How to Stop Dogs From Eating Socks
Preventing a dog from swallowing socks is vital so to keep a dog from becoming ill or undergoing surgery. Owners of die-hard “sock-a-holic dogs” must be aware that too many surgeries may cause complications such as the intestines becoming more narrow each time. So what can be done for dogs who cant stop eating socks?
What Motivates a Dog to Chew On Underwear and Socks?
Dogs are often drawn to underwear because it has their owner’s scent on it, and it’s an easy-to-chew object. Puppies are obvious culprits during their teething phase and as they explore with their mouths. In other cases, certain breeds or individual dogs may have a propensity towards this type of habit. It will depend on their drive, energy levels, and desire to chew.
While rare, your dog may eat socks because of a compulsive disorder called pica. It results in obsessive ingestion of non-food items, and stress and anxiety are common triggers. If your dog is excessively focused on eating socks or other non-food items, it is best to consult with a vet or behaviorist.
Most commonly, though, it’s just a case of the dog not getting enough alternative and appropriate enrichment. In other words, your dog could be eating your socks because of boredom!
New Jersey Dog Behavior Consultant and Author Mary Jean Alsina (CPDT-KA, PCT-A, M.A), Owner and Head Trainer of The Canine Cure, has worked with dogs for over 15 years. She explains that “mental stimulation for all dogs, but especially highly intelligent, working, and driven dogs, is equally as, if not more important, than physical exercise. If that basic physiological need is not met, this is when dogs “get into trouble” and will find activities to satisfy that urge.” This includes destructive behavior and chewing items around the house.
Sometimes owners unintentionally reinforce a dog’s interest in underwear. “Dogs also may find when they grab socks; they get chased. Thus a game ensues, and this can be very rewarding,” explains Alsina.
Provide More Exercise and Mental Stimulation
On the other hand, its important to make socks less appealing so that the dog isnt tempted as much,should the opportunity to grab socks arises because of poor management. Providing the dog ample of opportunities for exercise, for example, strolls, play and interactive games is important. Placing a lot of fun toys close to the dog making sure such toys are loaded with treats and rewards can help.
How to stop your pup from eating socks
It’s not uncommon for puppies to pick up things that we might have carelessly left on the floor. Soft, smelly, and stretchy socks are appealing chew toys. Without proper management and training, this sock stealing habit can become a problem—and not just because your dog is decimating your underwear drawer. Dogs that eat socks and other underwear items are at risk of suffering from dangerous internal blockages.
Understanding why your dog is doing it, and taking appropriate steps to prevent it from happening in the future, could save you a costly and, worse, possibly life-threatening trip to the vet.