Have you noticed that your dog sucks on blankets or other soft objects?

Please share us!

Today I have a question for you, guys:

Have you noticed that your dog sucks on blankets or other soft objects and do you know why he/ she does that?

I had planned on writing an essay about this after researching possible causes. The problem is, I could not manage to find conclusive information on the internet and not even after talking to other dog owners.

Have you noticed that your dog sucks on blankets?

Mila suckling on a pillow

Obviously a number of owners have witnessed that their dog sucks on blankets or other soft objects, such as pillows or soft toys no matter what breed.


I am occasionally watching Mila sucking preferably on our stuff like certain fluffy or furry pillows, but also on some of her soft toys. Mostly in the evening shortly before bed time.
She does it with tender devotion in times when she is obviously feeling very comfortable and relaxed. It looks utterly cute, how she massages the object with her paws just like cats use to do it combined with her baby-like suckling.
The other day I also shot a video of it:

If a dog sucks on blankets it seems to have one thing in common with other dogs doing the same thing:

It seems to calm them and make them sleepy. Sometimes Mila actually falls asleep over the action.

With many behaviors that look funny or cute there can be more “under the hood”. That much I know.
Just the other day I saw a “funny” video of a rabbit being bathed on the interent. The rabbit was stiff like statue and I thought by myself:
“That’s indeed looking funny, but despite not knowing a lot about rabbits this one to me appears like it is under extreme stress and the pose seems to be more like pretending to be dead because of deadly fear.”
In a closeup one could see the poor thing shaking. The unlucky owner who had posted this video for fun had to take some verbal beating from several viewers, whose comments confirmed my guess. I think he or she just did not know better.

Anyway, as I am nosy by nature I read and research. But this time the result was disappointing.
All information I was able to dig up was indicating that suckling on soft objects by a dog – regardless of age – is supposed to be the result of some kind of trauma, such as neglect or being separated too early from the mother. Also some people think this is something especially shy and reserved dogs do.

Well, Mila is happy and healthy since always, anything but shy and she has never experienced any kind of trauma. I also have some doubts that I am looking at mother separation issues here.

So, if anyone knows more about this cute phenomenon, knows why else dogs are doing it and likes to provide his knowledge for my post, please just contact me and let me know. I’ll be glad to provide your information here for future readers. OR just comment on this post.


UPDATE:
I have just received VERY valuable input, which came in as a comment. But I do not want it to just sit in the comments section because this stuff is probably so interesting for MANY that I decided to include this particular comment directly in my essay. Please feel free to also share your thoughts on it. I myself will maybe comment on it at a later point. Right now I m still thinking, researching and wrapping my head around the information.

Thank you, Troy, for taking the time to share this information with us:

Hi Dorothea, I believe I have the answer to your question…I have a Pomeranian who suckles on soft toys while rhythmically kneading the toy with his paws as if he was kneading a ball of dough. He continues this bizarre ritual for up to an hour until he falls asleep with the toy still in his mouth. It seems to soothe him so I’ve never made any attempts to prevent the behaviour. However in an attempt to better understand it my initial search online only revealed similar information to yours, but it turns out I has looked at it completely from the wrong angle… Today I finally had a breakthrough when I came across an article about OCD in dogs. The correct terminology is: Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD) and it turns out that one of its listed symptoms is: suckling on soft toys or blankets. The following article confirms that:


“Scientists identify genes linked with OCD…in dogs

Scientists have identified genes involved in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in dogs. The results, published in the journal Genome Biology, identify four genes strongly linked with canine OCD, and suggests that using dogs as a simplified model of the human condition might open up new avenues for research into the more complex human OCD.


OCD affects 1-3% of humans, but in dogs, particular breeds are more susceptible than others. Similarly to human OCD, the dog version of the condition involves repeating normal behaviours. While typically in humans, these might be hand washing or cleaning, checking or hoarding, canine symptoms include repeated grooming, constantly chasing their own tails or shadows and SUCKLING or BLANKET SUCKING”

Source:
biomedcentral.com/about/press-centre/science-press-releases/20-mar-2014

Another article on the topic states that:

“Acral lick was the first canine OCD to be documented but was certainly not the last! The concept of canine OCDs has now expanded to include compulsive tail chasing, flank sucking/BLANKET SUCKING, light/shadow chasing, snapping at “imaginary flies”, running in geometric patterns, and many more repetitive behavior conditions.

