When thinking about dogs, especially puppies, the first picture that pops in our mind is them chewing on something. They can nibble on anything that crosses their path. Some of those things tend to get really strange.
Since dogs are pretty mouthy, you probably had times where you just stood there and stared at them, and thought to yourself: ˝Why does my dog eat my underwear?˝ This behavior is strange to dog owners, but believe it or not, there are reasons behind it.
Well, luckily we made a list of reasons why your dog chews on your underwear, and also some potential solutions you can try in order to stop them from doing so.
Why Does My Dog Eat My Underwear? 12 Reasons Explaining This Behavior
Dogs are known to make a stop at your laundry basket and go through your dirty laundry like they are at a candy store. They like socks, but out of all the dirty clothes, underwear is the thing they prefer the most. It isn’t important if they are male or female underwear – they go for it the same.
Even if you consider underwear-eating to be gross or even funny sometimes, you need to keep in mind that the consequences might be serious. Dogs lick underwear as well, but that goes unnoticed.
So, to answer your question, why does my dog eat my underwear?, we made a list of things that can be potential activators for this behavior. Some are easier to solve, others a bit harder, but not impossible. We have a lot to go through so buckle up and enjoy the ride.
1. Your Dog Is Bored And Is Asking For Attention
Don’t worry – this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not providing enough attention to your dog. This behavior is common for dogs that are a bit more nervous and obsessed with someone or something.
Some dogs just need more attention, and by chewing on underwear, they are showing you that they are seeking it. Sometimes, they don’t really care if the attention is good or bad – attention is attention to them whatever it may be.
Some dogs also don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time because they get bored. And, what is the best thing to do when they are bored? Chew on things, especially underwear and other stuff that they know they shouldn’t touch.
So, if you are planning to leave the house for a bit longer time, we advise you to put away all the stuff you don’t want to be chewed on, including your underwear.
What a strange way to seek attention, don’t you think?
2. Your Dog Loves Your Scent
Dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than we humans have, and it is by 1,000 to 100,000 times. They use it to get around, meet other dogs, and feel more relaxed when we are not around. They can also use it as a form of communication, and this is probably where your undies come into play.
When left home alone, your dogs can still smell your scent. When that scent evaporates a bit, they go and find the source of it. What better source of your pheromones than your dirty underwear that they will dig up from the laundry basket.
These pheromones make them feel more comfortable when alone, and it almost makes them think that you are present. Even if we find this dog behavior disgusting, they don’t see anything bad with it.
They even think that they are showing you love this way, and that you would appreciate it when seeing them chewing on your underwear.
3. Clouding Their Smell With Yours
This is a bit more of an unusual reason, and sometimes we might not understand it completely. And, it is also a reason that is a bit harder to detect. It is connected with their sense of smell, but in a bit more of a different way.
It is also connected with their more wild ancestors, or in other words, wolf families. They believe that if they are the ones that have a more dominant smell, the prey is probably not going to approach them.
One of the reasons why your dog is either chewing or rubbing himself on your underwear is to reduce his smell that he believes is more dominant, and take on your scent. In other words, he wants to mask his smell with his owner’s scent.
This way, he feels more authoritative because he took on your smell. Why is that? Because in his eyes, you are the leader of the house, or in other words, the pack leader.
4. Your Puppy Is Teething
Teething is a common reason for your dog to chew your underwear. When it comes to puppies, you can expect the teething phase when they get to the four- to seven-month mark. This process is very uncomfortable for your puppy, and it can get quite painful.
They will chew on any foreign object that crosses their path, including a pair of underwear. Mixing this with the scent of your pheromones, and your underwear is like winning the lottery for them.
We suggest that when you see them go through this, hide all the underwear and everything that you don’t want your dog to chew on.
5. Teething In Older Dogs
Teething in older dogs is something a lot of dog owners forget sometimes since it is not that common. The dog usually has some teeth or gum problems. This can also be painful for your senior dog, and they relieve their pain and frustration by chewing on stuff, especially your underwear.
We suggest you brush your dog’s teeth daily, or at least two or three times a week to prevent this from happening when they get older. When you notice your older dog chewing on undies or anything except a toy, take him to the vet.
This is known to be an appetite abnormality that can affect both humans and dogs. This compulsive disorder can be described as dogs eating non-food objects, or in other words, eating things that don’t have nutritional value.
