When you bring home your new pup, it’s an absolute joy. You’ll soon find that you both have some challenges ahead of you though, ranging from training your dog to potty train, to helping him get used to sleeping downstairs at night.
Here though we discuss something you may not have thought about it until it starts happening.
Why do dogs lick blankets and furniture?
So if you find your dog has developed a habit of licking his blanket, bed, the furniture, and/or any other soft furnishings he can reach this article should help you.
Unsure if it’s normal and don’t know what to do about it? We’ve got you covered.
Later, we’ll share some tips on what you can do to prevent blanket-licking from becoming a habit. First though, let’s address the question of why dogs like licking blankets.
Dogs lick blankets for many reasons. Those reasons reason fall into two broad categories, either medical or as a learned behaviour that brings them comfort. A puppy may do it because it reminds him of you. This isn’t a normal behaviour in dogs and can signal that something is bothering your pup.
Let’s dive deeper and find out why it’s possible no soft furnishings in your house may be safe from being licked.
Why does my dog lick fabric?
There are multiple reasons why your dog might lick fabric, whether it be the sofa, pillows, your armchair, blankets, or his bed. Some common reasons for it include boredom, anxiety or stress, loneliness or, in some cases, it can be a sign of a medical condition.
This kind of licking can become a habit if you so nothing about it. Before we explore how to deal with it, let’s cover one reason your dog might lick fabric. Licking things repeatedly releases endorphins that make them feel better because endorphins are a natural painkiller.
Most commonly, this behaviour is an occasional response to stress or loneliness.
If this is the sort of licking your pup displays, you may be able to distract your dog by adding more exercise, playing and stimulation to his routine. You could give him some puzzle toys or take him to a play group, because exercise is known to help relieve stress. Check out our post on puppy play groups.
Sometimes, licking can become an obsessive behaviour that your dog is compelled to engage in. If you cannot distract your dog from licking fabric, the soft furnishings, or his bed, it is a sign that it is compulsive behaviour.
If you think your dog is exhibiting compulsive behaviour and socialisation and stimulation is not working, contact your vet to discuss ways to help your dog, perhaps with some anti-anxiety medication.
Your dog could also have health problems that drive him to lick fabric. Such behaviour could be a sign of:
- Kidney problems (especially when accompanied by an increased thirst).
- Stomach or intestinal complaints.
- Dementia (in older dogs).
- Dental problems.
Before we discuss how to deal with excessive licking, let’s discover why your pup might be fond of licking his bed.
What does it mean when a dog licks their bedding?
We all know that it’s in a dog’s nature to lick. But what does this common habit mean?
Fortunately, there is usually a simple explanation and it’s rarely a cause for concern, but you should look out for older dogs who suddenly start to lick. If you are not sure what breed your dog is, read my post Identify my Dog Breed.
Let’s cover some of the most common reasons dogs lick their bed.
Marking his territory
As territorial animals, dogs like staking a claim to what is theirs. Licking their beds is a way to spread their sent and mark it as theirs when they get ready to sleep.
He has stashed treats there
Your pup could have hidden a treat in his bed earlier, and his licking his bed to hover up crumbs, or because he can still small food. If this behaviour bothers you, feed your dog away from the bed, so he doesn’t come to associate it with where he eats.
He’s seeking attention, is bored, or stressed
Dogs are pack animals and will lick their beds because they are stress, bored, want attention or as a sign of submission.
If you spot a pattern to when your dog licks his bed, it may go some way to explaining his behaviour. Try giving your pup a little extra love and see if it solves the problem.
He has separation anxiety
As your dog grows, he will become familiar with your routine. If you spot that your furry friend starts to lick his bed at about the time you head out to work, it might be a sign that your pooch has separation anxiety.
This can affect older dogs and puppies alike. Keep an eye out for signs of it and reassure your dog that you’ll return soon. You could leave him with his favourite toy and be as cheerful as you can, so he knows he doesn’t need to worry and that you won’t be gone forever.
Don’t forget to show him some love when you get back, so that he knows you’re happy to be back with him.
He might be unwell
If your dog isn’t feeling well, particularly if he’s feeling sick, he will probably start to lick his bed and chew things.
