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Dogs And Socks: 33 Burning Questions Answered + 5 Tips

Dogs and Socks

You know how dogs have a thing for socks?

Your dog sniffs, steals, hides, pulls them, chews on them, and might even try to eat them!

If you’re wondering what’s all that about, you’ve come to the right place. Or maybe you want to know if it’s okay for your dog to wear socks and how to make them stay.

Read on to to learn more about:

  • How to recognize whether your dog loves or hates socks.
  • What it means when your dog carries a sock and cries (whines).
  • The reason behind why your dog is stealing and hiding your socks.
  • What to do if your dog eats a sock and how to stop them from eating socks.
  • In what situations your dog should wear socks and how to train your dog to wear them.
  • Plus a lot more…

Table of contents

33 questions about dogs and socks

#1: What is it with dogs and socks?

Dogs could steal, nibble on, hide and even eat socks. Sometimes dogs take their owner’s socks because they have separation anxiety and the socks carry the smell of the owner. Other times, dogs get bored, or want attention. Some dogs are born retrievers, hence they retrieve items (such as socks). 

#2: Why do dogs like/love socks?

Some dogs like the texture of socks due to a certain type of fabric. Hence, they might perceive socks as a new chew toy. Dogs love worn socks because they carry their owner’s odour. When you try to get your socks back from your dog, your dog gets extra attention which is a bonus for them.

#3: Why does my dog attack my socks?

Your dog attacks your socks when you’re wearing them because your foot resembles a chew toy. Dogs find it fun to chew socks. If you yelp (like small puppies do when bitten by a peer), your dog will stop biting. Another reason is that your dog could be bored. Or is lacking exercise.

#4: Why does my dog take my socks off?

Your dog takes your socks off because they’re looking for attention. Maybe they want to play, eat, or for you to take them on a walk. If your dog does this often, they might have formed a habit out of it. Plus, pulling on your sock could feel like the regular tug of war for them.

#5: Why does my dog carry a sock and cry?

Your dog carries a sock and cries (whines) because they find it valuable and want to burry it somewhere. They could be whining due to stress. Your dog could be stressed that they want to save the sock for later but cannot burry it. Whining is a way to relieve the built up stress.

#6: Why does my dog take my socks (what does it mean)?

Why does my dog take my socks

Your dog takes your socks while you’re away because they miss you. Your socks carry your smell and bring your dog familiarity. They can serve as a comfort item, while you’re away. If your dog takes your socks when you’re at home, it’s to get your attention. They want to play the game ‘keep away’. 

#7: Why do dogs like to steal (your) socks?

Dogs like to steal (your) socks because they’re squishy and convenient to chew. Plus they smell strong. The number of sweat glands human have on their feet is higher than in other parts of the body. Dogs love the scent. It makes them feel closer to their main caretaker when he’s away. 

Read next: Why do dogs like feet so much?

#8: Why does my dog hide my socks?

Your dog hides your socks because they perceive them as valuable and are saving them for later. Another reason is that you have encouraged the behavior without realizing it. Hiding socks could already be a formed habit, or happen due to stress or natural instinct to guard their possessions.

#9: How do I get my dog to stop stealing socks?

You can stop your dog from stealing socks by keeping them out of reach, giving your pet one-on-one play sessions, and taking them for longer walks. Lying on your dirty socks serves as a comfort blanket for your dog because they feel closer to you. Cuddle with them as much as you can.

#10: Why do puppies like to bite socks so much?

Dog Loves You And Steals Socks

Puppies like to bite socks so much because they smell of you. Since we have scent glands in our feet, dogs like to chew up dirty socks. This is how your puppy shows their love for you. And how they find comfort when you’re not around and they miss you. Then your socks serve as a reminder of you.

#11: Is it okay for dogs to chew socks?

It’s okay for dogs to chew socks as long as they don’t swallow any pieces. Some dogs ingest ripped parts or even whole socks. If your puppy learns that it’s okay to chew socks, this will continue in adulthood. If you don’t want your dog to chew on old and new socks, correct the behavior early on.

#12: Is it normal for dogs to eat socks?

It is not normal for dogs to eat socks. Dogs cannot digest socks and an ingested sock can cause bowel obstruction. Which leads to surgery and a high vet bill at best. If the surgery is not successful, your dog will die. If your dog tends to eat non-food items, check with the vet if they have pica.

