Dogs eating underwear may be absurd, but it is a common occurrence. It may be a surprise to see your canine munching on your garment, especially with food in its bowl.
So, why do dogs eat underwear?
1. Attention Seeking
Dogs are like babies, seeing how much they appreciate our attention. If you seem not to notice your canine at home, it may resort to extreme measures to get your eye. Most of the time, it will start sitting next to you with playful growls. No attention yet? It may proceed to rubbing or grabbing you.
If none of its efforts work, it will go overboard, which is where your clothes come into the equation. The underwear may be the nearest to its reach, and it may chew on it to make you notice it.
The behavior may come from you chasing it around the house to get your clothes. So, it is sure that you will still chase it. A win situation for your canine. In that case, some behavioral training might help deal with the menace.
Teething is problematic to dogs, the same way it is to humans. Babies want to chew on anything near them to calm down the pain. That is the same situation for puppies. They will want to gnaw on anything, and your undies might be what is close to them.
There is a soothing feeling from chewing on cloth attire as teeth develop, probably what your pup loves. You can let it calm the pain on the already damaged cloth or replace it with a chew toy.
Dogs are very playful by nature, and boredom can take a toll on them. If bored due to your absence or lack of anything to do, it will look for a chew toy. Unfortunately, the toy may end up being your underwear. It will tag on it, chew it or even bury it.
The solution to this scenario is getting it a chew toy unless you want all your clothes to be tattered and covered in dog spit and dirt. Also, offer your pup some play time to prevent boredom, especially if it is an energetic breed.
4. Pica Syndrome
The other culprit behind your dog’s unusual behavior may be pica syndrome. This condition causes your dog to crave and eat items that are not food. Sometimes, your dog may only want to eat one non-food item, while in other cases, it goes for a variety.
Dogs will love items with their owner’s scent, explaining why your underwear might be their favorite. Causes of pica syndrome range from hormonal imbalance and malnutrition to diseases like diabetes and thyroid disorders. The condition is widespread in breeds like Labradors.
A visit to the veterinarian will help you understand the cause of pica syndrome and how to treat it effectively.
5. Your Dog Misses You
Dogs love being close to their owners, and their absence affects them. For consolation, they will seek any item with their owner’s scent. Undergarments are rich in our scent, seeing that we wear them long enough to absorb our sweat. Your dog will hold onto the cloth and may start chewing on it with time.
6. The Dirt On Cloths
Let us be honest; dogs are not the cleanest eaters around. They can scavenge the bin and may even eat puke. That is nasty, and it can be one of the reasons that it relishes your undies. Underwear has sweat, fecal matter, urine, and blood traces, which may attract your canine.
A solution will be to put your dirty clothes as far away as possible from your dog. You can use a sealed hamper to keep the clothes in place.
7. Your Dog Wants To Bond
At times, the reason why your dog is chewing on your underwear is as innocent as it wants to bond with you. As hinted, your garments are heavy on your scent, which attracts your dog. It gets attached to the clothing item as it does to you. Part of showing its affection is by chewing the underwear. You may also notice it getting so protective to the point of aggression.
8. A Compulsive Disorder
Humans are not the only ones prone to compulsive disorders. Your canine may have a compulsive condition, which drives it to eat your clothing. You will probably notice it eating your underwear or socks to get a calming effect.
The disorder resembles pica syndrome, as the pup will eat non-food items. The difference is that the compulsive it is more mental, and you will need a specialist to deal with it.
9. Protecting You
In the wild, dogs eat things to kill their scent and keep predators away. As mentioned, your underwear has your scent, and your dog may eat it to get rid of the scent. This way, it feels like it is protecting you from predators with a strong sense of smell.
This is common in protective dog breeds, which will do anything to have their owners safe from harm. Sounds cool, right?
10. Your Dog Wants To Smell Like You
A dog’s loyalty is cliché and views you as its pack leader. It follows your orders and wants to be like you. Eating your undies is one way of it trying to mask its scent and absorb yours. This way, it feels as if it is part of your team.
