I have many owners ask me about why their husky loves to eat and chew socks, so I did a little digging and found out the reasons.
It’s true that sock-eating has long been an iconic sport for all breeds, but I know a few huskies that really take it seriously… I’ll explain everything below!
Why Do Huskies Eat & Chew Socks So Much
Husky adults and especially puppies often chew things that they aren’t supposed to. And a vulnerable sock that you mistakenly dropped on the way to the wash basket will certainly get your snow dog rather excited.
1. Socks seem like toys
No doubt many husky puppies will see socks as a new toy. And to be fair, socks do kinda look like rope toys! Just a bit softer.
This long piece of material proves to be the ultimate play toy, and guess what happens when your husky grabs the sock… You grab the other end (and just like that, your husky thinks it’s a toy).
2. You accidentally reinforce the behavior
As I just explained above, it’s very easy to reinforce to your husky that they are allowed to chew socks.
All it takes is one moment of playfulness where you let the behavior slide with your husky, and they will think from there on out that this is something you approve of.
3. To get your attention
I have no doubt that sock chewing gets your attention every single time, without fail!
Huskies are a breed that loves their fair share of attention, so if they need to dangle a sock in front of you to get some, they will!
As before, this heavily ties into positively reinforcing the behavior. If your husky is chewing socks to gain your attention, and you instantly respond by giving your attention… This shows your husky that this particular behavior works.
Perhaps the most innocent reason yet is teething. Teething can be described by some as a grueling 6-8 month period where husky puppies (and all breeds) will want to chew everything in sight.
Teething comes in waves of severity, causing tingly sensations, pain, inflamed gums, and more.
One way that puppies release some of the tension and pain is by chewing. Chewing massages the gums, and is essentially the perfect itch to their scratch.
Socks, provide a rather ideal texture to chomp down on too. Soft and squidgy, yet fairly durable.
5. Lack of activity or stimulation
Puppies are like toddlers, they need constant entertainment, or havoc ensues.
Husky puppies from about 12 weeks onwards will start needing serious stimulation.
At this age, they still need to be exercised but we do need to be more careful with their bones and joints.
The game-changer, however, is mental stimulation. Huskies of all ages, especially puppies, need ample mental stimulation to keep them satisfied, restful, and content.
Huskies that don’t receive enough mental stimulation are more stressed, hyperactive, disobedient, bored, and frustrated.
6. Stress or anxiety
Stress and anxiety can cause huskies to engage in pacifying behaviors, and chewing is one of the main ones.
This could apply to either a husky puppy or an adult (but mostly adults).
If your husky is stressed about anything or overly anxious they might resort to sock chewing.
Stress and anxiety can be caused by so many things.
Several reasons include:
- Changes in their environment
- Lack of attention
- Being left alone too long
- Moving homes
- New partner or changes in the household
- Someone in the home is stressed or depressed
- Lack of exercise and stimulation
7. It’s become a habit (OCD)
It’s true that huskies and all dogs can develop obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD).
This can happen with any kind of repetitive behavior and is more common than many owners would expect.
If your husky has been chewing or trying to eat socks for a long time, this may have eventually got the stage that they are now just doing it out of habit.
Behavior that may have been once triggered by a different cause, has now simply turned into a habit.
8. Your husky likes the smell and taste
Finally, there’s no denying it. Socks smell, sometimes quite a lot!
Your husky could simply just have a thing for the smell and taste (as gross as that sounds!).
It has also been shown that dogs with a close bond to their owner LOVES their scent and smell. There’s nothing more pungent about your own socks, and your husky may agree too.
How to Stop Your Husky Chewing and Eating Socks
Let’s cover 5 ways you can stop your husky from stealing and eating your socks. Some tips are actionable today, and others are somewhat of a training method that may take some time and consistency.
1) De-sock all rooms in your house
Without a doubt, the most practical and instant way to stop your dog from stealing your socks is to locate them somewhere he can’t access them. If you didn’t have a good excuse to spring clean your home, you do now! Be sure to locate all your socks and keep them tidy in a single draw, out of his reach or in your bedroom with the door shut.
Most huskies are opportunist sock poachers. The socks you accidentally drop on the way to the wash basket, or socks you leave out to dry after washing are the main victims. This can be harder said than done, especially if you have young children or husbands leaving random socks everywhere. Try your best to keep socks under wraps.
This is the first step you should take, but it doesn’t really fix his obsession. So let’s take a look at that next.
2) Preventative Chewing Training
This is more of a training routine that should be on-going regardless of the sock issue. But don’t worry, it’s super easy.
It’s a very simple technique that involves 4 simple steps:
- Stopping your husky when he starts chewing something he shouldn’t
- Informing him that you don’t like this behavior
- Replacing what he was chewing with something you allow him to chew, like a toy
- Praising him heavily when he focuses on the toy.
