Why Does My Dog Eat My Underwear? Here's How To Stop It

Why Does My Dog Eat My Underwear? Here's How To Stop It

Author WDF Staff

13.05.2022.


Dogs are naturally pretty mouthy, and they examine the world around them by sniffing, licking, and chewing on various surfaces and textures. However, there is one specific behavior many dog owners are worried about - laundry eating. If you know exactly what we're talking about, you probably asked yourself, "Why is my dog eating my underwear?" Well, you're not the only one, and many dog owners face the same issue. Here's what you should know about dogs eating laundry, the reasons behind it, and what you can do to stop them from doing it.

Why do dogs eat their owner's underwear?

Term pica refers to a desire to eat non-food objects with no nutritional value. Other animals and humans are affected by the illness.

Dogs are naturally drawn to items that have the distinct scent of a loved one on them. Dogs can detect even the tiniest traces of human scent in even the most thoroughly cleaned underpants.

You probably noticed your dog often greets you by jamming their muzzle right between your legs. Pheromones and other odors produced by human sweat glands are pretty concentrated in that area. A dog's nose can tell them a lot about a person, and the same goes for a person's underwear.

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You may notice that your dog licks and chews the underwear to investigate it or simply play with it. The fragrance and taste may be enticing to the dog, despite how unappetizing it sounds to us. Some dogs will simply chew on their owner's underwear, and others might even swallow it.  

Pica is one possible reason dogs eat their owner's underwear. Still, they can also do it because;

  • Smell-related interest
  • Boredom
  • Resource guarding
  • Teething
  • Anxiety
  • OCD
  • An underlying illness
  • Incomplete nutrition

Why is eating underwear dangerous?

For dogs, eating underwear can lead to significant health problems. For humans, the main issue is that it's simply a bit gross. The body will try to expel or pass fabric if it cannot be digested in the stomach. Your dog may vomit up your underwear in its entirety or only a portion of it. Underwear can become lodged in the intestines, producing a blockage, but this is, fortunately, very rare. If that happens, your vet will have to react immediately.

An obstruction in the GI tract can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue. Bloating and/or pain in the abdomen are also possible outcomes. If you see any of these symptoms and feel your dog has eaten something they shouldn't have, take them to the closest veterinarian as soon as possible.

Radiographs or ultrasonography may be used to detect a gastrointestinal obstruction. If this is the case, the foreign object will have to be removed. Endoscopy may be able to remove the foreign body if it is in the stomach. Abdominal surgery is required when the intestines get blocked.

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Call your veterinarian right away if your dog ate your underwear or other stuff that might cause a severe blockage. Before treating pica, be sure there isn't a medical or dietary reason for your dog's weird dietary choice. Your veterinarian may be able to administer a special medication that will make your dog vomit. However, that can only be done if the dog has ingested them recently and there are no breathing issues.

How to stop your dog from eating your underwear?

If you don't want your dog to try to eat your underwear, make sure it's out of reach. Close a hamper with dirty clothes and make sure your dog cannot open it. Before your dog gets a hold of your freshly washed clothes, put them away in drawers and closets.

Reduce your dog's boredom by providing them with a stimulating environment. Spend loads of quality time with them, both physically and emotionally. To keep your dog's mind and body busy, consider engaging dog toys, delectable dog chews, or even dog sports. Embark on long walks, and give them plenty of time to explore. Regularly alter your path to expose them to different sights, sounds, and smells.

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The eating of your underpants can be curbed with the help of training. "Drop it," "leave it," and other verbal cues can be used to quickly stop your dog from eating anything harmful. As a substitute for punishment, utilize positive reinforcement when training your dog. A game or toy is a great way for you to keep your dog occupied. Reward your dog when they successfully stop the unwanted behavior. Make sure to include plenty of delicious treats that will motivate your dog to learn.

World Dog Finder team

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