Susceptibility to canine OCD arises from genetic influences but chronic anxiety – sometimes as a result of thwarted biological agendas – appears to be instrumental in allowing the genie out of the bottle. A cycle of OCD can be thought of as anxiety leading to a recurring thought of how to address it (the obsession), compulsion leading to temporary relief, but then building anxiety causes the cycle to repeat itself. ”

Source:
psychologytoday.com/au/blog/dog-days/201608/canine-obsessive-compulsive-disorder

One of the interesting bits of information I found on the topic is that ““Dogs most prone to develop compulsive behavior problems are frequently high-strung and impulsive. Highly motivated and high-strung dogs who are intolerant of conflict and frustration seem to be particularly at risk for developing compulsive habits.” It would stand to reason that dog breeds whose propensity for intense motivation has been enhanced by selective breeding –”
The same article contains:

“A Menu of Obsessive Compulsive Canine Behaviors:
…Flank sucking or object sucking: Dog sucks on his own flank or on toys, blankets, or other objects.”
and
“Breeds Predisposed to OCDs:
Here are some of the dog breeds that are known to have genetic predispositions to specific OCDs:

Doberman Pinscher: Flank sucking and licking
Bull Terrier: Spinning, freezing
German Shepherd: Tail chasing
Miniature Schnauzer: Checking hind end
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Bernese Mountain Dog: Fly snapping
Retrievers: Pica, licking at feet and legs
Border Collie, Corgi, other herders: Spinning, tail chasing, light and shadow chasing
Pomeranian: Licking, object sucking”

Source:
whole-dog-journal.com/issues/13_9/features/Dogs-With-OCD_20062-1.html

59 thoughts on “Have you noticed that your dog sucks on blankets or other soft objects?

  1. my border collie does this too, I have met the breeder at their home several times and seen the puppies with mom before taking my dog home, so I don’t believe there are any issues with early separation. i also I saw mum not too keen on being milked at around 7 weeks, thereby reducing the opportunities for the pups to have a comfort suckle, as it were. It was her first litter. could this be the reason? I don’t Know. But my dog is very calm and settled in very easily. As with humans we all have moments when we feel vulnerable, or simply want comfort. I see nothing wrong. Trick (the dog) seemed very happy when doing this and from experience with children I will allow him to do it for as long as he wants. there is no harm done but only enjoyment. If it makes him happy and relaxed that’s the way to go, it has nothing to do with “human expectations” and how a dog ought to behave in this case!

  2. My beagle does it. He gathers his blanket together and spoons it with his arm round it laid on his side. The then sucks the top of the blanket whilst pawing gently.

    • My beagle does it too. He was 9 months when I got him . I’M the 3rd owner. He is 16 months now and still sucks. I believe it relaxes him and it doesn’t hurt anything.

  3. My 11 month old Jack Russell has been doing it since he’s been seven weeks old I thought maybe it was because he was separated way too early my sister has a Pomeranian well in the age and he still does it. My BillyJack is a happy boy.

    • Interesting. This behavior does not really seem to be rare after all. In the meantime, I’ve heard of numerous dogs doing it. Until today, however, I have not found an explanation why our dogs are doing this. Anyway, it looks like all dogs doing it are happy. That’s most important.
      Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. My Corgi does this. And it turns out he came from a puppy mill in Korea and was separated from his mother because he was sickly and they did not want to pay for his medical expenses. So needless to say he was then rescues from a dire situation and I got he previlage to become his momma. So it is sad to think my little one does this because of trauma.

    • This sounds like a sad story, luckily with a good end in this case. I am happy that your dog found a secure and comfortable place in your home.
      I have received a lot of feedback on this behavior since I have written this article – not only on my blog. And the circumstances are all different. Many dogs coming from a perfectly normal background and not suffering from early separation from the mother – including my own dog – seem to be doing it.
      So yes, it could be related to trauma. But for all I know today, it does not necessarily have to.

  5. I have a 9 yr old rescue GSP mix, and I am her 7th owner. She frequently does this suckling thing mostly when I am not home or late at night before bed. When we adopted her, we knew before hand she was a shy, unsocialized dog and had a severe case of separation anxiety. We noticed the suckling behavior right away, and as the first year of training and re-socializing began. She completely changed to a happy go lucky dog. But! her suckling still continues. I think it’s because her separation anxiety might never completely go away, but I have gained so much of her trust, her anxiety levels are way lower. I never correct her suckling, unless it’s on something unwanted. So from my experience, I think our dog suckles to calm herself down, due to her separation anxiety

  6. My standard poodle does this! I adopted her at 10 weeks from a rescue, but her mom came to the rescue before giving birth and had the puppies in a foster home. I got to meet her mom too so they were definitely living together right up to 10 weeks. One thing though is as I was reading the comments I remembered this was her mom’s first litter and she’d been bred a bit younger than is normally acceptable, not so young as to cause severe problems but younger than a reputable breeder would intentionally breed (and the breeding was unintentional, the breeder’s health declined quickly and my pup’s parents ended up mating on their own earlier than planned due to someone not locking a gate properly.) Someone above mentioned their dog was from a first litter and they wondered if that had anything to do with it, so now I wonder that too! She’s otherwise a very well-adjusted pup except for a few issues that are entirely my fault (lack of socialization because I had no local friends who could come meet her and I was terrified of parvo, so we barely went out until she was fully vaccinated :/ my bad now she barks a lot at strangers but she’s great at home and on midnight walks!) and the blanket sucking doesn’t bother me and doesn’t cause any issues so I let her do it. She also used to suck at the air in her sleep when she was younger which was absolutely adorable.

