Why Does My Pitbull Nibble On Blankets?

It’s not uncommon to catch your snuggly Pitbull contentedly sucking, chewing or nibbling away at their favorite blanket. But excessive or obsessive blanket nibbling behavior can also indicate underlying anxiety, boredom or distress for certain Pitbulls. If you’ve noticed your canine companion seems to have a persistent habit of mouthing bedding or linens, you probably wonder – why does my Pitbull nibble on blankets so much? This common oral fixation for nibbling fabrics like blankets stems deep from their breed history and innate traits.

While not always problematic, understanding exactly why your Pitbull is nibbling on blankets provides insight on when to curb excessive fabric chewing. Read on to uncover the potential motivations behind why your Pitbull nibbles on blankets and how to address obsessive behaviors.

Why Does My Pitbull Nibble On Blankets?

For Pitbulls and other dog breeds, mild blanket chewing or nibbling generally falls into one of a few common behavioral categories:

Early Weaning

Puppies naturally nibble and suckle for comfort and nutrition while nursing until around 8-12 weeks of age when weaning to solid food. Early separation from the mother or littermates can cause dogs to suck or chew on blankets or beds throughout adulthood to self-soothe.

Boredom or Anxiety

High energy dogs left alone for long periods with insufficient stimulation may turn to mouthing blankets or bedding to occupy themselves. Anxious pups may also nibble compulsively on fabric for relief.

Oral Fixation

Some dogs just enjoy mouthing or holding objects like blankets as a self-calming behavior the way humans bite nails or chew pens. The mild stimulation and texture satisfies an oral fixation.

Medical Causes

In rare cases, conditions like obsessive compulsive disorder, gastritis, or nutritional deficiencies can cause blanket chewing. Veterinary exams help rule out underlying illness.

So why might this common canine comfort habit be more prevalent specifically in Pitbulls? Their breeding history and traits provide some clues.

Understanding Pitbull History

While “Pitbull” commonly refers to American Pitbull Terriers or Staffordshire Terriers, it broadly applies to all bull-baiting and fighting type breeds. Selectively breeding bull-baiting dogs dates back centuries in Europe before their transport to America.

Baiting and Fighting Lines

Dogs were historically bred for increased aggression, confidence, strength, pain tolerance, and gameness to force confrontations with bulls or other canines in the fighting pits or rings for spectacle.

Terrier Foundations

Breeds like the English White Terrier, Black and Tan Terrier, and Old English Terrier provided smaller, agile frames well-suited for tenacious baiting and vermin hunting abilities.

Loyal Companions

Later adaptations softened bull-baiting breeds to become trusted human and family companions while retaining muscular frames, determination, and loyalty.

This complex ancestry gives perspective on why common Pitbull behaviors often differ from other modern breeds – including their blanket nibbling tendencies.

Pitbull Traits Promoting Blanket Chewing

Beyond breed history, how do inherent Pitbull personality and physical traits potentially heighten their drive for blanket nibbling and sucking behaviors?

Extreme Oral Fixation

Powerful jaws and muscular mouths were historically developed in Pitbulls for biting, holding, and wrestling. While aggression was largely bred out, their strong oral fixation often translates into increased mouthing behaviors.

High Anxiety Temperament

Eager to please, Pitbulls prone to separation anxiety may nibble blankets for relief or stimulation when left alone – especially rescues from abusive pasts.

Powerful Chewers

Built for latching and holding, their wide jaws and strong chewing muscles make nibbling fabric an appealing texture and outlet.

Excess Energy

Bred for athleticism and endurance, Pitbulls need productive outlets for exercise and mental stimulation. Lack thereof prompts destructive stress relief like blanket nibbling.

Extreme Loyalty

Deeply devoted to their primary humans, some Pitbulls nibble their owner’s blankets or clothes for comforting familiar scents and sense of bonding while alone.

Habit Early Onset

Like infants who suck thumbs, Pitbull puppies may form blanket nibbling habits young that persist throughout adulthood.

Understanding connections between the breed’s ancestry and traits provides context on why this affectionate, loyal breed often fixates on fabrics like blankets to nibble or suck more than other types of dogs.

Problems Caused by Pitbull Blanket Chewing

While blanket sucking or nibbling starts as an innocent soothing behavior in Pitbulls, the habit can lead to complications over time if excessive. Potential issues include:

GI Blockages or Obstructions

Aggressive shredder Pitbulls risk serious intestinal blockages or choking hazards attempting to actually ingest pieces of fabric or stuffing.

Objects Percentage of GI Obstructions
Fabric items 5-10%
Rocks or Other Foreign Items 10-15%
Rawhides 20-30%


Destruction of Property

Excessive mouthing that progresses to shredding can ruin expensive bedding, linens, furniture and more. Replacement costs quickly add up.

Health Complications

Obsessive blanket sucking stemming from untreated anxiety, stress, or medical causes can result in worsening physical or psychological harm.

