You and your dog are close. You spend every day together participating in a wide range of activities. He follows you everywhere, wanting nothing but to love you; and you follow him, wanting nothing but to love him. You are the best of friends. Your dog’s way of showing love and feeling loved can sometimes come across as peculiar, but, from the food they eat to the bones that they chew, they absolutely love to get their hands on anything that gives them a pleasurable experience. Socks we wear everyday have our scent on them and have been soaking on our sweaty feet all day, which dogs tend to love. Dogs like socks for many reasons, but finding fun and enjoyable things is a part of a dog’s life.
The Root of the Behavior
To you, your dirty sock is smelly and should be kept in the dirty laundry at all times, unless it is washed or you are wearing it. You, especially, could not want something so foul smelling in the mouth of your animal, because that just seems gross. Yet, to your dog, your smelly sock is a gold mine filled with the most enjoyable scent. Your dirty sock has been bathing in your salty skin and is smothered in your scent. When your dog is a puppy, chewing a sock may only be for the purpose of teething. However, when they get older, they may chew it because they absolutely love it. To a dog, socks taste good. They are chewy and the texture of the fabric feels comforting in their mouth, and the scent gives them a pleasurable experience.
Sometimes, animals will get bored and if they do not know what a sock is, that may be partly why they chew on it. It is something unfamiliar and new, and chewing on it can be an adventurous game for them. If you do not want your dog chewing on your sock, it may be best not to associate playing or chasing when they grab ahold of your sock. Dogs may get bored of a certain texture or scent from a familiar toy after some time has passed. They tend to find your socks because they mimic familiarity, but contain something new as well. This so-called new distraction can help your animal with loneliness, separation anxiety, and even boredom. It brings them closer to the feeling they have around their owner and it helps them feel loved. Although, as owners, you probably want your socks to be kept away from your dog. However, they may actually be helpful in some regard. Your sock can feel like a security blanket to your pet and they may feel a bit safer when they are chewing them.
Encouraging the Behavior
As owners, we want our pets to feel safe, loved, and supported. We also want them to be healthy and in proper condition. Socks can help our pets with emotional issues, such as feelings of being alone, or unsafe. They can help with restlessness, and they can bring a calming ease to your dog. In that regard, chewing on socks may be something to encourage. Yet, there are also downfalls to having your animal chew on your socks. If you do not want your socks being chewed on or if you do not want your dog getting ahold of them, it may be best to keep your dirty laundry and clothes in a place where your dog cannot reach them. You may also want to find a toy that can be designed for your dog that is similar to your socks. If your pet does decide to chew on your socks and you decide to encourage it, you should watch over them because pieces of the fabric may fall off of your sock and you do not want your animal choking on the fabric. Also, you want to make sure your sock does not contain anything that they may get sick from.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Dogs have impeccable senses when it comes to smell and taste. As humans use their hands to feel and explore everything, animals use their noses and mouths. Socks, especially if they are dirty, will contain an extremely strong scent that is appealing. It may be why your dog is so drawn to it over a chew toy that you bought him at the store. Knowing the reason as to why dogs decide to chew on your socks can be helpful, and even designating a certain toy with a strong scent can help your dog quite a bit. Socks are not bad for animals to chew on, but they are the belongings of their owner.
We love our animals and they love us, tremendously. Whether they kiss us, lay on our laps, or comfort us, they are companions. As we begin to understand their nature more, we may have to go out of our way to love them, even if it means giving them our smelly socks.
By a Shiba Inu lover Patty Oelze
Published: 02/07/2018, edited: 01/30/2020