Dogs have an amazing ability to look cute even when they are doing something destructive, like chewing on your favorite blanket. We laugh at them and talk to them in a sing-song voice — saying “bad dog” while giving them the attention they crave.
But when your blanket looks like swiss cheese, and your dog starts walking around with little bits of it hanging out of its mouth, you may wonder why you found it funny and if pieces of the blanket are making their way down your dog’s throat.
So why does your dog like to chew on your blanket?
Lucky for you, we have some answers in-store and some easy-to-follow solutions to save your dog and your future blankets from harm.
So without further ado, let’s dig in!
Reasons for Chewing Blankets
Although it might seem difficult to discover why your dog is chewing blankets, there are only a few reasons behind this behavior.
1. Suckling instinct
Puppies are normally weaned from their mothers around 3 to 4 weeks old — and taken to their new homes around 8 weeks old. Because they are weaned and then taken from their mothers at such a young age, their suckling instinct is still strong.
As a result, the puppies seek alternatives and chew on other soft objects, such as blankets. It provides relief, security, and comfort — something we can all understand.
Like babies, puppies also undergo a teething phase where they chew on anything and everything in their sight. The newly sprouting teeth can make their gums sore and painful — but chewing on soft objects, like pillows and blankets, can help soothe this pain.
If your puppy is young, the chances are that teething is the reason behind their excessive chewing behavior. Another tell-tale sign of a teething puppy is that you start seeing small teeth marks on objects around your house.
3. Separation anxiety
Destructive chewing is one of the most common signs of separation anxiety in canines. If you recently moved to a new home, changed rooms, have a new visitor, or just changed your work shifts, it could cause your dog to develop separation anxiety.
As a result, they will try to calm themselves by visiting the places that remind them of you the most. And the obvious place to go would be your bed. Over there, your dog will chew on stuff that carries your scent, like your blankets and pillow. They will also howl and bark excessively and might start peeing or defecating inside the house.
You will notice most of these signs after you arrive home, but you can also monitor from work with the help of a camera. Separation anxiety usually begins within 30 minutes of leaving the house, so tracking the symptoms is not difficult.
If nothing else makes sense, it might be boredom causing your dog to chew on the blankets. Boredom is especially common in highly active dogs of the working and herding breeds like Dobermans and Border Collies — but all dogs are subject to it. Chewing gives them something to do and soothes their anxiety.
However, boredom does not restrict itself blankets only. Bored dogs will also gnaw on other items, like couches, shoes, furniture, and other household items.
How To Stop Dogs From Chewing Blankets
To stop your dog from chewing blankets, you need to take some things into consideration. Is your dog still a puppy, likely chewing to fulfill its need for suckling or teething, or is it an older dog dealing with boredom or separation anxiety?
Also, when does the chewing occur? Does it happen right after you leave for work? If yes, then your dog might have separation anxiety. But if it happens throughout the day, there might be another underlying cause.
After you’ve identified the root cause behind the destructive chewing, try the following methods to put an end to this habit:
1. Buy them chewing toys
Chewing toys are a great all-around solution for dogs that have developed a habit of nibbling blankets. They come in different shapes, soothe sore gums, and even provide various flavors. For dogs that chew to satisfy their suckling instinct, are teething, or have separation anxiety, a chewing toy can offer them the relief they seek.
Another feature of chewing toys is that they are a great source of mental stimulation. So if you suspect your dog is chewing blankets because they aren’t getting enough indoor activity, a chewing toy can solve the problem.
We highly recommend chewing toys from brands like Kong and Benebone. Some of their models are also fillable, meaning you can stuff your dog’s favorite treats inside. You can also get chewing toys with bristles that gently scrape plaque off your pup’s teeth, keeping their breath fresh and minty.
Make sure you’re buying the appropriate size for your dog’s breed. If the chewing toy is too big or small, it could pose a choking hazard or cause jaw pain.
2. Use chewing deterrents on your blanket
While trying to get your dog to switch to approved chewing toys, you can also use deterrents to keep them away from items you want to be left alone. These deterrents carry a sour taste that dogs dislike but won’t harm them in any way. You can buy flavors like sour cherry or bitter apple at pet stores and spray them onto your blankets, couches, and other precious items.
A chewing deterrent can be very effective for dogs with separation anxiety that are insistent on chewing unapproved items. These dogs will likely resist chewing toys, but you can still protect your blankets while making the switch.
Don’t want to purchase a chewing deterrent? You can make one at home as well. Just mix one part white vinegar with two parts apple cider vinegar. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, and spray it onto your couch and other furniture.
3. Get them plenty of exercise
Boredom and lack of stimulation can cause dogs to display many symptoms, one of which is destructive chewing. They chew on anything that interests them, including blankets, pillows, furniture, shoes, etc. This problem is much more common with athletic or working breeds, such as Labradors, Huskies, Border Collies, and German Shepherds.
