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If you live with a pitbull, you may have lost them once or twice, only to find them snuggled up under a pile of blankets. This quirky behavior may have you asking yourself, why does my pitbull like to sleep under blankets?
Pitbulls may burrow and sleep under blankets for comfort, to reduce anxiety, to warm up, to mimic their natural den, to smell you, because it reminds them of when they were pups with their mother and littermates, or they simply need a cozy place to rest.
Unless you believe anxiety is the major motivator or your pitbulls tries to burrow too deep into the blankets, then there’s usually nothing to worry about. Unless, of course, it means that your Pittie takes your favorite blanket!
Let’s take a closer look at each explanation for a Pittie that loves to snooze under the covers!
Reason 1: Pitbulls Love To Feel Comfortable and Cozy
Despite an unfair reputation for being aggressive, overly assertive, and problematic, folks that live with pitties know that they often act more like big babies than fierce canines!
Pitties have a taste for the finer things in life including feeling cozy, comfortable, and secure underneath their favorite blanket. Snuggling and sleeping under a blanket can help pitties feel protected regardless of their age.
When your pitbull feels exposed, especially when trying to relax or sleep, they may feel the need to stay alert or feel on guard. Having a blanket to sleep underneath provides your pup with protection from exposure. The comfort allows them to relax and let their guard down while enjoying a nice nap.
But pitbulls don’t have to feel stressed to want to sleep under the blankets and just as some people really enjoy curling up into their blankets at bedtime, some pitties can’t seem to get enough blanket time either. Especially this handsome little pittie:
Reason 2: Pitbulls Can Suffer From Anxiety
In other cases, pitbulls may be sleeping under blankets as a way to manage their anxiety. Canine anxiety is extremely common with some studies finding as many as 70% of canines across all breeds showing some sign of anxiety. Unfortunately, pitties are generally considered to have more anxiety than other breeds which makes this especially concerning for pittie parents.
At first, sleeping under blankets to reduce anxiety may sound a little silly.
But not only can sleeping or burrowing under a blanket reduce the number of sounds or sights that your pitbull is experiencing (many of which may be causing anxiety) but the feeling of having a blanket wrapped them around may help too.
That’s even more true if the blanket is heavy or your pittie is great at getting a tighter fit under the covers. One study looked at the effects of pressure wraps on dogs suffering from anxiety and found that pups with a tight (but comfortable) pressure wrap showed a measurable decrease in anxiety. Blankets can mimic the effect of a pressure wrap, but just make sure your pittie doesn’t reduce their ability to breathe while doing this.
So whether it’s noisy neighbors or just a long day alone, sleeping under blankets can help pitbulls cope with several types of anxiety.
Reason 3: Pitbulls Get Cold
Explanations don’t always have to be scientific though and some pitties may want to sleep under the blankets simply because it’s warm!
Unlike some other breeds, Pitbulls don’t have an undercoat or second coat of fur to help them retain warmth. Pitties do have plenty of muscle (especially if they’re getting an appropriate amount of exercise) that can help keep them warm but it isn’t always enough on a cool winter day.
Burrowing under the covers and taking a nap can help pitties warm up and stay comfortable on a chilly day or a cold evening.
Some pitties will have a lower tolerance for what they consider cold. Especially once they figure out that all they need to do to stay warm is sleep under the covers! If they have one of their own, you know where to find them but, if not, beware, they may take yours from your bed!
Reason 4: Pitbulls Follow Their Instincts To Burrow and Dig
While they’re commonly just referred to as pitbulls or pitties, the more official name for these pups is the American Pitbull Terrier.
And the terrier part of their name can sometimes drive these dogs to dig, burrow and take a snooze under the covers.
The pitbull’s closest terrier ancestor is thought to be the Black and Tan Terrier, which is a breed that’s now extinct. These feisty terriers were used for all sorts of hunting and their modern ancestors are still used for digging out small game. Even though pitties aren’t used for digging these days, the instinct from this close ancestor is still there and some pitties will happily dig into the covers without any other reason than it’s in their blood to do it!
Once they’ve made their little burrow, naturally it’s time to take nap! After all, pitbulls love to sleep, too!
Not all pitbulls dig but they certainly have the habit in their family tree. Usually burrowing into blankets isn’t a big problem but if your pitbull can’t seem to get enough digging then you may want to check out our favorite toys for dogs that like to dig to give your blankets a break.
Reason 5: Pitbulls Love To Smell Their Owners
When a pitbull sleeps under a blanket that belongs to you, it may be because the blanket smells like you. Pitbulls love their owners and often enjoy a constant reminder of them.
Even though it may just smell like a regular blanket to you, your pitbull is experiencing a completely different world of smell. According to Nova, a dog’s sense of smell “overpowers our own by orders of magnitude—it’s 10,000 to 100,000 times as acute” That means your pitbull is smelling way more than we can when they curl up into their blanket.
And for your pittie, that’s a very good smell and according to some scientists, it’s like a sort of puppy perfume.
So if your pitbull specifically likes sleeping under your blanket, rather than someone else’s, your special smell could be a big motivator!
