Why Does My Dog Hold Pillows in His Mouth – (9 Top Reasons)

—Wondering why your dog holds pillows in mouth? Is it normal for dogs to carry pillows around in their mouth? Get answers to this common dog problem

It is common information that many dogs have the habit of stuffing pillows and other soft objects into their mouths. This is a canine behavior that has been around for a very long time.

There are several reasons why dogs prefer to hold on to pillows in their mouth. This article will discuss the various reasons why dogs behave in this manner, as well as offer advice on how to put a halt to this behavior in your canine companion.

Why does my dog hold pillows in his mouth?

 It Is An Instinctual Behavior

One primary reason why dogs hold pillows in their mouth is because it’s an instinctive behavior that has been passed down from their ancestors.

This behavior has been passed down from generation to generation — Dogs are descended from wolves, which were known to carry their kills back to their dens after a successful hunt.

They would use their teeth to grip the prey so that they could transport it. This allowed them to carry it more easily. This also assisted in protecting the prey from any additional predators that might have been in the region at the time.

Dogs have, over the course of their evolution, acquired the ability to exhibit this behavior even when they are not actively engaged in the hunt for prey.

It Provides A Sense Of Comfort

Another reason why canines tend to hold pillows in their mouths is because having a soft object like a chew toy, or  pillow in this case, in their mouth makes them feel more secure and relaxed.

Dog behavior specialists speculate that this behavior is similar to the way a person seeking comfort might hug a pillow or a stuffed animal.

Dogs can achieve a similar sense of calm and security through the use of this method, which is particularly beneficial in circumstances that could cause them to feel anxious or tense.

Fido is probably going through the “teething” phase

The pain associated with teething can be eased for puppies and young dogs by grasping soft objects like pillows in their mouths. Puppies, like human infants, go through a period of development known as “teething,” during which their permanent teeth begin to develop.

Because the process can be unpleasant for them, they may resort to biting and chewing on various things such as pillows  in an effort to alleviate the pain they are experiencing.

puppy nibbling to ease off teething pain

Your dog wants to play

Dogs are strangely amazing creatures and witty ones as well. They can easily spot patterns as well as try to replicate certain activities. A similar case is a game of fetch where you toss a toy at a far distance and your pooch sprints a long distance to recover the item.

Such activities are really exciting for dogs and they may try to replicate this when you’re not engaging them with it. You may notice your dog holding a pillow and standing or sitting in front of you, it’s their way of asking you to play with them. Perhaps a simple fetch game will satisfy their needs.

It Could Be A Sign Of Boredom Or Lack Of Stimulation

Dogs that aren’t provided with enough stimulation or exercise in their lives may choose to relieve their boredom by carrying pillows around in their mouths.

Working dogs such as German shepherds Labrador Retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, Pointer, Border Collie, as well as other working dogs, require above average level of physical exercises and simulations, and when they don’t get enough of this, it could often lead to these sorts of behavior.

Similarly, dogs that are left alone for extended amounts of time or dogs that do not receive sufficient mental or physical stimulation throughout the day may exhibit this behavior. It may also be seen in dogs that are not socialized enough.

A great way to correct this behavior is by engaging your canine in a lot of stimulating and active play.

It Could Be A Sign Of Separation Anxiety

Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety may resort to self-soothing behaviors such as holding objects in their mouths, such as cushions or pillows.

It’s possible that when a dog is feeling stressed and anxious, they’ll participate in behaviors that end up giving them a sense of comfort and security. They may find that if they put a pillow in their mouth and hold it there, it helps to relieve some of the nervousness that comes from being left alone or being separated from their owner.

 It Could Be A Sign Of A Medical Condition

It is possible that there’s more deep-seated reasons behind your dog’s pillow-nibbling problems besides comfort and instincts. A medical condition could also be behind this behavior in dogs.

If a canine has dental problems or an oral infection, for instance, they may choose to hold on to something in their mouth as a means of reducing the amount of discomfort they feel.

Additionally, canines that have seizure disorders may choose to hold objects such as pillows in their mouths as a way of lessening the severity of their seizures. This behavior is known as “mouthing.”

It’s training related 

Dogs are frequently put through exercises that require them to hang on to a pillow as a means of teaching them obedience and self-control in the context of dog training.

This method includes positioning a pillow or other soft object in front of the dog and giving them verbal instructions to hold onto the item with their mouth.

dog training with toy

This exercise’s objective is to teach the dog to refrain from the temptation to chew or play with the pillow and to instead concentrate on maintaining a still position over it until the trainer grants them permission to let go of it.

Some dogs may actually get a hang of it and replicate this while training sessions are over.

Natural behavior 

Dogs may also display a variety of behaviors, some of which may be unique to their breed, individual temperament, or innate instincts. These behaviors can be observed in a variety of settings.

The tendency to hold onto objects is one of these behaviors, and it is something that can frequently be observed in dogs as they play with their toys or carry items around the house or yard.

Some dogs may have a distinct preference for soft objects, such as blankets, stuffed animals, or pillows which they may bring around with them or even lie on while they are sleeping.

It is thought that this behavior is the result of a combination of natural instincts and behaviors acquired through experience. So while you may get worried that there’s something wrong with Fido, he may just be displaying behaviors that are only natural.

Why does my dog sleep with a pillow in his mouth

He’s being protective 

Dogs can often get overly protective as well. Most times this is closely related to separation anxiety. Your dog feels fear of losing a particular toy, cloth item or pillows. So they grab hold onto it in their mouth and sleep with it as a way of safeguarding it.

They find it comforting

While there’s a long list of things that get dogs tensed or feeling easy, they have also figured out ways to troubleshoot these problems. One way dogs try to alleviate a feeling of anxiety or stress is by chewing or holding onto soft items like pillows, and while this works, they may often fall asleep holding onto the item.

Separation anxiety

Dogs with separation will often hold on items blankets, chew toys or pillows often used by their owners. Because they feel alone, the pillow which has your scent on it is one thing that can help your dog feel relaxed and safe while you’re away.

How to stop my dog from grabbing pillows in his mouth?

How to stop my dog from grabbing pillows in his mouth?

There are a few different things you can do if you notice that your canine is holding pillows in their mouth and you want to put an end to this behavior.

The first thing that should be done is to make sure that the behavior is not being caused by any underlying medical conditions.

If you have any reason to believe that your dog may have a health problem, you should take him to the veterinarian to get checked out.

Provide mental stimulation 

Providing your dog with a lot of activity and mental stimulation can help curb undesirable behaviors if those behaviors are brought on by boredom or a lack of stimulation in the dog’s environment. Try incorporating new toys and games into your dog’s daily routine to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated.

Try behavior modification training or Calming Supplements 

There are a number of things that you can do to help alleviate the tension that your dog is experiencing if they are holding pillows in their mouth as a result of anxiety in general or separation anxiety.

In order to help your canine feel more relaxed, your veterinarian may recommend calming supplements or medications for your dog to take. Your canine can learn how to deal with stress and anxiety in a more productive manner by participating in behavior modification training, which can be used to teach your dog these skills.


Dogs’ innate tendency to carry pillows around in their mouth is an inherited trait. It can help them feel safe and at ease, which is particularly helpful in stressful or worrying situations. Even though the behavior isn’t harmful in and of itself, it could be an indicator that your dog is bored or anxious.

Leave a Comment