Dogs like to chew and eat all kinds of things. Some of them will chew furniture while others will chew your underwear. Others will chew blankets. Why does my dog nibble on blankets? Well, there are 7 reasons for that. Keep in mind that breeds for hunting and herding are more likely to do this. They will nibble any blanket they can at any given moment.
Exploring the Behavior
The act of dogs nibbling on blankets can be traced to various psychological and physiological factors. Originating in puppyhood, this behavior is often a dog’s means of exploring and interacting with their environment, much like human infants. It can also be a lingering comfort-seeking habit from their early days of adjustment in a new home.
In the natural habitat of wild canines, behaviors like nibbling are common for creating a snug sleeping area. When domestic dogs engage in this act, it can often be an echo of this instinctual need. On the other hand, anxiety and stress are prominent catalysts for such behaviors. Dogs may nibble on blankets as a self-soothing mechanism, akin to humans biting nails or fiddling when nervous.
While occasional nibbling may not signal any severe issues, persistent engagement in this activity can indicate increased anxiety levels needing attention. Physiological issues, such as dental pain or nutritional deficiencies, can also lead to nibbling as dogs seek to alleviate discomfort or satiate an unmet dietary need, leading to a condition known as pica.
Understanding this behavior requires pet owners to be observant. A close watch on the frequency and accompanying behaviors can offer insights into whether it’s a harmless, occasional act or indicative of underlying health or psychological issues that need to be addressed to ensure the dog’s overall well-being.
7 Common Reasons Why Does My Dog Nibble On Blankets
1. Your pet is under a lot of stress
Some dog owners believe that dogs cannot be under stress. They can. Why does my dog nibble on blankets? He is under a lot of stress due to something or something that happened to him.
The best example would be moving to a new home. All of a sudden he will be alone and he will have to get familiar with the environment and the surroundings. It is a problematic period for any dog. He will probably sleep more than ever, eat less and he will whine and bark all the time. Allow him to adjust and adapt. In some cases, you will need help from a vet to make sure this issue goes away completely.
2. Puppy is taken from his mother too soon
A puppy must spend at least 8 weeks with his mother. If you remove him from the litter sooner than that, he will develop certain issues. Nibbling blankets is one of them. In this case scenario, a puppy will try to suckle his mother. He is sad and he needs comfort and attention. Sadly, many puppies ‘’leave’’ their mothers just a few weeks after they are born. This is a severe issue for puppies and for future owners.
Try to make this period of life of the puppy as comfortable as you can. Also, try to make the situation less severe and teach your puppy all the things his mommy would. Yes, it is hard but you can find a lot of resources on the web and master the process.
3. It is fun
Yes, your dog may nibble a blanket because it is fun. Most dogs if not all will chew and nibble occasionally. Some of them will develop a habit from this and they will enjoy it. Nibbling is fun and it helps them relax and enjoy more. It is likely that a dog will nibble almost anything he can and not only blanket once this habit is present.
This is basically a self-rewarding behavior. You can use it to your advantage. You will have to train your pet so he chews and nibbles only things you allow him to nibble, such as toys.
This habit forms in puppyhood and it can last the entire life. Many dog owners have a hard time controlling the chewing and nibbling behavior of their pets. All dogs do it. Usually, bigger dog breeds do it more but owners notice the issue quicker due to larger damages. Smaller dog breeds do it as well.
A dog who suffers from pain in his mouth caused by an allergy, tooth issue, or something else will nibble blankets all the time. He will also nibble other things occasionally. He does this to eliminate the discomfort and he will have to do it on a regular basis.
First of all, you will have to have your dog checked by a vet. If there are some issues in his mouth, treatment will solve that. Then, you will need to find the cause of that issue. Maybe there is something in your home that injures his mouth or teeth. Use a wet face cloth or frozen chewing toys to help your pet with discomfort. These two work well but there are a lot more options you can use.
Once you are done with the treatment and there are no issues anymore, you will see a massive change. Your dog will stop chewing and nibbling things. This means that your blankets are safe. With a bit of luck, your dog will stop nibbling other things as well.
5. He is bored, a lot
When a dog is bored he will have to find something to do. Add the fact you are not home and you get the problem. Some dogs will chew things while others will bark all day long. Some dogs will nibble blankets. It is difficult for a dog to determine what is acceptable and what’s not. Nibbling blankets is fine for him but not acceptable by you.
To put an end to this, you will have to provide more physical activity to your pet. You will also have to make sure he gets a proper diet and he has plenty of toys to play with. Try to find him toys that he will enjoy.
6. Your pet lacks certain nutrients
It is possible that your pet needs additional nutrients that are not present in his diet. There are countless examples. As the result, he will nibble a blanket or two. He is simply looking for needed nutrients. Change or update the diet. A dog with this issue will have low energy levels, he won’t play and he will get issues with fur. If this is the case, feces will look different as well.
7. Nibbling blankets is not dangerous
If your pet nibbles blankets all the time, you don’t have to worry about his health or something similar. This is not a big deal. As a matter of fact, it is completely harmless. But, it is not acceptable behavior. Many dog owners will want to put an end to this and many will do everything they can to succeed.
The Risks Associated with Nibbling on Blankets
When it comes to our furry friends, certain behaviors, although curious, can sometimes be a cause for concern. The act of dogs nibbling on blankets is one such behavior that may raise eyebrows. While it can be innocuous, reflecting a dog’s instinctive or comforting behavior, there are potential risks that dog owners should be cognizant of.
Firstly, the ingestion of blanket materials is a primary concern. Blankets, especially those made from synthetic fibers, can pose a serious risk if ingested. Dogs might accidentally swallow pieces of the blanket while nibbling, leading to intestinal obstruction, a serious and potentially life-threatening medical condition. Symptoms of intestinal obstruction include vomiting, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite, requiring immediate veterinary intervention.
Moreover, constant nibbling can lead to the wearing down of a dog’s teeth. While this might not be a significant issue for adult dogs, puppies, especially those in their teething phase, can experience discomfort or damage to their developing teeth.
The psychological aspect shouldn’t be overlooked either. Nibbling can sometimes be a manifestation of underlying anxiety or stress. If left unaddressed, this can exacerbate mental health issues, leading to an array of behavioral problems, from increased aggression to withdrawal.
Additionally, if a dog is nibbling due to a nutritional deficiency, it highlights an inadequate diet that needs to be corrected to ensure the dog’s overall health and well-being.
In the context of hygiene and cleanliness, excessive nibbling can also lead to the degradation of the blanket’s material, leading to an unclean environment for both the pet and the owner. This can potentially expose the dog to allergens and contaminants.
The mystery of why dogs nibble on blankets is rooted in a complex combination of instinctual, psychological, and health-related factors. It’s an action often triggered by comfort-seeking, stress relief, or underlying health issues that might need addressing. It’s essential for dog owners to observe this behavior closely. While occasional nibbling might not be a cause for alarm, persistent or obsessive nibbling warrants a deeper examination. Consulting with a veterinarian can help in assessing if this behavior is a sign of an underlying health issue or a manageable behavioral pattern.
Ultimately, ensuring a safe, stress-free environment and proper healthcare can mitigate excessive nibbling, leading to a happier and healthier life for your beloved canine companion.