As a dog owner, you should get used to the fact that your dog will do a lot of licking and chewing. Although you need to be careful and monitor what your dog licks and chews because there could be serious issues if it licks or chews on some things. One of the most common things your dog will lick is the blanket, and we will look at the reasons it does that.
Dogs lick blankets for various reasons, including anxiety, boredom, lack of stimulation, digestion complications, obsessive-compulsive disorder, the dog likes the taste and smell of the blanket, to remain calm and ease stress, separation anxiety, nutrient deficiency, joint pain, and canine dementia.
Many dog owners are unaware that their dogs lick blankets for medical or behavioral reasons. So, the first thing to do to stop this behavior is to identify if it is medical or behavioral causes.
Why Does My Dog Lick the Blanket?
Licking is normal behavior for dogs. Dogs could be seen licking their owners, pawns, toys, furniture, and even blankets. This habit is usually not a thing to worry about. However, when it begins suddenly or becomes excessive, it could be a problem.
It is always advised that dog owners pay attention to their dogs’ licking behavior, as excessive licking could indicate some health issues. We will be explaining some reasons why dogs lick blankets below.
Your Dog Has Anxiety
Anxiety affects dogs differently and often causes different dogs to do strange things. One of the effects of anxiety on a dog is causing it to lick blankets. Dog’s anxiety could be triggered by loud noises from gunshots or fireworks, meeting strangers, change of environment, and separation anxiety.
If you notice your dog always licking the blankets whenever any of the factors mentioned are triggered, it is clear that your dog has anxiety. The reason for licking the blanket is to help the dog keep itself calm. A way of helping dogs suffering from anxiety is to identify and reduce the causes of the anxiety.
For example, if it is due to loud noises, you can help your dog by ensuring it stays indoors when there are noises outside. Also, if it is due to separation anxiety, ensure you exercise and feed your dog well before leaving home. That way, your dog would be very tired and probably sleep while you are away. In addition, you could train your dog to cope with staying at home alone.
Your Dog Is Bored And Lacks Stimulation
Just as boredom could make humans do some strange and weird things sometimes, the same thing happens to dogs. Boredom could cause a dog to lick blankets. When a dog is bored and has nothing to do or play with, it could choose to keep itself occupied by licking the blankets.
If you notice your dog does this whenever it is bored, you should understand it is normal. To help a dog like this, you can stop this licking habit by always ensuring your dog gets a lot of exercise daily and gets occupied by giving it simple tasks or dog toys to play with. That way, the dog will not be bored and will have things to keep itself busy.
Your Dog Has Digestion Complications
Digestion complication is another reason why dogs lick blankets. They often do that to relieve pains from stomach upsets. Many dog breeds suffer from weak and sensitive digestive systems and often develop stomach problems like pancreatitis, which could cause loss of appetite, vomiting, and pain.
So, when a dog has a stomach problem, licking the blanket could be a way to stimulate vomit when they eat the wrong food. It is important as a dog owner to know the kind of foods and ingredients that are healthy for your dog. Some dogs are allergic to certain foods such as corn, soy, and wheat.
In addition, licking blankets is also a way of relieving complications in dogs. Constipation could cause a dog to vomit and also face difficulty in pooping. When this happens, a dog could lick blankets to stimulate bowel movements. So, if you notice any of these, it is best to take your dog to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis to identify the cause and recommend treatment.
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Your Dog Enjoys Your Blanket Taste
Whenever we sleep and sweat, dead skin cells drop on our blanket and cause it to taste salty. Even though this may sound weird, dogs like this salty taste. If you have noticed your dog licking your blankets more whenever it is left unwashed for a long time, then it could be that the dog does that because it likes the taste.
The moment the blanket gets washed, the licking reduces. Also, if you always eat in bed, the chances that food particles will fall on your blanket is high, and if your dog perceives the scent, it will lick the blanket to seek out the particles. You may have also brought in different tastes without knowing from your time outdoors, and your dog likes this taste.
Why Does My Dog Lick The Blanket At Night?
It is one thing for your dog to lick blankets, and it is another thing for your dog to lick blankets at night. If the former happens, you may not be worried, but it is the latter; you would be worried. Nevertheless, we will look at some of the reasons why your dog licks blankets at night.
Sometimes, when your dog is hungry at night and you did not give it food or forgot to feed it, it will look for something to chew and lick on. Usually, the most convenient thing they will choose is your blanket, majorly because of the smell and taste. Also, if your dog is in pain, you will find it licking blankets often.
Dogs experiencing joint or bone pains like panosteitis, arthritis, Legg-calve-Perthes disease, and hip dysplasia have been found to lick blankets to soothe the pain. So, if your dog always licks blankets at night, you need to take it to a veterinarian for a medical checkup and treatment.
Dog Licking Excessively Suddenly
Excessive blanket licking could be an indication of health issues. If you notice your dog suddenly begins to lick blankets excessively, you must pay more attention to such a dog and take it to a vet. Let us look at some of the reasons a dog will suddenly start licking excessively.
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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
If your dog suddenly begins to lick blankets excessively to the point that it does not listen when you stop it, it could be a sign of OCD. The purpose of excessive licking is for the dog to soothe itself. If you have noticed your dog licking blankets after being stressed, you need to identify and eliminate the cause of the stress.
Another reason why a dog will lick excessively is nausea. When a dog is nauseous, it feels the need to vomit. So, by licking items, it calms its stomach and avoids vomiting. At that point, the licking could become excessive. Also, another reason for this could be to decrease saliva that comes when the dog feels nauseated. The licking might not be limited to blankets only; it could extend to other items.
Dog owners do not know that sometimes they are the reason their dog licks blankets often; here is how. When you do not discourage a behavior, you are unknowingly encouraging it; that is how dogs know what is right and what is wrong. As long as the vet rules out health issues as the cause of the blanket licking, you can discourage the behavior.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.