Why does my dog eat socks? You spend loads of money on toys for your dog, but your dog prefers your smelly socks for playtime or a snack. This strange scenario is a popular discussion pet owners have with veterinarians after their dog swallows a sock.
What’s the attraction, and why does it happen? There are various reasons dogs chew socks, such as the smell, taste, or they think it’s a fun toy. A dirty sock left on the floor is tempting for dogs because they have a superior sense of smell. The strong odor from a sock attracts a dog’s attention and entices them to explore further by sniffing, licking, and chewing.
The salty taste of sweat that is trapped in a dirty sock causes a dog to continue chewing with the intention of swallowing the sock because they think it’s a snack or treats. Socks easily curl up into a little ball, making it easy for medium to large size dogs to swallow the sock.
Clean socks often go missing in a household that has dogs because they are fun toys. They are great for tug-of-war due to their stretching ability. However, dogs should never play with socks because they are easy to swallow.
Why Do Dogs Eat Socks
Why Is My Dog Eating Socks All of a Sudden?
Did your dog suddenly pick up the habit of eating socks? Some dogs will begin this habit out of the blue because they are suffering from stress or anxiety. Sometimes this habit can be caused by “pica,” which is a condition that involves eating non-food items. This sudden habit can also be related to a nutritional disorder that needs to be fixed immediately.
Discussing your dog’s sudden obsession with eating socks with a veterinarian is recommended to determine the cause of the behavior.
What Happens When a Dog Eats a Sock?
As soon as you realize your dog ate a sock, don’t panic because your dog will pick up on your energy. Some dogs will immediately cough and vomit the sock out.
This sounds like an awful situation, but vomiting is the best thing because it removes the sock from the dog quickly without causing internal damage.
Many dogs succeed in swallowing the sock which passes through their digestive tract and intestines. Some dogs will naturally eliminate the sock and not cause any internal damage. Socks usually don’t get broken down by the digestive system because fabric like polyester and cotton is too strong.
This means if your dog vomits or eliminates it naturally, you will see the sock fully intact unless they chewed into small pieces before ingesting the sock.
Unfortunately, socks can cause a blockage in the digestive tract and intestines which can lead to surgery. Common signs your dog is in distress from eating a sock include;
- a bloated abdomen
- painful abdomen
- straining to defecate
- decreased appetite
It’s essential to visit the veterinarian or a local animal hospital to help your dog. The veterinarian will do an x-ray to determine the location of the sock and if it has caused damage. The vet will recommend an endoscope that pulls the sock out of your dog’s stomach or surgery. Most dogs recover well from both procedures.
Can My Dog Die From Eating Socks?
Severe situations include your dog experiencing severe pain because the sock has caused an obstruction in the intestines and cut off the blood supply. This can be a dangerous situation that can lead to death. However, emergency surgery is often recommended in this scenario, giving your dog a chance at survival depending on their current health status.
Unfortunately, many dogs have died due to severe damage in the intestines from swallowing a sock. Some dogs that have health conditions before swallowing the sock sometimes die during surgery. Since swallowing a sock is dangerous for dogs, it’s best to stop your dog from eating socks altogether.
How Do I Get My Dog to Stop Eating Socks?
The best thing you can do to stop your dog from eating socks is to limit their access. Put clean socks in drawers or a basket in the closet where your dog can’t reach. Also, dirty socks need to go into a hamper with a lid.
If your dog is super intelligent and opens the top to the hamper, place the hamper in a hard-to-reach area such as a smaller closet or invest in a hanging hamper that can be secured inside the closet at a higher level.
Clean up socks immediately and make sure they go from your feet to the hamper and vice versa. Never place socks on the floor because dogs are quick and can snatch them up quickly.
If you have other people living in the household, tell them about the dangers of your dog eating socks and ask them to follow the new sock procedures mentioned earlier, such as investing in a hanging hamper. Also, avoid leaving socks inside shoes. Many people remove their socks, crumble them into a ball and hide them in their shoes. Dogs are very intelligent and will sniff out these socks quickly.
If your household follows the rule of taking your shoes off at the door, make sure you have a basket with a lid near the doorway to collect all the socks. The lid needs to be secured by every person who uses it to prevent your dog from having access.
Some dogs have easy access to socks when they play with young children. Some canines are so intelligent they will gently pull the sock off a sleeping baby. Try to find ways to prevent your dog from grabbing socks from children by teaching your kids to keep their socks away from the dog. Young babies sleeping or resting while wearing socks need to be in a crib or secure area where the dog can’t reach them easily.
Make sure your dog has plenty of its own toys. Interactive toys stimulate their mind and keep them busy. Treat dispensing toys give them away to work for their food, keeps them occupied, and capture their attention for long periods.
Sometimes nutritional issues are the cause of sock easting.
If you suspect your dog eats socks because they have a nutritional problem, it’s best to adjust their daily diet to ensure their dietary needs are being met. Sometimes supplements are helpful and an excellent part of a healthy diet. Ask a veterinarian for advice regarding your dog’s diet to ensure their needs are met.
Remember, your dog eating a sock might not be the end of the world. Do your best to remain calm, assess the situation, and react quickly. If your dog is choking on the sock, try to reach into its mouth to pull it out carefully.
If vomiting occurs a few minutes after ingesting the sock, there’s a chance it will come up on its own. However, if you suspect the sock is fully swallowed, contact a veterinarian or animal hospital immediately.
The sooner you get to the veterinarian, the better. The time frame of rushing your dog to the vet can mean the difference between the endoscope procedure and surgery. Don’t hesitate and act quickly!