Luckily, exercise can solve this problem and more. To increase physical activity, you can take your dog on morning walks or increase the duration of their park visits. If you’re too busy, try engaging with them regularly indoors. Buy indoor toys you can enjoy together so your dog can have an outlet for their pent-up energy.
This daily stimulation will improve your dog’s overall health and help build a deeper connection with them. Playing with your dog can relieve separation anxiety and stop destructive chewing.
4. Hire a dog sitter
Separation anxiety is common in dogs because most owners work away from home. Breeds that love being around people like the Labrador, Border Collies, and Vizslas need interaction and exercise with their humans.
If you have a dog suffering from separation anxiety due to long work hours, consider hiring a dog sitter or taking them to doggy daycare. Just a few extra hours of companionship can make a difference in your dog’s mental and physical health.
5. Use a chew-proof blanket
You can switch to chew-proof blankets built to withstand your dog’s sharp canines as a last resort. If your dog has sharp teeth and chews aggressively, or you have multiple dogs with this habit, this can be a good option.
But buying a chew-proof blanket should not be the end solution. You should simultaneously train your dog using positive reinforcement to prevent this habit from extending to your furniture and other precious items.
Should You Take Your Dog to a Vet?
Although chewing is not a dangerous habit or cause of concern (apart from the ruined blankets), it’s still a good idea to take your vet’s opinion. Sometimes, random habits like blanket chewing can point to bigger problems, such as pica or a nutritional deficiency.
In that case, your vet will prescribe certain supplements to fulfill your dog’s dietary needs, and the chewing will subside — but you will need to train your dog further with commands like “drop it” or “leave it” to stop the habit.
Even if you’re convinced that you know the cause behind your dog’s blanket chewing, we still advise you to at least discuss the issue with your vet, as it can give you peace of mind and tips on selecting the right approach to end the habit.
Tips To Stop Blanket Chewing in Dogs
Apart from the above methods, you can implement the following tips to eliminate blanket chewing quickly. Here are some of our favorite ones:
1. Do not encourage the chewing behavior
Encouraging your dog to chew blankets might seem absurd, but it’s easier than you think. If you feed them treats as a bribe to let go of the blanket, your dog might consider it a reward for doing something good. You are reinforcing the belief that chewing blankets deserves praise, which makes quitting harder for them.
Instead, you should practice verbal commands like “leave it” or “drop it” with your dog. Once they stop chewing and run up to you, praise them with pats or treats.
2. Remove other causes of anxiety and stress
Stress and anxiety are not always due to being separated from owners. Loud noises, unfamiliar strangers, or new environments also produce anxiety and stress. When this happens, dogs indulge in activities that bring them calmness and relief, such as chewing your blanket.
If you feel like external stimuli bring on the anxiety, try removing or limiting them as much as possible. You can do this by installing soundproofing panels, blocking the view of windows that display lots of activity, or closing access to people unfamiliar to your dog.
3. Use puzzles and interactive toys
Gone are the days of static dog toys that barely provided canines any entertainment. Nowadays, you can buy interactive toys that offer your dog almost the same mental stimulation as a caregiver, without their physical presence.
A great example of an interactive toy is a treat dispenser or puzzle toy. These toys force your dog to use their brainpower to solve puzzles, treating them for their successes and keeping them busy throughout the day.
4. Don’t turn it into a tug of war
When we see our dogs chewing a banket, our first instinct is to pull it away from them. But when the dog tries to resist, it becomes a game of tug of war. Unfortunately, the dog views it as playing and gets encouraged to repeat the behavior.
The right way to stop the act is to command your dog to drop/leave the blanket with a firm voice. When they do, reward them with a treat or pat on the head as a positive signal.
Is Blanket Chewing Harmful to Dogs?
No, blanket chewing is a common habit in dogs and usually does not equate to serious illnesses. Many dogs chew to calm themselves, releasing endorphins in their brain. However, if you see them chewing your blanket too frequently, not letting go at any cost, or consuming inedible items, get them checked by a vet.
How Do I Know if My Dog Has Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a disorder that causes dogs to display distressed behavior when separated from their owner. Common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs include:
- Loud barking or howling
- Aggressive chewing and digging
- Defecating in unusual places
When Do Dogs Start Teething?
Puppies generally start teething at around three weeks and continue until they’re six weeks old. When they enter the teething stage, you will notice signs like:
- Chewing on blankets and other stuff
- Red and swollen gums
- Excessive drooling
- Slight fever
- Whining or howling
How Do I Know if My Dog Is Bored or Stressed?
Inherently energetic dogs can easily get bored and engage in behaviors like blanket chewing. A bored or stressed dog will also pace around the house, drool/lick, whine, bark, and display destructive behavior more frequently. To avoid boredom, ensure your dog gets plenty of exercise and get them lots of interactive toys.
Are Chewing Deterrents Harmful to Dogs?
No, chewing deterrents are non-toxic and safe for dogs of all breeds. A canine will avoid sour and bitter tastes, which is why vinegar works so well as a chewing deterrent.