Imagine looking for a piece of underwear with no hope in sight only to serendipitously find it lurking in a corner having been shredded to unrecognizable pieces. This habit can spark frustration which can prompt you to yell at your dog.
But this may just cause him to withdraw from you and even go right ahead to do more of it. In this article, you will find out why your dog indulges in this habit, the consequences, and how to stop it completely.
Are you often discomfited with the thoughts, ‘why does my dog eat my underwears?’, Read on below for solutions with long-lasting effects.
ALSO READ: Dog Ate Used Tampon? What You Need To Know
Why Dogs Eat Underwear
A lot of things may cause your dog to chew on your underwear, some of which may come off a surprising, stupid, or illogical to you. But, hey, it is what it is. Dogs can be a plethora of weird behaviors.
1. Pica Syndrome
One common reason is Pica Syndrome , a disorder that causes dogs to be attracted to non-nutritious objects such as clean underwear, mattress, and other inedibles. This disorder is more common with puppies and can also be found in humans as well— although rarely. Pica Syndrome may be the reason behind your dog’s eating of underwear.
Contacting a vet is very important to deal with Pica Syndrome, as he will need to examine if psychological or physiological issues trigger the disorder.
The good news is that a few dosages and a change of diet might be all that is needed to manage the disorder and eventually stop your dog’s underwear-eating behavior.
2. Puppy Teething
If you have a puppy who’s barely just 4-7 months into his lifespan, teething might be what you should be looking at, giving that this is the stage where they experience it.
Teething comes with a lot of pain which can make your puppy feel very uncomfortable. To alleviate the pain, he will chew on just about anything he places his paws on. If your undies are found to be lying carelessly at that moment, they will become victims.
At times, a puppy may chew objects such as undies to try out his growing canines. You can buy him chew toys to serve as an alternative to your undies.
Dogs are very perceptive animals; hence their sense of smell is much stronger that of humans; this causes them to focus and rely on smell to navigate their environment.
Given this, they tend to be drawn to their owner’s undies because the undies carry a strong smell of their owner.
When this is the case, your dog will play with your underwear with excitement whilst smelling your pheromones with keen interest, thus causing him to accidentally or deliberately chew on them.
As annoying as it is, this may be your dog just trying to show that he loves you.
4. Boredom and Attention Seeking
When your dog doesn’t have anything doing, he may become bored, especially when he doesn’t have your heart-warming attention either. As a result, he may grab your undies and begin to chew them so as for you to look his way.
Now, forcing the undies away from the grip of his canines while yelling like an angry dad or mum won’t suffice. He will find something else to chew on, so it is advised that you collect the torn underwater gently, give him the attention he craves, and then mildly do the scolding later.
5. To Protect Their Owner
As weird and funny as this seems, all your dog is trying to do might be to protect his owner—the pack leader—from harm.
Dogs believe their owner’s underwear to carry their smell specially, so they usually tear and chew the undies to eradicate your smell. This is to ward off unwanted visitors from their owners. Funny.
6. Natural Attraction to Waste Materials
Dogs are naturally attracted to waste materials and anything that has a strong smell of human blood.
If you leave your undies or period underwear in the hamper for a long time unwashed, they will accumulate dirt and all sorts of germs overtime, thereby attracting your dog.
It is advised not to be careless with dirty undies or period underwear, as your dog can contract bacteria when he chews them.
7. To Cloud Their Smell With Yours
In the wild, animals, especially the wolf family, carry the belief that having a more dominant smell makes predators less likely to approach them.
To whelm himself in that commanding smell, your dog believes your scent will suffice and will rub his body on your undies or any clothing that has your smell to mask his smell.
Dogs believe carrying the smell of the leader of the pack—that is you—gives them a commanding presence.
8. Hunting Skills Practicing
If you’re wondering, ‘why does my dog destroy my underwear?’, know that dogs are naturally hunters—scavengers so to say—and they will want to hone their hunting skills whether with your help or not.
