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Why do dogs roll in feces?

Updated on February 18, 2012

Dogs really do have some weird habits. One of these disgusting habits is eating feces. No matter how well fed the dog is, it will not pass up the chance to take pleasure in eating the feces of other animals it has found on the roadside. Of course, dogs do eat their own feces too. As if this abhorrent habit is not enough, the dog would roll in the feces and smear its coat with the yucky and disgusting smelly excrements. To worsen the situation, the dog will deposit its bounty by rolling on the carpet or on the sofa. You may be a loving and caring dog owner but actions such as these would make you decide to leave the dog to a shelter. Why do dogs have this habit? Rolling in feces is instinctive to a dog. If the pet can talk it may not be able to explain the reason for its behavior.

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Scent masking

Rolling in feces is done by the dog for security reasons. The smell of the feces will mask the natural canine scent. This trick will prevent predators form finding the dog. By masking its own scent with the odor of the feces, the dog will be able to hunt more effectively given that the prey will not be alerted to the dog’s presence due to the different smell.

A communication tool

Dogs are pack animals. Wolves in the wild hunt and feed together. What would be a better way of telling the other pack members about the discovery of something luscious to eat than to bring a proof?

Scent marking

Dogs areterritorial. Notice how dogs would hang around before they do their business. The dog would sniff…paces…sniff and pace again until it has found the scent of other dogs. And then the dog will poop or pee in the very same spot to cover the other dog’s scent with its own scent. A dog rolls in feces of other animals not because it wants sop up the scent. Instead the dog wants to pass on its own scent and to claim the territory as its own.

Other reasons

A bitch in heat would roll on its own feces to advertize to all the male dogs in the neighborhood that she is available. Dogs are routine motivated. These animals would not appreciate a change in the habit. A dog that is accustomed to its own canine smell would react negatively if the owner has suddenly used its own scented soap to bathe the dog with. Momma used that hateful smelly thing on me again. I better roll in my poop to mask the smell.

dog just wants to keep on rolling


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    • Xpheno profile image

      Xpheno 5 years ago

      My Wiener Dog use to go on top secret missions and then come back with crap on her... Glad the missions are over.

    • Dog Advisor profile image

      Sarah Falkner 6 years ago from Dog Advice

      good information. My dog only wants to roll around in dirt immediately following a bath. Now she is walked before the bath and not allowed out until next am when totally dry. This seems to work.