We all love our four-legged companions. They are precious to us, so one must keep an eye on any change in their behavior. A sudden change in their behavior is indicative that there might be some underlying physical or mental health issue in your furry friend. And that is precisely why it is recommended that the owners should always be on the lookout for any kind of behavioral transformation in their canine.
This change could be anything, from excessive sleeping to circling a specific spot and even lethargy. Early observation can allow the pet owner to get ahead of the issue and help their companion in the time of their need.
Something that many dog owners observe is the sudden wetness present on their blankets. Have you ever come home your work and found this sudden wetness on your blanket? It might have forced you to wonder, ‘why does my dog lick the blanket so much?’; it is precisely the question we will answer in this blog.
Why Does Your Dog Lick Blankets so Much?
There are many possible reasons why your buddy has been interested in your blanket. The reasons could be that they are anxious and trying to explain their state to you. They could also like the taste of the sweat and the dead skin cells present on the blanket. These are the common reasons. Other reasons include the onset of compulsive behavior or your pet simply liking the smell present on the blanket.
Naturally, there are many reasons behind this behavior of your dog. It would be best that you consider the likelihood of each of them before deciding what the best course of action is. Depending on the situation, it is even possible that you might have to visit your vet, depending on the level of obsession your dog might have with the blanket. There is also a possibility of metal and vitamin deficiencies or any other dietary concern forcing them to do the licking.
You might be asking yourself, ‘Is it that much of an issue? Doesn’t all dogs like to lick?’ And that is true. It is pretty standard behavior for dogs to lick. Dogs lick everything with no exception; sometimes, we have to look out for them to ensure they do not lick anything dangerous. But not all cases can be relegated to your dog just being a dog, as there are possibilities for physical and mental issues as well.
We have touched a bit earlier on this as anxiety is one of the most common reasons behind this behavioral change in dogs. Suppose your well-behaved and trained dog suddenly started to lick the blankets. In that case, it is something that naturally needs further investigation. Start by looking back at any sudden change made to your canine’s everyday routine.
It is possible that you have been staying at work for more hours than you used to, and your evening or morning walks with your pet have become limited. Additionally, if there has been construction going in and around your property with lots of noise coming into your home, that could also be why your dog is feeling anxious. Any drastic change in their environment could result in OCD in your pet.
This condition is not drastic and can be easily corrected by spending some time with your dog in the next couple of days. You can quickly allay your dog’s fear if they have separation anxiety. Give your dog plenty of toys and interactive games during your office and work hours to ensure that your pet gets enough mental stimulation and gets rid of their anxiety. Additionally, it is also possible that your dog might require extra training to get over their OCD behavior.
2. Dietary Issues
Dietary issues in dogs are common, particularly in smaller breeds. It is because many of the species suffer from weak digestive systems. So, yes, it is pretty standard for dogs to have dietary discomforts, especially when they are getting on their age. If your dog has started licking the blanket excessively, it might signify that they suffer from gastronomical pain. In such a case, you need to connect with your vet immediately.
Your dog’s digestive system could be in discomfort for many reasons. Maybe it is allergic to something or might have become allergic to it recently. Soy, wheat, and even corn are often what many dogs are allergic to. So, in case you are giving your pet any such products containing these ingredients, however low in quantity, stop immediately.
But there are also other allergies, which only your vet can verify, so connect with them directly. Your dog’s excessive licking of the blanket could easily indicate that a trip to the vet might be required.
Don’t be under the impression that dietary issues can be quickly resolved with home remedies. This requires a complete overall of the dog’s diet plan. And the smartest decision you can make would be to connect with your vet regarding that immediately. Your vet would likely recommend a non-GMO, grain-free, organic product diet, but it is better to have a consultation first.
3. Medical Concerns
There is one definite sign that your pet might be suffering from allergies, along with excessive licking, of course. And that is the presence of red skin or irritation. Depending on their medical history, you might already know the cause of allergy in your dog. And while their old allergies might be resurfacing, nothing could be ruled out. It could even be an onset of new allergies in your dog. The best thing you can do is keep your pet away from any dust, pollutants, and grains and schedule an appointment with your vet.
Most likely, the excessive licking on the blanket is due to a bacteria or even a fungal infection in your pet. When the dog licks the blanket or even their skin, the licking releases endorphins in the body. Endorphins are the natural painkiller, so if your dog is doing this, it is possible that it might be in pain and is seeking immediate relief.
To treat this, the underlying condition of the infection has to be resolved first. And that is why it is essential that you reach out to your vet if you even suspect such is to be the case with your dog. This situation needs to be tackled delicately and, more importantly, immediately as the condition could fester and become untreatable as time passes. Look out for any kinds of lesions, cuts, and bumps on your dog’s body, as they often accompany severe medical conditions.
Thankfully not every dog with an extreme blanket licking situation has a severe medical condition. Such conditions are uncommon, but most are treatable, especially if caught in the initial stages. So, this is nothing to worry about.
In case you have ruled out every medical condition and allergies, and there does not seem to be an underlying cause behind your dog licking the blanket excessively, then it is a possibility of them doing it just because they like it. Your blanket usually contains plenty of dead skin cells, which might stimulate your dog.
The very first thing your dog does when seeing something new is trying to lick it. Since your dog loves you and your smell, it is understandable that they would like the blanket with your scent. You might observe that your dog rarely licks any clean blankets, as it would do nothing to them.
The logic behind them licking the blanket in this situation is the same as licking any part of their body. This process releases a feel-good enzyme called endorphins in their body that puts them in a happy and content mood. So, it is not something for you to worry about, but only if there is no underlying condition causing this situation. You might have to accept that your blanket would be wet for some time, and honestly, it is not that big of a deal.
