Have you ever seen your dog chewing on your dirty socks and wondered how on earth can your dog find a dirty sock appealing?
Well, as humans, we aren’t used to this, but dogs and socks have always seemed to have this eternal bond. Have you ever seen your dog eat your socks and wondered why he does that?
As dog owners, you may have seen your dog do a lot of weird things, which may have no explanation, but if your dog eats socks, there’s definitely an explanation for that.
Why does my dog eat my socks?
If you see your dog chewing on your socks once in a while, that is considered entirely normal. However, if your dog does this on a daily basis, it could be an indication of a more deeply rooted disorder.
There is a compulsive disorder called pica that is known to exist among dogs. Pica is characterized by the act of chewing or feeding on inanimate objects.
Pica is an indication that your dog is facing any form of psychological issues, such as separation anxiety or stress due to which he chews on inanimate objects. It is essential to visit a vet or a veterinary behaviorist to help identify any psychological issues if you see your dog behaving this way.
On a less serious note, if your dog eats or chews on your socks, it could be because he views it as one of his chew toys. However, only a vet or a behaviorist will be able to give you this information in detail.
Is it safe for my dog to eat socks?
While most dog owners usually ignore when their dog chews or eats on their socks, this is not entirely safe as eating socks can cause many health issues.
As a sock can obviously not be digested by your dog, it can get lodged in your dog’s stomach or throat and cause a severe case of blockage that can cause a threat to the dog’s life.
If you do notice that your dog ate a sock but is acting normal, then you can wait for some time before going to the vet immediately, as many dogs pass the sock out with their bowel movement.
If this does not happen, you should take your dog immediately to a vet. When the sock gets lodged in the dog’s digestive systems, it is highly possible that the only way to get it out is by emergency surgery.
You may also notice that your dog feels some form of discomfort or pain. This pain is again an indication of immediate medical attention.
Many veterinary doctors also suggest that if you think your dog swallowed your socks, it is imperative not to induce vomiting. If you induce vomiting, it can cause more pain and discomfort for your dog.
In most cases, X-rays will be taken to identify the exact location of the sock, and based on this information, the decision to perform surgery to remove the intestinal blockage will be taken. The veterinary treatment may also include hospitalization.
Most dogs dislike veterinary treatment; however, this treatment is unavoidable to prevent other health issues that can even be life-threatening if your dog ate a sock.
How to prevent my dog from eating socks?
To maintain good pet health, it is the duty of a dog owner to pay attention to the behavior of their dogs. If you see your dog eating socks or other non-food items, one of the easiest steps you can take to stop your dog is to distract it.
You can do this by bringing your dogs’ attention to any of its chew toys or favorite dog food. It will definitely not be easy to stop dogs from eating socks, as dogs become possessive and do not easily let go.
In most cases, the dogs are not willing to let go of the sock because they know very well that you would take it away. Hence, you can utilize a technique to make your dog believe that you are okay with your dog chewing on the sock and then bring in the distraction.
Research has also said that dogs may eat socks simply because they are bored. So, you can take your dog for more walks or let your dog play in the back yard to get enough physical exercise that will eventually tire him. These activities will also ensure the good health of your dog.
You can also try to be more careful about leaving socks lying around to prevent access of your dog to these socks. You will also have to pay special attention to your laundry baskets. Dogs usually grab these socks out of a laundry basket and start chewing on them.
Availing dog training services can also be helpful as these sessions can make your dog stop eating socks. As dogs are highly social animals, these training sessions can also help your dog’s mental stimulation.
This mental stimulation can help prevent your dog from eating socks due to boredom. However, it is imperative not to try extreme ways to make your dogs stop eating socks. For example, severe punishments, such as confining your dog in a closed room will only trigger unwanted responses.
You must also inform other family members, especially small children, not to snatch the sock away from your dog when he is chewing on it, as this may lead to an aggressive reaction.
How to know the exact reason why my dog chews on my socks?
As stated above, there are many reasons why your dog eats socks. Many dogs may do this as it brings them a source of amusement or as a result of boredom.
