Dogs are known for licking. They’ll lick anything they can find any time they can see it. If you happen to be the lucky dog owner who gets licked by your four-legged friend, don’t worry! It’s not personal. Dogs just have an innate need to feel better about themselves after licking something yucky or smelling bad stuff. So, why does your dog lick your underwear?
Here’s The Short Answer to Why Your Dog Licks Your Underwear:
There are a number of reasons, but one is that your dog likes the taste and smell of your sweat, urine, and other scents that accumulate in your undies. Other times, it may just be because they seek warmth and the undies are a good source of it. Some dogs might also have anxiety, and the licking may be an attempt to soothe themselves.
Common Reasons Why Dogs Lick Underwear
Here are those reasons in more depth, including some tips on how to keep your dog from licking your undies.
1. It’s Scent Based Reaction
Dogs have a very keen sense of smell – up to about 40 times better than humans! They love to sniff anything and everything new or old, especially items that carry the strongest scent of their favorite person, like your undies!
This isn’t restricted to your undies either. If they smell interesting scents on you when you get home from work or the gym, they might be licking what’s left of it on your pants too!
This may seem gross and strange to you but remember dogs communicate and experience the world through scents. So to them, your undies are like a book filled with information about you!
Unfortunately, this habit of picking up scents can also lead to more serious problems with OCD and anxiety if their need to lick becomes too strong.
2. Your Dog Is Seeking Attention
Could it be that you don’t pet them enough or that you’re just too busy? When you ignore your dog, they usually resort to naughtier activities like barking your neighbor’s ear off. But I bet you didn’t know they may also resort to more desperate methods of getting your attention by licking your underwear.
According to some studies, licking is part of a range of behaviors commonly seen in dogs seeking attention from their owners. It likes the same things that other attention-seeking behaviors like scratching, chewing, barking, and eating objects.
It’s their way of simply telling you, “Hey, I’m here! I missed you, and I need some attention.” to you by giving them all the love and care they need.
While it’s very adorable, it may also worsen some anxiety issues your dog experiences. So no matter how busy you are, try to spend at least some time with your four-legged friend every day.
3. It’s a Result of Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety can be the next culprit that spurs your dog to lick underwear. Regardless of the types of anxiety your dog experiences, licking may be one way to cope with the stress they feel.
The explanation behind this is that licking releases endorphins, which reduce stress and make them feel good. It’s like how people use chocolate, ice cream, and other foods to calm themselves down during times of stress.
There are several things you can do to deal with your dog’s anxiety, like regularly interacting with them, enrolling them in a training program, and making sure they have the right amount of exercise and playtime.
However, if the problem is serious or persists despite these efforts, it’s best to bring them to see their trusted veterinarian, who will be able to tell what the real problem is.
4. Your Dog Is Experiencing Boredom or Loneliness
It’s easy to ignore your pup for hours on end, especially if you’ve tons of stuff to do. You may think that by giving them tons of toys to play with, your furbaby will be too occupied to get into trouble while you’re gone that they don’t even notice you’re not around.
Unfortunately, the truth is they actually do notice and feel lonely, which leads them to behaviors like licking your undies. While humans may be able to find other things to occupy their time, such as playing on their mobile devices, dogs aren’t people – they’re furry creatures who need more attention than we can give them.
So, while you’re busy with work, school, or any activity that interrupts your usual schedule of spending time with them, they might resort to licking underwear for “fun” or because they’re bored.
It’s normal if they lick your underwear every now and then, but if they do it excessively or if it’s an everyday event, then you should probably do something about it.
5. Is It Canine Compulsive Disorder?
The term Canine Compulsive Disorder refers to repetitive behaviors that are out of context for normal behavior seen in dogs.
Repetitive behaviors are common in dogs with this disorder which includes excessive licking, tail chasing, or even spinning on the floor. If you notice your dog’s obsession with your underwear has become a little too extreme, it may be a sign of compulsive disorder.