When doing this indoors, they will practice with objects their smell sense draws them to, one of which may be your underwear. In this case, there won’t be much chewing as your dog might only tear the underwear with his claws.
9. Teething in Adult Dogs
Not only puppies go through a teething stage, but adults dogs can also experience which, in their case, causes the gums to swell and also make them experience crankiness and feel irritated easily.
Increased chewing also comes into play when adult dogs are teething. They may also indulge in many of the things puppies do to alleviate their pain.
Brushing the teeth at intervals is recommended to prevent this, and the teeth may need to be checked by a vet to confirm if there aren’t any more serious cases down the orifice. In the end, chew toys can be provided as an alternative to your underwear.
What Happens My Dog Eats My Underwear? Is It Dangerous to His Health?
Having understood the behaviors and conditions that prompt your dog to eat your underwear, you must know the dangers this habit exposes him to.
First, not all dogs stop at chewing undies, and some will unfetteredly go as far as swallowing them. This may cause blockages in their oesophagus and far down as their intestines.
While fabric ingested cannot swell as objects such as tampons and diapers, they can make it difficult for your dog to process food or even eat anything at all, due to the obstruction caused in their system.
The organ that is more susceptible to blockage is your dog’s digestive tract, and when fabric goes down there, your dog will begin to lose appetite, weight, and begin to show signs of fever.
In some cases, a dog might not be able to excrete or vomit the ingested fabric, which may necessitate the need for surgery to remove it. Often though, hopefully, your dog won’t experience any difficulty digesting the fabric and excreting it out.
Also, undies, especially ones which have just be laundered, can be poisonous to your dog. This is because they usually contain bits of harmful chemicals such as parabens and sodium laureth sulfate from the soap used.
When your dog chews your underwear, these chemicals will blend with his saliva, which will eventually go down this throat. These chemicals can cause damages to his liver and kidney if there is a great amount of them stuck in your underwear.
On the flip side, worn undies often contain different bacteria which can cause your dog to fall sick when blended with his saliva.
How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Your Underwear
Having understood the consequences of your dog eating undies, the question that pops up next in your head should be how to stop the habit. Most of the methods that will be recommended in this article stress on keeping the underwear out of reach, so being careful about where you place your underwear is important.
1. Put Underwears in a Hamper with Top Lid
Dogs can easily access the contents of an open hamper, so it’s best if you use one with a top lid if you have a dog who is into an underwear-eating habit. Here’s a great and popular choice on Amazon
2. Give Him Food-dispensing Toys
You can lure your dog and get him to focus on a toy that dispenses food. You can spice up the experience by stuffing the toy with really delicious treats, and he won’t even nurse the idea of playing with or chewing something else. There are many food-dispensing toys for dogs in the market.
3. Reward Him for Eating the Right Thing
Whenever your dog eats what you provide for him, pat him on the back, cuddle him, and give him even more delicious treats, but do the opposite when he veers off the road. This will train him to chew mostly edible things and do away with anything otherwise.
4. Use Anti-chew Spray
You can get a dog anti-chew spray with citrus or bitter apple taste. Spray it on the hamper where you keep your undies and on the undies themselves. The taste will deter him from chewing any further after a first bite. Over time, he will learn not to chew at all with the thoughts that you’ve sprayed the undies again, even if you didn’t.
5. Put Undies Away Completely
Although tasking, you can choose to put your undies in places where they will be completely out of your dog’s sight.
I’m not suggesting that you put them under your bed, as your dog can slide in there and drag them out; instead, you can hang them on a wall hanger if you have one. Avoid putting undies in a cloth rack with fabric exterior; your dog may tear through it in desperation.
6. Take Him to a Vet
Lastly, if you suspect your dog’s underwear-eating habit has medical reasons such as Pica Syndrome or Teething, take him to a vet for more advice and for him to be properly examined and treated. Only a few medications and your dog may drop the habit of chewing your underwear.
Our canine children can be a lot of things, some of which may come off as annoying. If you had been wondering, why does my dog eat my underwear before, you should know by now that many of the reasons are simply because they are obsessed with their owner.