However, additional factors must also be considered, such as your dog’s past or previous nutritional deficiencies. Large dogs, such as great dane, may not be affected by swallowing socks like a baby sock. But, if a smaller breed of dog, such as chihuahua, swallows socks, the medical complications could be more severe.
A great dane can eat an entire corn without any issues, and this may not affect the dog at all. But, since dogs don’t have organs that can digest socks, ingesting socks can prove to be harmful to any breed of dog, such as a great dane.
If your dog is a rescue dog that is used to eating socks and other non-edible items, the root cause of this could be the trauma and stress that your dog faced in its past. These dogs swallow things as a way to project their high levels of stress.
Other dogs may eat socks occasionally by mistake while playing with them, but if you observe that your dogs eat socks very often, this is both unhealthy and abnormal. It could be an indication that your dog needs more exercise or maybe facing neglect.
Only a visit to a vet will help you find the exact reason why your dog eats socks and what you can do to make your dog stop eating socks.
What should I do if my dog swallows my socks?
If you think your dog may have swallowed one of your socks, the first thing you should not do is panic. As dogs can perceive any form of tension around them, panicking will only cause them to panic and worsen the entire situation.
Swallowing socks is usually followed by other effects, such as nausea or discomfort. You will have to check for any of these signs to gauge the severity of the matter.
If your dog does not show any of these signs, it is very likely that the sock has not caused any form of severe internal blockage. A visit to the emergency vet will help you better understand your dog’s condition.
It is very likely that the emergency vet may ask you to feed your dog more dog food so that the sock is passed out with the next bowel cycle. In such a case, your dog will not need any kind of emergency surgery.
How to check if my dog ate a sock?
While most dog owners may have an idea of what can be done after you have seen your dog swallow a sock, they may not know how to check if your dog has eaten a sock if they have not witnessed the act themselves.
If you have seen your dog chew on a sock and after some time the sock is nowhere to be found, that is one of the perfect indicators that your dog has swallowed the sock.
If your dog has constantly refused to eat the dog food you provide, the dog food likely makes him more nauseous due to the sock lodged in his stomach. Any other behavioral changes, such as lack of enthusiasm or constant vomiting, can also indicate that your dog has ingested something he is not supposed to, such as a sock.
Are punishments effective to make your dog stop eating socks?
Regularly catching your dog eating socks can be frustrating for any dog owner, but it is necessary to not project this frustration onto your dog by giving severe punishments.
No good comes out of giving harsh punishments to your dog as this only aggravates them more, giving rise to a series of unhealthy emotions such as stress, anxiety, and overall unhappiness.
These punishments do not help you receive the desired results, and in turn, the dog just learns to hide its sock eating habits. While these sock eating habits are definitely unhealthy for your dog, you must remember that your dog does not understand this concept.
Your dog cannot understand the health complications that can come when your dog swallows socks. Hence, you need to have a gentle approach that will not trigger an unwanted response from your dog.
Instead of making your dog feel like he has committed a crime by chewing or swallowing your sock, you can try positive alternatives, such as providing treats in return for leaving the sock.
Like humans, dogs also take time to let go of unhealthy habits. So, your dog will definitely not be able to stop his sock eating habits immediately once you start the training process. It would be best if you remembered to be patient with your dog to help him learn eventually.
Dogs are known to do strange things, such as have weird fetishes. And chewing on socks is one of the many strange things dogs do.
Every dog is different and has its own reasons behind chewing or swallowing your socks. Figuring out this reason can help you understand your dog much better and help to create a close bond between you and your dog.
While chewing on socks is entirely harmless for your dog, the actual life-threatening situation arises when your dog swallows these socks. Your dog will have to go through a lengthy treatment to be healthy again, from medications to surgery.
Just as the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure ‘; it is better to prevent your dog and find ways to stop him from chewing socks in the first place. This is because if the chewing act is ignored, it will eventually encourage your dog to swallow the socks over time.
There are small ways in which you can slowly help your dog get over this habit, such as providing treats, playing with your dog more often, and hiding all your socks from your dog.
If these ways don’t work out in giving you a positive result, you can always seek the assistance of dog training services that have experts helping your dog get over his sock eating habits.