#13: How do I stop my dog from eating socks?

The first step to stop your dog from eating socks is prevention. Then you should add mental and physical stimulation to your dog’s routine. Sign them up for agility training, take them on long walks and schedule daily play or training sessions at home. Use positive reinforcement. 

#14: Why does my dog eat socks and throw them up?

Your dog eats socks and throws them up because socks cannot be digested. When your dog eats a sock, there are 3 possibilities: your dog will throw up, poop the sock out, or the sock will get stuck in the stomach or the small intestine and the dog will have to go through surgery to get it out.

#15: Can a dog poop out a sock?

A dog can poop out a sock if the sock hasn’t caused a gastrointestinal blockage. If not, the sock will come out whole because socks are indigestible. If your dog eats a sock, look for signs such as vomiting, lethargy, change in appetite and bowel habits. Check with your vet in any case.

#16: How long does it take for a sock to pass through a dog?

There is no exact answer to the question of how long does it take for a sock to pass through a dog. It’s dependent on the size of the dog and of the sock. To make sure that waiting for the sock to come out isn’t endangering your pet’s life, call the vet immediately after your dog has eaten a sock. 

#17: How can I help my dog pass a sock?

There are several ways to help your dog pass a sock they have ingested. One is inducing vomiting by inserting 10ml. of 3% hydrogen peroxide per 4,5kg. into their mouth immediately after they’ve eaten the sock. Other methods include using laxatives and giving your dog stomach rubs or massages.

#18: Should I make my dog throw up after eating a sock?

You shouldn’t make your dog throw up after eating a sock before consulting with your vet first. If you get your vet’s yes, you will have to induce vomiting by putting 10ml. (per 4,5kg) of 3% hydrogen peroxide in your dog’s mouth. Timing is essential, so get in touch with your vet immediately.

#19: Can I put baby socks on my dog?

You can put baby socks on your dog to protect their feet from the dog biting their paws, scratching excessively, or having a toenail that needs to heal. Get toddler socks with a sticky thread on the bottom.Then put them on your dog and secure them with a vet wrap to make sure they don’t fall off.

#20: Can I put a sock on my dog’s paw?

You can put a sock on your dog’s paw to prevent your dog from scratching, excessive paw licking or chewing. If your dog’s paw has a bandage, put the sock over it and tape it with a non-stick vet tape. Careful not to stick the tape over the fur or tighten it too much so it stops the blood.

Speaking of dogs and socks, here’s one idea some of you could find useful. It can help keep a dog’s leg with arthritis warm. Talk about handy!

#21: How do you wrap a dog’s paw with a sock?

Here’s how you can wrap a dog’s paw with a sock: Hold the opening wide and slide over the paw. Careful to not hurt a toenail meanwhile. If it happens, your dog will yelp or pull away. Stop immediately and try after a while to ensure your dog doesn’t have negative associations.

#22: Do dogs like to wear socks?

Dogs do not by default like to wear socks but can get used to them. Dogs walk akwardly the first time they have socks. It’s due to the fact that they cannot feel the surface beneath them with the sensors in their pawpads as usual. The sensors inform them about temperature, texture and stability.

#23: Can dogs wear socks all day?

Dogs shouldn’t wear socks all day. It’s best to put socks on your dog for several hours at a time. If you put socks that protect your dog’s paws from allergens such as dust, grass, pollen, or dirt, take these off as soon as you’re home. The allergens will remain on the socks.

#24: Is it bad for dogs to wear socks?

It is not bad for dogs to wear socks if the socks are the right size. It can look bad when a dog is not used to walking with socks and is still adjusting. Then the dog would likely make a lot of hesitant moves with the effort of shaking the socks off. It’s normal because it feels unnatural. 

Just look at this video. It shows doggos trying to get the hang of having socks on:

#25: How do you measure a dog’s paw for a sock?

Measuring a dog’s paw for a sock is easy. Here’s how you do it: take a simple fabric tape measure. Measure the widest part of the paw with it. Depending on the socks’ purpose, you want to measure length as well. Some socks have a print guide and a size chart you can use for reference. 

Here’s an example to help you measure what size your dog’s paws are.

#26: How do you make small dog socks?

One way to make small dog socks is to cut a rectangle around the non-slip part of human socks. Then stitch and leave an opening. Another way is to take baby socks. To ensure grip, you can take balloons and cut the opening up to the wide part. Then slide them over the baby socks.

