Why Do Dogs Roll In The Grass?

why do dogs roll in the grass

Have you ever just finished washing or grooming your dog, only to catch him rolling around in the grass … or even worse, in poop, dead animals, or other smelly things? 

No matter how much you love your dog, this habit can be frustrating. This post will provide a few tips to stop dogs from rolling in grass and smelly things. But first ... Why do dogs roll in the grass in the first place?

5 Reasons Why Dogs Roll In The Grass

Dogs rolling in the grass might seem like a weird or random act to us humans, but there are actually multiple reasons dogs do it. So next time you find yourself asking “why do dogs roll in the grass?” - there’s a good chance the answer is one of the following reasons. 

Mark Their Territory

Dogs are territorial animals. Rolling in grass might not appear to be a territorial display, but for some dogs it’s a way to mark an area with their scent. Your dog might be rolling in the grass to claim an area as his own, in the same way that he rubs himself around on the floor, on his bed, or on you. The scent sends a signal to other animals that your dog has been there. 

MaskTheir Scent

Not only does rolling around in the grass mark that area with a dog’s scent, but it also helps dogs mask their own body’s scent.  Some researchers believe this is an instinctual behavior dogs have inherited from their ancestors to mask their scent while hunting prey. 

Since grass contains multiple smells of the environment, rolling around in it could cloak your dog’s scent with the scent of the area he’d be hunting in, and potentially stop other animals from picking up his scent. Even if your dog isn’t a hunter, it’s possible he’s still acting on this instinct. 

Itchiness And Irritation

Dogs can’t reach every area of their body to scratch themselves, so if they have an itch or irritation, they may roll around or rub themselves against the ground or other objects to try and relieve the issue. Itchiness in dogs can be the result of skin irritations or allergies. If your dog is rolling in the grass due to allergies, though, there will usually be other symptoms aside from itchiness alone. Skin irritation, itchy ears, redness, and hair loss are other common allergy symptoms in dogs. Your dog may also roll in the grass when he’s shedding, to help get rid of loose coat that could be itchy. 

RELATED: 30 day itchy dog relief plan ... 

They Enjoy the Smell

Smell is a primary sense for dogs and one of the main ways they perceive the world. It’s estimated that dogs smell anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 times better than humans. This is why your dog sniffs constantly on walks. 

If your dog finds a patch of grass that’s particularly interesting to his nose, he may just roll around in it to enjoy the multitude of sensations that the scent offers. To you and me, it’s just a patch of grass, but to your dog it contains fascinating information about other dogs or wild animals that have passed by, food particles, insects, plants, etc. 

Just For Fun!

Not everything needs a fancy explanation. There are plenty of things we do just because they’re fun, and it’s the same for dogs. Some dogs may just love the texture and feeling that comes from rolling in the grass. If your dog looks like he’s happy, relaxed, and having fun rolling in the grass, the explanation could be as simple as that. 

Why Do Dogs Roll in the Grass After a Bath?

Your dog might roll in the grass after a bath out of an instinct to take on the scent of his environment, rather than the scent of his shampoo - just like the earlier point about masking his scent. 

It’s also possible, though, that your dog doesn’t like the scent of his shampoo, or it might even make him itchy. Pay attention to his body language and his reaction to the cleaning products make sure they aren’t irritating him. Always use a truly natural, organic shampoo to avoid skin irritation. 

RELATED: Itchy dog? Try these shampoos and topical solutions ...

Why Do Dogs Roll in Poop, Dead Animals, and Smelly Things?

Again, this goes back to a dog’s instinctual behavior to mask his scent. Dogs are descended from wolves, who roll around in dead animals and other smelly stuff to mask their scent before a hunt. The scent of these smelly things helps hide a wolf’s scent from prey and other animals. So this behavior is likely a holdover passed down to your dog through many years of instinct and ancestry. 

Most of the time, your dog rolling in the grass is not a cause for concern. Especially if he’s not rolling around in disgusting smelly stuff. 

But if your dog is rolling around to the point where it becomes a nuisance, or if he seems obsessed with rolling around in dead animals or smelly things, there are a few ways you can prevent it. 

How To Stop Your Dog Rolling In Grass

The best way to stop your dog from rolling in grass and smelly stuff is to find him something more fun to do. When your dog starts to roll around, call him to you excitedly, or distract him with something more fun (like a squeaky toy). When he stops rolling, reward him with the toy and praise or treats. Over time this can help prevent the behavior. 

Just remember that unless there’s an itch or allergy, or the behavior becomes constant or smelly ... for the most part dogs rolling around in the grass is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. It’s a natural way for your dog to have fun, enjoy smells, and even reconnect with his ancestral roots.  

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