According to some studies, dogs affected by Canine Compulsive Disorder have the same brain abnormalities as humans with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Although research on the cause of this disorder is still ongoing, it has been observed that the biggest causes of this disorder are either medical or behavioral reasons or both.
6. Your Dog Has Adopted a Bad Habit
In some cases, your dog may lick your underwear because they’ve adopted such bad habits from siblings or the animal shelter where they were brought in. You might not even notice this behavior when they were first adopted since they might rarely do it.
Once they grow up and find your underwear as a suitable toy to play with whenever they’re bored, this behavior becomes routine, and they start doing it more often.
When dealing with this problem, you can’t just chastise your dog from playing with your underwear without some kind of alternative, as that will likely make them want to do it even more. Instead, you’ll need to distract your dog and ensure they have other options, such as other toys around.
7. Health Issues Could Be the Problem
I’ve read some online forums where people are convinced that licking underwear is a sign of depression but, believe it or not, your dog might actually have health issues.
Although it may seem weird, it’s possible for dogs who suffer from certain medical conditions to resort to licking undies because they find it comfortable and soothing. This could be because they have periodontal disease or digestive discomfort that is causing them to experience pain.
Suppose your dog is licking your undies, followed by signs such as drooling, loss of appetite, depression, or even excessive panting. In that case, it might be a good idea to bring them to their veterinarian, who can check for medical problems.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Licking My Undies?
1. Keep Any Temptation Away
The first and quickest thing you can do is guard your undies and don’t leave them lying around where they will only become a temptation for your dog, especially when you’re not around.
Keep them in a place where your dog can’t reach or have a dresser drawer that’s child-proof so you can prevent your curious pouch from getting to them whenever they want.
2. Provide Appropriate Alternatives
As mentioned before, if you want to stop your dog from licking your undies for good, you need to provide them with better alternatives to play and interact with whenever they’re feeling bored, such as dog toys.
3. Watch for Stressors in Their Environment
Although stress is not the only reason behind your dog’s licking of your undies, it is thought to be a significant factor that can exacerbate the problem and make them do it more often.
Therefore, another thing you should do is to look for any stressors in your dog’s life, such as a new animal or person to the house, a move, or even a change in schedule that can make them lick your undies more.
When you’ve identified the reasons behind their stress, you may be able to either eliminate or distract your dog with more appropriate alternatives.
4. Visit a Vet
Consider bringing your dog to see a veterinarian if you think there’s something else going on with them.
Some symptoms that you need to look out for are drooling, excessive panting, loss of appetite, depression, and weight loss. They can all be symptoms of medical problems so getting diagnosed is crucial in resolving this bad habit.
Aside from medical reasons, your dog can also suffer from mental illnesses such as Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD). If you find that this compulsive licking behavior persists after ruling out medical problems, it might be time to bring them to an animal behaviorist.
5. Use Anti-Chew Spray
Some dog owners found success in using a bitter-tasting spray to discourage licking.
Although it may work at first, your dog might learn to simply ignore the taste of the spray and continue doing what they were doing before if the root cause of the behavior is not addressed.
Nonetheless, it’s worth a shot if you’re looking for a temporary solution while finding more appropriate ways to resolve the problem.
1. Why Does My Dog Lick My Period Blood?
Dogs lick period blood because they are attracted to the smell. Period blood has a very distinct and pungent smell, almost like iron. Dogs may not completely understand what it is, but they will sniff out anything that smells so different from normal and lick it to find out.
2. Why Does My Dog Lick Metal?
Dogs with a mild case of Pica may lick any metals they come across but not actually consume them. Pica is a condition where dogs crave non-food items such as soil, rocks, woods- even metal. In severe cases, these dogs may eat the inedible items they crave.
3. Why Does My Dog Lick My Belly Button?
The belly button is a crevice on the human body that can gather dirt, sweat, and oils. When your dog takes a quick sniff of it, they might get an interesting scent that makes them want to lick more.