Media – Blanket Pacifier


Holy Moly

I have a 4 year old dachshund mix who insists on chewing our blankets to soothe herself for few minutes before she goes to sleep. I have tried giving her toys or chewies but she prefers the blankets. Our blankets are full of holes.

Dr. Nichol:
I’m glad you haven’t used moth balls. They’ve been recommended (not by veterinarians) as a deterrent for indoor pets and in landscaping to discourage visits from stray cats but the risk of poisoning is just too great. Instead of trying to discourage this behavior let’s understand it and manage it.

Many dogs suck and chew throughout their lives because they were weaned too young from their mothers. Others do it, as you suggest, for self-soothing. Your dachshund chews blankets to relax. If you prevented this behavior her cortisol (stress hormone) would increase until she found a different ritual to serve the purpose. She has a strong need for an oral activity that releases saliva and engages her muscles of mastication (chewing).

Your blankets have suffered enough but we should also be concerned about the risk of swallowed fabric, potentially causing an intestinal blockage. This pupster needs a healthier bedtime activity. Trial and error may be necessary.

You could try a rope toy, nylon fabric, or a piece of heavy canvas. Watch these items carefully for missing pieces. Only indestructible puppy pacifiers have any business in your dachshund’s environment.

The best solution may be food-dispensing toys or puzzles. If your girl is somewhat hungry at bedtime you can give her a Twist & Treat, a Toppl food toy, or any of the plethora of others found in pet supply stores or on the internet. Requiring her to manipulate these gizmos and work hard to extract bits of food will be a close simulation of natural canine foraging. Working her mouth hard to scratch out her survival is consistent with the hard-wiring in her brain. We can love our dogs like little people in furry suits but they are dogs who need to do dog stuff.

For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website,

Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at Post pet behavioral or physical questions on or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.