Your underwear might be the perfect example of that. A disclaimer we want to give is that if your dog ate underwear or any other object a couple of times, it doesn’t mean they have pica syndrome. This is usually a constant problem that can occur daily.
Some people think that this happens because a dog’s eating habits aren’t proper, or that they don’t get enough nutrients from their food. Another thing dog owners think is that digestive system anomalies can cause this. Mostly, this isn’t the case. Most of the time, it is a psychological reason.
The best thing is to contact a vet or a behaviorist to help you solve this problem.
7. Separation Anxiety
This is a reason that can be more difficult to detect, and it is sometimes confused with boredom. This happens when you leave the house, even for a short period of time.
A lot of dogs that tend to suffer from separation anxiety have a lot of love to give to their owner, and they always feel as if they didn’t show it enough before you left. They relieve their stress by chewing on something that has a lot of your scent on it.
And, that thing is… you guessed it – your undergarments. Unfortunately, sometimes when we catch them doing that, we might get a bit frustrated and attack them a bit, which can make them even more stressed.
You can’t blame yourself for that – it is really difficult to detect anxiety with dogs. Try to go to the vet to see if there are any medical reasons, and a vet can also help you figure it out.
8. Improving Their Hunting Skills
You can’t forget that dog ancestors were wild animals that used to hunt a lot. Those hunting instincts still stream through their blood. When they feel a hunting moment coming, they usually try to find something that has a more intense smell.
So, underwear is perfect for them. Finding them and eating them can be connected to the practice or improvement of their hunting skills.
9. They Think They Are Protecting You
This is quite an unusual thing that is bitter-sweet. On one hand, you know that they are trying to protect you in their strange way, and that is one way for them to show you love. On the other hand, you can’t help but find this disgusting.
How does this work? They think that by chewing your underwear, they are spreading your pheromones all over the house, and that will keep any unwanted guest out. We might not get it, but they really take this seriously.
10. Your Reaction Can Be Mistaken As A Game Of Fetch
Dogs really sense our emotions, and they are pretty good at reading them. But, sometimes when we go strongly at them, and with a higher voice, they think we want to play with them.
They will definitely start to run, and if you follow them, they will for sure think that you are playing fetch with them, especially if they are in the puppy stage. Another potential game they might think is going on is tug of war.
When you see that they are a bit playful, even though you are angry at them, try not to overreact because they are not taunting you, but just trying to play with you. Try to approach the situation calmly.
11. The Elastic Band Reminds Them Of Toys
Every underwear has elastic bands that make the perfect tug or chew toy. Even if your house is filled with dog toys, sometimes your dog might just prefer a pair of undergarments instead.
If you have two dogs combined with underwear, it can make playtime that will last for hours. The only thing that can help you in this situation is to hide the underwear where they can’t see nor reach them.
12. Behavior Disorders
If your dog has been eating underwear for a long period of time, it can mean that they have some behavior disorders like having compulsive behavior. Some breeds are prone to this disorder, so you should try and find out if your dog belongs to this list.
The best thing you could do is call a vet or some other specialist who will help you detect and solve this problem.
How To Stop My Dog From Eating Underwear? 7 Solutions
1. Use Anti-Chew Spray
These remedies are amazing, easy to use, and effective in a short period of time. Choose a pair of underwear that is older, and that you will throw away anyway. The rest of the undies should be hidden so your dog can’t just go and grab a new one.
Spray the pair that you decided to give him and just leave them lying around. The taste will be so disgusting for him that he will leave them. At first, they will probably get confused, but after a while, they will show no interest.
Some dogs are more resilient and might even like the taste of the anti-chew spray you bought. In that case, try to find a new one. You can find many options on Amazon or even at the store that is located near your vet.
Bitter Apple Or Citrus Spray
If you don’t want to buy these remedies, you can always use natural ingredients that will work just as well as the store-bought ones.
Sometimes, besides these two, people tend to mix in a bit of pepper in the homemade remedy to increase its effectiveness.
2. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
This is the best solution for this problem. Hiding your underwear from places where they can reach is the most effective way for them to stop eating it.
If you leave them all around the house, or somewhere they can reach them easily, it almost feels like an invitation to grab them and eat them. After some time of not seeing them, they will forget about them and learn to play with their toys.