    I also remember reading about human babies comfort nursing for a while after they no longer need the nutrients from it, and that’s also why some kids suck their thumbs or use pacifiers for comfort, right? So maybe the blanket is just her pacifier. As long as she doesn’t suck on the pillows I sleep on, we’re cool.

  7. My girl is a lab X and she does this too. She was a pound puppy and the runt of her litter, so had a hard time feeding from Mum. I got her at approx 8 weeks (wouldn’t be surprised if she was younger – they didn’t know). She’s definitely a little cautious with dogs and people she doesn’t know, but soon warms up. She only seems to suck when i’m around, when i’ve gone away and left her with friends she doesn’t do it, so maybe associating me with Mum? When I get home, she races to get her blanket and brings it to me so she can snuggle up and have a suck. She used to do it after a bout of the zoomies when she was little so figured it was her way of calming down and getting ready for bed. I don’t discourage it as she seems happy.

  8. So I’ve been looking for information on this for a while now and no luck. My dog is 2 years old and he actually just suckles on my other dogs fur. He sometimes even pulls her hair. It doesn’t seem to be bothering her, but I’m worried that there is something wrong with the one doing the suckling.

    • I am really overwhelmed by the feedback on this essay. So many dogs seem to do that. My girl still does it almost once each day and seems to enjoy it.
      Kei, as long as the dog that gets suckled on does not feel bothered and the licking does not cause any sore spots I guess it should be ok. Funny habit, I have to say.

  9. My English Bull Terrier does it too. He was sucking on his baby blanket when he was a pup. Then he stopped for few months. And today he was doing it again. He was very sad and kind of feeling blue because it was raining whole day long and he doesn’t like rain at all. Even chicken could not cheer him up. And then he was laying on the couch and suckling his blanet and snoozing a bit. I think it reminds them of puppyhood.

  10. My 8 yr old lab also does this. She did it occasionaly but the older she gets the more often she does it. Now she does it every day. Always before she goes to sleep at night. I have had her since she was 10 weeks old from a breeder.

  11. My 2 year old mix breed does this. I got her at 8 weeks from neighbors who had bottle feed her from just a few days old after the mother dog died. I have always thought it was a way she dealt with not having her mother at such a young age.

    • Oh my gosh! Finally a pit bull that does this!!.My pitty is 21 months old and just started
      Sucking on her favorite blanket again…she did it all the time when just a baby.
      She quit doing it until today..shes doing it as I write this. A lot of dogs do it..I leave her be cuz shes so into it and I want her to b happy. But I can’t help but feel its kinda sad.

      • Both of my pitbulls do this!! My girl will drag a pillow around the house with her and does it at anytime of day or night 😅 I got both dogs from friends so I know they stayed with mom for the right amount of time, both 8 weeks. So I’m thinking it’s just for comfort, makes them relax because they both will fall asleep doing it. I just think it’s the cutest thing 🥰 My small mixed breed doesn’t do this , he is yorki, pug, and chihuahua.

  12. My Ruby is an 8 month old Pug from a great breeder and was 10 weeks when she came home with us. No trauma. The girl just loves her blanket!

  13. My Corgi/pit mix does it and now he has a blood blister on his mouth that bleeds a little when he sucks. He has only done this for about a year. Unfortunately, he sucks not only on his own blanket now, but my comforter and any other fabric he finds. He was once surrounded by 5 kids at home and now they are grown an left home. We both work abotu 10 hrs/day so he only has our aging pit/lab mix for company. I think he misses the kids and Im seriously thinking of rehoming him to a family with kids bc when they come to visit he goes nuts with happiness then gets depressed when they leave.

  14. My Great Dane/Pit mix does this and he is a little over a year old, I adopted him when he was 8 months. He use to always do it at any time of the day and on anything from pillows to random blankets around the house but now He only does it when I get home at night and will do it for almost an hour and it’s always on my comforter on my bed. He is always very happy and relaxed when he does it and doesn’t do any harm to it so I let him do it as long as he wants. It also tends to make him tired. He is a very high energy dog and it always calms him down. I have no clue what he’s been through in the past and I’m still trying to figure out why he does it.

  15. My 5 year old Irish terrier does it. He’s a happy happy and has no issues. I’m with him most of the time so he gets loads of attention. Him doing it is like me sitting and reading a book. Just enjoying some time out. All good.

