If your dog sleeps with a blanket in its mouth, you have nothing to worry about. This is normal behavior that likely originated from the first few weeks of feeding on their mother. Sucking on something (such as a blanket) provides a feeling of comfort and safety, much like they experienced when nursing on their mother.
You may have recently adopted a dog that likes to sleep with their blanket in their mouth. For a lot of pet owners, this behavior is extremely adorable. It is very cute to see a pup curled up with their favorite blanket, but it can also be unsettling for some dog owners.
Is sleeping with a blanket in their mouth a sign of a problem? The answer to this question is typically no!
Sleeping while holding a blanket in their mouth is not a dangerous behavior for your dog. This is common for nervous or anxious dogs, especially if they had a tough time with the rest of the litter.
Dogs are very social and emotional creatures. If they did not have all of their emotional needs met by their mother, they often turn to suckling on other objects for comfort.
Why Some Dogs Sleep With a Blanket in Their Mouth
Your dog probably had a hard time with being weaned off nursing. When puppies are born, they are helpless and depend on their mothers for protection, nutrients, and support.
All of their dietary needs are met by drinking their mother’s milk in the first few weeks of their life.
However, this can be extremely taxing on the mother.. A litter of pups nursing can take its toll, especially if they become a little rambunctious.
Nursing from the mother is when puppies feel safe and secure. They will continue to associate these feelings with nursing, even as they get older.
When a puppy gets scared or anxious, they will try to get comfort from their mother. This often comes in the form of nursing, as they have limited ways to interact with the world when they are so young.
The mother may deny them from nursing when they are anxious, especially if she no longer produces milk. This will redirect the nursing impulse to other objects.
Puppies may try nursing on toys, blankets, or even each other if they are nervous or anxious.
When a puppy is adopted, their mother rarely goes with them to the new home. As a result, they do not have the ‘safe zone’ that they are used to. Instead, puppies will find a surrogate to derive comfort from when they become stressed. A blanket is soft and warm, just like the mother that they remember.
Puppies will curl up and sleep with blankets that remind them of their mom and may use it for nursing as well. Obviously, your dog will not be getting any milk out of the blanket, but the act of nursing can be soothing for the pup.
But What About Adult Dogs?
It makes sense for a puppy to put a blanket in its mouth as a way to comfort itself, but what about when they get older? Is it harmful to allow them to continue this behavior as an adult dog?
Fortunately, a dog simply putting a blanket in its mouth does not have detrimental effects. It is simply a coping mechanism.
Your dog is simply craving the love and affection it needs to get through something that makes it nervous.
This is a harmless behavioral quirk. If you are worried about the blanket becoming dirty or damaged, you can always wash it or replace it. The bottom line is that this is nothing to be concerned about.
Other Ways Anxiety Can Manifest in Dogs
If your dog is anxious or nervous, it can develop a seemingly odd nervous condition as a response. Suckling is one of the most common, but is completely harmless.
However, if your dog begins suckling on the skin of another dog to the point that it breaks the skin, you need to discourage this behavior.
Open wounds on dogs are always easy targets for infection, especially if another dog is always putting its mouth over the wound.
You should also keep an eye out for these other nervous behaviors.
A whole laundry list of potential issues can cause aggression in dogs. Your dog may be resource guarding, overly protective, or poorly socialized.
Fear and anxiety are the typical causes of aggression in dogs. They may be afraid that others will steal their food or toys, or that their human will be attacked.
Aggressive behaviors can be corrected with the proper training. It is always easier to fix aggression in a dog when they are young. Once a dog has passed the socialization period, it becomes more difficult to socialize them properly to keep them from being aggressive.
Another common behavioral issue that can arise from nervousness or anxiety is destruction. Your dog may destroy toys, bed sheets, shoes, or other items when left alone.
This is typically due to separation anxiety. If your dog is anxious about being left alone, they will often turn their frustrations on whatever is within range to chew. They do not do this out of maliciousness, but deep-seated nervousness.
Another common sign of an anxiety disorder in your pup is excessive grooming. Your dog may compulsively lick itself.
At first, this does not sound like a dangerous behavior, but dogs can lick themselves raw and damage their skin if left untreated.
This can be remedied with training, but try to catch it early if you can. Compulsive grooming may also be a sign of other conditions, such as fleas or infection. Take your dog to get checked if they begin excessive grooming habits.
When your dog “goes” in the house, it’s not fun for anyone, including your dog.
Dogs will go to the bathroom in the house if they are not appropriately trained, but they know better once they have been potty trained.
If you see your trained dog is defecating or urinating in the house, it’s a clear sign of some other issue going on.
Anxious dogs have a hard time controlling themselves and may pee without realizing what they are doing.
For some dogs, this is how they understand releasing stress. Like compulsive grooming, bathroom issues can also be a sign of something more severe. Your dog may have parasites or some other digestive issue. Your vet will shed more light on this kind of problem with specimen collection.
Calming Your Dogs Anxiety
Dogs become nervous or anxious for many reasons. They may have suffered trauma in their past that has led to psychological issues, but that does not mean they are any less deserving of our love!
Your dog may pick up strange habits, such as sleeping with a blanket in its mouth, due to anxiety developed when they were a puppy.
Sleeping with a blanket in their mouth is not a bad thing. It is not dangerous for anybody, unlike some other ways anxiety can manifest in a dog.
If you notice anxious behavior in your pup, take them to the vet. There are a number of treatments being developed for canine anxiety.
Your dog’s issues may be fixed with some training, or they may require a supplement of CBD in their food to calm down. Whatever is the correct answer for your dog, continue showing them the love that they need.
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