Why Do Dogs Like Shoes So Much (+ Your Socks)?

why do dogs like shoes

Whether it’s a delicate pair of high heels, the latest design of running shoes, or a beat-up, old pair of flip-flops, any type of shoe will do for dogs looking for the perfect chew toy.

I don’t mind when my dog chews an old, dilapidated pair of shoes lying around the house, but when it comes to destroying a new pair I just saved up for, it’s time to act! But before I get onto that, have you ever wondered what the great attraction is?

I did, so decided to research into the reasons why dogs like biting shoes so much. Here’s what I discovered, plus some tips on how to stop your dog chewing your shoes so much.

Why do dogs like shoes and socks so much? There are many reasons why dogs like shoes so much, including your shoelaces and socks. There’s the convenient height, the smell, the size, and consistency which make them great teething toys. Plus, shoelaces look just like the tail of a small rodent – the perfect prey!

Why is my dog obsessed with shoes?

When it comes to shoes, they are usually at a convenient height and often the most accessible for dogs, particularly those trailing shoelaces! Imagine if you lived on four legs and were looking for something to do; then a shoe presents itself!

Why do dogs like biting shoes?

But what are the real reasons for dogs being obsessed with shoes? Here’s all those possibilities for why your dog likes to bite shoes and shoelaces.

1. Shoes present an array of interesting smells 

All dogs use their noses and mouths to interpret the world around them. So, when a pair of stinky shoes are stumbled upon, offering an array of delightful and fascinating smells, it’s simply too irresistible for a dog to ignore. The smellier the better!

Certain types of shoes, such as leather shoes, can sometimes retain the original scent of the animal it came from, which can be a very appealing smell to a dog.

Then there’s another major smelly attraction; the shoes will always smell like their owner. If I am away for any length of time from home, my dog will move like a magnet to my shoes. If a dog misses its owner, it will try to sniff up every smell it can find of its beloved human.

Handy Hint: Scientists have found that dogs miss their owners when separated from them, and I’ve details the findings and reasons in this explainer.

I will always cherish our old dog for the way he showed that he missed us. From a puppy until old age, he would find one of our shoes and would bury his snout deep into the shoe and fall soundly asleep.

It must have smelt like home to him.

A shoe will also carry the scent of every place it has travelled to recently.

When we arrive home from a busy day, your dog will like your shoes due to the interesting scents they can pick up from our day.

Whether it’s to the grocery store, a children’s playground, or a gas station, your dog will be able to tell exactly where we’ve been just by smelling and biting at your shoes.

2. Shoes are great for teething puppies

Puppies tend to experience a lot of pain when their teeth are starting to emerge through their gums. By chewing on spongy or tough objects like shoes they can help to relieve any pain from teething.

why do dogs like biting shoes
Puppies love to chew shoes and bite on shoelaces!

Younger dogs like to chew on shoes to get some relief, but it’s also fun too. If you yell and chase at a young puppy chewing your shoes, you’ve just started a great big game which they will want to play again and again!

3. Shoes function as stress relievers for dogs

Dogs who tend to suffer from separation anxiety or those who are more prone to stress caused by loud noises, such as thunder or fireworks, like to chew shoes as a means to alleviate their high anxiety levels.

In most cases, they will try to find anything to chew. This can be a particular problem if a dog’s owner is gone for extended periods and if the dog is feeling very uncertain about its surroundings.

4. Shoes and socks are also forbidden wonders

As we all know, dogs simply love to go for anything that is forbidden. Especially when it causes a certain reaction from its owner. Dogs are highly perceptive and in tune with their owner’s emotions, physical reactions, and facial expressions.

When we immediately react to our dogs out of frustration, we tend to foster a certain response from them. Just watch how a dog reacts when someone simply smiles or frowns at them, without making any sounds. It will be amazing to see how a dog will try to mimic the expressions of its owner.

All dogs want to make their owners happy and with this in mind, we should always try to cultivate a trusting and loving friendship with our furry bundles.

If a dog has seen its owner react by moaning or showing anger and frustration, it will learn to associate those reactions with a particular behavior. Dogs also learn this if they are seeking attention and if they know they can distract their owner from certain activities, such as watching television.

And even better when it turns into a fun game of ‘catch me if you can’ as we run after them with the one shoe, while they have the other!

So, if your dog likes shoes so much, you might want to reconsider how you react when he goes to chew and bite yours!

why dogs like to bite your shoes
Dogs and puppies can nip and bite at your shoes, but it can become problematic if not trained out of them.

Is it ok for dogs to chew on shoes?

Generally, it is safe for dogs to chew shoes. Some shoes made from leather will contain certain chemicals or dyes used during the production process, but these usually don’t cause any major health problems. The primary problem may arise if a dog consumes the shoe and if it leads to intestinal obstruction.

If your dog does like to chew on shoes and ends up eating them, then keep a lookout for the following symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, weakness, and weight loss. If symptoms persist, you should get your dog to a vet right away.

Sometimes, a dog may develop pica, which is the tendency to consume inedible or non-food items. If this behavior becomes a pattern, I recommend your dog is seen by a vet or veterinary behaviorist.

Handy Hint: Some dogs will have some extreme pica that they will try and chew and eat through walls!

How to stop a dog that likes to chew on shoes? 

Our shoes are often at the mercy of our furry canines. Try as we must to curb this habit, there are some simple things we can do to save the lives of our shoes. And above all, to try to make our dogs as happy as can be, without needing to nibble at our shoes.

When first came across my dog with a chewed-up shoe, I first try to remain calm. It is easy to immediately react in frustration or anger when the emotions are flying high, but this will usually lead a dog to search for another object to chew to help decrease its stress levels.

Rather than snatching the shoe or taking my dog away from the shoe, I will tap my dog on the neck or hindquarters to shift my dog’s attention. Here I am trying to show my dog that the shoe is off-limits. I will try to get my dog to drop the shoe itself, rather than me removing it or replacing it.

If this does not work, then I will redirect my dog’s attention to something else, such as showing it another chew toy.

Once I have the shoe, I will use my body language to communicate that the shoe belongs to me. Be assertive and remain calm. I will then place the shoe out of reach.

If a dog displays excessive amounts of chewing, or high levels of destructive behavior and then over-excitement when returning home, it might be a case of separation-anxiety. In this case, it will be helpful to use other methods to curb this behavioral pattern.

Other ways to stop dog shoe chewing

Another simple bit of advice is to eliminate as much of the temptation as possible. This can be through storing shoes on higher shelves in the closet and by simply putting them away and out of reach.

We can’t blame our furry friends if we often keep our shoes lying around the house for easy access. By finding better ways of storing our shoes, it will also help to get a bit of a spring clean done at the same time.

Best of all, dogs need to be kept occupied and nothing beats the wonderful company of their two-legged friend. Taking them for regular exercise, making sure they are well-fed with nutritious food, and presenting them with fun, pet-friendly objects to chew, will work wonders.

Dogs will love chewing rawhide, sticks, hooves, or thick ropes, while puppies will enjoy a good teething stick. If time allows, I try to take my dog for a walk before I am gone for a lengthy period.

As we all know, a well-exercised, tired dog is always a happy dog!


Oh, what joy a simple shoe, sock, or shoelace can bring our four-legged friends!

If your dog likes to bite and chew on your shoes, socks, and shoelaces, you should be able to stop it using the tips above. If all else fails, those shoes need to go up high!

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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