My Dog Licks My Underwear: What’s Up With That?

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Do you ever wonder why your dog licks your underwear? It's a pretty strange behavior, and there isn't really a clear answer as to why dogs do it.

Some people believe that they are trying to clean themselves, while others think that they might be trying to mark their territory. Still others believe that it is just a way for the dog to show affection for their owner.

Whatever the reason may be, it is definitely an interesting behavior!

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at why dogs lick their owners' underwear and try to come up with some possible explanations.



Smells like their owner


One theory is that dogs lick underwear because it smells like their owner. This makes sense, as dogs are very attracted to the scent of their humans.

When they lick your underwear, they are likely trying to get closer to your scent.


Another possibility is that dogs simply think underwear tastes good! After all, we do sweat a lot in our underwear and this can make them quite salty.

For some dogs, the taste of salt is irresistible and they just can't help but lick.


However, It's also possible that licking is simply a way for dogs to show affection for their owners.

Dogs often lick people's faces as a way of saying "I love you," so it stands to reason that they do the same to show their affection.


Boredom or anxiety


An idea is also that it's simply a way for dogs to relieve boredom or anxiety. If your dog is anxious, they may lick their lips as a way of self-soothing.

This behavior can sometimes carry over to licking other objects, like underwear.


So sometimes, the answer to 'why does my dog lick my underwear' could often just be that they're bored and have nothing else to do.


Attention seeking


Another theory is that some dogs learn that licking their owner's underwear gets them attention.

Whether you scold them or not, they are still getting a reaction from you. This can reinforce the behavior and make them want to do it even more.



Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


A more recent idea put forth is that some dogs have OCD, and licking provides them with a sense of comfort.

This can be a difficult behavior to break, but it's important to get help from a professional if you think your dog might have OCD. (source)


Learned behavior


It's also entirely possible that it was an entirely learned behavior. Similarly to the above attention seeking behavior, your dog might know that by licking your underwear, they would get attention.

Or perhaps, in a previously abused home, they would lick underwear as a way of getting some amount of nutrition from it.

Gross, we know, but it's entirely possible if they were neglected, or abused.


Teething


Sometimes, the answer to 'why does my dog lick my underwear' is simply because your dog is simply teething.

This is pretty common in puppies, but some dogs can carry this habit over from their puppy days (see the above on learned behavior!)


Puppies often chew on things when they are going through the teething process, and this can carry over into adulthood if it's not properly curbed.

Some puppies and adult dogs take it even further - instead of merely licking your underwear, they end up EATING your underwear.

This unfortunately requires you to bring them to the emergency room to remove it from their stomachs before it causes serious harm. (source)


Possible medical reasons


It's also possible that there is a medical reason for why your dog is licking your underwear.

If they are constantly licking other objects as well, it could be a sign of anxiety or allergies.

Similarly to having Canine Compulsive Disorders, your dog might have some underlying neurological condition causing them to act in that manner.

If your dog is exhibiting other strange behaviors, it's best to take them to the vet to rule out any medical conditions.


Sometimes, they just want to smell interesting smells.


Dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than humans, and they love to use it to explore their world.

When they lick your underwear, they are likely trying to get closer to your scent.

This is why dogs will often sniff each other's butts - they are trying to get to know the other dog better through their scent.

So if your dog is licking your underwear, they are likely just trying to get a good whiff of you!


Conclusion


Some people might say that dogs lick their owners’ underwear as a way of marking their territory. Others might say that the dog is trying to taste and learn more about the owner.

Still, others may believe that the dog is trying to show love and affection for the owner. No matter what the reason may be, it’s clear that dogs licking their owners’ underwear is not simply a random act.

If you have a dog who likes to lick your underwear, take some time to consider why he or she might be doing it.

Doesn't mean you have to enjoy that all the time though...



about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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