Can Dogs Breathe Under Blankets?

Many owners let their dogs sleep in bed with them or may even give them their own blankets. Though the question may suddenly hit you, “Can dogs breathe under blankets?”

If you’re worried and wondering if dogs can breathe under blankets, rest easy; it is very unlikely dogs will suffocate under the covers.

can dogs breathe under blankets
Can dogs breathe under blankets?

However, breathing in certain circumstances can be challenging for your dog.

Is It Safe For Dogs To Be Underneath a Blanket?

So, can dogs breathe under blankets? Yes! Although your pup should be able to breathe snuggled under the covers, you want to ensure it’s safe.

puppy inside soft blanket
A puppy stay inside soft blanket.

Whether your dog sleeps snuggled up next to you or in its crate, make sure it can quickly get out from under the blankets.

Also, ensure the blanket isn’t wrapped under their heads or trapping them. If your dog gets uncomfortable and cannot get out of a tightly wrapped sheet or blanket, it may cause some distress.

While your dog should still be able to breathe, it’s always possible that the blanket could be pressed over its nose or have layers overlapping, restricting airflow.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and at the least, make sure your dog is comfortable. Luckily, if the covers drape gently over a dog, they will remove themselves once they feel uncomfortable.

Dogs That May Struggle to Breathe Under Blankets

In some cases, it’s not the best idea to have your dog sleeping underneath a blanket next to you.

Brachycephalic Dogs

Brachycephalic dogs, such as Pugs or Shih Tzus, have shorter skull bones, giving their face and nose a pushed-in appearance. These dog breeds have difficulty breathing, so it’s dangerous to be in an oxygen-restricted environment.

two Pugs stand together
The two Pugs stand together and look confused.

Dogs With Respiratory Issues

If your dog has a respiratory issue, it can be unsafe to be underneath a blanket due to the limited oxygen. Additionally, maneuvering out from under the covers may cause panic, making breathing even more challenging.

sick dog sleeping
A sick dog sleeping on a pillow.

Some respiratory symptoms may include breathing harder while they sleep, coughing, nasal discharge, difficulty breathing, or coughing.

The most common respiratory issues in dogs include the following:

  • Cold or flu
  • Kennel Cough
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Canine Distemper Virus
  • Pneumonia
  • Lung Tumors

Older Dogs or Dogs With Mobility Issues

Typically, dogs will shimmy out of the covers when they’re uncomfortable. However, older dogs may struggle to move, making it hard to get out from underneath the blankets. 

an old dog
An old dog looking at the camera.

Similarly, dogs with mobility issues like arthritis or hip dysplasia may find it challenging or uncomfortable to crawl out from the covers.

Can Dogs Breathe Underneath Weighted Blankets?

If you have a weighted blanket that your dog likes to burrow under, it can be a cause for concern. Weighted blankets are heavy blankets primarily used for those with anxiety.

dog under cover
Dog sleeps under a blanket.

The weight of the blanket can be comforting and calming for humans but can be extremely heavy on a dog. For example, a 20-pound weighted blanket may not feel like much for someone who’s 150 pounds, but it can be heavy for a small dog.

Even if you have a lighter weighted blanket, it can be too heavy for certain dog breeds; those few extra pounds can be a lot for a breed under 15-20 pounds and may make it nearly impossible for them to move.

You may still run into issues even if you have a larger dog. Your dog should be fine underneath the blanket if your body takes the brunt of the weight. However, if the total weight of the blanket is on your dog’s chest, it can be unsafe.

The heaviness of the blanket could make your dog panic, trap them, and cause respiratory distress. 

Keeping Your Dog Safe If You Have a Weighted Blanket

If you have a dog with asthma, other respiratory issues, mobility issues, or a brachycephalic animal, use extra caution. It’s best not to allow a dog with the above problems to have a head underneath the blanket.

Maltipoo wearing pink dress
A Maltipoo wearing a pink dress sits on a couch with blankets.

Mobility issues pose the risk of your pup not having the opportunity to escape the blanket if they want, which may cause distress or panic.

For dogs with respiratory issues who enjoy cuddling under the blankets, consider getting a small, breathable, lightweight sheet or blanket specifically for the pup.

For healthy dogs, there are still a few things to consider. First, consider the dog’s size and avoid letting small breeds underneath a weighted blanket.

They should be okay if your dog doesn’t take the brunt of the weight and can freely move.

Why Do Dogs Like Going Under the Covers?

So, why do dogs insist on crawling under the covers? Interestingly, this habit comes from their ancestral traits that go back to when dogs were born in dens.

Yorkshire Terrier lying in bed
Yorkshire Terrier lying in bed under a blanket.

Many dogs feel safe and secure when they’re in a cave-like atmosphere. You may have even noticed your dog lying underneath a desk or den-like space. Some pups may routinely crawl under the blankets, while others only do it when they’re anxious or feeling ill.

Of course, some breeds simply enjoy being warm and snuggled up to their companion. As puppies, the litter sleeps together, so it’s no surprise they’d keep that tradition with their new “pack.”

That said, no matter the breed, dogs can get hot and uncomfortable under the covers after a while. So, it’s always crucial to ensure your pup can leave when they want.

Is It Okay for Dogs to Sleep Under a Blanket?

Because of their instinct, many dogs enjoy being under the covers. As long as you keep safety measures in mind, it’s okay for a dog to sleep under a blanket.

Dogs will move if they feel uncomfortable. So, a dog with full access to exit the covers won’t simply lay there in discomfort; they’ll dig their way out when they need to.

That said, any animal will become oxygen-deprived after some time, so it’s never a good idea to let any pet breathe the same air in a limited space for long periods.

If your pup is persistent, do your best to lift the blanket to where its nose is out and able to breathe fresh air while the majority of its face and body are under the covers.

Should I Stop My Dog From Sleeping Underneath the Blankets With Me?

Determining if you should continue to encourage your dog’s behavior of sleeping under the blankets depends on the breed and how long it’s been doing so.

puppy about to sleep
A puppy wants to sleep between the owner’s legs on the bed.

If your dog has spent years of its life with the choice to sleep under the covers with you and has quickly been able to move when needed, there’s no need to stop them.

If your dog can leave when uncomfortable, it should be okay. Changing their habits may be confusing and make your dog anxious.

However, if you have health concerns and need to stop the behavior, slowly adjust. Start by moving the blanket so their nose or face is outside the covers, then once they’re used to it, transition to keeping the blanket on the lower half of their body.

Unless you have a heavy-weighted blanket over a small dog or dog with health issues, your pup should be perfectly fine with the blanket over half its body.

Final Thoughts

So, can dogs breathe under blankets? Dogs can breathe under blankets in most cases. So, if you’re worried your pup will suffocate when sleeping under the blankets with you, don’t be.

Most dogs will instantly remove themselves if they are uncomfortable, too hot, or not getting enough airflow. However, small dogs, heavy sleepers, or dogs with health issues may struggle to wiggle out from the blankets.

In the above case, choose a lightweight blanket and only cover the lower half of their bodies. However, it’s best for your pup to have a cozy dog bed close to you with a few of its own small blankets.