Here’s a video that shows how to sew your own dog socks:

There’s also material dedicated on DIY dog booties made from baby socks and balloons. 

#27: Can you get socks for dogs?

You can get socks for dogs from multiple pet stores. And shipping websites such as Amazon, AliExpress, Etsy, and more. There you can also find cotton socks for puppies that are non-slip. Some websites have socks with Christmas patterns. There are even socks with adjustable straps.

#28: What are the best dog socks?

The best dog’s socks fit the size of your dog’s feet. Make sure to measure the length and width. You can get an idea of the socks’ size by the manufacturer chart. Pick ones with adjustable straps to make sure they stay on. Ensure they’re durable because some dogs nibble on them.

#29: How to put on and when to use dog socks?

To put on dog socks stand over your dog with the dog between your legs. Put the sock higher so it can cover the dewclaw. Tighten the velcro straps. Use dog socks when your dog is scratching excessively, chewing or licking their paw that needs to heal, or need paw protection from allergens.

#30: Why does my dog hate socks?

Your dog hates wearing socks because they aren’t used to it. If they were stressed while you first put socks on them, they might have negative associations with socks. Luckily, dogs adjust quite fast. If your dog is chewing your socks, it doesn’t mean they hate them. They love playing with them.

#31: Why can’t dogs walk in socks?

Dogs can walk in dog socks. It’s just the first time they feel weird about the experience as they’re not used to it. Dogs need some time to adsut to the socks because they don’t understand why the sensation on their feet is different. Their paw pads usually inform them of the world around them.

#32: How do you keep a dog’s socks from falling off?

There are multiple ways to keep a dog’s socks from falling off. Some include non-stick vet wrap. Or buying socks with adjustable velcro straps. If you get The Walkin’ Traction Socks for example because they have a fastener strap you can adjust so the sock doesn’t slip away. 

#33: How do you train a dog to wear socks?

How do you train a dog to wear socks

Use positive reinforcement to train your dog to wear socks. The first impression with socks is the one your dog will remember. You shoud introduce the socks gradually. First start by leaving the sock around. When your dog looks at it and sniffs it, provide treats and praises.

Here’s how it goes:

  1. Introduce one sock and let your dog sniff it. Reward your dog for showing interest. As soon as you hide the sock, stop the treats. 
  2. In the following days, try putting one sock on and give your dog a lot of praises plus treats. Try to do this with all of the socks. Once you have 1 or more, take them off and stop the treats.
  3. From there on, repeat but try to leave the socks on for longer periods of time. Don’t forget to reward your dog in the process. 
  4. If you’re using non-stick vet wrap or socks with adjustable straps, be careful to not tighten the socks too much. This can cause the blood flow to stop and make the dog very uncomfortable, especially if the dog has to wear them for a longer time. 
  5. Last but not least, be patient. Remember that your dog will need time to adjust both to having something on their feet and walking with socks.

We want to give our dog the idea that as soon as the socks are near, it’s raining treats! And what happens when the socks are gone? The party stops.

Apply this to every training section for maximum effects.

Caution: If your dog is not yet ready to have a sock on them and pulls away, don’t force them. Let them take their time as each dog as different adjustment periods. 

5 tips to get your dog to stop stealing (and eating) your socks

#1: Prevention

Hide your socks! 

Prevention is not the solution but it is the first step to keeping your dog safe.

Caution: Without proper prevention, your dog could ingest a sock. Bear in mind that socks are not visible on X-Rays. If a sock gets in the stomach or intestines, surgery is the way to go. 

Dr. Karen Halligan reports that if a sock gets stuck in the dog’s body and is not removed in time, the dog’s life is in danger. 

A sock in the intestines can cause them to start dying. That’s because blood won’t be able to flow normally. 

To not end up in such a situation, be careful when:

  • Leaving socks on the clothes dryer.
  • Carrying dirty laundry to the maching machine.
  • Carrying clean laundry to the bedroom.

Limit your dog’s access to socks. Whether it means locking the door of the room or terrace where the clothes are drying. 

Put socks in drawers. keep drawers closed at all times.

#2: Train your dog to ‘Drop it’ or ‘Leave it’

Understanding and following the commands ‘drop it’ and ‘leave it’ is essential. It it may make the crucial difference between enjoying you evening or stressing out on the way to the vet.

