Because you will not find such products specifically labeled in most stores, you may wonder are weighted blankets safe for dogs? The answer is yes. While you should choose the right amount of weight that best suits your pet, they can be quite helpful when they are suffering from anxious moments.
Disclaimer: The tips and recommendations given here are intended to be used as guidelines. Do not replace our advice for a registered health professional or therapist’s advice. It’s best to consult with a healthcare professional if you have a special condition.
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How Weighted Blankets Work
For humans, weighted blankets have become quite popular in recent years. The main theory on why they work on people so well is that the weight itself may help the body feel calmer by providing sensory stimulation on whatever part of the body the blanket covers. By providing deep, yet comfortable pressure, the mind is now calmer as well.
This may be related to why babies feel more comfortable when swaddled or wrapped tightly in a blanket. The same pressure that helps babies to relax and feel calmer may work for adults as well with a weighted blanket. What seems to work for humans also applies to pets as well, namely dogs and cats who also mature with a litter.
The same comforting weight of other puppies and kittens in a litter may help pets to feel better as well if they suffer from some form of anxiety.
Are Weighted Blankets Safe for Pets?
Yes, they are safe if you find one that offers the proper amount of weight. Remember that most dogs and especially cats weigh less than people, so you will need to find the lightest weighted blanket for them. A small child’s weighted blanket usually weighs from two to four pounds. However, very small pets may still find this to be too heavy.
This means that many pets may find it difficult to get comfortable or move around enough to their satisfaction if the blanket weighs too much. A ten-pound cat means that a two-pound blanket is probably too much. The blanket will put too much pressure on their chest, and they will find it difficult to breathe. With pets that small, a normal blanket may suffice. You may want to find a good, standard blanket that adds a little weight for your small pets.
For larger pets, you may try one that weighs two to four pounds as long as it does not weigh more than 10% of their total body weight. You may have to experiment a bit before finding the right one for your pet. However, there are other issues that you should consider before getting a weighted blanket.
In addition to the pet being too small, there are some other considerations you need to make before purchasing a weighted blanket.
- Skin Irritations or Allergies
- Flat-Faced Pets, such as Bulldogs or Persian Cats
A weighted blanket might cause more irritation to pets that have skin conditions. But if your pet has asthma, then you should avoid using a weighted blanket because they are already having difficulty breathing. Another issue is for pets with flatter faces, such as Persian cats and Bulldogs which may have trouble breathing if their noses get pressed against the blanket itself.
Of course, if your pet likes to chew on blankets, then you should avoid getting them a weighted blanket. This is because they may ingest the small weights inside which will cause vomiting or in rare conditions, surgery to remove the weights.
When to Use Weighted Blankets?
It’s possible that your pet will not fully understand what a weighted blanket is or how it is normally used. So, do not try to force your pet underneath the blanket as that will only make things worse. There are some steps you can take to make the blanket more appealing to them.
Create a Cave: In other words, put the blanket on their bed and raise one end so they can crawl inside. This will allow your pet to choose when they want to use the blanket for themselves. Of course, you may have pets that will simply sit atop the blanket, but at least you are off to a good start.
Hold them in the Blanket: Another approach is to have your pet sit on your lap and gently wrap them in the weighted blanket. Let them become comfortable with the presence of the blanket, so they can start to relax.
You can always start with a normal blanket, especially if you have noticed your pets crawling under the blanket on your bed to rest. You can also use the weighted blanket to comfort them if there are loud noises such as firecrackers going off in the neighborhood. The more they can associate the weighted blanket with a place of safety and comfort, the better.
Weighted Blanket Alternative
If you feel that a weighted blanket will not work or your pet has issues that make such as choice unwarranted, then there is an alternative available. An anxiety wrap or vest may be the answer.
This is a device that allows for freedom of movement and stays with your pet at all times. Plus, it’s difficult for them to chew or tear up a proper anxiety vest that is gently pressing against their chest and torso areas. The main advantage is that a vest or wrap can be placed on your pet without them trying to figure out its purpose.
For some pets, they can wear a vest or wrap without any issues. However, for others, you may have to start with short periods of the vest on and then taking it off so they can get used to the additional weight. If a weighted blanket is not the answer, then an anxiety vest or wrap may work even better.
If you are looking for a way to treat anxiety for your pooch, then the answer to the question are weighted blankets safe for dogs is yes. You should talk to your vet about how to properly use a weighted blanket for your dog and other pets. And if you discover that a weighted blanket is not right, then a vest or wrap may be the answer.