Why Does My Dog Nibble on Blankets?

Any dog owner knows about puppy destructiveness, but some easy tips and solutions will keep your dog in check. But this doesn't mean your favourite blanket has to become your dog's. Use some simple fixes to stop the problem before or after it starts.

A Busy Dog is a Happy Dog

Most dogs end up chewing on blankets, furniture, or other objects because they don't have something more interesting to do. Redirect your dog's attention to something it's OK for him to chew on, such as a rawhide chew stick. (Only choose rawhide made in the United States, as rawhide processed in China and other countries with less strict regulations have a higher risk of salmonella.) Consider buying a hollow rubber chew toy: You can fill it with treats, and the dog chews at it over the course of several hours to get the tasty treats out.

A Tired Dog is a Happy Dog

Just like a bored dog, a dog with too much energy will often get into trouble as it looks for things to do. Provide your dog with plenty of exercise: Take her on long walks (which will help you, too) or leave him out to play in the yard. If your dog wants to rest, she won't become distracted by wanting to chew on that blanket.

Behaviour Training

If your dog continues to chew on your blankets, he likely hasn't made the connection that he shouldn't be chewing on the blanket, and a little bit of training will help. Redirect your dog's attention to yourself by snapping your fingers or saying her name, then give her something good for her to chew on. You can also purchase bitter apple spray; when applied to the edge of the blanket, this will make it taste disgusting to the dog and will likely get him to stop chewing.

Last Resort

If gentle training doesn't work, you may have to try a different tactic to get your dog to realise that chewing on blankets is unacceptable. You may consider keeping a spray bottle of water nearby and spritzing water in the dog's face while saying "no." If you use this negative reinforcement, always do it immediately, while the dog is chewing on the blanket; a dog will not be able to make the connection between punishment now and past events. Also, always use a deterrent such as a spritz of cold water, which will cause your dog minor discomfort but not actual pain.

Further Advice

If your dog's behaviour still persists, and you aren't willing to sacrifice that one blanket to the high cost of being a dog owner, see your veterinarian. A professional will have better advice about, for example, why your dog might be chewing out of nervousness, or because of separation anxiety, or because of a tooth problem that may make that blanket appealing to chew.

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About the Author

Sharon Covington has been writing since 2008, contributing to the current edition of "The Dictionary of Computer and Internet Terms". Covington is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English at Emory University.