As any dog owner will tell you, dogs do some weird and amusing things.
One of the best things about keeping dogs is watching how they behave, it’s fascinating, and they are full of surprises.
So, if you own a dog, you have probably wondered why they do the things they do.
For example, why do dogs eat underwear?
Why do they take the crotch out of underwear?
And why do they like dirty underwear???
Let’s find out.
So Why Do Dogs Chew On Underwear?
Dogs eat underwear because it carries a strong maker of your scent, which is very interesting for them.
Puppies may also chew your undergarments as part of their natural teething behavior.
When dogs eat non-food objects, this is known as pica. So, for example, your dog eating your underwear would fall into this category.
Dogs understand and explore the world with their noses much more than humans.
They smell, lick and bite random objects to know what they are.
Dogs will lick, chew and eat a wide variety of non-food items from stones to dirty panties and anything in between!
But why do some dogs seem to focus so closely on underwear?
Dogs love things that smell of their owners.
So, for example, when you leave your dog at the vet, they will often advise you to leave the dog with an item of clothing or a blanket with your scent.
This helps the dog to stay calm when they are away from home.
You have sweat glands in your crotch area that release sweat and all the associated smells onto the underwear.
This scent is fascinating to the dog, and when combined with the fact that most dogs love to lick and chew, this explains why they might want to steal, lick, play with and even eat your underwear.
While it might seem a bit gross from a human perspective, it might seem like a real treat from a dog’s perspective!
And as loving dog owners, if we want to understand them, we have to think about the dog’s behavior from their point of view, not ours.
NOTE – You might also enjoy this post looking at why dogs tear up their beds.
Why Do Dogs Like Dirty Underwear?
As I previously mentioned, dogs love to chew and also love their owners’ scents.
Due to the nature of the human body, the sweat glands in the crotch area, and the fact that underwear naturally picks up your scent, this can make your boxer shorts or panties tasty chew for your pet pooch.
While this might sound disgusting to humans, to your dog, your used panties could be a very enticing treat, well worth stealing and chewing on.
NOTE – You might also like to read this post looking at why dogs like bones so much.
Why Do Dogs Chew Up the Crotch of Underwear?
Dogs seem to prefer to lick and chew the crotch area of your underwear, as this area will have the most scent on it.
You have sweat glands in the crotch. So when you sweat, you implant your scent into the crotch of your underwear, which is attractive to your dog.
Do Dogs Prefer to Lick Female Underwear?
While some dogs may prefer to lick female underwear, if you ask enough male dog owners, they will tell you that their dogs love to lick male underwear as well as women’s.
If your dog seems to prefer women’s underwear, it may just be personal preference, or it may be that the woman whose panties are being eaten has a particularly enticing scent!
How Can You Stop Your Dog from Eating Your Underwear?
There are three main approaches I would suggest you try to stop your dog from eating your undergarments.
- Making it difficult for them to steal it.
- Give them other things to chew.
- Relieving boredom and stress.
- Training your dog to stop this behavior.
Let’s look at each approach in more detail to ensure you can apply them.
1. Making it Difficult for Them to Steal It
In a nutshell, you need to make it hard for them to get anywhere near your underwear.
So, this means not leaving dirty underwear on your bedroom floor, not leaving them on the bathroom floor when you jump in the shower, etc.
Also, make sure you use a dog-proof lid on your dirty washing basket so they can steal them.
And even make sure you close the drawer where you keep your clean underwear so they can’t swipe them from there.
2. Give Them Other Things to Chew
Anytime your dog is chewing something that you would instead they didn’t, you should always ensure they have other things to chew.
Chewing is a natural way for any dog to behave, but they are even more likely to chew if they are bored or stressed.
So as much as possible, you should ensure that you have non-edible and edible chews for the dog to enjoy.
3. Relieving Boredom and Stress
As mentioned, dogs will often chew to alleviate stress or boredom.
So you can reduce destructive chewing by ensuring the dog gets plenty of walks, exercise, play, and mental stimulation.
Note – You might also find this video on the topic of canine underwear consumption interesting:
4. Training Your Dog to Stop Eating Your Underwear
Training your dog to stop licking and chewing your underwear is a two-step process:
- When you catch them doing it, say “No” in a firm voice and take away the underwear.
- Distract them with a treat, favorite toy, some time outside, or cuddles.
By teaching them, they are not allowed to chew your underwear, and by associating not doing so with fun, you can (to some extent) train them out of the behavior.
However, as well as this training, I strongly recommend you get in the habit of putting your boxer shorts, bras, or panties somewhere your dog can’t get to them.
A Note About Punishment vs. Positive Reinforcement
Punishing dogs by either shouting at them or hitting them will confuse and scare them.
They won’t understand why they are being punished and will feel anxious and confused.
Saying “No” when they do something naughty is fine, but punishing them is not.
Instead, it would help if you tried to focus on reinforcing the desired behavior.
When they act the way you want, give them praise and treats. The more you repeat this. The more effective the training will be.
Should You Be Worried If Your Dog Eats Your Underwear?
There are some risks to your dog’s health that you should be concerned about.
If they are eating your underwear, they could swallow fabric, buttons, or clips that could cause digestive issues or choke them.
You do not want to end up with an unnecessary trip to the vet, so I suggest you make sure they have no chance of getting anywhere near your dirty underwear.
Final Notes About Why Dogs Lick, Chew, and Eat Dirty Underwear?
Dogs steal and eat underwear for two reasons. First, they love to chew, and they love things that have your scent.
This behavior could be dangerous or harmful to your dog, so you should do your best to stop it.
The easiest way to stop it is to ensure you don’t leave used underwear around the house where the dog can find them.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!