These commands can literally save your dog’s life.

Plus, they come in handy when your dog is walking behind you and you drop some laundry. 

The best part is that you won’t have to chase your dog. Or fight with them because they’re reluctant to give the sock back. 

Note: Teach one command at a time and use it consistently for best results. Do not use different sentences to pass the same meaning. This may confuse your dog.

Before we move on, let’s just clarify one thing: these commands might sound similar but are used for two different things. 

You should use ‘Drop it’ when your dog already has a sock (or another item) in their mouth.

‘Leave it’ comes in handy when your dog is about to grab the sock (or something else) with their mouths.

Make it fun 

Dogs are like children – they’re more receptive to learning when they’re having fun. 

It might not sound like a big deal to you but it’s important. And the more fun you make it for your dog, the better. 

Some dogs are more possessive than others. That’s when we need to pay extra attention to the training. 

We don’t want our dog to associate it us with a party pooper. Yeah – for real! That’s how your dog perceives you as soon as you take a ‘treasure’ out of their mouth.

I mean – how would you feel if someone from your family keeps taking your stuff? Add to that that it’s stuff you like. And the fact that they never give anything back…

Not cool, the least to say.

So, remember: don’t yell, raise your voice, scold or punish your dog. Turn training into an exciting game instead.

Trade with your dog

Dog Trades Socks For Treats

Your dog will give you a sock and you give them what?

If you’ve guessed a treat, you’ve read my mind. 🙂 Or, you know dogs and have your ways with them.

Keep several snacks to reward your dog with. Once they drop the sock, let them have a favorite treat of theirs.

Note: It’s best to use high-value treats. These are insanely tasty treats that your dog receives ocassionally. Such as boiled chicken pieces. Such a thing will make your dog excited and focused on the task they need to do.

By doing this, you will ‘install’ an idea in your dog’s brain. They will learn that whenever you ask them to do this task, and they do it, they get a tasty reward.

In comparison to that, running away from you, chewing or swallowing the socks, won’t seem desirable anymore.

Or, to put it simple – your dog will get the message that whenever they drop or leave an item, they will get something better. This is more efficient than focusing on taking things away from them.

#3: Replace the behavior

One way to deal with a problematic behavior is by replacing it with a desirable one. 

Once this happens consistently, your dog will forget about nibbling on items that are not for eating. They will just be occupied with something more interesting.

So, as soon as you see your dog with a sock, offer them a favorite toy of theirs. Or indulge them in a game of fetch or tug of war.

And don’t forget to…

Rotate your dog’s toys 

One easy way to go about this, is to provide your dog with diverse toys.

So, instead of leaving toys lying around all the time, pick one or two. Let your dog have them.

As to the others – hide them away somewhere where your dog can’t get them. 

After a few days, take away the toys your dog had access to and give them the other ones. 

This will prevent your dog from getting bored.

#4: Exercise

People who do yoga focus on two things – exercising the body, and the mind. They know how important it is to have balance. 

And by doing one of these consistently or intensively, doesn’t make up for not foing the other. 

With dogs, it’s kind of the same. 

To put it ismple, there are 2 types of exercise you should provide your dog with:

  • Physical.
  • Mental. 

Dogs benefit from physical exercise. This can be running, playing fetch or tug of war, and taking long walks.

But they also need mental stimulation. It keeps their minds sharp.

So, how do you give them that?

Puzzle toys to the rescue! 

Mental stimulation is important because it reduces stress. Plus it makes your pooch happier. 

This in turn decreases destructive behaviors such as chewing on socks, or worse – eating them.

#5: Show your dog you don’t care

Lissa, my dog, always looks at me playfully whenever she holds a sock in her mouth…

She has this inviting look that says ‘Want it? Come and get it?’

And if I make the slightest movement towards her, she turns her head rapidly. And immediately jumps a few steps away from me.

Again, she’s inviting me to play. 

Do I have a chance of catching her? Not the slightest…

If she doesn’t choose to give in, that is. But if I start chasing her, it’s a whole different story… 

See, it’s impossible to catch a dog by chasing after them. What’s more, your dog could be having the time of their life by making you go after them.

So, how do you fix this?

Just show them that the sock isn’t that valuable to you. Don’t look at them. Don’t attempt to catch them. Or even to pull it out of their mouth. 

Rather, keep an eye on them with your peripheral vision. And revert to tip #2 or #3.