Dog playing with a sock

Why Do Dogs Eat Socks?

Dogs are attracted to socks in part because the fabric retains the owner’s scent, and licking and chewing on the sock releases more of that odor. Dogs find the smell of their human companion very rewarding, so sock-chewing becomes a pleasurable activity.

There are a few other reasons why dogs may be drawn to socks. For some dogs, it may be an issue of pica, or a tendency to eat non-food items. Dogs who engage in pica may be suffering from an underlying medical condition such as an upset stomach that they’re seeking to relieve through eating. Other dogs develop a craving for non-food items as a result of behavioral issues or psychological stress.

Your dog may also be stealing socks as a way to get your attention. If he has discovered that stealing a sock causes you to chase after him or pay attention to him, he may continue to do so to alleviate boredom or to invite you into a game of keep-away.

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Dogs also have an instinctive desire to chew on things, especially when they are puppies. A pup who doesn’t have anything else to chew on may take out his urges on socks, shoes, the rug, furniture and anything else he can fit into his mouth. Because socks are small and easy to steal compared to most other household items, they are a common target for these urges.

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Identifying the underlying reason for your dog’s specific sock-eating tendencies can help with solving the issue and preventing potentially dangerous outcomes from developing.

Why Is My Dog Eating Socks?

Why Do Dogs Eat Socks?

Before you can address your dog’s sock-eating, it helps to understand why he’s doing it. If you’ve noticed socks or other items of clothing going missing around the house or showing up with mysterious holes chewed through them, it’s worth doing some further investigation to gauge your dog’s motives. Consider the following questions:

– Is the dog eating the socks or just chewing on them? A dog who actually ingests the socks may be engaging in pica or may just be very careless in the way he plays. Eating fabric is also very dangerous to the animal, so putting a stop to this behavior right away is important for your pet’s safety.

– Does your dog primarily chew on your socks while you’re away from home? A pet that steals laundry while his owner is out of the house may be experiencing separation anxiety. Chewing on your socks may be a way for him to get your scent and feel comforted. A dog who chews socks because he enjoys their scent may also chew on, lick or sleep on other things that smell like you such as your shoes or pillow. Other signs of separation anxiety may include destructive behaviors while you’re out of the house.

– Does your dog chew on other things? Some dogs are simply enthusiastic chewers who need an outlet for their instincts. If he can’t get hold of socks, a chewer might start applying his teeth to other things in the house.

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– Does he hoard other items? For some dogs, stealing socks is just part of a larger scheme of resource guarding and hoarding behavior. Dogs are scavengers by nature, and some enjoy hiding treats, toys, pieces of garbage, laundry and anything else they can find. Dogs with a tendency to hoard objects can also develop resource guarding issues, which can become severe behavioral problems if left unchecked.

– Does he steal socks when you’re looking? A dog who pulls your sock from your foot, takes it from your hand or grabs it while you’re trying to get dressed may be trying to get your attention. If this kind of behavior elicits a response from you, the dog may feel that it’s a fun and even rewarding game.

– Does he have other toys to play with? Some dogs, especially young dogs, can get bored easily and need stimulation. A dog who doesn’t have any other toys to play with might improvise by making toys of his own.

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Sometimes a dog will steal clothing without chewing on it. This is especially common for small dogs who enjoy incorporating clothing items into their bedding. Dogs are attracted to soft textures that are comfortable to sit or lie on. Others might simply enjoy sleeping with clothes that smell like their owners.

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If you notice that items of clothing or other small objects go missing around the house, pay attention to the circumstances. Identifying exactly what’s happening and why can help you to solve the problem before it gets out of hand.

Is It Dangerous for Dogs to Eat Socks?

Why Do Dogs Eat Socks?

Chewing through your clothes is obviously disruptive to the health of your wardrobe. However, damaged socks are the least serious concern when it comes to clothes-chewing canines.

Chewing and especially eating clothing can be detrimental to a dog’s health in many ways:

– Swallowing non-food items can lead to impaction and intestinal blockage. This will often need to be corrected surgically and can be fatal if not treated in time.

– Even if a dog’s intestines are not totally blocked by swallowed fabric, loose threads can get wrapped around intestines and cut into them or cause damage and internal bleeding. Threads can also cut into a dog’s lips and gums.

– Chewing on clothes can also cause a choking hazard. It’s always best for a dog to chew only on approved toys and while under supervision to prevent any risk of choking.

If you catch your dog chewing on socks or other inappropriate items, it’s best to put a stop to the activity right away and take steps to prevent it from happening again. You never want to reinforce a dangerous habit even if it seems harmless or cute at first.

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If you know that your dog has ingested a sock or other non-food item, it’s a good idea to phone your vet for advice. Depending on the situation, your veterinarian may suggest that you watch and wait, induce vomiting or bring the dog in immediately for medical attention. Following your veterinarian’s recommendation can save your dog’s life if an impaction occurs.

Why Do Dogs Eat Socks?

Also, if you’re interested in a little YouTube creativity, take a listen to this. 😉

Why Do Dogs Eat Socks?

Last update on 2019-12-14

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