We’re all familiar with dogs that have an affinity for licking themselves.
It can sometimes seem like they do it more than anything else in the world.
But what if they were doing it because there was something wrong?
The Psychology of Why Dogs Nibble Blankets
Dogs love blankets and other soft things.
They snuggle up to them when they sleep and use them as pillows when they’re awake.
They can even chew on them.
But why would a dog bite down into a blanket?
It turns out there are several potential explanations for this behavior.
Here are some of the most common ones.
Keep reading to learn about the history of dogs eating blankets and how to help stop it from happening again!
1. The Anxiety Theory
This theory holds that your dog is suffering from anxiety.
This can manifest itself in different ways.
Sometimes it will cause your dog to bark at nothing in particular.
Other times, your dog might act aggressively toward people, animals, or objects that aren’t relevant to their environment.
If you think your dog has anxiety issues, try giving him or her treats after each time he or she does this.
You can also try using a leash during these times.
This way, if your dog decides to start biting down on the blanket, you can pull him or her away from it before he or she starts hurting himself or someone else.
2. The Boredom Theory
Boredom is another possible reason for your dog’s blanket-eating behavior.
When we’re bored, we often turn to things like food or toys.
Some dogs get so excited by the prospect of food that they’ll eat everything around them.
Others will play fetch until their owners tell them to quit.
When your dog gets bored, he or she may start chewing on the blankets instead of playing with them.
In fact, one study found that boredom causes dogs to bite down on anything available.
So if you don’t have any blankets lying around, consider getting a new toy or two for your dog to play with.
3. The Teeth Theory
Your dog may be teething.
As his or her teeth come in, they can become sensitive to pain.
This sensitivity makes it difficult for your dog to focus on anything else but his or her mouth.
He or she may start chewing on objects near him or her to distract himself from the pain.
You can try keeping your dog’s teeth clean.
If you notice that he or she is starting to gnaw on something, gently remove the item.
Then give your dog a treat when he or she stops.
4. The Curiosity Theory
Sometimes, your dog just wants to know what he or she is biting onto.
Your dog may see something interesting, perhaps a piece of string or tape, and decide to bite down on it.
After a while, he or she may start nibbling on whatever else is nearby.
This curiosity may also explain why your dog bites down on the pillowcase when you leave him or her alone in bed.
To avoid this behavior, try leaving your dog somewhere safe where he or she won’t be tempted to nibble on things.
That way, you can keep your house free of dangerous items that may tempt your dog to bite down on them.
5. The Muzzle Theory
Some dogs bite down on items while they’re wearing a muzzle.
This may happen when your dog is nervous or excited.
He or she may not realize that the muzzle is preventing him or her from biting through it.
To prevent this behavior, make sure your dog wears a muzzle whenever he or she is outside.
This way, your dog won’t be able to bite down on anything without your permission.
The History of Dogs Nibble Blankets
Dogs are naturally curious creatures.
They are constantly exploring their surroundings and looking for new things to discover.
When a new object comes into view, dogs will often investigate it.
This includes objects such as stuffed toys, shoes, books, and other unusual items.
When a dog discovers something new, they will often try to interact with it in some way.
For example, a dog may play tug-of-war with a toy.
Or they may simply chew on it until it breaks apart.
However, not every item that a dog investigates ends up being played with.
Sometimes the dog decides to consume the object instead.
This is especially true when the object is a blanket.
Many dogs enjoy chewing on blankies.
Some owners don’t mind this behavior at all.
Others think it’s odd.
If your dog starts to nibble on your blankets, you might wonder why.
The following explains how this behavior happens.
The Benefits of Dogs Nibble Blankets
When we think about why our dogs nip at things, we often assume it’s to get rid of germs and other bacteria.
While this is certainly one reason, there are some benefits to it as well.
Dogs who spend time chewing on objects will develop teeth that are stronger and healthier than those of a dog that doesn’t chew on things.
This is especially true when we consider the fact that most dogs don’t really have much use for their teeth.
Their jaws are mainly used for breathing and eating.
Chewing on objects gives them something to do.
It also helps them to stay alert.
When dogs doze off during the day, they tend to sleep with their heads resting on whatever thing they happen to be lying down on.
For this reason, many people prefer to give their dogs chew toys rather than blankets.
They can chew these toys while they nap, keeping their minds active.
If they were lying down on a blanket, they might fall asleep without even realizing it.
One benefit from sleeping with their head resting on a pillow is that they don’t have to worry about getting tangled up in bedding.
If they’re sleeping on the floor, they will likely get tangled up in their own bedding.
If they’re snuggled under a blanket, they won’t have any issues.
This is particularly important if they’ve been injured in the past and have sensitive skin around their neck.
Another benefit of sleeping with their heads resting on a pillow is that they don’t have to worry about getting cold.
This is especially important if they’re spending long periods of time outside.
In the summer, they can relax in the shade of a tree while they rest.
In the winter, they can curl up next to a fire and keep warm.
If you give your pet a blanket to lie on, they will probably begin to associate it with comfort.
