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When you adopt a puppy or a new dog owner, you may notice various types of behavior that may seem unusual or unfamiliar. One type of chewing behavior that may seem curious is when a dog starts nibbling on a blanket.
While many dogs commonly nibble on a stuffed toy or chew toy, it’s often customary for a dog to bite or play with a blanket or pillow. There are other reasons your dog may start blanket chewing, which is essential to consider, especially if they appear uncomfortable or exhibit concerning symptoms with the nibbling.
Do you notice other signs your dog presents when they nibble or bite a blanket? Is the nibbling behavior excessive? Are there changes to your pet’s diet, weight gain or loss, energy levels, or too much shedding? The following common reasons may be the underlying cause of your dog’s chewing habits and are worth investigating for your pet’s health.
Hunger or a Lack of Nutrition
If your dog chews on blankets, soft toys, and other items excessively, even obsessively, this could signify hunger due to malnutrition or insufficient nutrients in their diet. Some dogs require a high level of calories in their diet due to frequent physical activities. A low intake of vital nutrients can lead to severe deficiencies and cause chewing to escalate.
Other symptoms may arise during this chewing behavior, including hair loss, fatigue, changes in bowel movements, and eating patterns. Choosing a well-balanced, high-protein dog formula is essential to ensure proper nutrition. When dogs receive the required calories and nutrients, they are less likely to lose energy and chew on non-food items for sustenance.
Chewing Out of Boredom
Dogs thrive on mental stimulation and physical play, and if they are left alone for a while or outdoors regularly, they can engage in unwanted behaviors to seek attention. When your furry friend gets destructive with blanket chewing, either by tearing the fabric or moving to other objects around the home, it’s essential to increase their exercise routine.
Regular walks and runs at a local dog park, a fenced-in yard, and playing games that physically and mentally stimulate your pet are ideal for keeping them active while reducing unwanted behavior.
It’s crucial to implement a routine and adequate time for your dog to exercise, play, and socialize to enjoy your company and avoid boredom. While some dogs enjoy time alone to rest, they are naturally social and need regular interaction with humans for a happy, balanced life. While routine is essential for dogs, it’s also fun to explore new parks, beaches, or different activities to keep your pet looking forward to outings and excited about the adventure.
When your dog is alone for a time, it’s good to keep safe, chewable toys and fresh water available. If you’re uncertain which toys are best for your pup, you can purchase a variety of soft toys, chew toys, and an old, clean blanket that your dog can play with while you’re away.
If there are specific items, including clothes, linen, and other items around the home, you can use a spray to deter chewing, or a natural scent, such as bitter fruit, which deters dogs.
A Sign of Pain or Discomfort
It’s common for puppies to chew on a blanket when they are teething because it soothes the pain in their gums. A few chew toys and a cold cloth can help provide relief, which can help puppies sleep well and experience less discomfort during this stage. You can also freeze a chew toy to cool their gums and numb teething pain. Dogs that suffer from allergies or are healing from an injury may also engage in sucking or chewing behavior for comfort.
Compulsive nibbling can also signify parasites or dog fleas, which are easy to treat with mediation. However, the experience can cause significant itchiness and pain, which may cause chewing. Dogs can experience anxiety or stress due to moving to a new home or a change in the household and may bite or chew a blanket to gain attention or seek affection from their owners.
How to Stop Your Dog from Blanket Chewing
While chewing on a blanket isn’t harmful to dogs, it can be a sign of a recurring issue related to their health, diet, or changes to their surroundings. There are simple solutions to resolve this unwanted nibbling behavior in most cases.
- Make sure your dog has enough chew toys and a comfortable dog bed to relax when they are alone.
- Feed your pet at regular mealtimes every day and choose a nutritious formula with high protein and the right balance for your dog’s breed.
- Use “stop” or say “no” gently but firmly to curb bad behavior, including blanket chewing.
- Praise and encouragement when your dog behaves well is a great way to keep them from engaging in destructive behavior and helps them realize which activities are healthy and acceptable. They will also learn quickly to avoid unwanted behavior.
- Reward your dog with treats or a new toy when they demonstrate a positive response and avoid chewing on blankets and other items around the home.
- Get familiar with signs of stress, anxiety, dietary issues, or potential health problems which may cause your dog to chew or nibble excessively.
When your dog chews on a blanket or similar item, this is often normal behavior. It’s often a sign that your pet wants to play, run outside, or get your attention. When your pet has a good selection of quality toys, including soft and chewable items, a clean blanket, and a comfortable dog bed, this will keep them from chewing on bedding and other items around your home. While chewing is normal dog behavior, it’s also essential to get familiar with your pet’s regular activities to pinpoint unusual changes in your pet. This practice will help you take action or get medical assistance if further issues are involved.
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Welcome to Spike’s Dog Blog by Acme Canine. Throughout the site, you will find a variety of helpful dog training articles, insightful dog behavior tips, and truthful product reviews from nationally-recognized canine trainers and professionals.