Reason 6: It Reminds Them Of A Den
Besides an instinct to dig, all dogs, including pitbulls, have a natural instinct to find a den. These instincts are still alive today and you can see it not only when it comes to sleeping under the covers but it can also explain why some dogs enjoy sleeping in specific parts of the house like the bathroom.
Dens are usually dark, small, quiet, and hidden. You know, kinda like being under a blanket!
This instinct may be even stronger if your Pitbull was allowed to grow up with their littermates and mother. Their mother would have prepared a small den before they were born and they would have spent their earlier days and weeks within their den.
In the wild, a dog’s den would be made of plants, branches, and dirt but for the modern pitbull it’s more likely that their den includes some comfortable and cozy blankets that they would regularly spend their days sleeping in (and under).
These are all good memories and while pitbulls may not consciously be thinking of their time as a pup, the drive for a den and the memory of a comfortable blanket is somewhere in there!
If you think this may explain your pitbull’s love of sleeping under the covers, then they may really enjoy a crate too! If your pittie already has a crate but still prefers napping under the blankets, then try covering their crate to give them the full den experience.
Reason 7: It Provides A Quiet Place
Some pitbulls may seem like they could sleep through a nuclear bomb while others are a little more delicate when it comes to naptime. These pups may prefer more peace and quiet and sleeping under the covers can help.
Not only is it warm but it’s also quieter, especially if the blanket is on the heavy side. Burrowing underneath a blanket helps drown out any outside noises and allows them to sleep peacefully.
After all, your pittie needs their beauty sleep!
Reason 8: You’re Encouraging It!
What happens when you find your pitbull sleeping under the covers?
In most cases, you probably don’t just completely ignore it!
Instead, your pitbull gets plenty of attention and probably some praise too! You may have even decided to pull out your phone and take video! These are all things your pitbull will enjoy and they’ll be happy to get any positive attention from you.
If this keeps happening, your pitbull will quickly learn that sleeping under the blankets and burrowing under the covers leads to some positive attention from you! While this may not be what starts the behavior, it can certainly keep it going long term!
Encouraging behaviors is often overlooked and we don’t always realize that we’re encouraging a wide range of strange behaviors from sleeping on your face to burrowing under blankets and everything in between.
It Could Be A Mixture Of Reasons
Pitbulls are complex creatures. When they decide to sleep under a blanket, it may be for multiple reasons. They may start sleeping under blankets as a way to self-soothe themselves but soon realize that it also fulfills another need like staying warm. Sometimes things become habitual, and they do it because it’s what they have been doing for years.
If only dogs could talk, right? Then they could tell us exactly why they do the things that they do!
But just know that there’s probably not just one reason to explain why pitbulls sleep under blankets.
What If I Don’t Want My Pitbull Using My Blankets?
If your pitbull is always using your blankets, but you would rather keep your blankets dog free, buy your pitbull their own blankets! Try a weighted blanket for dogs who love feeling extra cozy, it is something your pitbull will love and appreciate and they’re often more appealing than other blankets.
Just make sure to not go too heavy so that it’s difficult for pitties to move or breath while they’re under it.
If you notice that your pitbull is always cold, you can also try buying them a sweater or increasing the temperature on your thermostat. Never leave your pitbull outside with no protection if the weather is under 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Always provide them with a warm place to stay with ample blankets and bedding.
The best solution will depend on your pitbull’s specific motivation for sleeping under the blankets but its almost always better to provide an alternative rather than just taking away their blanket. That could mean making their crate more den-like, providing them with their own blanket that’s just for them, reducing sources of anxiety or just providing a sweater.
Should I Be Concerned That My Pitbull Sleeps Under Blankets?
Generally speaking, you should not be concerned about your pitbull sleeping under blankets. Most of the reasons your pitbull enjoys sleeping under the blankets are rational and valid reasons which is no reason for concern.
However, if you notice that your pitbull refuses to come out from under the blankets and is always anxious, you may want to discuss this behavior with your veterinarian. WebMD says that dogs who have lost a caretaker or experienced physical or emotional abuse may suffer from PTSD, although it is sometimes hard to distinguish between post-traumatic stress and anxiety.
Most likely, your pitbull is just fulfilling a natural need when they are under the blankets, and you should not be too concerned.
Is It Safe To Allow My Pitbull To Sleep Under My Blanket?
If you are like me, you don’t mind the occasional snuggle with your pitbull or pitbulls! But you may be curious if it is safe for you to have such close contact with your pets. As long as you and your pet are healthy, there should be no reason why snuggling together under one blanket should cause any issues.
But then there’s the concern that your pitbull could accidentally suffocate while napping under the covers. While the risk is low, some veterinarians suggest that breathing the same air at all is a bad idea. Pay close attention to how your pittie handles their snooze under the covers and always make sure that they don’t burrow too deep.
Additionally, never tuck them in too tightly, and always be sure that they can free themselves when they get too warm or need fresh air. Always use breathable materials that are equally comfortable for a human.
Now that you know why your pitbull is sleeping under the blankets, maybe you won’t be as confused by their human-like behavior. And maybe, you will even be able to enjoy letting your pitbull share a blanket with you from time to time.
Always remember that pitbulls are a very special breed of dog. They don’t always have the best reputation, but often it is because of owners not fully understanding the breed. If you learn to understand your pitbull, it will help strengthen the bond between you.