If you have seen a dog licking its paws, feet, or even you as its owner, you could understand it as normal dog behavior. However, when you find a dog sucking on blankets, it is normal to get worried and confused about why it happens. This is another normal behavior in dogs, so you should not be worried.
Some of the reasons your dog sucks on its blankets are the dog was separated from its mother early, the dog is teething, the dog is anxious, the blanket smells and tastes like you, the blanket is comfortable, or the dog has a canine compulsive disorder. This is not an obsessive-compulsive behavior.
Many dog owners believe there is something wrong when they find their dog sucking on blankets. This is a normal and harmless activity, and you should not be worried at all.
Why Does My Dog Suck On Blankets?
Dogs sucking on blankets is a habit that begins while they are puppies. Puppies suck on their mum not only for milk but also for comfort and support. As the puppies grow older, the mother would refuse to let the dog suck.
However, even though their mother does not milk anymore when they need to feel safe and comfortable, they still go to their mum to suck. Their mother could allow the sucking to feel the comfort they need. For dogs that experienced this during their puppyhood, as they grow older, they are not likely to suck on blankets later.
If your dog has been sucking on the blanket, it can be because it did not spend enough time with its mother during puppyhood. There are other reasons why your dog sucks on blankets. We will be explaining them below.
The Dog Was Separated From Its Mother Early
Dogs have an instinct to suck. They are expected to suck their mother’s mammary glands during the early weeks of birth. Being with their mother during this period is not only for the benefits of milk. They also get to feel comfortable and safe.
However, dogs that only spent a few weeks with their mother rely on something else for comfort. Bottle feeding could replace the milk from their mother. However, the dog tends to look for warm, safe, and comfortable things when it comes to comfort – blankets. At this stage, the dog could also develop the habit of sucking on blankets.
Sucking is a self-soothing behavior that helps them cope with the separation from their mothers. So, they are likely to continue sucking on blankets, even as they become adult dogs. It might be difficult for them to outgrow it; no one will be willing to let go of anything that produces comfort.
The Dog Is Teething
Teething is a process that is meant to happen in humans while growing; some babies suck their fingers and hands while teething. The same thing happens in dogs. So, while your dog is teething, you could find it sucking on blankets or toys and pillows. You do not need to get worried about this habit. Your dog will likely stop the sucking once the teething phase ends.
The Dog has Anxiety
When a dog is anxious, there are different behaviors you would notice it displaying. One thing you could find it doing is sucking on blankets. Dogs are sometimes faced with anxiety due to different factors such as loud noise from fireworks, change of environment, abandonment, and meeting new people.
When a dog sucks a blanket due to anxiety, it tries to make itself feel comfortable. So, if you have noticed your dog doing this, carefully study what triggers the anxiety, then help remove or reduce it. If it is due to abandonment, you can hire a dog sitter when you are away from home.
The Blanket Tastes Or Smells Like You
Over time, when you use a blanket, it is normal for it to smell like you. Also, when the blanket is left unwashed for a long while, dogs can suck the blanket to taste your sweat. Even though that might look awkward, dogs like the salty taste of humans sweat. Also, a dog could keep sucking on your blanket that smells like you to make it feel comfortable.
This could make the dog feel your presence, especially when lonely. So, if you find your dog doing this, you do not need to be worried. However, if you feel uncomfortable about it, you can stop it. A way of doing this is to ensure the blankets are kept out of the dogs’ reach.
The Dog Has A Canine Compulsive Disorder
When you find your dog sucking occasionally, it could be because it makes it feel comfortable. You should also know that some dog breeds such as Terriers, Spaniels, Golden Retrievers are more prone to sucking. So, occasional sucking could be normal for such dogs.
However, when the sucking becomes very obsessive, it could indicate that the dog has a canine compulsive disorder. You can easily notice this if your dog is always sucking and does not engage in other things.
Why Does My Dog Chew On Blankets?
Chewing is a natural dog instinct, and you will occasionally find them chewing on various things at different times. It is normal for you to be bothered by this behavior; you should know it is normal and harmless. One of the things you will find your dog chewing on consistently is blankets. We will look at why your dog chews on blankets.
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Watching your dogs while they develop, you must have noticed that they bite and nibble one another when they play. It is natural for you to assume dogs bite, nibble, and nip when angry. They do it when they play, too; although some dog breeds outgrow it as puppies, it remains with others their whole lives. Chewing on blankets is a soothing activity; this is why your dog does it often.
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Dogs that are left alone get bored, and to ease the boredom, they will find something to do. So, if you leave your dog alone for a long time, you should not be surprised when you find some half-chewed items lying around. When a dog is alone, it has difficulty differentiating what is acceptable and what is not. Most times, the only available thing could be your blanket, and your dog will happily chew on it.
One of the subtle reasons a dog chews on blankets is that it lacks nutrients and calories in its diet. The fact that a dog is eating well does not mean it is getting adequate and essential nutrients. A dog that lacks nutrients will be less active and chew on blankets to remain occupied.
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Why Does My Dog Cuddle With Blankets?
The ancestors of domesticated dogs lived in dens; when pups were born, the mothers would create a safe, sheltered place in the den to protect their pups and keep them warm for the first 10 to 12 weeks of their lives. As the puppies grow up, this becomes a habit and has stuck with the dogs throughout evolution.
So, domesticated dogs cuddle with blankets as a result of their instinct of cooling in dens. The blankets are the closest thing dogs can cuddle to get that experience their ancestors had in the wild.
Keep reading: Why Does My Dog Lick the Blanket? [BEHAVIOUR EXPLAINED]
If you find your dog chewing or cuddling with blankets, you should find out the reason first. There is a valid reason for everything your dog does, and if you do not know the reason, you will react wrongly to your dog. When this occurs frequently, your dog will avoid you and, in extreme cases, will bark and growl to caution you.
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.