  16. Having read all of the posts up to 16 April 2018, I’m astounded that so many dogs do it. I’ve only ever seen the behaviour in one of my dogs. An English Bull Terrier, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, a Springer Spaniel, a Fox Terrier and various cross breeds haven’t shown this behaviour but it is shown by my Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross. She’s a re-homed dog. She came from a house where there’d been children but the marriage had ended so she’d spent months being alone 12 or more hours each day. Her owner worked long hours which is why she came to be re-homed with me. She’s very undershot in the jaw. Maybe that’s the reason why she was hand reared by a vet nurse. Perhaps she couldn’t latch on to her mother. She’s now 2 and what she does is to suck on her blanket when she goes to bed. Licking other dogs has been mentioned in the comments. I’ve noticed she too is very keen to lick my other dog, a laid back (mostly) English Bull Terrier. When she isn’t licking him, she amuses herself by lick, lick, licking her front feet. It would be very interesting to know the reason for this behaviour.

    • That’s actually the same thought I had, looking at the feedback to this article. I would never have imagined that so many dogs are doing this.
      The licking seems to be one of the many special behaviors in Bull Terrier to me. I think this body care ritual on themselves, each other and even humans has a calming effect on them and at the same time seems to have some kind of social function. I would be curious to know how much this is a pure Bull Terrier thing or if this also goes across breeds.
      The only thing is – as with many things in Bull Terriers – they can become obsessive about the licking. That is especially not such a great thing when they start licking their own feet because of allergies, which I hope is not the motivation for your dog to lick its own feet.

      • I just adopted a 2 year old pit and she does it every night to fall asleep, she was found chained in a yard for an unknown number of days until animal control found her. Then spent almost 2 months at the shelter before I took her home

  17. My min pin does this too and he was born at home, is still around his mother. He is cheeky and lively so I dont think he has had any trauma…

  18. Our Beagle/Corgi mix does this. We adopted her, so we know nothing about her past. We got her as an adult dog and we’ve had her for over 5 years and she’s done it since day one. The thing is she ONLY does this to her crate bed and nothing else. She is a relaxed/laid back dog and definitely not shy.

  19. I am currently sitting on the sofa with my 1+ year old redbone coonhound/retriever mix cuddled up next to me and suckling her blanket. She is a rescue that we got fairly young. 8 weeks or possibly younger. She’s friendly, outgoing, fully of energy pup. She often suckles her blanket before napping.

  20. My, almost 2 y/o Mini Golden Doodle does this! He’s the happiest dog you’d ever meet. Fearless too. I adopted him at 13 weeks when he was still living with his litter and his momma. No clue why he does this! It makes me worry that it’s because he’s sad or something??? – Not that i’ve EVER seen this dog sad or scared or anything but happy… But maybe it’s just comforting. I wish he’d just snuggle me for comfort!!

    • Well, Mila still sucks her favorite pillow on a regular basis. She seems happy enough. I’ve come to think that it’s just some form of entertainment for her. And I like that she is doing her own stuff now and then because in general she is very focussed on people and interaction.

  21. we have a 2 yr old lab that likes to suck and kneed his pillow when he goes to sleep at night….we got him at around 10 weeks, seems to be very happy…. I thought it was some sort of early seperation from his mom, but after reading all these posts im not to sure now….

  22. I have a 5 year old german shepherd mix. She has been sucking on her blanket for the past 3 years. She has 2 blankets that she loves. I have watched the times at when she does it and had to come to my own conclusion. She sucks her blanket when shes bored, tired or to comfort her. I have seen her in all 3 situations and it seems to just give her peace. I always thought it was a bad/not normal behaviour until I came across posts like this and learned that there are TONS of dogs that do this! Unless its disturbing/hurting them, let em have at it!

    • Reading all of that feedback really does put things into a new perspective, doesn’t it! When I started this post I somehow assumed that this could be one of those Bull Terrier quirks. But no, it clearly is a dog thing. And I don’t think a bad one.
      I’m just so astonished by how many dogs are doing this.

  23. I got Marley about 4 weeks ago from my friends sister who had a litter of 10 puppies. This was the mothers 1st litter. They didn’t mean to even breed her, she got loose in their appartment complex and mated with a Labrador retriever. She is a red nose pitbull. Soon after having the 10 puppies, she stopped nursing, around 6 weeks, but I waited until 7 to get her so she wouldn’t be traumatized by leaving her family so early, but I had met them several times before she came home. Marley only suckles on one blanket I have on my bed and only before bedtime. Or early in the morning before it’s light out she will lay in my bed with me and suckles. It makes her sleep and relax! I don’t know why she does it, if it’s from being a dog from a 1st litter or from being weined away too soon, but she is an amazing dog. Housebroken, obedient and loving. I don’t discourage the suckles because it’s so cute and brings her joy, my husband is trying to break her of it but if not I’m not bothered, especially after reading all the previous posts, so many doggies do it all ages and breeds! Must not be a bad thing!