As a result, they may start using it whenever they feel comfortable instead of just when they need it.
This can become a problem if you have to leave them alone for long periods of time, such as when you’re away on vacation.
You’ll need to take extra steps to make sure they aren’t tempted to use the blanket when you’re not home.
The Risks of Dogs Nibble Blankets
If you’ve noticed your dog nibbling on their blanket lately, there are several things you should consider.
- Your dog may be hungry and trying to get at food.
- They may have a sore mouth.
- They may be bored or stressed.
- They may be teething.
- They may be sick.
But before we go any further, let’s first take a look at why dogs nibble on blankets in the first place.
It Could Be Boredom
Dogs love to chew on everything from toys to bones.
But when they start chewing on a blankie, it can indicate boredom, anxiety, or even separation issues.
These behaviors are often associated with older puppies who are left alone for long periods of time while their owners work or travel.
Older dogs, too, will chew on blankets if they’re bored or anxious.
If your dog has started nibbling on their blanket, it’s important to talk to them about what’s going on.
You may need to make some changes around the house so they don’t feel as lonely.
That could include leaving out favorite toys or adding new ones once in awhile.
Or you might try giving them some attention by walking up to them and petting them.
If these methods aren’t working, you might want to talk to your vet about other options.
It May Be Teething
Teething doesn’t usually last very long, but it can leave your dog feeling uncomfortable.
This discomfort can cause them to chew on objects such as blankets.
Your pup may also be looking for extra comfort during this painful phase.
So, if you notice your dog gnawing on their blanket, contact your vet right away.
While you’re waiting for your appointment, you can give your dog some treats to help ease their discomfort.
Some vets recommend putting their dog’s teeth under a heat lamp to soften them up.
If you can’t get to the vet right away, you can also use teethers made specifically for this purpose.
They May Be Sick
There are many illnesses that affect dogs.
A wide variety of conditions can cause your dog to chew on blankets.
In fact, if they’re not getting enough water or eating properly, they may start nibbling on their blankets to keep themselves hydrated and nourished.
If you suspect your dog has a fever, you should bring them into the office immediately.
Don’t wait until the next day, though; they could become dehydrated even faster if they haven’t been drinking or eating much.
Other symptoms of illness include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
The Blankets Are Too Hot/Cold
This one seems pretty obvious, but if you think your dog just loves to pull the covers off of their bed, it’s probably because they’re cold.
As they grow, your dog needs blankets to ensure they stay warm.
However, if they’re too hot, they may chew on their blankets to cool down.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your dog is used to being covered up, they may find it hard to adjust to sleeping without a blanket.
And if you’re using a heating pad or warming blanket, they may be tempted to reach for the same thing to help them sleep.
They May Have Sores
Sometimes sores can form on your dog’s skin after they lick themselves.
When this happens, they may choose to chew on their blanket instead of licking their sore.
It’s best to clean the area thoroughly so you don’t encourage the growth of bacteria.
How to Stop a Dog from Nibble Blankets
If your dog is nipping at his blanket and the behavior seems out of place, you should talk to your vet about it.
The most common reason for this type of behavior is boredom and anxiety.
Your pet could also be teething and chewing on things will help him cope with the discomfort.
However, if your dog has been biting up his blanket and doesn’t seem to care whether he eats it or not, there might be another issue at hand.
Let’s take a look at some possible causes and how to stop them from happening again.
Dogs are naturally curious creatures.
When they get nervous, they tend to chew on anything in sight.
This includes their owners’ belongings as well.
However, when your dog is feeling anxious, it may make him feel better to bite or chew on something.
He may then decide to start nipping his blanket, which can cause further issues.
To ease his anxiety, try distracting him by playing a favorite game or engaging in other fun activities.
You can also give him a gentle massage every now and then to keep him calm.
When a dog feels bored, he will often resort to chewing on objects around him.
While this may sound harmless, it can actually lead to serious health problems.
For example, if your dog chomped down on a piece of wood, it could actually become lodged inside his digestive tract.
This could result in serious damage, so it’s important to address any signs of boredom immediately.
You’ll need to figure out why your dog is bored in the first place.
Is he getting enough exercise?
Are you giving him enough attention?
If you think these answers may apply, please read our guide to improving your dog’s physical activity level.
If you suspect your dog is bored, you should try adding some new toys into the mix.
Some types of toys are designed specifically for dogs to play with while others are meant to serve as distraction tools.
Some examples include Kong toys, tug-of-war ropes, balls, and rope toys.
These toys can provide your dog with plenty of stimulation, but won’t hurt him in the process.
Another way to keep your dog entertained is to go on walks together.
This can help both of you feel more relaxed.
If you live in an area where you can walk outside, you can even take your dog on a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood.
Of course, you can always take your dog on a regular walk if you don’t live near any neighborhoods.
Dogs can get into many situations where they might nibble on things.
Sometimes it’s because they don’t know any better and sometimes they’re doing it because they’re bored or anxious.
If your dog is nibbling on blankets, here are some ways to stop them.