You have probably seen weighted blankets that are meant to calm you down. These products are designed to mimic the calming feeling of a hug. Research shows that the deep touch pressure a person feels when being squeezed or hugged boosts the body's parasympathetic nervous system, which helps control rest and digestion.
However, this concept of using pressure and weight to reduce stress may have actually started with animals. The famed animal behavioral expert Temple Grandin designed pressure chutes to make livestock feel relaxed before veterinary procedures. It then comes to no surprise that companies have started creating weighted blankets for dogs. These blankets are meant to decrease anxiety in pets. They may also improve your pup's sleep. Below are some reasons to give your dog a weighted blanket.
Why You Should Purchase a Weighted Blanket For Your Dog
There are many different benefits of weighted blankets. For starters, this type of blanket is a simple way to relieve your dog's anxiety, and to address any unruly actions that accompany it. Your dog may bark incessantly or run throughout your house when he hears thunder or fireworks outside. Training him to stop this behavior takes time and effort. A blanket is a much easier solution. All you have to do is wrap it around him and watch it work.
Hiring a trainer to help your dog cope with his anxiety is also expensive. Ignoring the problem or hoping it will go away on its own is pricey, as well. After all, an anxious dog often scratches floors, chews furniture, rips clothes or urinates on rugs. A weighted blanket is cheap compared to the cost of replacing damaged items in your home.
Finally, a weighted blanket is a completely natural solution to your dog's anxiety. While there are anti-anxiety medications for dogs, they could make your pet lethargic or constipated. Medicine may also affect his appetite. Unlike pills, you can easily stop using the blanket if for some reason it does not work. You can instead utilize it as a regular warming blanket when the weather gets cold.
What to Consider Before Buying a Weighted Blanket
A weighted blanket works best on dogs who get anxious in response to certain sounds or situations. For instance, if your dog gets upset when he hears sirens or has to ride in a car, you can put a weighted blanket on him to keep him relaxed until the temporary stressor subsides.
Dogs who have more generalized anxiety without a specific trigger should first get checked out by a doctor. What you perceive as anxious behavior from your dog may just be his way of telling you that he is sick or hurt.
A vet can also determine whether your dog has a moderate or severe anxiety disorder. While weighted blankets can help treat these conditions, the blankets should be used in combination with other interventions.
How to Use a Weighted Blanket
Choosing the right weighted blanket for your dog is vital. Overly heavy blankets can be difficult to use, so find one that is no more than 10 percent of your puppy's weight. The blanket should also not contain any toxic materials. Once you bring the blanket home, your dog may not enjoy the sensation of it immediately. Sit with him and gently keep him under the blanket until you see him relax.
If your dog struggles with anxiety, especially during loud or unfamiliar situations, try using a weighted blanket to comfort him. A weighted blanket is relatively cheap and easy to use, and you will not have to worry about putting unnatural medications in your pet's body. Just be sure to pick a blanket that is non-toxic and the proper weight. Then introduce the blanket to him slowly until he gets used to it. Soon, both you and your pup should feel more relaxed.