  24. Hi Dorothea, I believe I have the answer to your question…I have a Pomeranian who suckles on soft toys while rhythmically kneading the toy with his paws as if he was kneading a ball of dough. He continues this bizarre ritual for up to an hour until he falls asleep with the toy still in his mouth. It seems to soothe him so I’ve never made any attempts to prevent the behaviour. However in an attempt to better understand it my initial search online only revealed similar information to yours, but it turns out I has looked at it completely from the wrong angle… Today I finally had a breakthrough when I came across an article about OCD in dogs. The correct terminology is: Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD) and it turns out that one of its listed symptoms is: suckling on soft toys or blankets. The following article confirms that:

    “Scientists identify genes linked with OCD…in dogs

    Scientists have identified genes involved in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in dogs. The results, published in the journal Genome Biology, identify four genes strongly linked with canine OCD, and suggests that using dogs as a simplified model of the human condition might open up new avenues for research into the more complex human OCD.

    OCD affects 1-3% of humans, but in dogs, particular breeds are more susceptible than others. Similarly to human OCD, the dog version of the condition involves repeating normal behaviours. While typically in humans, these might be hand washing or cleaning, checking or hoarding, canine symptoms include repeated grooming, constantly chasing their own tails or shadows and SUCKLING or BLANKET SUCKING”
    Source:
    biomedcentral(dot)com/about/press-centre/science-press-releases/20-mar-2014

    Another article on the topic states that:

    “Acral lick was the first canine OCD to be documented but was certainly not the last! The concept of canine OCDs has now expanded to include compulsive tail chasing, flank sucking/BLANKET SUCKING, light/shadow chasing, snapping at “imaginary flies”, running in geometric patterns, and many more repetitive behavior conditions.

    Susceptibility to canine OCD arises from genetic influences but chronic anxiety – sometimes as a result of thwarted biological agendas – appears to be instrumental in allowing the genie out of the bottle. A cycle of OCD can be thought of as anxiety leading to a recurring thought of how to address it (the obsession), compulsion leading to temporary relief, but then building anxiety causes the cycle to repeat itself. ”

    Source:
    psychologytoday(dot)com/au/blog/dog-days/201608/canine-obsessive-compulsive-disorder%3famp

    One of the interesting bits of information I found on the topic is that ““Dogs most prone to develop compulsive behavior problems are frequently high-strung and impulsive. Highly motivated and high-strung dogs who are intolerant of conflict and frustration seem to be particularly at risk for developing compulsive habits.” It would stand to reason that dog breeds whose propensity for intense motivation has been enhanced by selective breeding –”
    The same article contains:

    “A Menu of Obsessive Compulsive Canine Behaviors:
    …Flank sucking or object sucking: Dog sucks on his own flank or on toys, blankets, or other objects.”
    and
    “Breeds Predisposed to OCDs:
    Here are some of the dog breeds that are known to have genetic predispositions to specific OCDs:

    Doberman Pinscher: Flank sucking and licking
    Bull Terrier: Spinning, freezing
    German Shepherd: Tail chasing
    Miniature Schnauzer: Checking hind end
    Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Bernese Mountain Dog: Fly snapping
    Retrievers: Pica, licking at feet and legs
    Border Collie, Corgi, other herders: Spinning, tail chasing, light and shadow chasing
    Pomeranian: Licking, object sucking”

    Source:
    whole-dog-journal(dot)com/issues/13_9/features/Dogs-With-OCD_20062-1.html

    PS> I’ve had to replace a section of the website with the phrase (dot) as my attempts to post the links were blocked as spam. I’m unsure if it violates your posting rules but please edit or remove links as you see fit.

    • I have been reading all these comments and I’m positive my American Bullie is CCD. I’ve known this dig since a puppy , she now 5 yrs old , she was neglected, put in a kennel for long periods if time due to owner working ling hours, but she is crazy hyper at times ,hates fireworks, I always had her every 4th if July, during thunderstorm she tore , chewed through a wood fence , she does not like being alone but because of her burst of crazy behavior she was out in a kennel while the other dogs were not, I niw have her full time and noticed the she dreats like she’s having a nightmares , so I let her snuggle up with me and keep her close, she now has started suckling blankets right by me and we keep eye cintact it’s so cute ,

  25. My English Setter sucks on soft blankets. When ever I or my husband comes home he gets all excited, we give him love and I give a treat and then when we set down he starts sucking his blanket moving his paws on it as if nursing.