If there has been no recent change to his diet, it may be a sign that your dog is getting older, and his body is less tolerant of the foods he used to relish. If you spot a pattern in his behaviour, you may be able to identify the cause. Perhaps a certain kind of food doesn’t suit him.
If there is a sudden change in your dog’s behaviour though, it’s best to have your vet check him over.
It’s time to find out what you can do to stop your dog from licking his bed and blankets.
How do you stop a dog from licking a blanket?
Now we’ve seen what causes dogs to lick fabric and blankets, what can we do to discourage such behaviour? Much of the time, licking is caused by anxiety or are based on learned behaviour. So, taking a behavioural-based approach to finding a solution is a good idea.
Spot and stop
When you see your dog licking his blanket, his bed, or the furniture stop him immediately, the same as you would if you were to spot them doing their business in the house.
Your dog views you as the master of the house and yearns to be loyal to you.
Help your pup to socialise more
Dogs are social beings, just like humans. They need to mix with other dogs. This will help them feel relaxed and happy, although they may need time to get use to socialising, so be patient. To help your pup socialise, you can:
- Take your dog to the park.
- Organise puppy playdate.
- Participate in a puppy play group.
- Visit a friend who also has a dog and let the pooches get to know each other.
Check your dog’s diet
What your dog eats could be making them more anxious leading to excessive licking. He could have an allergy, or there could be additives in his food that don’t agree with him.
Try making some changes and see if that solves the problem.
Control access to his blanket
When everything else you’ve tried has proved fruitless, try only giving your dog his blanket when you’re there to watch him.
If you are there to correct him when he goes to chew and lick his blanket, he may realise that what he is doing isn’t acceptable.
Give him something else to lick our chew
You can guide your pooch towards better behaviour by switching the blanket for something he’s allowed to lick and chew, like a chew toy. Read about the best chew toys for puppies here.
You can also by him a chewing mat to give him a better outlet for his habit. Giving your pup a treat may help distract him from his worry if anxiety is fuelling his behaviour.
Remember, chewing and licking is your dog’s way of exploring the world, but when it gets too much, give him something else to focus on that’s more rewarding and will help reduce their anxiety.
As you can see, excessive licking is often no cause for concern, and may be tiggered by something as simple as anxiety, boredom, or just being a bit under the weather. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of why your dog tends to lick his bed and blankets, and what you can do to save your furniture from getting a good licking.
Why not try using a few of the tips shared above to start teaching your pup not to lick his blanket and the soft furnishings? If you’re still concerned, or spot a sudden alteration in your dog’s behaviour, seek advice from your vet.
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- Do puppies have rabies when they are born?No, puppies are not born with rabies. Rabies is a viral disease transmitted through the bite of an infected animal or, very rarely, through a mother’s milk if the mother carries the disease. It's crucial to vaccinate puppies to protect them from this potentially deadly disease. In the rest of this piece, we’ll explore if… Read more: Do puppies have rabies when they are born?
- Do puppies stop moving before birth? Yes, absolutely puppies often do stop moving before birth. Later in pregnancy, puppies are likely to move more to get into the proper position for delivery. After that, puppies usually settle and stop moving. Preparing for the birth of new puppies can be as challenging as it is exciting. You know there’ll be cuteness in… Read more: Do puppies stop moving before birth?
- What do breeders do with unsold puppies?When ethical breeders have unsold puppies, they may explore various options such as advertising, reducing prices, or giving them more training. They may also seek reputable homes through adoption, or work with rescue organisations to ensure the puppies find suitable, loving homes. Breeding can be tremendously rewarding. With litters of anywhere from a single pup… Read more: What do breeders do with unsold puppies?
- Do puppies bark more when teething?Yes, puppies do bark more when teething. The discomfort and pain caused by teething can lead to increased restlessness and irritability, making them bark more often. You can use teething toys and soothing remedies to help relieve their discomfort and curb their barking. Puppies are known for their adorable antics and playful nature. You may… Read more: Do puppies bark more when teething?
