Why Do Dogs Eat Clothes? 2 Potential Reasons For Pica And Methods To Stop It

Why do dogs eat clothes? The main causes of this issue are boredom, anxiety, curiosity, or health conditions.

Eating clothing can result in severe intestinal obstruction. Now, we’ll learn why your dog eats your clothing items and how to stop this dangerous action.

Why Do Dogs Eat Clothes?

why do dogs eat clothes

Why do dogs eat clothing? It can be due to a variety of reasons, including:

  • Curiosity and attraction to smell
  • Boredom and anxiety
  • Teething
  • Health issues

Dog eating clothes, toys, wood, rocks, stones, and other non-food items refer to the Pica condition. Pica is much more than just odd behavior.

It’s an extremely complicated disease that might lead to severe effects if left untreated. The cause of this behavior will determine the appropriate course of treatment.

Curiosity And Attraction To Smell

Dogs explore the world by chewing everything they see, including your clothes. Nothing is weird if your furry friend runs around the house and munchs on one thing after another.

Besides, dogs are especially attracted to your scent because your smell makes them feel loved and protected.

When you are away from home, dogs seek your clothes and chew on them to satisfy their nostalgia.

Boredom And Anxiety

Bored dogs tend to chew non-food items to entertain themselves. When a dog is anxious about being left alone, chewing might help it feel better.


A teething puppy may chew and mouth on various objects to relieve their discomfort. They may chew clothes, furniture, or even your hands and ankles.

While chewing, they may accidentally swallow pieces of fabric. Regularly check your puppy to see if any piece of cloth is in its stomach.

Medical Issue

Dogs eat inedible items probably because of nutritional imbalances, diabetes, thyroid disorders, or malabsorption diseases.

Anemia, gastrointestinal parasites, and liver diseases are other causes that can result in pica. Pica may occasionally happen as a side effect of a drug, such as steroids.

The veterinarian may want to do some tests to determine the factors that may cause the condition.

If your veterinarian thinks there could be digestive system blockages, you must have your dogs conduct X-rays or ultrasound tests. Depending on the results, surgery may be necessary.

Can Dogs Eat Clothes?

Can Dogs Eat Clothes

Dogs can’t eat clothes. Inedible items may lodge in the gastrointestinal tract, causing symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Drooling
  • Gagging
  • Bloody diarrhea

If your dog shows the above symptoms, call the vet immediately. Your dogs might be suffering one of the following severe issues.

Dogs May Eat Something Toxic

Dogs can be poisoned by the numerous harmful substances found in clothing.

  • Pesticides

Numerous pesticides are used in the non-organic cotton crop. These chemicals remain in the finished cotton product, causing respiratory issues.

  • AZO dyes 

Azo dyes are commonly used to color garments since they are cheap and give off a vibrant color. Unfortunately, they turn poisonous once they decompose.

  • Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is typically used in the finishing process to make wrinkle-bear and stain-resistant clothes.

This substance is supposed to cause skin irritation, headaches, and sore throats in both people and animals.

  • “PFAS” and “PFCS”

PFAS or PFCS are often used to manufacture waterproof and stain-resistant clothing.

Because of their resistance to decomposition, they are frequently referred to as “forever chemicals.”

  • Phthalates

Phthalates are frequently utilized when printing ornamental elements on clothing, including logos or accessories.

They have been proven to be connected to hormone imbalance.

  • Chromium

Any leather products you purchase have likely had chromium salt treatment during the tanning process. Chromium poisoning may lead to rashes and respiratory issues.

Getting An Object Lodged In Their Intestinal Tract

Dirty clothes may lodge in the stomach or intestines. Fabric can’t be broken down. It’s passed through the digestive system, causing constipation.

Bowel obstruction will show up the symptoms include vomiting, appetite loss, stomach discomfort, drooling, and stress.

Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog suffers difficulty during bowel movements, is constipated, experiences abdominal spasms, or passes black, tarry stools.

The vets probably offer a radiography or ultrasonography to find a GI blockage. If there are foreign objects within the dog’s digestive tract, the vet will take them out.

