Why Do Dogs Nibble on Blankets? Understanding This Common Behavior

Why Do Dogs Nibble on Blankets? Understanding This Common Behavior

If you've ever owned a dog, you might have noticed a peculiar behavior where they nibble or chew on blankets. While it may seem strange or amusing at first, this behavior is actually quite common among dogs. As loving pet owners, it's essential to understand the reasons behind such actions to ensure the well-being and happiness of our furry companions. In this blog, we'll delve into the possible explanations for why dogs nibble on blankets and what you can do about it.


#1 Instinctual Behavior

Dogs are descendants of wolves, and certain behaviors have been passed down through generations. Nibbling or chewing on blankets can be traced back to their ancestors' behavior of tugging and manipulating prey before consuming it. This instinctual behavior is often retained by dogs as a way to satisfy their natural urges. It is a form of comfort and can also be a sign of stress relief.


#2 Teething

Just like human babies, puppies go through a teething phase. During this period, their gums may become sore and itchy, leading them to seek relief by chewing on various objects, including blankets. The texture of a blanket can provide a soothing sensation to their gums and help alleviate discomfort. It's crucial to provide appropriate chew toys and regularly check their teeth to ensure they're not damaging their developing dentition.


#3 Anxiety or Boredom

Dogs, especially those prone to anxiety or boredom, may resort to nibbling on blankets as a coping mechanism. This behavior can be seen as a self-soothing technique, providing them with a sense of security and comfort. If your dog displays other signs of anxiety, such as pacing, excessive barking, or destructive behavior, consult with a vet or animal behaviorist for guidance on how to manage their anxiety effectively.


#4 Exploration and Play

Dogs are naturally curious creatures and enjoy exploring their environment using their mouths. Blankets, with their soft texture and familiar scent, may pique their interest, encouraging them to engage in playful behavior. Nibbling on blankets could be a way for dogs to interact with their environment and release pent-up energy. Ensuring regular exercise and providing mental stimulation through interactive toys can help redirect their focus and minimize excessive blanket nibbling.


#5 Attention-Seeking Behavior

Sometimes, dogs learn that nibbling on blankets can garner attention from their owners. If they notice that this behavior elicits a response, even if it's negative, they might continue doing it to receive attention. In such cases, it's important not to reinforce the behavior inadvertently. Instead, redirect their attention to more appropriate activities and reward them for positive behavior.


Tips to Manage and Redirect Nibbling Behavior:

  •  Provide appropriate chew toys: Offer a variety of safe and durable chew toys that can help redirect your dog's focus and provide relief during teething or when the urge to nibble arises.
  • Exercise and mental stimulation: Regular exercise and mental stimulation are essential for a dog's overall well-being. Engage them in activities such as interactive play, puzzle toys, or obedience training to tire them out both physically and mentally.
  • Positive reinforcement: Reward your dog with praise, treats, or affection when they display appropriate chewing behavior. This will reinforce positive habits and encourage them to engage in desired activities.
  • Create a safe space: Designate a specific area or a cozy bed for your dog, providing them with a comfortable spot they can retreat to when they feel anxious or seek relaxation.
  • Seek professional help if needed: If your dog's nibbling behavior becomes excessive, persistent, or problematic, it's recommended to consult a veterinarian or a certified animal behaviorist for tailored guidance and support.

That's a wrap!

Dogs nibbling on blankets is a behavior rooted in their instinctual nature, teething process, anxiety, or playfulness. Understanding the underlying reasons for this behavior can help us provide appropriate solutions and ensure the well-being of our canine companions. By redirecting their attention, providing proper stimulation, and offering suitable chew toys, we can help our dogs find healthier outlets for their natural instincts and promote a happy and harmonious coexistence.