Dogs and cats love to cuddle with their owners. Sometimes, they climb into bed with their owners and sneak under the covers to feel warm and cozy. But what if owners are using weighted blankets? Are weighted blankets safe for dogs and cats?
In another scenario, some dogs and cats are anxious and may need something to calm them down. Since weighted blankets can help humans with their anxiety, can they help pets feel better, too?
Before letting your dog or cat snuggle up with your under your weighted blanket or buying one specifically for your pet, here's what you need to know.
The concerns with pets and weighted blankets
Weighted blankets typically weigh between 10 and 30 pounds. While an adult human, who may be at least 110 pounds, can sleep with a weighted blanket and be just fine, a pet that climbs underneath one of these blankets might not be able to get out because the weight of the blanket is too much for them.
What if you have a smaller dog like a Chihuahua with a body weight of only 5 pounds, or a cat that weighs 10 pounds? They would not be able to get out from under a heavy weighted blanket. If you're not there, they could become trapped.
Additionally, a weighted blanket may put too much pressure on your pet's chest. The weight of it could have the opposite effect and cause your dog or cat to panic because they may have trouble breathing. If your dog or cat has asthma or a breathing issue, then the weight of the blanket is going to be dangerous for them.
Brachycephalic cats and dogs, who have pushed-in faces and noses, are especially vulnerable. These breeds include Burmese, Himalayan, and Persian cats, along with English and French bulldogs, Boston terriers, shih tzus, Pekingese, boxers and Bullmastiffs.
Another concern is that Gravity Blankets, a brand of weighted blankets, are made with weighted beads, and if your dog or cat bites the blanket and ingests the beads, you could have an emergency situation on your hands.
While some companies make weighted blankets specifically for pets, these may not be safe either because they could be too heavy. It's best to go with other methods of keeping your pet calm and happy.
What to use instead of a weighted blanket for anxious dogs and cats
Your dog or cat may become anxious when you leave the house, when they hear fireworks, or when there's a thunderstorm going on outside. They may also become stressed out if you introduce a new person or pet into the home, or you switch up your home environment at all.
Instead of getting a weighted blanket, you can try an anxiety wrap or an anxiety vest, which may calm them down because it's like a swaddle. You could also leave them their favorite toys when you're not home, cuddle with them as much as possible, or give them a relaxing massage. Your dog or cat needs as much exercise as possible, whether you're playing with them or walking with them. Giving them a cozy place to sleep at night is always a good idea as well. In more extreme cases, a vet may recommend anti-anxiety medication. You can also check out our article How to Help a Dog With Anxiety for more ideas.
Before you try any homeopathic treatments or you invest in an anxiety wrap or vest, ask your veterinarian for advice. Then you'll ensure that you are helping your dog or cat in the best way possible.
Weighted blankets are not safe for dogs and cats because the weight of the blanket may be too heavy for them. If you have an anxious pet, look into anxiety wraps as an alternative to weighted blankets. Getting to the bottom of why your pet is anxious and asking your veterinarian for advice should be your first step above all else.