5 Reasons Your Dog Eats Your Underwear
It’s happened again. All I did was get undressed to go take a hot shower at the end of a long day. I let the steam open my pores as the water gently soaked my hair and ran down my body. Once I got out, I felt at peace, refreshed, rejuvenated.
But unfortunately, there was a not-so-nice surprise waiting in my room when I returned. Alas, my sweet fur baby, although she has her own bowl of food to munch on, decided to instead make her evening meal out of my underpants.
She left an homage to her meal by simply chewing out the crotch of my panties leaving the rest a soggy, mangled mess. Of course it was just my luck that they were a brand new pair of extremely cute and comfy cheekies that I had only worn a few times. I picked them up and tossed them in the bin (Kobe!) and cursed the heavens asking no one in particular, “WHY DO DOGS CHEW UNDERWEAR?!!”
Here are the main reasons why your dog is making a snack out of your unmentionables:
- Your dog is teething
- Your dog needs more attention / physical & mental stimulation
- Your dog wants to feel close to you
- Your dog could have pica (but it’s pretty rare, so don’t panic)
- Your dog is playing with something you left on the ground
Now let’s dive into each of those issues.
Puppies: cute face, demonic teeth
This wasn’t the first time my sweet fur baby ate my underwear, but I hoped it could be the last. So, naturally, I turned to the internet for the answer to my dog eating underwear problem. Initially, my research gleaned the idea that this problem is most common in puppies because of teething.
Puppies will find whatever they can to chew on to soothe their aching little teeth as they push through their sensitive gums. This makes sense, but does not solve my personal problem. I knew this couldn’t be the whole story because my little Sasha is 8 years old (in human years) and she hasn’t slowed down her underwear eating extravaganzas whatsoever. So, I continued down the rabbit hole.
Is my dog getting enough attention?
The internet tells us that another common reason for dogs nomming on underwear and socks is their need for attention. Dogs crave interaction with their human and begin to act out when they don’t receive it. A point to Sasha: we did not go on our daily walk today, so this made sense.
We know that dogs need physical exercise, but did you know that a lot of dogs also require mental stimulation? If your pup isn’t getting enough physical or mental attention, they can start to act out by damaging items in your home…like your beloved new underwear.
As we all know, dogs love to play games. When your dog has something in its mouth that you don’t want them to have, do you chase your dog to get it out? If so, you may have just turned this “no-no” into a game for them. When your dog wants to play, they just might grab a pair of underwear and bait you into chasing them. Clever, right?
Instead of chasing after your fluff ball, instead work on an assertive cue of, “drop it” or “leave it”. When your dog responds to these cues, make sure to reward them with a treat. That way, your dog will learn to associate the cue with getting a reward. Think about it. Your dog will likely prefer a tasty treat to a stinky sock when given the opportunity to choose.
News Flash: Your dog LOVES YOU
Dogs are extremely sensitive to smells. YOU are your dog's entire life. Their source of food, water, love, treats, pets, walks, scratches, snuggles, etc. Their life revolves around you and they spend a lot of time smelling your scent.
They love you so dearly that they want as much of you as they can get which is another reason why your dog likes your underwear. My doggy was just trying to be as close to me as possible. pause for collective “awwwww” It would feel slightly more wholesome if it wasn’t also kinda gross.
The downside to your dog turning your drawers into dinner
Although it’s fairly rare, there is a compulsive disorder in dogs called pica. This disease involves the compulsive consumption of non-food items. This disease is primarily triggered by anxiety and stress in dogs. If you think your dog may be a compulsive non-food eater, contact your vet for back up. Now, if it is clear that your dog has ingested a sock, a pair of underwear, or any of your clothing, it’s a good idea to reach out to your vet ASAP.
Sometimes, if the piece of clothing is small enough and your dog is large enough, they may pass the item in their poop fairly easily. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. The ingestion of fabric can cause internal blockages in your pup. The vet may be able to induce vomiting to get rid of the object. Otherwise, they may need to perform an ultrasound or radiograph in order to locate the missing item. This could result in the need for surgery to help your pet.
How to get your dog to STOP chewing your underwear
The answer is simple: Prevention is the name of the game. The easiest way to keep your dirty underwear out of your dog's mouth is to keep them out of reach. Get a hamper with a lid, put your dirty laundry in a closed closet, do whatever you need to do to keep them off the ground.
When your furry friend still gets a hold of your undies, make sure to work on your commands. Do not chase them, do not yell at them or scold them, simply tell them to DROP IT and reward the act with a tasty treat.
If you’re like me and find that you’ve lost one too many pairs of underwear to your pet, it’s time to go shopping. Replace your chewed up undies with some women’s underwear available in thongs, cheekies, bikinis and boyshorts or men’s Ball Hammock Pouch underwear available in a variety of inseam lengths to float your boat just how you like. If you're wondering what type of underwear you should buy, check out our men's underwear guide or women's underwear guide.