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Is My Dog Sick?

Why Do Dogs Like Socks? — Find Out Why Your Dog Chews Socks

November 11, 2011 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Dog Training and Behavior, Why Do Dogs Like Socks?

Find Out Why Dogs Eat Socks!

Find Out Why Dogs Eat Socks!

Wondering “Why do dogs like socks?”

Many dogs like to chew and play with socks; it’s a commonplace habit that drives many pet owners nuts! In fact, some dogs even learn how to get into the laundry hamper. And we’ve even heard a few instances of dogs pulling dirty socks off their owners feet! This has many dog owners wondering why their dog loves socks, especially smelly or dirty socks!

Canine Sock Love and The Dog’s Sense of Smell Compared to Humans

In short, it comes down to the dog’s sense of smell. A dog’s sense of smell, compared to a human’s, is 1,000 times to 10,000,000 times more powerful, depending upon the breed.

So what does this have to do with a dog’s love for dirty socks? Well, socks tend to smell like the person who wears them. That’s why some pets tend to prefer their owner’s socks over those belonging to other family members. The scent tends to be very strong, as your foot sweats during the day, and the sock absorbs scents from the places where you’ve walked. This adds greater appeal, as the sock smells like the dog’s favorite person and it creates an interesting scent map for the dog, relaying information about the places that you’ve visited while wearing the socks.

So for dogs, socks are interesting. They’re associated with strong and interesting smells and they carry the owner’s scent, which many dogs find comforting. Plus, they’re the perfect size for play! They’re just the right size for the dog to fling around, carry and chew.

Why Do Dogs Eat Socks?

Many dogs don’t just chew and play with socks; some like to eat them. This can be extremely dangerous. The dog can experience frequent and repeated vomiting and even intestinal obstructions, which occur when the sock gets stuck in the dog’s intestinal tract. Life-saving surgery may be required to remove the sock!

Dogs eat socks for the same reason they play with them — they smell good to the dog and they’re a convenient size. Some dogs just get a bit carried away, so they eat the sock.

To prevent your dog from eating socks, skip the laundry hamper and place your socks directly inside the washing machine after wear. And don’t leave clean socks laying around after they’ve been washed. Although they’re clean, some scent still remains and this scent will be detectable by dog breeds with a strong sense of smell. Therefore, some dogs may enjoy playing with clean socks too! So immediately fold your socks and place them inside a drawer.

How Can I Tell if My Dog Ate a Sock?

If you suspect your dog may have eaten a sock or another foreign object, look for the following symptoms:

  • Frequent and repeated vomiting (often, the dog cannot even keep down water)
  • Drinking copious amounts of water
  • Lack of bowel movements
  • Diarrhea
  • Distended abdomen
  • Painful abdomen
  • Dog won’t eat or drink
  • Pale gums
  • Depression and lethargy

If you observe these symptoms in your dog, take him to the veterinary clinic immediately for an assessment. The veterinarian will perform an exam and he/she will likely order x-rays, which will reveal whether the dog has eaten a sock or another foreign object.

For more information on how to tell if a dog is sick and to learn about other causes of a dog’s vomiting, visit The Sick Dog Blog Archives!

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Lessons from a Connecticut Chimp Attack

February 19, 2009 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Dog Training and Behavior, Pets In The News

Lessons in animal behavior and training from the 2009 CT chimp attack on Charla Nash.

Today’s post will focus on the Stamford, Connecticut Chimpanzee attack and the lessons dog owners can take away from the chimp mauling that left the victim, 55-year-old Charla Nash fighting for her life and severely disfigured when the chimp bit off her nose, eyes and jaw, and severely injured her hands.

Recognizing the Role of Instinct in Pets

Just 72 hours after the vicious chimp attack, we’re learning details of the chimp owner’s relationship with 14-year-old Travis the chimp. Sandra Herold dressed her pet chimp in clothing, he rode in the car daily, he ate dinner at the dinner table. Herold would even share a glass of wine with Travis the chimp every night before they retired to bed – together, with owner and chimp sleeping in the same bed.

I suspect Herold was beginning to forget the truly wild animal instinct that lurked just beneath the surface in her primate pet; the fact that she allowed a friend – the victim, Charla Nash – to attempt to assist with the agitated chimpanzee confirms this.  Had Herold fully acknowledged the potentially dangerous animal instinct that would emerge, then she would have isolated Travis the chimp from even herself.

I believe this was Herold’s primary mistake: she forgot that her chimp was a chimp, with needs different from a human’s needs. She dropped her guard and forgot about her chimpanzee’s wild instincts and unfortunately, her reality check ended with a chimpanzee attack on a human that ultimately led to Travis’ death.

Remembering Animal Instinct and its Role in Dog Behavior and Training

This sad and unfortunate situation involving the chimp attack in Connecticut highlights a very important lesson that many dog owners learn the hard way.

The lesson is this: You must always remember that your dog is a dog; he is not a human in furry clothing. Treating your dog like a human in a furry sweater may largely ignore the dog’s needs, leading to behavioral problems and the dog equivalent of mental illness.

It’s also important to remember that your dog has his own unique set of animal instincts that may very well override the dog’s training at some point in time. Many owners make the mistake of letting their guard down; dog owners look at their friendly, well-trained dog and they forget what the dog is physically capable of inflicting serious injury – or worse.

Each and every dog, if put in the right situation, can and will hurt or even kill a human, another dog, a cat or another pet.

A dog’s instinct cannot be trained away or loved away; your dog will always remain a dog to the core – something that’s very important to remember if we are to keep our dogs well-trained and mentally healthy.

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