If your dog has been sucking on blankets, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get your dog to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog suck on blankets? Possible reasons why your dog sucks on blankets are that it is anxious, it likes the taste, it smells your scent on the blanket, teething, or that it is an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Since there are multiple possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have an idea of the main reason, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why does my dog suck on blankets?
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
Anxiety could be what has been causing it to do it. This would be more likely if it has started doing it after something happened that could make it anxious or if it does it more at a time where it is likely to be anxious. Examples could be if it does it more when a particular person is around, when you are about to leave home or when there are loud noises coming from outside.
If it tends to do it more when you are not home, it would be more likely that it is due to separation anxiety. This would be more likely if your dog tends to become anxious when you are leaving home and if it sucks on the blankets that you use yourself since they likely have a strong scent from you on them. It would help to try to limit reasons why it might be anxious by doing things such as exercising and feeding it before leaving it so that it is more likely to sleep while you are away.
The reason why your dog has started doing it could be that it is teething. This would be more likely if it is young, it has started doing it suddenly and it if has been chewing on other things a lot as well. In this case, it would help to give it other things to chew on and to provide it with lots of positive reinforcement training and “leave it” training.
It could be the case that it has been doing it due to an obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is where it has an irresistible urge to do something, so it keeps doing it. This would be more likely if your dog has been doing it excessively. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
It smells your scent
It is likely that the blanket has a strong scent on it. The reason why it tends to suck on the blanket could be that it smells your scent on it and that the scent causes it to feel calmer. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you are not around.
It likes the taste
Sweat and dead skin cells will gather on the blankets that you use, which taste salty to your dog. The reason why it sucks on blankets could be that it likes the way that they taste. This would be more likely if it tends to suck blankets that you have been using and if it does not suck them as much after you wash them.
If it does seem to be doing it due to liking the taste, it could be a sign that there is something wrong with its diet. This would be more likely if it started doing it after a change in its diet.
Encouraging the behavior
The reason why it sucks on blankets could be that you have been inadvertently training it to do so. This would be more likely to be the reason if you tend to give it things that it wants, such as attention, treats, or toys when it sucks your blankets. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it does not do it and to try to redirect its focus when it seems likely to start doing it.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If your dog did not always suck on blankets, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as something causing it to be anxious, teething, or illness.
What is different when your dog sucks on blankets
If it seems to be doing it more at a certain time, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if it tends to do it when you are about to leave home or while you are away, it could be due to separation anxiety.
How to get my dog to stop sucking on blankets?
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop sucking on blankets.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving your dog rewards when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it does not do it, to wait for it to stop before giving it any rewards, and to try to redirect its focus when it seems likely to start doing it.
Reduce reasons why it might be anxious
If it has been doing it while you are away, it would also help to try to limit the reasons why it might be anxious when you are gone. Ways to do this would include letting it pee, eat, and get exercise before leaving it and trying to periodically check up on it if possible.
Give it other things to chew on
In addition to the above, you could also give it things to be distracted with so that it is less likely to want to suck on blankets. Things that you could give it could be toys, puzzle games, or bones.
Ensure that it is getting the right diet
It would also help to make sure that it is getting the right diet. You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your dog.
If your dog has been doing it excessively, the best option would be to take your dog to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out more serious causes.
“Leave it” training
You could also do lots of leave it training with your dog. To do this, you would:
- Get some treats that it likes and the blanket
- Tell it to leave it
- Reward it for not sucking on the blanket
- Take the blanket away whenever it tries to suck the blanket
- Repeat the above until it learns not to suck it
Why is my dog suddenly sucking on blankets?
If your dog has started sucking on blankets suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as something causing your dog to become anxious, something being dropped or spilt onto the blanket, or because of teething or illness. It would help to consider if your dog also chews on the blankets and if your dog has been behaving unusually in other ways such as by being fatigued a lot or very anxious when you are leaving.