My Dog Ate Underwear What Should I Do? (Reviewed by Vet)

Reviewed By Aisling O'Keeffe, MVB CertSAM ISFMCertAdvFB •  Updated: 10/17/23 •  5 min read
Dog Moderate Toxicity Level
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Dog Ate Underwear

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Dogs sometimes eat the strangest things! There are stories of dogs eating everything from socks, tennis balls and more! Another strange thing that dogs will sometimes eat is underwear!

Has your dog eaten underwear? Are you worried the underwear will make your dog sick? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. It’s scary when your dog eats something he shouldn’t!

We’ve put together some information to help you and your dog. In this article, we’ll take a look at whether or not underwear can make a dog sick. And we’ll provide information on when it’s time to see the vet. Let’s get started!

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

Why Do Dogs Eat Underwear?

While researching this article, we found there are many stories of dogs eating socks and underwear. One vet even said that some dogs just seem to be sock eaters! That’s true, and it’s also true that some dogs seem to focus on underwear rather than socks. But why?

The theory is that some dogs want anything that’s been close to their pet parent. Underwear and socks smell like their pet parents, and so the dogs go for these pieces of clothing.

Other times, a dog may be playing with underwear and then swallow them by mistake. It does happen!

In addition, chewing on fabric that smells like their pet parent may be soothing to some dogs. They find comfort in their pet parent’s scent. In addition, some dogs like the texture of underwear fabric, using them as a chew toy!

Do you chase your dog when he’s chewing up underwear? In that case, he may love the attention and the chase!

There’s also a medical condition called pica that can cause dogs to eat non-food items. Dogs with pica may eat underwear, poop, dirt, rocks, paper, and more. Pica can be caused by several underlying health and behavioral issues, including:

This is understandable, but can underwear make a dog sick?

Underwear & Dogs

The problem with underwear is that after they’ve been swallowed by the dog, they could become lodged at some point in the digestive tract. This may happen in the stomach or later in the intestines. When a blockage occurs, the underwear creates a blockage. This is called an intestinal blockage, which is a very dangerous condition. If left untreated, it can lead to death.

It is possible that a dog will pass the underwear through in his poop. However, you must monitor your dog closely. If the underwear doesn’t come out and/or your dog develops the symptoms below, then it’s time to call the vet.

Symptoms of an Intestinal Blockage in Dogs

You may notice these symptoms after your dog has eaten underwear:

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, then call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.

Treatment of Intestinal Blockage in Dogs

The vet will run tests on your dog, which will include some type of diagnostic imaging (such as x-rays and ultrasound). The images will help the vet determine where the underwear is in the dog’s intestines.

If the underwear hasn’t passed on its own, then your canine companion may require emergency abdominal surgery. The surgery is done to remove the blockage and repair any damage in the digestive tract.

The prognosis is best for dogs who receive prompt medical treatment. A dog who gets treatment in time can make a complete recovery!

How to Keep Your Dog from Eating Underwear

If your dog has a thing for eating underwear, there are some ways you can change this behavior:

1. Relieve Boredom

If your dog seems to be bored, consider giving him brain games or puzzle toys for dogs. Playing with your fur baby can go a long way in ensuring he has the attention and fun he needs each day.

2. Trading Items

Another way to keep your dog from eating underwear is to trying trading something he really likes for the underwear. Be sure to offer your dog a “high value” item, such as a healthy treat or a toy he really loves.

Over time, you may want to consider training your dog to “drop it.” In the meantime, trading the underwear for a high-value item may change your fur baby’s mind about the underwear for a time!

3. Keep Underwear Out of Your Dog’s Reach

The best way to keep your dog from eating underwear is to keep the clothing out of his reach. This may mean investing in a clothes hamper he can’t access or open. For instance, the hamper could be closed in a bedroom or bathroom to keep all clothing out of your dog’s reach.

Also, it’s a good idea not to leave dirty clothes (such as underwear) on the floor where your dog can get it. That way, you can avoid an expensive trip to the vet and keep your fur baby health at the same time!

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Aisling O'Keeffe, MVB CertSAM ISFMCertAdvFB

This article has been reviewed and approved by an independent Veterinarian: Aisling qualified as a vet 7 years ago from University College Dublin. She has worked in a mixture of UK small animal hospitals along with Irish practices. She worked for 3 years in a feline-only hospital where she further developed her feline medicine and surgery skills. She currently lives and works in a small animal hospital in Cork, Ireland.

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