This doesn’t need to be a military-style training routine, but more of an on-going training exercise that happens casually, on a daily basis.
It’s simple, but it works so well due to positive reinforcement of behavior that you as the owner approve of.
Dogs, in general, only want to appease their owner, so when they know what actions receive a positive response from you, they will do it more often.
After 1-2 months of this constant, stop, inform, replace, reward routine, your dog will no longer opt for the chair legs, your shoes, or your socks.
3) Provide More Mental Stimulation
Many huskies, unfortunately, don’t receive enough mental stimulation as they do physical stimulation, but it’s certainly just as important!
A lot of negative behavior seen in huskies can actually be reduced and even stopped by introducing sufficient mental stimulation.
Your husky’s mind needs exercise just like his physical body does. Training, interactive puzzle toys and engaging in playtime with your dog all go towards mental stimulation.
When dogs receive adequate mental stimulation their stress levels decrease, they appear to be happier and more content. And not to mention, destructive behavior and excessive chewing significantly decrease.
P.S This isn’t to take away from his physical exercise requirements either. Exercise plays a critical roll in all well-behaved dogs. Try increasing his physical exercise as well as his mental exercise.
4) Practice Drop It and Leave It Commands
Prevention is better than cure. A solid understanding of “drop it” and “leave it”, may save you a trip to the vets.
If a sock falls behind you while you bring your laundry upstairs, not all hope is lost. If your husky has received adequate training for “drop it” then you won’t have to put up a fight to get it back.
I could sit here and give you a written explanation but for this particular training command there’s a fantastic video that would be better for you to watch, it’s underneath and it plays right here on the page 🙂
5) Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has long been used to prevent dogs from chewing, biting and even eliminating in certain areas. Strong citrus or acidic smells are typically disliked by most dogs.
This isn’t guaranteed to work. Some people swear by apple cider vinegar, and others don’t. Despite commonly being known as a smell “all dogs hate”, some actually don’t mind it, and others, even like it!
If your dog doesn’t like the smell of apple cider vinegar then by all means, try it out on your socks. Only spray a little on your socks, and don’t wear them while they’re damp!
Again, this is a little extra trick up your sleeve and may or may not work for your dog. The other 4 methods are without a doubt the most effective.
Why Sock Eating Poses Serious Danger to Dogs
If your dog has a particular obsession with your socks and hasn’t already become ill or eaten one, you’re lucky and take this opportunity to stop the behavior quickly!
Socks or any other items that are not digestible are technically known as “foreign bodies”. As foreign bodies do not digest, once swallowed, they just sit in the stomach, or even worse, find their way to the intestine, where they then sit there.
Because foreign bodies can’t be digested they instead obstruct the normal route that food and water would otherwise take. The obstruction can be directly in the stomach, or further down the line, in the intestines. Either way, this is already a serious health issue. At first, your dog may experience severe vomiting, lethargy, a lack of appetite and constipation. But in the end, if left untreated can actually be fatal.
It’s a very big mistake to think that any foreign body ingested “will just get pooped out” at a later stage. While it’s fair to say that this does happen sometimes, the risk is so great that any foreign body ingested needs to be taken seriously and an emergency trip to your veterinarian would be necessary.
My Husky Ate a Sock. What Should I Do!
You should call your veterinarian right away. They will find out important information and will give you advice in the moment. Their instructions will typically depend on how long ago your husky ingested the sock.
In most scenarios, they will instruct you to immediately go the veterinarian practice, if that’s a possible option for you.
Time is of the essence because a sock in the stomach is easier to resolve than if it passes on through into the intestines. There are various ways to help a sock come back out of the stomach, compared to the intestines, where surgery then becomes the main option.
Most likely, your veterinarian will try to induce vomiting or pump the stomach.
Your husky’s stomach will be sending signals to the brain that there’s something in there which shouldn’t be and in some lucky situations, your dog will vomit the sock back out themselves.
Can you do anything while you are at home?
You can try to induce vomiting but it’s risky, and you should only try doing so if the veterinarian gives you instructions over the phone to try it.
Getting the sock back out is important. But there’s a chance that it can get stuck in the throat on it’s way out. If this were to happen, it would be an emergency situation and you would be infinitely better off having a veterinarian by your side to resolve the issue, than being at home alone.
Hydrogen Peroxide in small doses can help to induce vomiting. But should be given in the correct amounts. Here’s a full guide by the London Vet Clinic on this topic.
I’m not really in a position to give advice on treating this issue at home. If treating it at home is necessary for your particular situation then your veterinarian will guide you over the phone. In most cases, they will ask you to bring your dog to them.
Thanks for reading! Back to My Happy Husky
DisclaimerThe advice given in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice in any context. Before making any decisions that may affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. For the FULL disclaimer Visit Here
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