Why Does My Dog Suck on a Blanket?

Toddlers sucking on their thumbs is something we all know. You’ve likely seen children sucking on blankets or stuffed animals.

While compulsive behavior can be cute for toddlers, it is usually not a problem. Most children get over it before they even learn how to tie their shoes. It’s not the same story when it happens in dogs.

Although it’s not as common to see a dog sucking on blankets and other soft objects as a toddler, it does happen. Dogs don’t learn to stop sucking, unlike toddlers.
Blanket sucking usually starts as a puppy, and it won’t stop once they start. If they choose, they will continue to do it well into their old age. This kind of behavior in dogs can be alarming.

Are you having a medical problem? Is it a cry for help or a medical problem? Do you need to break the habit? These are important questions. You can answer them by learning more about psychology and canine behavior.

It Goes Back to Mom

The American Kennel Club states that adult dogs who exhibit sucking behavior are generally believed to have started in their puppyhood. The instinct to nurse is innate in puppies.

They look for a mom to nourish them, but it’s not just about being fed. They also feel strong feelings of safety and comfort while they fill their stomachs. It is crucial for puppies’ emotional well-being in the first few weeks of their lives that they spend time with their mom.

Sucking for Comfort

Mom will eventually wean her offspring from her milk as the puppy grows. As her milk dries, she will stop her litter nursing. If she senses that a puppy is anxious or feeling overwhelmed, she might allow her to make an exception.

A worried mama dog may let her stressed-out puppy nurse even though she doesn’t have milk.

Why is she doing it?

Because she understands that nursing is a way for the puppy to soothe itself. These “comfort suckles”, while not allowed by the mother dog, are helpful for puppies during their major developmental stages.

Young puppies can feel overwhelmed by the world. Mom can provide comfort and help them to cope with these new experiences. Although there are not many studies, behaviorists believe that dogs who are allowed to comfort and suckle their puppies are less likely to resort to using blankets later on in life.

Experts say that dogs suffering from emotional problems such as separation anxiety, fear, or high levels (loud noises), can also adopt this self-calming behavior. This could be in the form of suckling or nibbling on blankets.

Dogs are innately drawn to soft toys and blankets because they feel the comfort of nursing. A blanket’s soft texture is similar to a mother dog’s skin and fur.


What Does This Mean for Your Dog?

Is it possible that my dog is prone to snatching blankets?

Your dog may be unable to suck on blankets because he/she has been deprived of puppy comfort suckles. Your puppy could have been taken too soon from its mother, or your dog could have suffered from a lack of comfort suckling when she weaned her pups.

Also, it is common for dogs who were bottle-fed by their mothers to become blanket suckers. Even the most experienced bottle-feeders can’t recreate the same feelings that mom feels when she spends time with her puppies.

All breeds of dogs can continue sucking their blankets into adulthood. However, some breeds such as Border Collies and Spaniels are more susceptible to this behavior than others.

Doberman Pinschers are one example of a breed that is known for sucking on its own when they feel overwhelmed.
Flank sucking is also known as blanket sucking. Flank sucking can be dangerous for your pet, but it is not harmful if your dog likes to suck on blankets like a pacifier.
This sucking behavior could also lead to obsessive/compulsive disorders or even be part of pica (eating inedible foods).
It is best to contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog may have a compulsive disorder. If left untreated, compulsive disorders can lead to self-injury and other serious health problems.

How Can You Stop Your Dog from Sucking on Blankets?

Many pet parents are concerned that their dog is sucking on blankets and think they’re wrong. The truth is that blanket sucking is natural and completely normal.

Dog owners who attempt to get their dogs to stop doing this are often unsuccessful. Dogs who are deprived of their favorite ‘cuddle’ will substitute any object they can for it.

You can’t stop a puppy from staying with its mother longer than necessary, but there is probably nothing you could do to change the behavior. It makes your doggie feel secure and relaxed.

They aren’t hurting themselves, as long as they don’t try to swallow the blanket, and they aren’t making things worse. They are simply making themselves feel better. That’s fine.

Your dog should feel secure. If that means they have to snuggle under a blanket, behaviorists don’t recommend it. Although it is important to wash your blankets frequently to prevent bacteria buildup, there aren’t any other concerns.

Still, Concerned?

You can reduce your dog’s need to sleep on blankets if they are still afraid.
It is possible to identify the triggers for the sucking early on, such as thunderstorms and having guests over. You can help your dog deal with these situations in other ways to stop the sucking.
As an alternative, you can distract your dog with training skills or introduce soft toys or a pet stuffed animal.

Dogs won’t stop sucking on blankets once they get used to it. You can take them out of the room, but they will resume their normal behavior once the blankets have been returned.

Don’t be discouraged if this happens. Your role as a dog owner is likely to be insignificant if your dog isn’t able to eat blankets. You know that you are doing your job if your dog is happy and enjoying a high quality of life.

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