Sometimes, dog training isn’t necessary if applying this solution. But, if you see your dog eating underwear for a long time and still enjoying it more than his toys, you should involve some training as well.
3. Use Hampers With A Lid
Hampers with a lid are always a better option. Firstly, the smell can get through just as well as with a hamper without a lid, and because of that, dogs will have less temptation to dig through to find the undies.
Second, the lid makes it hard or even impossible for a dog to get the underwear. After some time, they will get tired and annoyed by trying to get them out, and they will just give up.
4. Toys To The Rescue
Making sure that your dog has enough toys to play with can ensure your underwear stays alive. The best thing is to buy them toys that have different specifications, textures, styles, sizes, and colors.
A fun toy you can get for your dog is a food-dispensing toy. You can put different food items in there, and their favorite snacks will work as well. This is an amazing way to lure and even bribe your dog to leave the underwear.
When they start to get into the toy, you can take the underwear. They usually love this toy so much that they will forget about underwear completely. There is a wide assortment of these toys that you can find on Amazon.
5. Reward Them For Good Behavior
Appreciating and rewarding good behavior is always welcomed. When dogs have a problem with eating underwear, when you see them eat their food, always use affirmative language and tone, and pet them. This way, they will get excited to eat their dog food.
Another thing you should do when you catch them in the act is to calmly take the undies. After you take them, try hiding them behind their back and offer them a treat. They will probably be a bit confused.
After giving them a treat, offer them another toy to play with. When they accept it and start playing with it, give them another treat and speak to them with a happy tone. They will love the attention and forget about the underwear in no time.
6. Give Them More Attention
As mentioned, boredom and anxiety can cause your dog to eat underwear. Sometimes, they just want to grab your attention by doing something that is quite disgusting.
Try to always greet them when you come home, and try doing it for a bit longer time. On the days you are at work or you know you will be absent for some time, try to spend as much time with them as possible during the periods when you are at home.
On your free days, it is best to find some outdoor activities that both you and your dog can enjoy. The more time you spend with them, the less time they will spend doing unusual things like eating underwear.
7. Make A Vet Appointment
If you notice that this behavior has been going on for a long time, the best thing to do is call a vet. Some of the causes of this behavior can be some medical issues.
The vet can detect if there is a medical issue, and prescribe some medication. They can also suggest whether you need to change your dog’s diet, and how to change it.
If you are not sure if your dog is having some health difficulties, or eating underwear is just a way of showing their love for you and their playfulness, contact a vet.
Can Eating Underwear Be Dangerous?
If your dog is just nibbling on the underwear, then there is no reason for you to be worried about something happening to your dog. But, on the other hand, if you notice them eating it, that can cause some difficulties for your dog. Ingestion of a foreign body that travels to your stomach can never be a good thing.
Even though the materials that underwear is made of don’t get bigger when inside a dog’s digestive tract, they can still cause quite a commotion in there. The first thing that could happen is blockage.
What this means is that the dog will have problems when they need to poop. Another thing that blockage can cause is a loss of appetite, which then causes your dog to lose weight, and in the end, show signs of fever.
Other things that can be dangerous for your dog are the colors used to make the underwear prettier. When these chemicals get mixed with saliva, they travel through the throat right to the kidneys and liver.
Worn undies can also contain some bacteria that can make your dog sick. They also get mixed with the saliva, travel through the body, and make your dog feel unwell.
Fortunately, sometimes a dog can eject the material by themselves. One way, and sometimes the only way to extract it is by surgical procedure. If you notice your dog eating underwear, the best thing to do is call the vet.
He or she will probably screen their stomach to see if there is anything there. If there is, you will be given some medications that will make your dog eject the unwanted stuff. If the medication doesn’t work, the next solution is an operation.
Some of the stuff our dogs tend to do can be very odd, and sometimes even disgusting. A dog’s sense of what is unappealing is very different from ours. If you are their favorite person, you can expect to be treated with a lot of unusual behavior.
Why does my dog eat my underwear and looks me straight in the eyes is one of the questions you may ask yourself. Well, we hope we helped you with the list of possible reasons, as well as possible solutions to this problem.
Whenever you face some challenges with your dog, whether it is them eating underwear or something else, always approach the situation calmly. When you are calm, you will react better, meaning you will know if it is time to call the vet or if you know that your dog is just playing with you.
It can get a bit stressful, but don’t worry – we know you got this.