Why Do Dogs Lick Blankets?

Bichon Frise sneakily licking blanket

Finding your dog licking a blanket is not an unusual thing. But if and when it starts to happen a lot, you start wondering if it’s a problem.

You also start thinking of the possible reasons why your dog is doing this and if there is a reason to worry.

Today, we’ll tell you all about that and also how to fix it. Let’s begin.

What Are the Possible Reasons?

There are quite a few reasons for this behavior. Some are common but you need to pay attention to some right away.

And the range of these causes is pretty impressive too. From anxiety to just liking the smell or taste of it, there are plenty of reasons.

To make your dog stop licking the blanket, you need to know what the problem itself is, right? So, here we go.

Anxiety

This one happens occasionally with many dogs. It is actually to relieve that sense of stress and it is nothing to be too worried about.

But you want to make sure that it does not turn into a compulsive habit. Whether it is a carpet or a blanket, you want to make sure that the anxiety is not overtaking them.

Pets, in general, behave in this compulsive manner when they are feeling stressed out. As a pet parent, you need to find out which environmental variable is causing this behavior.

For instance, COVID-19 has caused many changes and this kind of behavior might be the result of one of those environmental changes.

Sometimes, the reason is far simpler, like separation anxiety. This could be separation from their humans or also separation from their mother at an early stage.

Some experts say that puppies who have been taken away from their mother too soon might develop this problem later on in their life cycle.

Apart from an incident, time and place can also be factors in causing anxiety. So, the presence of a specific person could cause anxiety or loud noises from the outside could trigger it.

The obvious one when it comes to timing is, of course, if they know you are going to leave the house in the morning. That’s traditional separation anxiety.

You might want to try and control this anxiety by making them exercise or giving them something to eat. This way, they will either be tired or full and will sleep it off in your absence.

Related: Why Do Dogs Lick Their Beds?

Nausea

You might be surprised but sometimes when they are feeling nauseated, dogs tend to lick a blanket. They might also extend this behavior to the furniture like the couch or basically anything that they find nearby.

This helps them stay busy and distracted. Dogs really hate to throw up, which is why they will do their best to find an activity when it feels like they might puke.

They might also be doing this to get rid of the excess saliva that oozes right before they are about to vomit. This kind of licking is more about intuition than a medical solution, obviously.

If they are doing this more often than they ideally should, you must look into their diet and see if you can change something to help the poor mutt out.

Compulsiveness

Sometimes it is just purely compulsive behavior. This means they might have OCD.

They cannot resist the urge and keep at it consistently over a period of weeks. Don’t try to fix this on your own and consult a vet instead.

Dietary Problems

It is well known that dogs have a sensitive digestive system. So it is possible that they might have eaten something that is causing discomfort in the intestines.

It could be the result of starches, grains or soy. A lot of dogs are intolerant or allergic to these ingredients.

It might even be because of beef or chicken in their diet. So, you must go back and check the labels.

The best way to deal with this is to talk to your vet about going for non-GMO food that has grass-fed meat. While you’re at it, don’t forget to ask about the pros and cons of leaving grains out of your dog’s meal.

But remember that you must make these changes slowly unless they are in danger. You must add a portion of the new food to the regular food and change the ratio over a matter of many days.

It Smells Like You

This one is self-explanatory… and kind of cute.

If the blanket they are hooked to smells strongly like you, well, you guessed it. Your dog is licking this particular blanket because they want to be near you and you aren’t around, for some reason.

Maybe they were feeling separation anxiety and your scent on the blanket calms them down. By the way, this doesn’t just happen in your absence.

They might do this if they are very familiar with your schedule and it is time for you to leave the house (perhaps for work in the morning).

Related: Why Do Dogs Burrow In Blankets?

How to Stop Your Dog From Licking the Blanket

Some of these problems might not feel like such a big deal. But, for one, you want to make sure that that’s the case.

And even then, you must try to get them off this habit because it’s not a healthy one. Here’s how you do it.

Discourage Them

You might like the idea of your pooch keeping the lint off the furniture or the blanket. But this behavior is not good for the dog and this is not a good way to keep your stuff clean.

You should also be able to guess that the stuff your dog will pick up by licking the blanket or furniture is not good for their health. These items contain different objects like hair, fibers, the dog’s fur, dust and all kinds of debris.

Ingesting these items might block your dog’s intestines. So, your first move is to stop your dog from licking the blanket.

That starts with a visit to the vet to make sure that no damage has been done up until that moment. Once that is cleared, you might strongly consider taking them to a trainer to get your dog out of this habit.

Trainers usually know tricks that will keep the dog busy. But they will also be able to tell you if you have been doing something to encourage this behavior by accident.

So, anything that the dog perceived as a reward for licking the blanket can be identified and taken away.

Instead, you should switch tactics and reward the dog for not licking the blanket. Eventually, they will learn that the treat will be taken away if they lick the blanket.

All of this will be taken care of in training.

Fix Their Diet

When you take your dog to the vet to make sure your dog’s intestines are fine, you must also check with them about the pooch’s diet.

Sometimes, a balanced diet is all it takes to sort out the problem. Make a list of the DOs and DON’Ts.

Increase Stimuli and Socialize Them

There are multiple reasons that can cause the licking of the blanket. And sometimes, more than one of those problems can be solved by keeping your dog busy.

So, more exercise or playtime is a good way to keep your dog from licking the blanket. This stimulates them and also helps them socialize.

You can try going to the park more regularly or get them some new toys. Enrolling in doggy daycare is also a good idea.

Compulsive licking can be the result of boredom or loneliness, both of which can be taken care of with these activities.

Talk to the Vet

Sometimes, the problem does not fit into any of the broad patterns that have been identified in other dogs. That’s why talking to a vet will give you specific answers.

Instead of playing trial and error, you will get a clear-cut answer, which is good for your dog and your blanket.

Take the Blanket Away

Sometimes the answer is to just be direct and blunt. Taking the blanket away is one such solution.

By this, we mean that you should make it difficult for the dog to find the blanket. You can even try spraying a harmless dog repellent on the blanket to keep them away from it.

It can be made at home by combining citrus, vinegar, pepper and ammonia. This solution works for furniture and the carpet too.

You can try giving them things like bones, puzzles or toys to lick but it is best to get rid of the habit in general.

Also Read: Can Dogs Get Embarrassed?

Parting Thoughts

If your dog is licking their blanket or yours for weeks at a time, you must look into it. Could be that they are bored or anxious about something.

Take them to a vet and make sure no damage has been done from licking the blanket so far. Ask the vet to help you identify the cause and discuss a strategy.

Either way, it is good to find out what’s causing it and solve the problem.