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8 Surprising Reasons Dogs Chew Up Dirty Underwear That Belongs To Their Favorite People

by Kate Taylor
Kate is a writer who laughs at her own jokes and likes to pour too much hot sauce on her food.

Chances are, your dog will eat just about any food they can get their little paws on. Sometimes dogs even eat things that aren’t food at all, like poop, socks, or even underwear.

I have always been careful to put my dirty laundry away somewhere that my dog can’t get to it. When she can, she’s not afraid to chew up entire pairs of undies.

The underwear eating behavior is so bizarre, gross, and frankly embarrassing that it isn’t often spoken about. Dogs do plenty of weird stuff, but this bad habit definitely tops the list.

It wasn’t until my friend’s dog ate a pair of my underwear that I even knew that other dogs also had this yucky habit. I was sad to be down a pair of undies, but happy that my dog wasn’t the only weirdo out there.

In fact, plenty of dogs share this inconvenient, and potentially dangerous habit, which can cause harm if they manage to swallow enough fabric to block up their digestive tract.

Dogs may do anything for a treat, but why is underwear included? I decided to do some research, and here’s what I learned.

Thumbnail Photo: Wikimedia Commons

1. Dogs Are Extremely Scent-Oriented

1. Dogs Are Extremely Scent-Oriented
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Humans primarily rely on vision to get around and assess situations, and rarely need their sense of smell to interpret the world.

According to PBS, a dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 times as acute as ours. Moreover, they use this incredible sense to do just about everything, including communicate and interpret messages, which is part of the reason they are getting into your undies.

2. An Intimate Scent Is Considered A Valuable Item

2. An Intimate Scent Is Considered A Valuable Item
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Since dogs interpret smells as messages, they will often gravitate toward a smell that they perceive as being valuable.

Petful explains that dogs are a little like toddlers in the sense that they like to steal items that will draw attention to them, and they also love to chew.

Since your underwear has an intimate scent, your dog thinks it’s a valuable item and is drawn to it.

3. Waste Materials Attract Dogs

3. Waste Materials Attract Dogs
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

If you have a dog or have so much as even seen a dog, then you know that they like to sniff poop. Some especially gross dogs even like to eat the stuff.

The point is, dogs are attracted to waste materials and your underwear has traces of it.

For them, it’s a bonanza of interesting smells. To each their own.

4. She Thinks She's Protecting You

4. She Thinks She's Protecting You
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

In the wild, dogs will sometimes eat things to discard their smell and, in turn, repel predators.

Your dog might actually think she’s doing you a favor by eating your undies and sweaty socks. She doesn’t want your scent to attract any unwanted visitors.

5. She's Covering Up Her Own Scent

5. She's Covering Up Her Own Scent
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

On the flip side, your dog might want to cover up their own scent and absorb yours.

In the wild, a more dominant-smelling animal is less likely to be approached by a predator, so your dog wants to mask their scent with something with a little more punch.

Given that most dogs see their human as the pack leader, you are the obvious choice.

6. She Wants To Smell Like You

6. She Wants To Smell Like You
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The dog and master bond is very special, and chances are you are the center of your dog’s world.

For this reason, your dog might simply just want to smell like you and thinks that by chewing on and eating your underwear she is absorbing the scent. Or it just makes her feel a little bit closer to you.

7. She Misses You

7. She Misses You
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Dogs can be destructive when they are left alone for too long. Like people, they get bored and into trouble.

One reason your dog might be chewing or eating your undies is because they miss you while you’re gone and need something to do.

Your underwear bears your scent and is the next best thing when you’re not there.

8. It's That Time Of The Month

8. It's That Time Of The Month
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OK, this is gross, but bear with us.

Dogs, being carnivores, are attracted to the smell of blood and blood-like matter. To them, this signifies a meal or at the very least something to investigate.

If your dog takes particular interest in your undies during that time of the month, you’re not alone.

Just make sure to dispose of tampons correctly and somewhere your dog can’t get to them. Dogs like tampons as much as they like underwear, but at least underwear doesn’t expand in their stomachs.

If you suspect your dog has swallowed fabric, contact your vet for advice. It might pass through harmlessly, but you need a professional to monitor the situation.

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