Main 8 Reasons Why Does My Dog Eat My Underwear & How To Stop It

Main 8 Reasons Why Does My Dog Eat My Underwear & How To Stop It

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: Apr 27 2023


Dogs explore the world around them differently, and some will like to sniff, lick or even chew different things, objects, or surfaces to learn more about them. One specific behavior has especially worried dog owners: underwear eating. If you witness this dog behavior, you probably asked yourself, "Why is my dog eating my underwear?" You can calm down since you are not the only one with this issue, and many dog owners have faced the same problems. There are a few different things why your dog could exhibit this behavior, and we will try to ensure that you understand the reasons behind it and what you can do to stop this behavior in the future.

Why do dogs eat their owner's underwear?

Every dog is different and unique, and not all dogs will start to eat underwear for the same reason. You may notice that your dog licks and chews the underwear to investigate it or play with it. The fragrance and taste may entice the dog, despite how unappetizing it sounds to us. Some dogs chew on their owner's underwear, and others swallow it. 

To better help you understand why this is happening, we will list all the possible reasons you can catch your dog eating your underwear in your laundry basket. 

1. Pica

The 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 a lot about a person, and the same goes for a person's underwear.

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2. Boredom

The second most common reason you can catch your dog eating your underwear is boredom. Dogs that don't receive proper physical and mental stimulation will get bored and try to find ways to entertain themself. Some might become destructive, while others can exhibit different and strange behaviors such as underwear eating. You should provide proper exercise to your dog to ensure this behavior stops.

3. Incomplete nutrition

If your dog doesn't receive well-balanced nutrition, he will want to find nutrients missing from his diet, which can manifest in underwear eating. By not providing your dog with a complete and healthy diet, he may also experience some additional health problems, and because of this, it is crucial that you find the best possible food for your dog. If you are unsure how to do it, you can always ask your vet for advice or even contact a dog nutritionist who will gladly help you and your dog.

4. Curiosity

Some dogs are naturally curious more than others and will explore everything around them. If you own an extra curious dog, that could be why he started to eat your underwear, simply because of curiosity. You must correct this behavior immediately and let your dog know this is unwanted behavior. Only by doing so can you ensure that this will not become a habit your dog always does.

5. Teething

Puppies will go through the teething process, and during this time, they will eat and chew whatever they find to reduce the pain. If you own a puppy and catch him eating your underwear, teething might be the main reason. To help him with teething, buy some dog toys specially designed for teething puppies to help with the pain. To find out when the puppies will stop teething and how to help them through this phase, read this article - When do Puppies Stop Teething?


6. Underlying illness

Specific health issues can cause your dog to exhibit different behavior, including underwear eating. If you don't have a valid reason why your dog is showing this behavior, maybe it is time to contact your vet and schedule a meeting. Your vet will be able to figure out if some health issue is bothering him and causing this strange behavior.

7. Anxiety

Certain dogs suffering from anxiety or stress can start to eat underwear to relieve themself. Although this may seem like a strange behavior to calm themself, dogs will have different ways of dealing with health issues. Anxiety is a severe health issue, and it should be taken seriously. You should talk to your vet and find the best solution for your dog to make him feel better.

8. Scent attraction

Dogs heavily rely on different scents, and it is possible that your dog started to eat your underwear because of their scent. Underwear can carry the sent of their owners, and dogs might find this comforting and appealing.

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 gastrointestinal obstruction. If this is the case, the foreign object must be removed. Endoscopy may 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 ensure 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. Consider engaging dog toys, delectable dog chews, or even dog sports to keep your dog's mind and body busy. 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 underwear 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 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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