Dogs chew on all sorts of things – electrical cords, the carpet, any random bits of food lying on the floor. But why do dogs eat underwear?
We admit that it sounds like a gross and bizarre habit that most dog owners are even ashamed to talk about. After all, even though dogs do a bunch of weird things, eating underwear tops it all.
The reason why dogs eat underwear is that they are scent-oriented creatures. They use their sense of smell to evaluate things and may even feel an intimate connection to you, knowing that they smelled something you wore for long hours. Moreover, any random clothing is bound to attract your dog.
Even though there are loads of dogs that eat underwear, it is a potentially dangerous habit. If your dog swallows too much fabric, its digestive tract could get blocked, and it could die.
As professional dog trainers and owners, we will tell you all the reasons why your dog eats your underwear. The information cited here has been taken from personal experience as well as journals to ensure that you get an accurate insight into your pet's odd habits.
Why Do Dogs Eat Underwear?
Here is why your dog is attracted to your underwear, whether you like it or not:
Dogs are Scent-Oriented
As humans, we rely on our sense of sight and vision to evaluate situations and understand what is happening. We don't really require our sense of smell to understand the world.
However, dogs have an incredibly strong sense of smell. PBS claims that a dog's sense of smell is 10,000 times more accurate than that of humans. Moreover, dogs use their sense of smell to do everything, from interpreting messages to communicating with each other.
Their strong sense of smell and the need to understand their surroundings is why dogs get a hold of your underwear.
Attraction to Waste Material
As a dog owner, you know that dogs like smelling poop. It is a gross habit that is hard to understand, but if you have seen a dog on its evening walk, you know that if they find animal poop on the road, they will definitely smell it and are also likely to eat it.
This is because dogs are attracted to waste material. For them, it is an explosion of different scents, and all they want to do is try to understand it. Your underwear, whether you like it or not, has traces of this smell, which is why dogs are drawn to them like a child to candy.
They Value Intimate Scents
We mentioned that dogs use smells to interpret messages. This is why when they smell something on you, they will think of it as personal and immediately gravitate toward you. After all, everyone knows that dogs do not have any concept of personal space.
Countless pet research explains that dogs are like toddlers. They like stealing things that will draw your attention to them.
In the meanwhile, they will chew on things and get to know them better. Since your underwear has your personal scent on it, your dog believes that it must be a valuable thing and chews on it to feel close to you.
A Cover to Their Own Scent
Contrary to what you may believe, your dog could be trying to cover up its own scent by absorbing yours.
In the open, an animal that has an overpowering smell is not as likely to be attacked by a predator as an animal with a weak smell. Your dog may find the smell of your underwear more punchy, so it could be trying to mark its scent with yours.
We all know that dogs look at humans as the pack leader, so it is only obvious that they will use anything that smells like us to cover their own scent.
Your Dog Wants to Smell Like You
The bond between a human and a dog is special. Humans have so much to do apart from playing with their dogs, like going to work, cooking food, and taking care of their family.
Dogs, on the other hand, have nothing to do except play. The only people they want to play with are their owners because they view them as the center of their universe.
Because of this reason, your dog may want to smell like you. It may use your underwear to chew on or absorb its smell so that it feels closer to you.
It Misses You
When dogs are left alone for too long, they start to become destructive. They might chew on your shoes, jump on furniture, pull apart curtains, or break utensils around the house. This usually happens when their owners spend all day at work or leave home for a short vacation.
Your dog may think that by chewing your underwear, it will feel closer to you. Not only is your dog bored without you at home, but it also needs something to remember you by when it is missing you. Since your underwear bears your smell the most, it is the next best thing to chew on.
You are On Your Monthly Cycle
We know that this sounds disgusting, but you need to keep in mind that dogs are carnivores. Like all other animals of their group, they like the smell of blood. For them, the scent of blood reminds them of food or something that needs to be investigated.
If you find that your dog pays special attention to your underwear during your time of the month, you should know that your dog is not the only canine that does this. However, to ensure that your dog does not create a mess in the house, make sure to dispose of your tampons properly.
Keep them in a trash can that your dog cannot reach. They like tampons as much as they like underwear, but tampons can be dangerous because if swallowed, they will expand in your dog's stomach.
If you feel that your dog has swallowed your underwear or torn it up and swallowed a piece of fabric, get in touch with your vet immediately.
While the fabric may pass through your dog harmlessly, it is better to get professional advice so that the situation can be monitored closely.
Other Reasons That Could Cause Your Dog to Be Attracted to Your Underwear
- Resource guarding: Your dog may think that your underwear is personal and would not want anyone else to touch it or get close to it. This is why they chew it up and may end up swallowing it in the process.
- Teething: Puppies who are teething may often chew on underwear, socks, wires, or anything they can find that fits in their mouth.
- Anxiety: If your dog is scared to be left alone or is feeling anxious, it may start to chew on your underwear to gain attention.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder: Humans are not the only ones that suffer from OCD. Some dogs can develop OCD, causing them to do weird things around the house.
- Nutrient deficiency: If you find that your dog has randomly started to develop unusual eating habits, you should take it to a vet and get its nutrients checked.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright