As much as we love our furry best friends, there’s no denying that they can be super gross and even embarrassing at times. One of the grossest and most embarrassing things your dog can do is to lick your underwear. I don’t know about you, but even when no one sees it but me, it mortifies me, and it’s even worse when you don’t know why they’re doing it or how to stop it!
The main reason your dogs licks your underwear is because they like your smell and want to learn more about you. Other reasons for underwear licking include anxiety, teething, boredom, and resource guarding. If your dog suffers from canine compulsive disorder or pica, that could also be the culprit.
Dogs licking underwear is very common, just like when they hump your boyfriend, so don’t worry – your dog isn’t the only weirdo out there. Let’s have a look at the various reasons why your dog is licking your underwear and what you can do about it.
Your Dog’s Intense Sense of Smell Makes Him Curious
Dogs use their sense of smell to assess the world around them. When you are walking your pooch, you might notice him sniffing around a lot. Some breeds of dogs have up to 100 million scent receptors, whereas humans only have about 5 million. And greyhounds, well, they have 300 million scent receptors!
When things have a strong odor, dogs pay more attention to them. Since used underwear generally holds a lot of potent aromas, your dog will naturally be attracted to them. Although this is very normal, it can be mortifying to the owner of the garments.
How To Fix It
The best way to avoid this embarrassing situation is to be mindful of where you leave your used undergarments before washing them. Consider a closed laundry basket that your dog won’t be able to access. If your dog is licking your underwear when you pull them down to go to the bathroom, close the door behind you, and don’t let your pup follow you in.
Your Dog Is Teething
Teething is a painful and uncomfortable process for puppies. Chewing on something or anything, really, could help relieve your pup’s aches and pains. It is not uncommon for teething puppies to chow down on shoes, socks, and yes, even underwear.
While chewing on your clothes may help with your furry friend’s discomfort, it could also cause harm. Your puppy may choke on the fabric or block his gastrointestinal tract, resulting in high vet bills or even death.
How To Fix It
A great way to curb this habit is to buy some teething toys for your puppy. They are designed to be digested and really help with the pain and itchiness of the gums. You can find specially designed teething toys at any local pet store, mass merchandiser with a pet department, or online.
Your Dog Is Bored And Acting Out
Dogs are pack animals by nature and typically need a lot of attention and exercise to live happy, fulfilling lives, and living longer. If they are lacking either, they may succumb to boredom and participate in destructive behavior, including munching on your undies. Your furry friend might even rip your undergarments and other belongings to shreds out of pure frustration.
How To Fix It
Reduce your dog’s boredom by keeping him active and entertained as often as possible. Spend some quality time with your pooch by taking him for regular walks or runs to curb bad behavior. Other activities to help curb boredom include:
- A vigorous game of tug
- Playing fetch
- Hide and seek
- Interactive treat toys
- Obstacle course training
If the mischief continues, it may be a good idea to attend some doggy obedience classes.
Your Dog Is Suffering From Anxiety
Just like humans, animals can suffer from anxiety, most typically separation anxiety. This is especially prevalent in dogs that are left at home alone while their owner goes to work, to the gym, or even just out to dinner.
Your doggy may find solace in your clothes because they smell like you. Licking also releases endorphins which make your dog feel more at ease; therefore, licking your undergarments may ease stress and anxiety for your pet while you are away.
How To Fix It
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, it may be a good idea to adopt a second pet to keep them company. If that isn’t an option, you can also look into puppy daycare to allow for more socialization for your little one.
You may also want to consider coming home on your lunch breaks or staggering your work schedules with your partner or roommates to keep someone at home as often as possible.
Your Dog Is Resource Guarding
Resource guarding, also known as canine possession aggression, is when your dog deems it necessary to protect a particular object. Although you may think this object has no value, your dog probably believes otherwise. There is every possibility your doggy has decided to protect your underpants with his life.
If you attempt to take them away from your dog, you may be faced with growling, snarling, and even biting. If you have more than one pet, this could also cause some nasty flights between them.
This behavior is not uncommon for rescue dogs who grew up in shelters as they typically have very limited resources. If you have adopted a shelter dog, some patience will be necessary for this situation.
How To Fix It
Although it may seem like a good idea to simply take the item away from your dog, this method is not recommended. You may get injured while also contributing to a lack of trust in your relationship.
A better way to deal with this is to re-introduce something of higher value, such as a tasty treat or a fun new toy. Once your pup is sufficiently distracted, you can remove the item he has been fiercely protecting.
Your Dog Is Suffering From Canine Compulsive Disorder
Canine compulsive disorder, or CCD, is an obsessive disorder in dogs. It is characterized by extreme and repetitive behaviors that can interfere with their ability to enjoy a normal, happy life.
It can get in the way of eating, sleeping, and even drinking. Once the dog has become obsessed with something, such as licking your underwear, it can be very difficult to distract or stop them from doing it; some dogs may even become aggressive when you try.
How To Fix It
If you notice that your dog’s behavior is becoming obsessive, you may need to have him tested by your local veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
If your pup is healthy, but the compulsive behavior continues, then consulting an animal behaviorist is recommended. The behaviorist will conduct various diagnostic and imagery exams to identify the root cause of the problem and help you treat it.
The Behavior Stems From a Medical Condition Like Pica
Pica is a medical condition in dogs where they feel compelled to eat non-food items. The items can include anything from metals to rocks, or your favorite pair of undies.
Usually, the disorder is psychological, but it can also be attributed to poor nutrition. If your dog shows signs of pica, he will need to be taken to the vet because, if left untreated, your furry
loved one could end up blocking his digestive tract, choking, or even ingesting something toxic.
Symptoms of pica include:
- Swallowing non-food items
- Lack of appetite
How To Fix It
If you notice any combination of the above-listed symptoms, consult your vet immediately. Pica isn’t usually something you can cure solely with training. Sometimes, it’s nearly impossible to remedy. However, with the help of your vet and a trained behaviorist, you should be able to make some progress.
Having your dog lick your underwear can be very embarrassing, but it is important to remind yourself that it is also completely normal. In fact, this behavior is very similar to when they lick you in the morning. Dogs are curious animals that are driven by their strong sense of smell and their need to find out more about a person or other animals.
This unsavory behavior can be treated or even just deterred. If your puppy has adopted the bad habit of chewing on your underpants, you can correct it with simple puppy training. However, if you are concerned there is a medical reason for your dog’s actions you should seek veterinary care immediately.