We try to keep our dogs as comfortable as possible - adding blankets, bedding, and lots of softness!
For pet owners with large breeds, having something soft to lay on becomes very important due to joint calluses and pain.
But what do you do if your dog insists on chewing the comforts you provide them with?
To stop blanket or bed chewing, first identify why your dog chews. Visit the vet or canine dentist to rule out medical problems. Offer lots of dog chew toys, exhaust your dog physically and mentally, and praise non-chewing behavior. If all else fails, use a chewing deterrent spray, contact a local dog trainer, or remove the bedding completely.
In this article, I will help you stop your dog from chewing their blanket or bedding so that they can continue to have a comfortable place to sleep.
Ready? Let’s start.
It can be so frustrating to have your brand new dog bed or blanket shredded in the crate. Not only is this dangerous for a puppy’s health (as they can swallow the fibers and cause impaction), but it can become quite costly to keep replacing bedding.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to help prevent chewing.
The best place to start is to figure out why your dog is chewing.
Depending on the age and temperament of your dog, there is a whole slew of things that could be causing the blankets to develop holes in them or be torn to pieces. The most common reasons can include…
If you find the cause, you can find the solution!
As dogs can’t talk to us in our own language, we have to figure out what they’re trying to say based on their behavior. If chewing is not a common activity for your pup, this can signify a medical issue.
Chewing can indicate that your pup has a potential dental problem (such as a toothache), feels nauseous, has pain somewhere on the body, or suffers from a hormonal imbalance.
Getting Fido into the vet is a great call if your dog is chewing, just to make sure it’s not actually a behavioral issue and is more a symptom of some sort of medical problem.
In the least, a check-up for peace of mind never hurts!
You can quell blanket destruction if the chewing is caused by teething or boredom by offering appropriate chews.
Sometimes the situation really can be remedied as simple as replacing a bad chew with a good chew!
Offer your pup designated items to chew or puzzle toys that will keep them occupied until they are tired. Your puppy might forget about chewing the blanket indefinitely if they have plenty of other yummier things to gnaw on!
Be mindful, however, to not give a dog chews that are too hard at an inappropriate age.
When a puppy is teething, their jaw and tooth alignment can be damaged if they chew on something too hard for their mouths at that age.
Look into designated teething toys for softer chews that won’t cause damage. Adult dogs can handle harder chews, so that’s not an issue there.
Boredom chewing can also be sorted out by ensuring your pup is too tired to chew.
If you have a dog crating routine, fit in some physical exercise or mental stimulation before crating your pup. The goal is to have your dog be too tired to do a behavior you dislike!
Adding in a walk or some trick training time should do the trick just fine. If you don’t have too much time on your hands, you can hire a dog walker or use puzzle toys for mental games!
Similar to stopping your dog from chewing on their crate, you want to get some training involved. As is stated in our crate chewing article, part of stopping chewing is to teach your dog that chewing on certain objects is not appropriate behavior.
Reinforce non-chewing with positive action, such as offering treats or being very happy and excited! Offer a stern (but not aggressive) “no” when your dog begins chewing the blanket. Give a treat when they stop the gnawing!
Dogs are bred to please, and showing that you are pleased with them is a huge deal in their world.
Sometimes, even the best advice to stop the behavior still leads to chewing.
As chewing on bedding can be hazardous to your dog’s health, it can come down to just needing to make chewing as unpleasant for them as possible (without causing emotional distress). The easiest way to do this is with a chewing deterrent.
Chew deterrents are sprays or rubs that you put on the crate bars to encourage your dog not to chew because they taste bitter or otherwise unpleasant. You wouldn’t want to put something that tastes bad in your mouth, would you?!
NaturVet is a popularly used chew deterrent that is safe for your dog.
If your dog is chewing due to separation anxiety or you’ve tried all of the above methods and chewing has not stopped, it might be a good call to contact a local dog trainer.
Ensure that the dog trainer has a specialty (or, in the least, great knowledge) on assessing the cause of chewing and then remedy the behavior.
Not all dog trainers are created equal, so definitely do your research and conduct plenty of interviews to find the right trainer for you. Be sure to check their education and certifications as well!
A great dog trainer can help your dog overcome a lot, but a bad dog trainer can cause permanent emotional or mental damage. Just something to keep in mind!
As an absolute last resort, especially if your pup is eating the bedding fibers (which can cause an obstructed stomach), you should remove all of the bedding.
However, this can’t be a permanent solution due to the health issues associated with forcing a dog to sleep or lay on hard surfaces for long periods.
An especially prevalent issue in larger breeds, prolonged exposure to hard surfaces (such as a crate floor) can cause calluses on the elbows and lead to joint damage that can require surgery to correct. This is because dog bones at the joints, much like humans, have less muscle and mass to protect them.
Pushing an entire body’s weight onto them with direct pressure for extended periods can cause them to develop degenerative joint disease, which is a very painful ailment.
Similar to arthritis, the degenerative joint disease causes deterioration of the cartilage. Improper (or lack of) bedding can cause this to happen to younger dogs, negatively impacting the rest of their lives.