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Digging

Digging with the front paws is normal behavior in both cats and dogs. It is seen during play in kittens and in puppies, exploring the texture of surfaces in their environment. Cats and some dogs exhibit digging just before and after elimination of urine or stool. Cats vary in the amount of digging before and after elimination, and whether they cover their waste with litter. Dominant dogs often kick away soil with the hind paws after elimination. Some dogs, especially the northern breeds, dig to create a resting place in soil or snow. Some hunting breeds, such as terriers, were developed because of their instinct to dig. Dogs also dig holes to store food or bones that may be retrieved at a later time, similar to a pattern seen in their wild relatives. Digging is often displayed during periods of excitement and serves to release anxiety. For example, digging associated with anxiety caused by a pet's separation from its human family may be an attempt to escape and rejoin them. Excessive digging behavior can become destructive, causing damage to carpets, wooden floors, shrubbery and grass. It is often helpful to increase the amount and variety of daily exercise, social interaction and play. Also, of course, you must prevent access to the pet's favorite digging area.