The explanation is that if it has your scent, it will keep predators away because it has the essence of dominance from you. Additionally, your canine may want your scent as a way of bonding.
What Are The Risks Of Dogs Eating Underwear?
Your dog eating underwear should be a cause of alarm. This behavior exposes your dog to several risks, including:
Underwear can choke your dog, seeing that it is not digestible and can be dense depending on its material. When ingested, the garments can block the upper digestive tract, which can be fatal.
Also, overeating the cloth can cause intestinal blocking and lead to malnutrition due to poor food absorption.
Moreover, the undies can cause constipation when they block the lower tract.
It Can Tear The Intestines And Other Tissues
Underwear may contain parts made of metal or hard plastic. When your dog eats the cloth, these parts may tear the soft tissue that lines the digestive tract. It can compound issues like ulcers, which are painful and can cause loss of appetite and weight.
Diseases Due To Dirt
Most of the time, your dog will go for dirty underwear, which exposes it to various pathogens. While dogs may have a strong immune system, ailing ones are susceptible to diseases and may ail after eating your dirty garments.
How To Deal With Dogs Eating Underwear
Your dog’s habit of eating underwear is quite expensive, seeing that it will prompt a visit to the vet. In case of intestinal blockage or tears, surgery may be the way to go – a costly affair. You also factor in purchasing new garments to replace the chewed-on ones.
How do you solve this problem? You should start by getting to its root. A visit to the veterinarian will sort out causes such as pica syndrome and compulsive behavior. Behavioral training is another solution, primarily if your dog eats your undies for their scent.
For boredom, you need to get toys to keep your pooch busy. Also, allocate it some playtime to prevent it from craving your attention. An occasional walk or visit to the park is ideal.
What Not To Do If Your Dog Eats Underwear
You must be gentle with your dog when you realize it is eating your clothes. Below are things you should not do when you discover this habit.
Don’t Grab The Garment
When you notice your dog eating your underwear, the first instinct is to grab the cloth. It is not wise as your dog may be protective of it. Snatching it may make it get aggressive, and it may act out.
Moreover, yanking the pair of undies from your dog is unsafe as it may cause injuries, mainly to the teeth. Clothes with metallic or hard plastic parts can tear the gum or tongue, injuries that you should avoid.
Don’t Be An Enabler
Regardless of your love for your dog, do not be an enabler of this bad behavior. Do not be the type of person who will give their dog underwear to eat because it likes it. This is akin to bad parenting.
Don’t Be Aggressive
You should be patient with your pup, as it looks up to you. Punishing it can cause anxiety and stress, making it an unpredictable pet.
Never Induce Vomiting
Most people will panic when they discover their dog eating non-food matter and resort to some corrective measures. Unfortunately, some of these measures do not work. For instance, never induce vomiting if your dog eats your cloth. It may make matters worse. You should only monitor your dog for any signs of discomfort as you wait for further instructions from your pet doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Common For My Dog To Eat underwear?
While it may seem strange, dogs eating underwear is common. Some breeds, like Labradors and golden retrievers, display this behavior a lot and will even eat your socks. Causes of dogs eating underwear include pica syndrome, separation anxiety, and teething.
Can A Dog Digest Underwear?
Underwear is a non-food item; your dog will have problems digesting it. Materials like nylon are harder to digest and can cause intestinal blockage that requires surgery to fix.
What Happens If My Dog Swallowed Underwear?
Your dog swallowing underwear can bring you to a state of panic. If it is a small chunk of cloth, you can wait a few hours for it to pass via stool. Should it take long, get in touch with your vet. Meanwhile, check for symptoms like discomfort, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
Dogs are curious pets, and this may lead them to your laundry basket, straight to your underwear. As we can see from this article, your dog will eat your underwear for various reasons. It may want some bonding time, have teething issues, or some underlying health conditions.
You can sort out this problem by consulting a trainer or doing it yourself. Your vet will take charge in case of a medical condition. Do not be aggressive towards your dog if you find it snacking on your underwear. Get to the root cause of the problem and address it.