Why Do Dogs Steal Socks?

While you like socks because they keep your tootsies warm, your pooch is more likely to chow down on stray socks than wear them. His goal isn't to keep you from having any matching pairs; instead, he's more interested in keeping himself occupied and fighting off feelings of loneliness. Your socks are magic tools that can do both those things for him.

Separation Anxiety

Dogs are social animals, and they miss you when you're gone. Some dogs experience social anxiety more than others, but most canine companions seek some sort of comfort when left alone. Your socks can serve as something of a security blanket. They smell strongly of you, bringing him joy and helping him feel less alone.

Boredom

If bored and looking for some way to release his pent up energy, your pooch doesn't have to dig very deep in the hamper -- or, perhaps look further than the floor beside the bed -- to find your socks and discover an instant plaything. Also, as stated earlier, things that smell of you are particularly attractive to your devoted little buddy.

Texture

That sock that feels soft and cushy on your foot meets the same need for your pup's mouth. Dogs enjoy biting, chewing and pulling on soft toys, and your socks make a handy and convenient option. A teething puppy needs soft chews to comfort his aching gums, and adult dogs enjoy the feeling of gnawing on the stretchy fabric. If your dog likes the feel of soft knit fabrics, find a plush toy for your dog to chew on in replace of your socks. It's not advised to let him chew on an unwanted sock, as this will only reinforce, in his mind, that socks in general are fair game.

Dangers

Although socks can serve as inexpensive toys and help make your pup feel closer to you, they can also be dangerous should your dog have the tendency to eat what he chews. Some dogs have been known to bite off and swallow pieces of fabric, paper, or other non-edible objects. Even more dangerous is a dog who swallows the entire sock whole! Whether he eats pieces or the whole thing, the fabric can block his intestines and have you rushing him into emergency surgery to remove it.

By Rob Harris

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References

Cesar's Way: 5 Steps to Save Your Shoes from Your Chewing Canine
Humane Society of the United States: Chewing: The Whys and Hows of Stopping a Gnawing Problem
Sheppard Software: Decoding Dog Behavior
Pet Supplies 4 Less: Top 10 Things Dogs Shouldn’t Eat, but Do

About the Author
While studying journalism in the Army and at the University of Missouri, Rob Harris developed a lifelong love of physical fitness and nutrition, contributing often to a dairy industry newsletter. He has also worked with and created blogs for several family businesses including a professional dog kennel and a flower shop, where he used his experience as an avid gardener to grow plants for sale.