  26. We have 4 miniature dachshund: 13, 11 and 2 x 9 year olds (brother and sister). Have had them since they were pups and are called the “Brat Pack”. One of the 9 year olds will suck on a blanket if he is in the mind to. He only does this just before going to sleep and it has to be a very soft blanket. He will “fluff” the blanket between his paws, pile it up between his paws then bite down and suckle on it and fall asleep. None of the others will suckle a blanket and all of them are “spoiled rotten”. Our 11 year old just had disc surgery for his neck and now has taken to having a stuffed toy with him everywhere he goes. He never did this before until his neck surgery. This I would attribute to the stress/pain he experienced with his neck and having a little stuffed toy now is a stress relief for him. He is in the habit now and sleeps with it under his chin.

  27. After reading your posts AND all the replies, there is one huge problem that CAN and DOES occur but which has not been addressed.
    Constant sucking on soft (artificial fur) toys can give your dog mouth ulcers.
    This happened to our 14 yr old Amstaff X Border Collie, “Zoe”.
    It resulted in a very expensive and prolonged treatment with the vet and now we have simply had to remove all her soft toys. Now she has taken to obsessively licking her plush blanket and I am at my wit’s end as to what to give her as replacement.
    She was found as a pup roaming along the highway and we presume she lost her way somehow or was abandoned.
    Any ideas ?

  28. My 14mth old pitbull does it also but he suckles on my older pitbull who’s a female, it calms him in return she licks him it’s almost like wen he suckles she knows he just looking for attention very cute to see , during these times he really looks and acts like a baby , he always ends up falling asleep ..just wanted to share that with you guys

  29. Yes my Shepadoodle does this…came to us at 9 weeks old…good reputable breeder …not the dams first litter. Mia has always sucked on a soft toy…her turtle…and kneads it with her paws…we usually see this behavior in the evening around 10 pm..so she then gets relaxed and falls asleep. We sometimes give the turtle to her at this time so she can settle down…it works like a pacifier…she is 9 months old now beautiful dog, healthy and very smart. She gets plenty of exercise on a daily basis. We do not see this as a problem.

  30. Our yellow Labrador Homer is nine years old. He still suckles our 10 year old male chocolate Humphrey. He has suckled on and off since we got him at nine weeks old. I wanted to mention. Homer has epilepsy. He also looks like he is swatting at flies. He tends to suckle to self soothe. I can tell when he is pre-seizure, by his suckling. He also will chomp his paws. Repetitive behavior can be a sign of a seizure coming. He does not suckle objects or blankets. He really gravitates towards the comfort of myself or my husband or his canine brother Humphrey. We have never corrected his behavior. It does not bother our other dog. They groom each other. I am thankful for this post. Just to know Homer is not the only pup who does this. Incidentally, our chocolate lab Humphrey’s mother struggled to feed her pups and they ended up being bottle fed.

    • So many different stories around the suckling. It’s really amazing! Thank you for sharing this one. Our last dog never suckled on things but she did have seizures. It broke my heart every time watching her. But it’s kind of comforting to know that besides this very nasty ailment these dogs can still have a happy life. Homer is lucky to have you!

  31. Hi I just see this and wanted to chat about my pug …,my pug has a ritual in the morning I get up and she will sit in the same place on my lap and at night she suckles her bed . Her bed is fluffy and furry and quite an expensive bed . We have a younger pug that is more active and I wondered if our 3 year old pug was irritated 😤 by the other pug at night and after a while of suckling she goes to sleep 💤. I wonder what info you may have explored in your finds
    Many thanks
    Sonia Dyne

    • Hello Sonia,
      my conclusion for now, judging by all the different stories, what the suckling dogs seem to have in common is that the habit works like a pacifier to them. However, there seems to exist a variety of reasons why they feel the need to do this.
      For some it seems to mean stress relief while for others it just seems to be like an evening ritual similar to things kids do before they fall asleep.
      If the suckling point towards a deeper issue that needs to be addressed therefore in my opinion needs to be assessed in every case individually and if necessary steps taken.
      In some cases no action is required at all.

  32. I have a rescue beagle pup that was breed by a disreputable breeder. She was sold at 4 weeks old and ended up at Canines in Crisis. We adopted her at five months. I noted her sucking behavior shortly after adopting her and perceived that it was a comforting behavior. She continues to suck on a blanket at night when she is tired. She is well socialized as I have two other dogs. She is very gentle, sweet and outgoing. I do toss the blanket in the wash often.

  33. My 8 month old Border Collie began doing this when I bought a fuzzy king size bedspread for his bed. He falls asleep afterward. I purchased him from a responsible breeder who uses Puppy Culture and shared weekly pictures and videos of my pup and sibs.
    I didn’t pickup my pup until 9 weeks and he has been widely socialized since getting here. I think it’s just calming and part of the licking thing that helps dogs calm with the release of endorphins.

