excessively, it could be a sign of pain and discomfort. If your dog is in pain or they are uncomfortable, they could have an underlying injury or arthritis. As your dog gets older, they start to experience more joint pain as well and other random pains associated with old age.
If you feel your pet may be in pain or discomfort, it is best to bring them in to see your veterinarian and discuss options to increase their quality of life. Should you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at 204.253.2668.