But in case this bothers you that much, there are training programs available for dogs that can train them out of habit. You can connect with an animal behavior specialist for help. They can assist your dog in getting out of this habit. Although, in most cases, this habit passes away with time. In fact, calling it a habit is a misnomer; the right way to characterize it would be a phase.
5. A Dirty Blanket
Something you might have noticed about your dog – they like to lick dirty areas. Whether it is the shelf in the kitchen, your doorway, the tire of your car, and even the dirt on the playground, no matter how much you try to break this habit of theirs, your efforts would be all for naught. In the same wavelength, you can connect your dog’s licking obsession to them licking the blanket excessively as well. The simple reason is? The blanket is dirty.
Your dogs like to snuggle; it is something that is true for dogs of all breeds. These canines have a superior sense of smell and can find the microscopic food and drink particles on the unclean blanket. Now, if at the same time you are having a snack or your favorite drink, something your dogs like as well, then it should not surprise you much if your dog starts licking the blanket.
You might notice that your dog often leaves the clean blanket alone as if they are not of any interest. And why should they be when it does not have any of their favorite munchies. Practicing self-hygiene is the easiest way to deal with this problem. Clean your blanket from time to time, and you will notice an immediate change in your companion’s behavior. At least reading licking the blanket, they would still snuggle with you, don’t worry.
6. Mineral and Vitamin Deficiency
Last but not least, we have mineral and vitamin deficiency. But not let this last entry fool you for this to be unimportant. Your pet has probably been doing excessive licking of the blanket due to this condition. A severe lack of vitamins and minerals present in the balanced diet could result in a severe deficiency of vitamin and mineral composition in the dog. Even when you are very careful, you may miss one or more vitamins and minerals in your dog’s diet.
Even in the case of dog food, there is often an innate lack of vitamin or mineral products that would result in a vitamin and mineral deficiency. It is also advisable that one does not start any kind of supplement without advice from your vet.
Also Read: Why Is My Dog Licking His Paws? (Reasons And Remedies)
How to Stop The Dog From Licking The Blanket?
Most cases of dogs licking the blanket are due to behavior-based or anxiety-based, so naturally, it would be the best place for one to start. And the best thing about it is that you can quickly sort this habit with some simple techniques.
1. Discourage Licking
The best thing you can do is correct their behavior as soon as you spot it. Regular correction is the easiest way for one to break this habit out of their dog. The principle of this is the same as when you train your dog to jump, stop chewing your boots, and stop the dog from coming into the house. By directly stopping your dog from chewing on the shoes, you can easily discourage your dog from continuing this habit.
2. Socialize More
Dogs are incredibly social creatures. It is in their nature to mingle with their kind. It is something that should be encouraged at all times. Associating with their kind is the obvious way a dog can get rid of its anxiety. Some socialization in the park can quickly help them get rid of their stress. You can easily arrange play dates with your friends who also have pets and reduce the separation anxiety your dog might feel.
3. Keep an Eye on the Dog’s Diet
Like humans, the food dog can have huge repercussions on their mood and behavior. You might not know this, but your dog’s anxiety could also result from their diet, resulting in blankets and even couch cushions being licked. Many of your dog’s favorite treats contain preservatives that generally have an adverse impact on its health. With anxiety, there is also a possibility of added stress. So, make sure there are no additives and preservatives added to the dog food that could cause an allergic reaction.
4. Reduce Their Access to the Blanket
If your buddy has a bad habit of continuously chewing or licking the blanket, then the obvious solution is to restrict their access. Your dog would understand that this is not acceptable behavior. Initially, it might seem cruel to you, but it is the easiest way to ensure that they stop licking the blanket. Bring out the blanket under your supervision, and you can control your pet from licking the blanket. This way, you can quickly correct their behavior.
5. You can Redirect the Dog’s Licking to Another Object
Your dog might face difficulty giving up its licking and chewing habit. You should try to distract them and draw their attention to some other object other than the blanket. And these are:
The objective of the chew toy is to keep your pet entertained, especially when you are not physically present. But surprisingly, it does the job well. It may seem quite simple, but it is a safe outlet for pets to let go of their anxiety. And there is no issue about the dog’s health as well, as these toys are made with safe products.
You can also opt for a chewing mat for the same purpose. This one is even more preferable as dogs like to lick blankets and could transfer their habit to the chewing mat. This will ensure that your precious blanket and couch remain safe and clean from your dog’s saliva.
Lastly, you have an option of a dog treat as well. These dog treats are made with ingredients full of healthy nutrients that will make your dog forget about their blanket licking habit. It also reassures your buddy of your love towards them.
6. Change Your Dog’s Habit
In many cases, licking the blanket is simply a habit a dog picks up in their everyday lives. It is just a nervous habit, similar to when humans start biting their nails, and there is nothing wrong with it. If your dog does this sometimes, it is nothing to worry about. You only need to worry when it has become a habit with your dog trying to lick the blanket all the time. In such cases, you can swap this behavior out of them for something rewarding and beneficial.
A pet means a lot to the family that owns it. It becomes an integral part. So, naturally, if they are struggling with something, one must do everything to ensure that this family member is well taken care of. Yes, you might need to spend considerable time and effort taking care of your pet from time to time. But they deserve the care, especially after the unconditional love they have shown to you and other family members over the years.
And in the case of your furry little friend licking the blanket excessively, it is highly unlikely to be anything serious. But again, it is a lot wiser to first connect with a vet. A short visit to the hospital would be more than enough for the doctor to diagnose the condition and give the proper advice on treating it.