  34. I rescued a neighbors little yorkie mix chwawa 7yrs old they no longer wanted due to children born he was so thin tiny lite as a feather he is a n out 15 lbs. Now I noticed this young cple. Are never home this little dog barks so loud every morning when I open the cubbard to get dog food wont stop till you set his bowl on the floor as if he went without food you might not feed him till he sees his bowl on the floor he ran franticly whem I fist got him ate his phoop in my yd so I had to watch where he went pick it up immediately i have never seen nor knew of animals sucking on toys all day long I previously lived on a farm had tons of animals and took in strays. I believe this little dog was caged and left alone for days with out food he no longer runs frantically. Buts barks so bad at feeding time and sucks on his toys till he falls asleep at his naps in the day time only not at nite tme? And carries his toys every wher in the hse he goes my bed is where he sleeps at nite it to is loaded with toys but he doesnt suck at nite he snuggles up against me Ive never tried to discourage him from this sucking of his toys sees he always falls asleep after I think I learned something I never knew existed or saw Hes sort of cute when I watch must make him feel better theres no harm to him he family I love him dearly

  35. My German Shepherd puppy is 7 months and he does it. This is the first GSD we’ve had who did blanket sucking and cuddling. We met his litter of 12 and his mother, when he was 5 weeks and then at 6 and a half weeks and we picked him up at 8 weeks. This was the first litter for his mother and she was tired of feeding them and readily pushed them away each time as I remember. She was a nice dog, but probably exhausted. I have been curious about it and I think it’s so cute and it’s self soothing for him. Having read that it is probably OCD I do know that another of our shepherds repeatedly chews on and licks his leg on occasion.

  36. I’m so relieved after reading all the comments. My terrier mix just started doing this after we’ve had her for a year. I was concerned (and still am somewhat) that she was feeling anxiety so have been trying to figure out why. Nothings changed in our lives so I can’t find any reason for this. It’s nice to know I have a lot of company in this behavior with my beautiful girl.

  37. I Have a Shihtzu who will grab one of her toys and go lay down somewhere and lick the tag on her toy until it is ready to fall off…And she will do this with every toy she has that comes with a tag on it

    Not sure why??!!

    • Good question. All I know is that dogs do seem to have “a plan” with things. But as long as the “tag mania” is not causing any problems I would probably just let her so her thing.
      And one more thing I know for sure: If I could talk to my dog for just an hour or so and get answers from her in words I can understand I would have a LOT of questions. : – )

  38. Have enjoyed reading everyone’s posts. I have a fox terrier x (father) with American bulldog and red nose pitbull (mother). He randomly will suck on a blanket, or hold it in his mouth and then move his paws like kneading his mum’s nipple. I’ve never known of this behaviour before even though I’ve lived with quite a few dogs of different breeds to this one. A different idea I’d like to contribute after reading someone saying it’s likened to a child sucking their thumb, in that this behaviour could be because the child/dog is wanting to reset a part of their anatomy in their head i.e. their spheno-basilar junction which can become dislodged during birth or the head having suffered a blow of some kind e.g. for a dog, lifting head up under a chair, table or open cupboard door. Also when making contact with another dog when play fighting.

    • First off (great read!) It’s very difficult to go on line sometimes and try to pin point a particular dog condition or someone going through what you are and really not having the answer that you can feel is the right one. I’ve recently lost my best friend Chloe a shih tzu mix thinking I was doing the right thing by removing a growth she had on her foot that she contentiously licked. It had gotten so big that I thought for sure it must be a bad thing, she also was a little over weight that i blame myself entirely for. How can anyone say no to puppy dog eyes? Anyway at her surgery her poor little body did not do well with the anesthesia and as a result cause her respiratory to fell and after two days in a oxygen room at the vet she passed away. The vet told me she stood up took one long last breath then fell over. The vet tried to revive her by doing cpr but could not bring her back. Chloe was at that time 11 or 12 im not sure exactly because I had rescued her when she was I guess you would call a teenager. Come to find out that the growth on her foot was not cancerous it was just a fatty tissue common with dogs of her breed. The thing is I would of never found out if the growth was cancerous for sure if I hadn’t had it removed and tested. To be honest with you I really thought it bothered her because she would lick it so much. if Im not mistaken dogs will lick there wounds. I miss Chloe each and everyday and made a silent promise to her that I would make it up to her so I adopted a senior shih tzu her name is Lexi she is 14 yrs + she is partially blind and a bit deaf she is a very sweet dog, funny and boy is she smart! I rescued her from a woman that had rescued her before at age 11. With Lexi I’ve noticed early signs dementia with pacing and crying because she wants the light on but the new thing is suckling and grooming her self so much on her tummy her hair is matted down to her skin. Im with her almost 24-7 so its not a separation thing because I really think dogs live in the here and now with no concept of time it just seems reasonable. With this corona virus breakout I have been home more so than not and that means all day every day and no visitors. Well my sister came to visit, haven’t seen her in 3 yrs so there was a lot of loud laughing and carrying on that I’m sure lexi didn’t understand and might have, to her, thought it was arguing. After my sister went home is when I noticed the suckling and she had been doing it almost everyday since not a lot but enough for me to notice. She doesn’t necessarily do this before going to sleep or for any specific reason. And with her being a senior dog I worry that it might be something. Anyway what I guess I’m trying to say is if this is just something they’ve done since you’ve had your dog then let them have it if its something new and a odd behavior in or dog then yes it is something that needs your attention. The way you handle is your choice alone, just remember that they depend on us for EVERYTHING so getting to know your dog has to be the most important thing. If I had researched more before having Chloe’s growth removed I’m sure I would have second thoughts about having it done. I thought I knew-knew my dog but you really don’t and just going to the vet alone might not always be the answer. If we didn’t have a way to reach out and find others to compare and discus the what’s and what-if’s we would always be in a state of worry, dogs feed off of our feeling so they are in the same state. I know that with Lexi a very long and rocky road lay in-front of us but she has given me such joy and happiness since Chloe passed it is the least I can do for her is to make her time with me as happy and care free as I can.

