Why Does My Dog Roll In Smelly Stuff? Your Carmel Vet Clinic Explains This Stinky Dog Behavior


If you own a dog, chances are you have seen your dog come bounding in from a happy day’s work out in the yard, with a satisfied smile on his face and acting really proud of himself.  Then you’re sitting on the couch ready to cuddle with your best friend when this revolting smell from your dog hits you.

Almost every week we get asked at our Carmel Vet Clinic, “Why does my dog like to roll in the dead animals, rotten trash, and feces?’ Well, if we look at this particular activity from a survival standpoint, we find that wild dogs and wolves exhibit this behavior when hunting for food.

A dog’s sense of smell is 1,000 times stronger than a human’s and one of the ways they survive in the wild.  The hunters of a wild dog or wolf pack will sometimes have to travel for miles to hunt or to find food. Wolves and wild dogs have to rely on finding animals already dead to keep from starving. When they find something lying on the ground, the wolves or dogs engage in what is known by wolf behaviorists as “scent rolling”; they’ll roll in the carcass, making sure to spread the dead animal’s scent all through their fur. Once they return to the pack, that smell becomes a dinner bell signal to the others that food has been found. The other pack members will sniff and rub the hunter’s fur and follow that particular scent for miles in order to find their dinner.  So if we look at this behavior from a dog’s perspective, it’s no wonder he looks so proud of himself and smiling that “happy dog grin” when he comes skidding in the back door reeking of dead animals or trash! He’s just saved the day by finding dinner for “his pack” and acting on of his own survival instincts.

So the next time your dog rolls in something smelly, try to remain calm when he comes joyfully bounding in and remember, it’s in his DNA and all part of a day’s work of just being a dog!  Click on Your Carmel Vet Clinic for information on our Caring Hands Compassionate Hearts.


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