When an older dog suddenly starts to chew, it’s usually a clue that something is up with them. The most common culprits are a sudden increase in boredom, new or returning separation anxiety that is brought on by age, or a response to pain.
The root cause of pica in dogs can be behavioral or medical. Behavioral pica is sometimes called stress eating. “Stress, boredom, and anxiety (particularly separation anxiety) may cause a dog to be destructive and ingest things such as bedding, items of clothing, or items from the trash,” Collier says.
This problem, called pica, is defined as the persistent chewing and consumption of non-nutritional substances that provide no physical benefit to the animal. While many of our dogs and cats chew on a variety of objects, only a subset actually consumes the objects.
Kneading a blanket and sucking on the blanket are behaviors that stem from early life. Dogs find comfort in their mother’s nursing and these two behaviors are what dogs do when they want their mother’s milk. If your dog is grown and kneading or sucking, he might be doing this for comfort and it relaxes him.
Boredom and Anxiety
Without regular walks, toys to play with, and other enrichment activities, dogs may become destructive out of boredom, or to get a reaction from owners. Similarly, if your dog experiences separation anxiety, bed chewing can manifest as an anxiety behavior.
Pica is a condition in which dogs crave and eat non-food items. Some dogs may only eat one type of object, while others will eat a wide variety of items. Pica can endanger a dog’s health because what they swallow may be toxic, disrupt normal digestive process, or get lodged in their intestinal tract.
A highly concentrated combination of vinegar and water – 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water – is effective enough to discourage dogs. Vinegar’s sour taste can also prevent your pooch from chewing. Always use clear vinegar such as white vinegar. Apple cider vinegar that is mildly colored is also a good option.
Dogs are not fond of the sharp smell of citrus, and an easy homemade solution to chewing could be sitting in your fruit bowl. A simple squirt of lemon, orange or lime juice can go a long way toward keeping your dog away from items you don’t want chewed.
As they age, our dogs often suffer a decline in functioning. Their memory, their ability to learn, their awareness and their senses of sight and hearing can all deteriorate. This deterioration can cause disturbances in their sleep-wake cycles, making them restless at night but sleepy during the day.
Dogs with pica have an almost compulsive urge to eat non-digestible items such as rocks, dirt and sticks. It is believed that animals with pica may be missing essential minerals or other nutrients from their diet. If you feel that your pup’s urge to munch on nonedible items could be a sign of pica, see your vet.
Keeping your dog in a crate to sleep, or when you are out, will prevent him from destroying your bed. Give him a dog blanket or a cushion that is extra durable while in the crate — make sure it’s comfortable, as you don’t want him to feel he’s being punished.
Examples of normal dog behaviors that in some dogs have become compulsive include sucking on their flanks or a toy; incessant licking, called acral lick dermatitis; pacing, spinning, and chasing the tail; freezing and staring; snapping at flies or invisible items; unabated and patterned barking; and excessive drinking …
Generally, pica can be diagnosed by the dog’s behavior alone. Your veterinarian will likely run blood tests to look for any other underlying medical conditions. They may also perform a thorough behavioral consult to determine if anxiety or boredom are driving your dog to consume non-food items.
Pica Disorder Symptoms- Nausea.
Pain or abdominal cramping in the stomach.
Pica very commonly goes away on its own in children and in people who are pregnant. The condition is usually benign (harmless) for people in these circumstances. The condition itself isn’t dangerous, but it can lead to people eating dangerous items.
Any of the following medical issues could lead to pica:- Anemia.
Malabsorption of nutrients and other digestive issues.
The long and the short of it, vitamin D deficiency is regularly noted in cases of anxiety. Dog’s don’t have the same ability to synthesis vitamin D from the sun as we do, so they rely solely on dietary sources.
Chewing accomplishes a number of things for a dog. For young dogs, it’s a way to relieve pain that might be caused by incoming teeth. For older dogs, it’s nature’s way of keeping jaws strong and teeth clean. Chewing also combats boredom and can relieve mild anxiety or frustration.
So, why does my dog lick blankets? Dogs will lick blankets for one of two reasons: they have a medical issue, or it’s a learned behavior. Excluding medical causes, dogs may lick blankets out of anxiety boredom, or it reminds them of you. Licking blankets isn’t normal behavior in dogs.
But do dogs need blankets in winter even if they have thick coats? Most likely, yes, they do, and veterinarians advise pet owners to provide extra warmth through clothes, heating, or blankets. Especially smaller dogs, regardless of coat thickness, will have a harder time keeping themselves warm.
The level of comfort a dog brings to the bed helps put you at ease and makes you feel cozy. That furry, cuddly animal is likely to love lying with you just as much as you enjoy laying with them. This adds to that snuggly atmosphere that most dog owners find so comforting.
The reason why almost every dog digs at their bed is that it’s a natural instinct in order to make a comfortable, warm place to lie down.
You bought your dog a bed to give him a comfortable place to rest, not as a chew toy for him to destroy. More concerning still: pieces of chewed bedding may become lodged in a dog’s digestive tract. Ingesting bedding can lead to a number of serious health issues and even death.