Every night, after I put my kids to bed, I pour myself a glass of wine, crack open a novel, and climb under my weighted blanket. It’s my nightly settle-my-nervous-system routine, and it lulls me to sleep within an hour. Or two, depending on how good the book is. : ) Recently, Penny started crawling underneath my 15-pound blanket, and it got me wondering: Are weighted blankets safe for dogs? Or are they too heavy to be safe?
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As always, a quick disclaimer: I’m not a vet. I’m not a medical worker of any sort. I’m just a writer who shares her own experience with her own dogs. As with anything, always check with your vet.
first, how does a weighted blanket work?
We learned about these blankets years ago from Violet’s occupational therapist (OT) who recommended one for her. The gist is that the weight of the blanket creates deep pressure stimulation, which calms the nervous system.
According to Penn Medicine, weighted blankets can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, ADHD, sleep disorders, and autism.
Doctors at UCLA health wrote:
Studies looking into weighted blankets over the years have observed a range of potential benefits. These include easing insomnia in adults living with depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorders; lowering anxiety in some children with mental health disorders; and improving sleep in older adults living in a nursing home. The researchers noted that while using a weighted blanket, the participants in their studies were able to fall asleep more easily, woke less frequently during the night and felt an increased sense of calm during the day.https://www.uclahealth.org/news/weighted-blankets-can-help-with-sleep
Most weighted blankets contain plastic or glass beads that can weigh between five and 30 pounds. Violet’s weighted blanket is specific for kiddos, and we noticed many of the benefits almost immediately. In fact, as a lifelong bad sleeper, I was so jealous that I asked for my own (adult size and weight) for Christmas. I can attest: My sleep has improved tremendously!
OK, great. But Are weighted blankets safe for dogs?
There aren’t any peer-reviewed studies yet, but if you find the appropriate weight for your pup (more on that below) and monitor his or her use, your dog can absolutely reap the same benefits that you do from your blanket.
In fact, there have been products available for years that mimic the same deep pressure therapy provided by the weighted blankets. I’m thinking of Thundershirt and other compression garments. Violet had a compression sheet on her bed for a while, too, and ultimately decided that the weighted blanket was more calming than the compression.
Are weighted blankets good for dogs with anxiety?
Weighted blankets would be perfect for an anxious dog, in my opinion!
Why? Weighted blankets increase serotonin and decrease cortisol, which would absolutely calm a nervous pup. I suspect that’s why Penny likes sharing my weighted blanket with me. She came to our family with a lot of anxiety, and I’ve noticed she actively chooses to crawl under my heavy blanket with me at night. She settles right away and drops off to sleep. I truly believe it soothes her as much as it soothes me!
How much should a blanket weigh for a dog?
The recommendation for humans is five to 12 percent of your body weight. I’d err on the lesser end for your pup. Mine weighs 15 pounds, which is too much for Penny to stay under for the long term or for sleep (more on that below). However, with her right next to me so I can monitor her, the 15 pounds seem to lull her into a peaceful sleep!
Is it safe for a dog to sleep under a weighted blanket?
Only if it’s a low weight and your dog can get out from underneath the blanket without any difficulty, and I’d recommend brachycephalic dog breeds check with their vet before using a weighted blanket.
I would definitely NOT suggest you leave a weighted blanket out for your pup, especially if your dog is crated or tends to chew things up because…
Uh, oh. My dog ate some glass beads from my weighted blanket.
So, this really happened. The first time she was left alone, Penny chewed three holes in my weighted blanket and the glass beads were everywhere. Seriously, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be finding and vacuuming these beads for the rest of my life. They are TINY, and there are zillions of them. (The blanket is sewn into compartments to keep the weight evenly distributed, so the three holes ended up losing weights from only two sections that I later patched and sewed close.)
If your dog consumes some of the beads, call your vet immediately. In our case, it was a small amount that she could’ve consumed, and I didn’t think she ate very many at all. However, we learned that it was okay and they’d pass.
If you’re considering a weighted blanket for your dog (or yourself!) here are some to consider:
One big tip: Make sure it’s machine washable or has a removable, washable cover! The last thing you want is a big, heavy blanket for your dog that can’t go through the washing machine! With that said, here are three great choices from Amazon and three great choices from Etsy:
Alomidds Weighted Blanket, 5 pounds: This one comes in lots of colors, so you could match it to your own decor.
YnM Knitted Weighted Blanket, 15 pounds: One of the heavier choices, it’s also the prettiest. Plus, check out the corgi in the product pic! So cute!
BARMY Weighted Blanket for Dogs: This is the only one specifically “for dogs.” Does that matter? No, but it does come in a size much, much smaller than the rest, so if you have a tiny dog or a dog with a short snout, this could be a great option for you!
PinkUnicornStudio weighted blanket: The most expensive option on the list, but it’s also a statement. If you want a handmade blanket that makes your bed or couch look super luxe, this is the choice for you and your dog.
CalmingCollectiveLLC: I linked to one choice in this shop that is beautiful, but they have sooooo many. I promise if you click around their choices, you’ll find one you adore. Mine is similar to this: soft and fluffy on one side and a print on the other.
Cuddledown: This one is listed as a rare find on Etsy, and it’s my absolute favorite design of all I’ve shared. It’s bright and colorful and weighs a pet-friendly seven pounds.
Would you give a weighted blanket a try?
For you or your pup? I highly recommend it for decreased stress and improved sleep… for both you and your dog. Let me know in the comments!
And let’s connect on Instagram! I’ll post pics of Penny snuggling under my blanket this week. She is so, so adorable!