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Why Do Dogs Roll in Poop? 5 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

black and white dog rolling in the ground

Why Do Dogs Roll in Poop? 5 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

VET APPROVED

Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Dogs are fun companions to spend time with, but they can also be a bit gross at times. For example, many dogs love rolling in poop whenever they get the opportunity, which might be awesome for them but is disgusting to us. You may be wondering why your pup does this, so here are five common reasons that dogs like to roll in poop.

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The 5 Reasons That Dogs Roll in Poop

1.  Dogs Like the Smell of Poop

One big reason a dog might roll in poop is simply that they like the smell of it. Dogs tend to have different scent preferences than we do, so what may smell bad to us could be the opposite for dogs.

The feces they are rolling in also provides them with all kinds of information about the dog, cat, or other animal that left the poop behind. They can tell what the animal smells like and what they’ve eaten, for example.

Dog poop floor
Image Credit: ThamKC, Shutterstock

2.  They Want to Cover Up Their Own Scent

Dogs may have come from hunters, but they can also be prey to larger animals. For both reasons they may instinctively want to cover their own scent. They don’t want prey to sniff them out before they have a chance to pounce, and they don’t want predators to be able to find them.


3.  Dogs Want to Leave Their Scent Behind

Some dogs like to leave their own scent behind so other dogs and animals can pick it up and learn more about them. They have a few ways of “marking” things in their paths, such as peeing on trees and fire hydrants, pooping on grass and walkways, and even rolling around in other animals’ poop. They might also roll around in grass and dirt to leave their scent behind.

person picking up dog's poop
Image Credit: antoniodiaz, Shutterstock

4.  They Want to Show Off Where They’ve Been

Dogs like to show off to their “pack members” where they have been while they have been separated. So, a dog might roll around in poop in an attempt to bring the scent of feces back to family members at home that were not present on their walk. Of course, humans can’t figure out what certain scents mean (as canines can smell up to 10,000 times better than us!), but our dogs don’t know that!


5.  Dogs Are Trying to Get Rid of “Unnatural” Scents

When a dog gets bathed, they tend to end up with scents on them that are not natural, typically thanks to the shampoo that was used. Therefore, they may try to get rid of those unwanted scents by rolling around anywhere they can, whether on the carpeted floor inside or a pile of poop in the yard.

dog smelling a poop on the grass
Image Credit: xtotha, Shutterstock

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What to Do When Your Dog Rolls in Poop

It is usually not a pleasant experience to watch your dog roll around in poop. After all, you’re going to be the one to clean everything up when all is said and done. However, remember that your pup is not engaging in the activity to make you upset; they are likely doing it for more natural reasons.

Therefore, you should never show your anger or frustration toward them if they do this behavior. Carry dog-safe wet wipes with you whenever you are out with your pup so you can quickly clean them up if they roll around in poop and ready the bath when you get home.

Our Favorite Products

Selecting the right shampoo and conditioner makes the world of a difference when grooming your pup. Our favorite products are the duo by Hepper. The Oatmeal Pet Shampoo is formulated with aloe and oatmeal to soothe skin and hydrate the coat. The Pet Conditioner works at eliminating tangles and taming frizz and static. Both products are pH-balanced and formulated with pet-friendly ingredients, free of harsh soaps, chemicals, and dyes. Give this duo a try to heal and nourish your dog's coat, and leave them with an irresistible just-left-the-spa cucumber and aloe scent. 

Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates

At Dogster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool pet company!

 

How to Stop a Dog From Rolling in Poop

It can be tough to stop your dog from rolling around in poop while you’re enjoying the outdoors together. However, there are a few things that you can do to help stave off the behavior, at least part of the time.

Ensure that your dog knows commands such as “leave it” and “come” so that you can get them to come to you if you see that they are interested in poop that’s lying on the ground. Then move them away or engage them in another activity like fetch.

You should also make sure your dog stays on a leash so you can control their movement any time you’re outside. This will help you steer clear of any opportunities to roll around in poop.

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Conclusion

Dogs might roll in poop for several reasons, and whichever one it is tends to be extremely important to them. We think that the behavior is gross, but our dogs think that it’s completely normal because for them, it is.


Featured Image Credit: Chonlawut, Shutterstock

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