Hinders Crate/Potty Training

Dogs may associate fabric chewing with confinement anxiety. The absence of “security” blankets and opportunity to nibble then hinders successful crate acclimation.

By recognizing problems caused by excessive or anxious chewing tendencies, owners can better address the underlying motivation. Doing so keeps beloved Pitbulls mentally and physically healthy while avoiding dangers like obstructions.

How To Curb Blanket Nibbling in Pitbulls

If your Pitbull seems obsessive, distressed, or at risk of harm from blanket nibbling, try these training tips:

Meet Exercise Needs

Ensure at least 60 minutes per day of stimulating play, training, or enrichment as an outlet for energy and natural chewing instincts.

Use Distractions

Redirect your Pitbull’s focus onto approved chew toys when mouthing bedding. Rotate novel safe toys to relieve boredom.

Confine Unattended

When away, keep your Pitbull gated in rooms without access to favorite nibbled blankets or fabric items.

Address Anxiety Triggers

Help anxious or under-stimulated Pitbulls overcome sources of stress like separation or loud noises through training.

Discourage Through Corrections

Say “off” or offer treats when catching unwanted nibbling, followed by praise for stopping the behavior.

Consistency helps reinforce that blankets are off limits for chewing. While nibbling relief remains appealing, rewarding approved outlets and toys can satisfy the oral fixation central to Pitbulls.

Why Might My Pitbull Suddenly Start Nibbling?

For Pitbulls who suddenly develop new blanket chewing compulsions despite previously showing little interest, investigate what changed in these key areas:

Schedule or Location

Big schedule changes, moves, boarding, or loss of access to favorite spaces prompts anxiety. New blanket nibbling self-soothes.

Family Changes

New people or animals in the home, different caregivers, or absence of key family members causes displacement nervousness soothed by blanket mouthing.

Aging Factors

Senior Pitbulls with cognitive decline may revert to puppy-like nibbling habits. Medical issues also commonly arise with age.

Take notes if the blanket nibbling corresponds with any major life changes. The correlation provides clues on compulsions triggered by stress that require relief.

When To Seek Professional Help

While most mild Pitbull blanket nibbling is harmless behavioral indication of anxiety, boredom or instinct, seek immediate veterinary intervention if you notice:

Blood on Chewed Items

Wounds from scrapes or lacerations in the mouth require antibiotic care. Bloody saliva also needs professional inspection.

Changes In Appetite

Inability to eat, sudden disinterest in food, or increased hunger after chewing may indicate blockages, upset stomach, or digestive issues.

Aggression When Interrupted

If your Pitbull guards or refuses to stop focused blanket destruction, underlying obsessive compulsive disorders may require medication or training.

Consistent Stress Signals

Pitbulls who pace, whine, salivate or tremble during episodes of frantic nibbling need assessment for psychological distress, phobias, or panic disorders.

While enticing, blankets don’t provide adequate mental stimulation. Make sure plenty of exercise, playtime with owners, puzzle toys, and socialization prevents boredom and anxiety prompting this oral fixation. Override the nibbling impulse by redirecting your Pitbull’s energy into productive chewing outlets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do Pitbull puppies suck on blankets but grow out of it?

Pitbull litters instinctively nuzzle and suckle for comfort and nutrition when nursing until weaned between 8-12 weeks when solid food should become their nutritional basis. Puppies who are separated early from mom and littermates may continue seeking suckling consolation into adulthood by blanket nibbling. Others simply outgrow the infantile habit.

My Pitbull only nibbles my blanket, not others. Why?

Dogs form attachments to the people closest to them through devoted care. Your scent and bodily oils rub off on items like blankets you frequently use. By nibbling your blanket, your Pitbull is comforted through your familiar smells reminiscent of your presence when you’re away.

I reprimand my Pitbull for nibbling but she persists. What else helps stop it?

Consistency helps but some obsessed Pitbull blanket suckers prove stubborn. Along with scolding unwanted nibbling, be sure to redirect onto appropriate chew toys, reinforce the “off” command with treats, and confine your Pit away from tempting blankets when unsupervised until the habit lessens.

My Pitbull nibbles blankets after boarding or visits. Is this normal?

Yes, perfectly normal! Boarding or visiting unfamiliar places is extremely stressful for dogs prone to separation anxiety like Pitbulls. The environment change and absence of family disrupts their routine. Familiar items with home smells like blankets provide reassuring comfort upon returning until anxiety subsides.


While blanket sucking sounds silly, this common Pitbull pastime provides comfort and stress relief. Early weaning, anxiety, boredom, medical causes and innate chewing instincts compel blankets nibbling. Controlling excessive behaviors prevents dangers like obstructions. Know when interventions are needed but otherwise letting your Pup gently mouth their blankie reflects an adorable if quirky outlet perfectly suited to their cuddly-yet-tough breeds! With attentive care catering to their enrichment and exercise needs, your devoted companion will stay happy, healthy and leave linen destruction behind.

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