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Why Do Dogs Roll In Poop? How To Stop It?

Again, it has occurred! Your dog rolled around in feces. He may be rolling in his own excrement, another dog's waste, or even poop from an entirely other species.

Nevertheless, he now has a foul odor, forcing you to either put him outdoors or bathe him before he can return inside and sit on the furniture.

We are aware that bathing your dog more regularly than usual might be a major hassle, especially when feces are involved.

Yet, we assure you that your dog is not intentionally torturing you. There are solid reasons why dogs may roll in their own excrement.

"Why Do Dogs Roll In Poop? How to Stop It?" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) will examine these causes in further detail and offer advice for preventing a recurrence.

Why Do Dogs Roll in Poop?

There are no definite scientific explanations for why dogs roll in feces and other odorous substances that people find repugnant. We cannot just approach a dog and ask, “Hey, why did you do that?” and expect an answer. But, considering what is known about dogs, scientists have developed four plausible explanations for this peculiar behavior.

1. To Your Dog, Poop Smells Nice

Have you seen that your dog rolls in feces more frequently following a bath? Is he rolling around in his own feces? In what appears to be an endless loop, he’ll roll in it, get stinking, and need to be bathed again.

The reason he does this is because human and canine perceptions of smell are radically different. A dog’s sense of smell is far more acute than ours, and they can detect odors that we cannot.

This implies that whereas humans find some odors pleasant (such as flowers, perfumes, and sweets), dogs find different odors pleasing.

It is very plausible that he dislikes the scent of his newly shampooed hair. Instead, he desires to smell like something he finds pleasing, namely feces.

2. He’s Covering His Scent

Dogs are carnivores that must hunt for food in the wild. They do not like for their odor to be detected by their prey. If a dog’s prey can detect his approach, he cannot sneak up on them. As a result, the dog may roll in its own waste to conceal its scent.

Clearly, dogs raised as pets are not required to search for their own food. Nonetheless, even domesticated dogs retain their innate impulses and may still employ the skills necessary for survival in the wild. This involves covering his fragrance with feces.

3. He Communicates With Other Canines

Dogs have a pack mentality, which means they attempt to survive by working together. They accomplish this by talking with other pack members.

Yet, because dogs can not communicate in the same manner that humans do, they must use alternative methods to communicate. As dogs are carnivores, hunting is one of the reasons they need to interact with one another.

Whenever a dog in the wild encounters something odoriferous, such as a dead animal or feces that is not its own, it will roll in it to take up the scent. They will then take the scent back to their pack in an effort to alert the other dogs that something has been discovered.

The other dogs in the pack will follow that smell in order to hunt and consume that specific animal. Even domesticated dogs who do not coexist with other canines may display this behavior.

4. He’s Marking His Territory

Another instinctual habit of dogs is to defend their territory. One way they accomplish this is by urinating on things, especially after another dog has already done so.

But, marking territory is not restricted to urinating on objects. If your dog encounters another dog’s feces in his yard or on a walk in the park, he may roll in it to let the other dog know that this is also his territory.

How to Stop Your Dog From Rolling in Poop

If rolling in feces is genuinely an instinctive activity for dogs, there is nothing you can do to totally prohibit the practice. Nonetheless, there are ways to discourage this practice in certain locations.

Ensure that your dog is on a leash when you take him to the park or for a stroll in the woods, for instance. This will assist in keeping him tied and away from any feces he may encounter.

If your dog enjoys rolling in his own feces in his own backyard, he is more difficult to stop. Keeping him on a leash in a fenced-in yard is obviously undesirable. The best course of action is to pick up and dispose of his feces after he defecates. So, he cannot afterwards rush outdoors and roll in it.

Effectively teaching your dog to leave something alone is also possible. If you notice that he is ready to roll in feces, attempt to take him away from it gently and say “leave it.” It may take many incidences, but your dog will ultimately get the concept.

How to Get Stinky Smells off of Your Dog

Even if you successfully restrict your dog’s need to roll in feces, it is inevitable that he may occasionally roll in feces or other unpleasant substances. Yet even after bathing your dog with ordinary dog shampoo, part of the odor may linger.

You might be tempted to put one of your overly perfumed human shampoos on your dog to conceal the odor. But, it is never a good idea to put human shampoo on a dog since it might cause skin irritation. Alternatively, you can use a dog-specific deodorizing shampoo to eliminate the offensive odor.

Several individuals use dish soap to clean their pets during bath time. Nevertheless, dish soap alone might wash too abrasive for your dog’s skin and can actually dry it out. You may still use dish soap on dogs, but you need first combine it with other products.

There is a basic recipe for dog shampoo that calls for ingredients that you likely already possess. You only need to combine the following:

  • 1/2 cup of mild, unscented dish soap
  • 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar
  • 2 glasses of warm water

Dish soap will assist in removing grime and oil from your dog’s coat, while vinegar helps deodorize it. Water only dilutes the dish soap and vinegar so that they are not too potent. Spray the liquid onto your dog, then bathe and rinse him well. Once completion, he should smell clean and fresh.

Final Thoughts

Although no one knows for certain why dogs roll in feces, the majority of hypotheses point to their innate impulses.

You may not be able to prevent it entirely. But with the methods mentioned in “Why Do Dogs Roll In Poop? How to Stop It?” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), you may reduce its frequency by cleaning up after them at home and putting them on a leash in public.

This way, you’ll only need to bathe your dog every few weeks instead of every day, allowing you to spend more time playing with him.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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