      • Hello Misty,
        what a story! I can SO feel your regrets. I had the same thing … sometimes still have … with our last Bull Terrier, Fancy. In hindsight I have made a lot of mistakes with her. But at the time I thought I was doing the right thing. I too have somehow tried to make it right with another dog. And it’s true, Mila benefits A LOT from the things Fancy taught me. Living with her for quite some years now my sad feelings about mistakes of the past have eased and I am able to forgive myself, because I realized I did not know better. I did my very best at that time. Had I known better, I would have acted differently. Sadly, in live our mistakes are what makes us who we are today and we can’t turn back time to correct things in the past.
        I am very happy to hear that you are taking such good care of an adopted older dog. Not everyone would take that pick. But to me, that is one story of it’s own. It’s your new dog story. A different one. It’s not making anything right, there’s no need to. It’s what you do and who you are: Taking care of a living being and making it happy.

        Chloe, I am sure, had the best life she could ever have wished for with you. And most of all she had a caring owner trying to do what’s best for her.
        Who knows what an alternative outcome could have been. Better? Sure, possible. Worse, because of prolonged suffering? Possible, as well.
        The bump could have been malignant and I do not think that you could have done a whole lot differently because after all when it comes to ulcers, of course we can guess. But we can only be sure, once there has been a REAL examination, which is always connected to other risks, such as anesthesia. Maybe it would have been even harder for you to make the decision to have this examined IF you would have known more about the risks. Of course, it likely bothered her. She did not lick it all the time for no reason. You would still not have known if doing nothing would be the better decision in this case.
        Sometimes, as sad as it is, the only thing we can learn from experience is, HOW HARD it is to make “the right decision”, and how hard it will be over and over again in similar situations. Experience does not necessarily give us perfect guidance for the next time we have to face similar things. What I am trying to say is: Some things are just not 100% in our hands. And the only thing we can decide and do is what we feel is right at that very moment.
        Looking at it from that perspective, you absolutely did the right thing, that’s my take. And I am sure that Chloe sends you love and hugs from doggie heaven. She knew how much you care about her.
        I wish you a lot of fun with Lexi. Just, don’t freak out should you reach a point that requires hard decisions again. That tends to happen when our furry pals reach a certain age. Don’t try to set things right. Don’t start beating yourself up about decisions in the past then. Just do exactly what you did before: Do what you feel it the BEST step at the very moment you have to make the decision. Your dog will feel that you only have its best interests in mind.

  39. My Brittney Spaniel does the suckling when he is ready to fall asleep or is at the relaxing stage. He has never had any trauma nor has he ever been separated from mom at an early age. I wonder all the time why he does it, but he not one of the breeds above mentioned.

  40. I have a 1 1/2 year old(will be 2 in July) Pitbull Lab Mix. Ever since we got her a teddy bear at 5months, I have seen her suck on one of the ends of the bear and slowly fall asleep. I thought she’ll grow out of it because I didn’t think nothing of it knowing we got her super early ( 5weeks). Which I thought it was my fault because when she was a baby baby I gave her an exact baby bottle from Walmart with a nipple size I thought match her mother’s.. I also allow her to suck on a pacifier.
    Me and my husband is trying to find out until this day on why my Miss. LaylaBell is still sucking on a stuffed animal or one of her soft toys. We have 2 other dogs(3 year old Min Pin and a year old blue & red nose pitbull brindle BOYS) that don’t do that. We also thought it could be mother instincts but that couldn’t be it because like I said she’s been doing it since she was 5months. But I have heard that dogs are more mature at young age depending on breed and sex of the dog. (Who’s to save if that’s true or not)
    I would love to learn more about dogs behaviors and the meanings behind them.

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