- When do puppies become affectionate? Puppies start showing affection as early as a few weeks old. However, the timing depends on their personalities, socialisation, and bond with their owners. Most puppies develop increasing affection as they grow and form stronger emotional connections with their owners. Just as with us humans, puppies go through emotional development as they grow. In their… Read more: When do puppies become affectionate?
- Is birch tree milk good for puppies? The benefits of birch tree milk for puppies are not well known, though the answer is yes, in moderation. If in doubt, it’s best to provide them balanced commercial puppy food formulated to meet their specific nutritional needs to keep your pup healthy. Puppies are bundles of joy. I can testify to that fact because… Read more: Is birch tree milk good for puppies?
- Can you use puppy pads for babies?While not toxic to babies, puppy pads are designed for training puppies to do their business indoors and should not generally be used for babies. Instead, use specialised baby changing pads that are safe and hygienic. It may seem an outlandish idea to use puppy pads for babies, because we all know how important it… Read more: Can you use puppy pads for babies?
- Do puppies lose weight after birth?Unravel the mystery: Do puppies lose weight after birth? Learn about newborn puppy care and weight gain essentials. Start your puppy parenting journey here! As a new breeder or a pet owner, you might be wondering, "Do new-born puppies lose weight after birth?" This is a common question, especially for those who are new to… Read more: Do puppies lose weight after birth?
- What to put on lick mat for dogsWhat to Put on a Lick Mat for Dogs You can explore different options by trying out peanut butter and banana, yogurt and blueberries, coconut oil and pineapple, pumpkin puree and cinnamon, chicken broth and carrots, sweet potato and applesauce, tuna and cheese, salmon and spinach, or even beef and green beans. Further down in… Read more: What to put on lick mat for dogs
- Do puppies joints click?Do Puppies Joints Click? Exploring the Truth Puppy joint-clicking is a common occurrence in many breeds. But, it could be a sign of underlying health issues. To understand why it happens and how it affects their health, we need to know more. Joint clicking in puppies can have various causes. Stiffness or discomfort with consistent… Read more: Do puppies joints click?
- Why is milk coming out of puppies nose?Explore the reasons why is milk is coming out of your puppies nose, understand its implications on canine health, and learn safe feeding techniques. Imagine cradling your adorable new puppy, feeding it a bottle, and suddenly you see milk trickling out of its nose. Alarming? Yes. Unique? Not quite. It’s a phenomenon that's more common… Read more: Why is milk coming out of puppies nose?
- When can you hear puppies heartbeat with a stethoscope?Introduction to Puppies' Heartbeat Have you ever heard the beat of a pup's heart? It can be detected with a stethoscope by 4-5 weeks into pregnancy! As time passes, the heartbeat becomes louder and more audible. It's essential to have regular vet check-ups during pregnancy, to monitor the heartbeat. Plus, this can also help spot… Read more: When can you hear puppies heartbeat with a stethoscope?
- Does birth order matter in puppies?Explore, does birth order matter in puppies, regards personality, temperament and dominance. See my research, and opinion so you can love 'em, quirks and all! To understand the importance of birth order in puppies, delve into the impact on socialization, the effects on temperament, and the influences on dominance. By examining these sub-sections, you start… Read more: Does birth order matter in puppies?
- How many puppies can a Dalmatian have?How many puppies can a Dalmatian have? Litter sizes are usually between, 8 to 10 puppies on average. However some have less, or even up to as many as 15. Dalmatian Puppies To understand the Dalmatian's reproduction process, explore the breeding and gestation period. Both of these sub-sections play a crucial role in the Dalmatian's reproductive journey. Breeding… Read more: How many puppies can a Dalmatian have?
- What is a fluffy carrier French bulldog?What is a fluffy carrier French bulldog, it's a type of French bulldog with distinctive features, bat-like ears and wrinkled faces. French bulldogs are highly sought after for their distinctive physical features, like bat-like ears and wrinkled faces. Some even have a special genetic trait called "fluffy carrier," which gives them a longer, fluffier coat.… Read more: What is a fluffy carrier French bulldog?
