Dog Licking, Nibbling, or Sucking On Blanket – What To Do

By Kim •  Updated: 01/14/23 •  7 min read
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Dog Licking, Nibbling, or Sucking On Blanket

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Dogs love to chew on things, especially puppies dealing with teething. But why would a dog nibble, suck, or lick a blanket? This can be somewhat disconcerting to pet parents, especially if their dog is an adult.

We’ve done some research and found some reasons that could cause a dog to lick, nibble, or suck on blankets. There are several reasons that a dog might do this, and we found information on what you can do about your fur baby’s habit. Let’s get started!

Why a Dog Licks, Nibbles, or Sucks on Blankets

There are several reasons a dog may choose to suck, nibble, or lick blankets. The behavior is more common than you’d think!

Here are some of the most common reasons a dog might treat blankets in this way.

1. Weaned Too Soon

One of the most common reasons for a dog to suck, nibble, or lick blankets is that they were weaned too soon. Puppies need to stay with their mothers until they’re about eight weeks old. However, this isn’t always possible for different reasons. It’s not always that a breeder took the puppy away from his mother too early. A mother dog could become ill, not produce milk, and more.

When puppies are weaned too soon, they can develop specific behavioral issues, including sucking, nibbling, or licking blankets. The dog does this because he’s looking for his mother and suckling. When they’re no longer with their mother, a dog may turn to suckle on something else, such as a blanket. The blanket takes the place of the dog’s mother.

Puppies that have been bottle-fed until they’re eight weeks old and then weaned may also suck on blankets. This is because bottle feeding doesn’t provide the comfort a puppy would receive from nursing. So, bottle-fed puppies may still suck, nibble, and lick blankets.

2. Anxiety

Some dogs suffer from anxiety, just like we do. Our canine companions may become anxious for many reasons, including stress in the home, moving to a new environment, sounds, crowds, and more. A dog may even develop separation anxiety if he’s left home alone too much of the time.

Dogs that are anxious can develop unwanted behaviors such as chewing (anything and everything), sucking on blankets, and more.

Have you noticed your dog sucks, nibbles, or licks blankets when he seems anxious or distressed? If so, your fur baby may be doing this to soothe his feelings.

3. Teething

Teething happens to all puppies, and they will chew on anything and everything during this time. When new teeth come in, the puppy may feel pain and discomfort. So, he may ease this discomfort by chewing on shoes, furniture, and even blankets. A puppy may also suck or lick blankets while he’s teething.

The good news is that teething only lasts for a few weeks. Once it’s over, most dogs quit chewing on everything or sucking on blankets.

You can help your fur baby by providing him with chew toys designed for teething puppies. This may also stop your puppy from sucking, nibbling, and licking blankets.

4. Hunger

Another common reason for a dog sucking, nibbling, and licking blankets is hunger. Some of our canine companions will chew on non-food items because they’re hungry. It could be that the dog isn’t getting enough to eat. Or he may not get all the nutrients he needs from his dog food. Another possibility is that the dog is infected with an intestinal parasite or has an underlying health issue.

Dogs that are hungry may also show other behaviors, such as eating non-food items, feces, hair loss, and lethargy. So, if your dog is showing any of these symptoms and he’s sucking, nibbling, or licking blankets, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with the vet.

This is important because your fur baby’s symptoms could be caused by an underlying health issue. He needs to be checked by the vet. If they find any health issues, treating these could solve the problem of your dog sucking on blankets. It’s possible your fur baby is fine, but he may need a different dog food and more of it. In that case, the vet is the best source of information on choosing the right dog food for your fur baby.

In addition, make sure the dog food you buy meets the standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFC). This organization puts its seal on dog food that provides the nutrients a dog needs to stay healthy and happy.

5. Boredom

Dogs that are alone for long periods can easily become bored, even if they don’t develop separation anxiety. But like separation anxiety, boredom can cause dogs to develop unwanted behaviors such as chewing up anything and everything, sucking blankets, and more. Dogs turn to these behaviors to relieve their feelings. It’s something to do, after all!

If your dog seems to suffer from boredom, you may want to consider giving him more exercise every day. This is especially helpful if your fur baby has a long walk before you go for the day. In addition, having a dog sitter, family member, or friend check on your dog during the day can ease his boredom. And when you get back home, taking your fur baby for another walk is a great way to burn off pent-up energy.

When you’re gone for long periods, it’s also helpful to provide your dog with plenty of toys to play with. These may include chew toys, dog puzzles, and more. If there are items in the dog’s space he is tempted to chew on, it’s best to remove them. There are also chew deterrent sprays that can teach a dog not to chew. The sprays are made with flavors dogs don’t like, such as bitter apples.

6. Pain

Pain may also cause a dog to nibble, suck, or lick blankets. We’ve already taken a look at teething pain and how this may cause a puppy to suck on a blanket. But dogs suffering from an injury or health condition (such as arthritis) may also suck, nibble, or lick blankets.

Finding the cause of the pain usually ends this behavior. So, here, again, it’s a good idea to take your dog to the vet. They can determine and treat the cause of your dog’s pain. And then your fur baby may stop going after blankets!

How to Stop Your Dog’s Blanket Nibbling, Sucking, and Licking Behavior

Most cases of a dog going after blankets can be solved by finding the underlying cause. Another way to stop this behavior is to give your dog appropriate dog toys and plenty of attention and make sure he gets plenty of exercise.

You may also want to try positive reinforcement training methods with your dog. For this method, you can teach your dog the words “stop” and “no.” It’s important to give one of these commands the minute your fur baby is chewing on the blanket. After that, give him a toy or chew that’s appropriate for him.

Use plenty of praise, too, when training your canine companion to leave blankets alone.

Summing It Up

Dogs may nibble, suck, or lick blankets for many different reasons. Most dogs do this when they’re looking to self-soothe or teething. Other dogs that go after blankets may feel stressed or anxious. They could even be suffering from boredom.

The key to ending this behavior is learning why your dog is doing this and then finding the right solution to stop this behavior. In some cases, it may be necessary to visit the vet to see what’s causing your dog to lick, suck, or nibble blankets.

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Kim

Kim is a talented author, who loves animals especially dogs. She engaged in writing books and articles relating to animals a decade ago. Kim resides in Chicago with her husband and son. The family is the proud owner of a dog and a parrot (Jack and Lily). Kim wanted more than these two pets, but her husband put his foot down... She often visits elementary schools to talk to the kids about what she learned about pets and how they could learn from them.