Dogs Eating Underwear
Just recently, I met up with a friend, who during the course of our conversation, told me that his dog had been eating his underwear. I think he was slightly embarrassed by the whole thing, but honestly there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Actually it’s not even that uncommon. In fact, dogs eating underwear, socks, nylons, etc. is such a common problem that if you Google “dogs eating underwear” you will find thousands of results. It appears that many of us have had to deal with this issue at some point in our lives.
As a pet sitter and dog walker, I’ve been asked about this issue numerous times; not only by clients, but also by friends and family.
Most people want to know why… and then they want to know what to do about it. The “why” is a matter of debate. Answers range from lack of exercise (i.e., boredom) to seperation anxiety to a desire to feel closer to us. I even saw a Wiki post claiming that it was because the dog did not see the owner as the “alpha dog” (my personal thought on that one is “utter nonsense”)! Not everything a dog does can be related to dominance or your “alpha dog” status (that in itself is another whole topic to be explored at another time).
Let’s face it. Dogs are notorious for eating pretty much anything they can get their teeth on. I even saw one blog post claiming their dog had eaten their Wii remote! Sounds funny right? The reality is that this can be a very serious problem. I personally know of one dog that died after eating his owner’s nylons and another that died (just recently) after eating a sock.
Dogs eat things for a variety of reasons. I like to equate dogs eating underwear with their penchant for rolling in poop or rolling around in a spot where a dead animal once laid. Simply put, they like the smell. It appeals to them. It is my personal belief that dogs eat underwear (and socks) because they like the smell, perhaps because the item carries the scent of the owner, but maybe not. The truth is…only the dogs knows for sure.
So here are some things you can do to prevent your dog from eating your underwear:
1. Pick up your clothes (especially underwear, socks, and nylons) – don’t leave them out for your dog to find.
2. Store clothes in a hamper that has a tight lid or is stored in a closet where you can shut the door. The idea is to prevent them from having access.
3. Teach your dog the commands “leave it” and “drop it” – that way if you catch your dog stealing your underwear you can retrieve the item without a whole lot of damage
4. Consider kenneling your dog when you are not home or placing him or her in a “dog-proof” room away from these items.
The reality is your dog is going to find these items if given access to them. There is no spray or “cure” for the dog who likes to eat your underwear or socks. The best thing you can do (in addition to limiting access) is to teach him commands that will allow you to have more control over the situation. You have to be the protector of your own dog. After all, they can’t do it for themselves.