No, this isn’t some anti-canine post about why dogs suck. Rather, this post and video helps explain why some dogs practice nursing behavior on objects, and suck pillows or toys. Maybe your dogs suck, too!
Why Dogs Suck
Has your dog ever had an obsession with a particular toy or object? It’s not at all unusual for kittens to nurse on their own toes, or the tail of a sibling. Just like with human infants, the behavior seems to be self-calming. Some dogs may outgrow the behavior as they mature and develop.
Dogs also can find stress relief by nursing on objects. Blankets, pillows and stuff toys are common targets. Licking or sucking can become an obsessive/compulsive behavior. For instance, Dobermans seem to indulge in “flank sucking” behavior and other dogs may lick-lick-lick a paw or toe until it becomes raw.
But in the case of puppies and even adults that indulge intermittently, it may not be a problem. (Magical-dawg told me to say that!). Now it’s your turn–what kinds of items does your pet target with licks? Do tell!
Of course, with THANKSGIVING tomorrow, there are lots more tasty things for dogs to munch. Just be sure they’re safe–a small amount of “treats” is fine but some can prove dangerous. Check out this article on people food for puppies to see what’s acceptable and what’s not–or even poisonous!
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!
Well I can’t speak for dogs but I surely can tell ya it applies to cats too. I’ve had a cat that put a sweater in his mouth and a soft blanket. I have a 9 year old cat now that since he was a little fellow he likes to suck on nylon. Now that’s ok except when I’m in the nylon as a nylon gown and I’m trying to go to sleep. He purrs to the heavens and marches all at the same time. Thank goodness he doesn’t try it much anymore. Only us dog and cat lovers understand some of these quirks. Magic looks so sweet in his picture.
Hi Patricia, The fabric sucking/chewing (called “wool sucking”) seems more prevalent in cats. The sucking behavior can turn into an obsessive/compulsive disorder, too or be a component of pica (eating inedible things). So whether a cat or dog, it’s always good to supervise and prevent potential problems. The purring/marching (kneading?) sure sounds like he’s self-soothing, LOL!