Why Do Dogs Love Stealing Socks? Things To Do About It

The sight of a dog running around with a sock in its mouth, tail wagging wildly, might be amusing until you’re running late and can’t find a matching pair! It’s a common scenario in dog-loving households: one moment, your socks are safely tucked in your drawer, and the next, they’re being paraded around by your furry friend.

But what is it about socks that dogs find so irresistible? The answer lies in a combination of their innate instincts and their sensory perceptions. By understanding these, we can take steps towards addressing this peculiar canine behavior, ensuring our socks stay where they belong while also keeping our pets happy and stimulated.

Reason Of Dogs Liking Socks

Socks carry a strong scent imprint, especially for dogs, whose sense of smell is significantly superior to humans. As such, your socks are like a personal calling card, drenched in your unique scent. This can be incredibly comforting and attractive to dogs, who use their noses to understand the world.

Moreover, from a dog’s perspective, socks are also perfectly sized for a quick play session or a chew. They’re small, soft, and portable, easily carried around or hidden. The texture and elasticity of socks can make them an intriguing object for dogs, hence sparking their interest in this everyday clothing item.

Socks Conatin Owner’s Pheromones

One of the primary reasons dogs are attracted to socks is because they carry our pheromones. Pheromones are unique chemical markers that convey information about us, such as our emotions, diet, and health. Dogs, with their exceptional olfactory senses, can detect these subtle cues, making items like socks particularly appealing.

When a dog picks up a sock, they’re not just interacting with a piece of fabric; they’re connecting with your scent profile. Your socks, which absorb sweat and skin cells, are a concentrated source of your pheromones. In a way, this makes your socks a direct link to you, providing your dog with a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Additionally, dogs may also engage with socks as a form of pack behavior. In the wild, pack animals would bring back scents of their territory or their hunt. In a domestic setting, your dog carrying your socks may be a modern manifestation of this instinct, given that your scent is a crucial part of their ‘territory’.

Dog and socks.

Scent On Your Socks. It Makes Your Dog Happier

Socks that carry your scent can be a source of comfort and security for your dog. In your absence, these scent-laden items may serve as a sort of stand-in, providing a familiar smell that can help alleviate feelings of anxiety or loneliness.

Furthermore, the scent recognition can trigger positive associations in your dog’s mind, such as companionship and affection, leading to a happier, calmer state of mind. It’s a way for them to feel connected to you, even when you’re not physically present.

Owner’s Scent Makes Socks A Highly Valueable Item

In the eyes of your dog, your scent transforms an ordinary sock into a highly valuable item. It’s a phenomenon driven by their acute sense of smell and their natural affinity for their human companions. Your scent, soaked into the fabric, turns your socks into a sort of olfactory keepsake, embodying your presence in a sensory way that dogs deeply appreciate.

Dogs’ natural instinct is to protect what they perceive as valuable. When your dog steals a sock, it could be their way of safeguarding something they associate closely with you. They’re not just stealing an item of clothing; they’re stashing away a piece of their favorite human.

Moreover, the scent-laden sock serves a dual purpose. Not only is it a cherished possession, but it’s also a source of entertainment. Dogs often play with, chew on, or carry around these “scent items,” finding comfort, entertainment, and a sense of connection in the process.

Attention Seeking Through Stealing Socks

Stealing socks can also be an attention-seeking behavior for dogs. Dogs are social animals, and they often engage in behaviors that get a reaction from their owners. Swiping a sock from the laundry basket or straight off your foot is a surefire way to attract notice.

The ensuing chase or scolding, although negative from our perspective, may be seen as interaction by the dog. If this behavior garners a lot of attention, the dog learns that stealing socks is an effective way to engage with its owner, thereby reinforcing the behavior.

Is It Harmful For Dogs To Eat Socks?

Yes, it can be quite harmful for dogs to eat socks. While the act of carrying or playing with a sock is generally harmless, swallowing it can lead to serious health complications. Socks are indigestible and can cause obstructions in a dog’s gastrointestinal tract, a condition known as a foreign body obstruction.

Symptoms of foreign body obstruction include vomiting, loss of appetite, dehydration, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, this can require surgery to remove the obstruction. It’s essential to monitor your pet’s behavior and consult a vet if you suspect they’ve ingested a sock.


What Should I Do If My Do Ate Socks?

If you suspect your dog has ingested a sock, it’s crucial to contact your vet immediately. Don’t attempt to induce vomiting without professional guidance, as this can lead to additional complications. Describe your dog’s symptoms and any relevant details about the ingested sock to help the vet understand the situation.

Depending on your dog’s symptoms and the time elapsed since ingestion, the vet may suggest different treatment plans. This could range from monitoring your dog’s behavior and bowel movements closely to performing medical procedures or surgery to remove the sock. Remember, quick action is essential in these situations.

List Of Things To Do If Your Dog Has Socks Issues

Dealing with a sock-thieving dog can be a challenge. Here are some strategies to curb this behavior:

  1. Keep socks out of reach: Store socks in closed drawers and keep your laundry basket in a secure place.
  2. Provide dog-friendly toys: Give your dog suitable alternatives that they can chew on and play with.
  3. Train your dog: Use commands like “leave it” and “drop it” to discourage your dog from taking socks.
  4. Positive reinforcement: Reward your dog when they choose their toys over socks, encouraging good behavior.
  5. Ensure ample exercise and stimulation: A well-exercised, mentally stimulated dog is less likely to resort to unwanted behaviors.
  6. Seek professional help: If sock-stealing persists, consider consulting a professional dog trainer or a behaviorist.


Understanding our dogs’ penchant for sock-stealing starts with recognizing their strong sense of smell and innate behaviors. While it’s crucial to ensure our socks don’t become a health hazard, it’s equally important to remember that this quirky behavior often stems from their love for us and their desire for attention.

Taking preventive measures, providing alternatives, and investing in training can all help manage your dog’s fascination with socks. Keep an eye on their behavior, and if you suspect they’ve ingested a sock, consult with your vet immediately. After all, our furry companions’ well-being is what matters most.

About The Author

Marc Magny is a seasoned dog owner and breeder, lending his expertise to captivating and informative articles. His deep understanding of dogs and their behavior, health, and breeding practices enriches his writing, offering invaluable insights to readers.

With his practical experience and passion for dogs, Marc’s articles serve as a comprehensive guide for dog lovers. His work resonates with the joy of dog ownership, positioning him as a trusted voice and resource in the pet parenting journey.