- What happens if your dog eats a grape?Luckily for me, Bean, as mischievous as he is, hasn’t ever shown interest in grapes. None the less, let’s find out what to do if your dog does eat a grape. If your dog eats a grape, it’s essential to take immediate action as grapes can be toxic to dogs. Even a small number of… Read more: What happens if your dog eats a grape?
- What to do when you find ticks on your dogWhen you find ticks on your dog, it’s vital to take fast action to remove them and prevent the spread of tick-borne diseases. Here are the steps to follow: You should note that tick-borne diseases can be serious and potentially life-threatening, so early detection and treatment are critical. If you notice any unusual symptoms or… Read more: What to do when you find ticks on your dog
- What does it mean when my dog sighs?Dogs sigh for a variety of reasons, just like humans. Here are some possible reasons why your dog is sighing: Relaxation: Sometimes, a sigh from a dog can indicate that they are feeling relaxed and comfortable. Like how humans might sigh after a long day or after settling into a cosy spot, dogs may also… Read more: What does it mean when my dog sighs?
- What candies can dogs eat?As a rule, it's not recommended to give candies to dogs, as most candies contain sugar and other ingredients that can be harmful to them. However, there are some candies that are safe for dogs in small amounts. These include: Natural Peanut Butter: Plain, unsalted, and unsweetened peanut butter can be a healthy treat for… Read more: What candies can dogs eat?
- What can dogs eat for Thanksgiving?It's important to be cautious about what human foods you give to your dog, even during special occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas. While it's tempting to share your holiday meal with your furry friend, many human foods can be dangerous for dogs and should be avoided. Here are some safe and healthy options you can… Read more: What can dogs eat for Thanksgiving?
- My dog wakes up too earlyIf your dog is anything like my adorable Cavapoo pup, Bean, he or she is an early riser. Being woken by barks at 4 or 5 in the morning isn’t my favourite thing, and I’m sure it isn’t yours either. So how do we stop it? Read on to find out. How do I stop… Read more: My dog wakes up too early
- My dog killed a mouse but didn't eat itIt's not uncommon for dogs to kill small animals like mice, but it can be concerning if your dog doesn't eat the animal. Here are some steps you can take if your dog has killed a mouse but didn't eat it: Put the mouse out of your dog's reach: It's important to remove the mouse… Read more: My dog killed a mouse but didn't eat it
- My dog is reverse sneezingAs a fellow dog lover, have you ever been snuggling up with your furry companion only to hear them start making strange snorting noises? If so, don't worry, you're not alone. It happened with my Cavapoo, Bean, so I did some research. If you read this article I'll share with you what I found. It… Read more: My dog is reverse sneezing
- My dog ate a jalapenoIf your dog ate a jalapeno, there are a few things you can do to help them feel more comfortable and prevent any potential health problems. Monitor them: Keep an eye on your dog for any signs of discomfort or illness. Symptoms of jalapeno ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, excessive thirst, or abdominal pain. … Read more: My dog ate a jalapeno
- Make my dog an emotional support animalEmotional support dogs can be a valuable resource for people struggling with emotional or mental health issues. You should note that emotional support animals, including dogs, do not have the same legal protections as service animals. To make your dog an emotional support dog, there are several steps you can take. You can: Determine if… Read more: Make my dog an emotional support animal
- Identify my dog breedIf you have a dog, you may have wondered about his or her breed. Knowing your dog's breed can help you better understand their personality, behaviour, and care needs, as well as potential health risks. However, identifying a dog's breed can be a challenge, especially if your dog is a mixed breed or has unknown… Read more: Identify my dog breed
- How to reduce separation anxiety in dogs Separation anxiety is a common problem among dogs and can be hard to manage. Here are some tips to help reduce separation anxiety in dogs. Here are some tips on how to reduce separation anxiety in dogs. What triggers separation anxiety in dogs? Separation anxiety in dogs can be triggered by a variety of factors.… Read more: How to reduce separation anxiety in dogs
- How often should I let my dog out?How often you should let your dog out depends on several factors including your dog's age, breed, size, health, and specific needs. In general, adult dogs should be let out at least 3-4 times a day, including in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Puppies and senior dogs may need to go out more often because… Read more: How often should I let my dog out?