Endoscopy is the most common method to remove foreign objects. If it’s necessary, your dogs need to have abdominal surgery.

These situations need emergency surgery, which is risky and expensive. The key to a good outcome is early detection and action.

How To Stop My Dog From Eating Clothes?

How To Stop My Dog From Eating Clothes

The best way to prevent the dog from eating clothes is to keep your clothes out of the dog’s reach.

Place your dirty laundry in the laundry basket and hide your clean laundry in the closed-door wardrobe.

However, you may not always be able to manage the surroundings and hold your dog away from these objects.

It will be important to train your dog to quit chewing your clothes.

Keep Dogs Away From Clothing

Keeping strange items out of your dog’s reach is the first method you may try.

It’d be better to hide your clothing items in a closed container to prevent your dog from stealing them.

Pet parents might also try soaking the items in lemon juice or white vinegar to stop dogs chewing. Most dogs will find the taste of the vinegar disgusting.

After making repeated tries over a few weeks, they will give up trying to chew on the clothes.

“Leave It” Method

You can train your dog not to chew strange items using the “leave it” method.

Hold Treat In Closed Hand

Hold a reward for the dog in your closed hand. You’ll need little treats that smell good or the dog’s favorite toys to attract your furry friend.

Command ‘leave It’

Say “Leave it” calmly and firmly when your dog begins to smell your hand. Hold off until the dog quits.

When he stops, praise and reward him with another much nicer treat, such as a hot dog or chicken. Never offer him the treat from your closed hand.

Leave Treat On the Floor

When your dog responds well to your command, you may progressively increase the method’s difficulty.

Put the treat on the ground and cover it with your hand or foot to make the train more challenging.

Repeat And Reinforce

Practice this training many times to reinforce your dog’s habit. You may place your item of clothing in different spots around the house.

Follow the dogs to see what he will do.

Once you see him approach the item, say, “Leave it.” Repeat this with various articles of clothing over a few weeks to train your dog to respect clothes.

Make Interactive Toys With Food

The interactive dog toys may help him eliminate boredom and strengthen the bond between you and the dog.

Buy him chewing toys, puzzle toys, rope toys, and balls to keep his active mind and body busy.

Encourage Dog To Play And Move

You may also take him on a long walk to help him discover the interesting things out there. Plenty of exercise and play may make your furry babies happier.

Crate The Dogs Until They Forget Eating Clothes

Finally, cage your dog at night and when you are not home until they stop their behavior. Crate your dogs for at least six months; they will forget to eat clothes.

If your furry friend is ready to leave the dog house, you can gradually set him free. Start with 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 1 hour, and finally 4 hours.

Put the dog back in his crate for a month if it chews on non-food items again during this transition.

I recommend using a camera to spy on your furry friends and train them from far away with a remote training collar.


How Common Is Pica In Dogs?

Pica is common in dogs. Coprophagia, or ingesting feces, is the most typical type of pica in dogs.

Pica in nursing female dogs is normal because the mother will eat the feces of her babies.

Some breeds, such as Labradors, are more predisposed to pica naturally. Other dogs lacking exercise and mental stimulation tend to eat non-food items.

What Age Do Dogs Stop Chewing?

Most puppies stop chewing between 6 and 8 months old because they have complete adult teeth.

However, a 9-month-old dog may keep chewing when they get bored or stressed.

Should I Ignore My Dog Chewing?

Chewing is common in dogs of all ages. You may ignore the dogs chewing edible items.

But, it’s recommended to stop dogs from eating the non-edible items. You need to train your dog on which thing is appropriate to chew.


Why do dogs eat clothes? Dogs eat clothes probably because of curiosity and attraction to smell, boredom, anxiety, teething, compulsive behavior disorder, or medical condition.

If it’s an odd behavior, the dog will need behavioral reconditioning. After excluding the behavioral cause, you may have your dog tested to know if there are any underlying diseases.

The treatment will cost a lot if the fabric lodges in the dog’s gastrointestinal system.

The best way to prevent dogs from eating clothes is to ensure your dog has adequate physical activity, a balanced diet, and a stress-free environment.


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Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

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