Health & Wellness
My dog has her own toys, bed and crate — should she have a blanket that’s 100% her own, too? I asked Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch by The Dodo’s on-staff veterinarian, and she said getting your pup their own blanket could benefit them in several ways.
If your dog has ever snuggled up with a blanket and showed signs of relaxation (tongue out, eyelids slightly closed and a long, slow, side-to-side tail wag), chances are they probably enjoy having a quilt or throw around. But Dr. McCullough says that not all dogs like blankets.
“Some dogs like blankets to sleep on or under, but it’s mostly a matter of preference,” she says. “Dogs that chew or ingest foreign items may not be good candidates to have a blanket.”
Blankets provide a warm, comfortable spot for dogs to rest while they’re recovering from a medical procedure, Dr. McCullough says. They also help dogs with chronic medical conditions, like arthritis.
“For dogs that have medical issues that require rest, blankets may be necessary for comfort, to prevent injuries like bedsores and to act as a cushion should they fall,” she says.
According to Dr. McCullough, blankets can help dogs with health and behavior issues, too. If your pup struggles with separation anxiety, talk to your veterinarian about using a blanket to help them feel connected to you. Your veterinarian may recommend giving your dog a blanket with your scent on it (or sprayed with pheromones) to ease their anxiety while you’re gone.
Before picking out your dog’s blanket, talk to your veterinarian. If your pup commonly chews on household items, a blanket may lead to foreign body ingestion, choking, intestinal blockage or an upset stomach (especially if they’re left alone with it), Dr. McCullough says.
When it comes to picking out the right blanket for your pup, Dr. McCullough has some shopping tips. “Look for blankets specifically designed for dogs which are made from washable materials,” she explains. “Avoid blankets with decorations that can easily be detached and swallowed like sequins or pompoms.”
After finding your dog the perfect blanket, slowly introduce them to it. Start by letting your pup sniff it in an open area where they can move away if they want to. Then, gradually start to move it closer to your dog’s safe space, like a crate, bed or spot on the couch.
If your dog enjoys their new blanket, make sure to wash it regularly (especially if they go to the bathroom on it).
Keep an eye on how your dog uses their blanket. Dr. McCullough says that some dogs with compulsive disorders tend to suck on their blankets due to the irresistible urge to do something. Talk to your veterinarian as your pup could be struggling with an underlying anxiety disorder or need more oral stimulation.
If your dog seems disinterested by blankets, Dr. McCullough says that they may like dog beds, crate mats or soft, plush rugs instead — just make sure to monitor those options, too.
Photo by Sara Farnell on Unsplash