It's all fun and games until you're woken up at 3am to the sound of your dog suckling on their blanket, or one of their toys. Or worse. Take a seat on a wet couch., your jeans soaking up cold dog slobber. It's probably around this point that you question what you've done wrong in your life, and why the Universe is punishing you.
Suckling on toys and blankets is actually a common dog behavior.. but why? and what can you do to stop it?
Like a baby with a pacifier, dogs will suckle on toys and blankets to self-soothe. Its reminds your pup of the feelings of being safe and warm with mom, suckling on her nipple. This self-soothing behavior is almost always a response to anxiety or stress and can be managed or even eliminated with the use of mental stimulation. Because of the need for oral fixation, we recommend a work to eat toy or a frozen marrow bone as an alternative to blanket suckling to occupy their minds and help them fall asleep.
Of course, this is seldom a destructive or dangerous behavior so if it doesn't bother you, let them have this form of self-soothing. It beats chewing the coffee table!
We answered a question similar to this on the Pawsome University Podcast, check out that snippet below!
John is a former Animal Shelter Supervisor for the SPCA, and Animal Cruelty Officer with over 6 years of animal welfare experience.