Have you ever been exhausted at the end of the day and climbed into bed, only to find a soggy spot on your comforter or blanket? Even though licking is a part of his endearing personality, it can be worrying when your dog licks things that he shouldn’t be licking excessively or when he licks things that he shouldn’t be licking at all. It’s bizarre because your blanket doesn’t taste anything good so your dog should not have any reason to lick it. So, why do dogs lick blankets?
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It’s natural for dogs to lick everything. Dogs lick to understand their surroundings and acquire a sense of what’s going on around them. Licking isn’t merely for the sake of exploration in dogs. Dogs use their sense of taste, just as humans use all of their senses to comprehend the world around them. Your dog licks everything, including your blanket, for this reason.
However, if your dog is licking your blanket obsessively, then there might be an underlying cause behind this behavior.
Read on if you want to know the reason behind your dog’s obsessive-compulsive licking behavior and what to do about it.
Why Does My Dog Lick My Blanket Excessively?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, aka OCD, is relatively common in pets too. It is usually caused by anxiety over drastic changes in the environment like having to spend long hours alone after being accustomed to being with you every hour of every day, moving to another house or apartment, or loud noises outside your house due to a new construction project. To cope with these changes, he might misbehave and start licking your blanket a lot to get comfort.
2. Dietary Issues
Many dog breeds suffer from weak digestive systems. Licking excessively can be a result of underlying dietary issues like nausea or gastronomical discomfort. Additionally, excessive licking can also be a result of food allergies. Some dogs are allergic to corn, wheat, or even soy which can be problematic because most dog foods contain grains.
3. Medical Concerns
Excessive licking can also mean a bacterial or fungal infection. Licking to seek some relief is a common reaction of dogs who are in a lot of pain. Excessive licking can also be a result of a severe lack of vitamins and minerals.
If you have ruled out the possibility of your dog having a medical issue and you have reason to assume that your dog does not suffer from separation anxiety, then it is possible that your dog licks your blanket simply because it enjoys doing so. Your dog’s tongue is their most sensitive organ, therefore it’s possible that they’re licking your blanket repeatedly because they can smell your fragrance on the blanket and it makes them think of you. When you’re not around, licking your blanket may help them pass the time.
5. Dirty Blanket
Dogs occasionally discover small food particles embedded in the blanket’s fabric and lick them away to obtain a taste of them. If you are prone to munching on snacks while in bed or on the couch, this could be the reason why your dog has taken to licking the blankets. Even if there is no food left on your blanket, the lingering aroma of your snack can cause your dog to contentedly lick away at your blanket for hours on end, regardless of whether or not there is any food crumbs left behind.
6. Inadvertently Encouraging the Behavior
Your dog may be excessively licking your blanket because you may be unwittingly teaching him to do so through your behavior. If you have a habit of giving your dog the things he wants, such as food, toys, or even attention when he licks your blanket, then you are unknowingly encouraging your dog to continue with this strange behavior.
As discussed above, there are numerous underlying issues that may cause your puppy to be obsessed with your blanket. With this in mind, it can be hard to distinguish what is the real reason why your dog is licking your blanket. However, there are questions you can ask yourself to know the real reason behind this behavior:
When your dog initially started licking blankets, what else happened?
If your dog did not previously lick blankets, it might be helpful to explore what else occurred around the time that it first started doing so. It is likely that an event prompted your dog to begin this behavior. It could have started doing it because you started leaving it for extended lengths of time, causing it to get anxious, food or drink becoming stuck to the blanket, or it may have learned that it is rewarded for doing it.
What is different when it does it?
It’s also a good idea to think about when your dog does it, because it’s possible that the timing has anything to do with it. If it does it more when you’re not home, for example, it’s more likely to be linked to separation anxiety.
How often does it happen?
Consider the frequency with which your dog engages in this behavior as well. There is a good chance that it is a compulsive activity if it has been licking the bedding on a regular basis. If it only does it occasionally, then it might be helpful to think about what might be distinctive about the times that it does do it.
What Should You Do About Unwanted Licking?
Discourage this behavior
It is in everyone’s best interest to discourage the blanket licking behavior of your dog. Your dog should not be rewarded with attention, treats, or rewards whenever he or she is licking your blanket. Instead, it would be best to reward your dog when it does not do it, to wait for it to stop before giving it any rewards, and to try to shift its concentration when it looks likely that it will start doing it again. Investing in games and toys that will keep your dog active and help you build the skills necessary to handle your dog’s undesirable behaviors is a smart move.
Increase socialization and stimulation
The most likely cause of your dog’s licking behavior is a lack of excitement and socializing with other animals and people. Find strategies to increase your dog’s stimulation and socialization opportunities. Give your dog more opportunities to get active and play; increase the number of times you take him to the park, hire a dog walker if you can’t walk your dog every day, or sign him up for doggie daycare.
Seek assistance from a veterinarian
If your dog has been doing it frequently, you should take him to the veterinarian. You should be able to acquire expert advice suited to your specific dog and rule out more serious issues by doing so. In addition, speaking with your veterinarian about your dog’s right food will help you overcome his licking behavior.
Reduce the dog’s access to your blankets
You can try to make it difficult for your dog to reach your blankets so that it will be less inclined to lick them. This will help prevent your dog from licking your blankets. In addition to that, you always have the option of applying a dog repellant to your carpet, bed, and sofa that is non-toxic but has an unpleasant odor. In many cases, a whiff of cayenne pepper, ammonia, vinegar, and citrus or any citrus fruit will do the trick.
“Leave It” Training
The Leave It method also works to keep your dog from licking your blanket. Use the “Leave It” command to get your dog to quit licking your blanket. Treats can be used to provide additional motivation.