Why Do Dogs love Rolling in Fox Poo?
We tell you why, and give you tips to prevent it happening. And what to do when it has.
It’s a familiar scenario. You’re enjoying a walk with your dog, when it suddenly bounds over to you, looking excited and pleased with itself, and then the acrid smell of fox poo hits you. In fact, it’s not just fox poo that dogs enjoy rolling in. Most dogs love rolling in carcasses of dead birds, rabbits, cow pats and even mess left by other dogs.
Why do dogs roll in stinking things?
Rolling in strong smelling substances goes way back in the modern dog’s ancestry, when they were predators stalking prey. Rolling in animal poo, rotted animal carcasses or similar, masked their own scent, making it easier to confuse and so successfully hunt their prey. It’s an instinctive reaction that’s built into them.
How do I tell if my dog is about to roll?
It only takes a couple of seconds for a dog to roll. Usually the best indicator is the tell-tale dropping of the shoulder. The neck area of a dog is usually the worse affected, although the enthusiastic dog may lay on its back, legs in the air, and become totally covered.
My dog has rolled and smells terrible. How can I get rid of the smell?
You could bath your dog with a shampoo to remove the smell. Make sure you use a shampoo specifically for dogs. Do not use washing up liquid or shampoo designed for humans. However, continually bathing your dog could strip its coat of natural oils and may not be practical for larger dogs, so you need to think about your dog walk strategy.
Many owners recommend using tomato ketchup to mask the smell! There are dog fragrances in spray form that can also work well for affected areas. You could always carry a bottle of this in your coat pocket or backpack.
Another solution is to allow the soiled area to dry out and then brush through with a soft slicker brush, which should then be washed. Remember to wash your pet’s collar as this too can be encrusted.
Is there any way that I can prevent my dog from doing this?
As it such a basic instinct in your pet, prevention is not easy. However, you can try to minimise the occurrence of the action. A good recall is vital and you may wish to enforce this skill with some training.
If you’re walking in an area where you’re likely to encounter fox poo, it may be wise to put your dog on the lead.
If you like to let your dog off the lead try to find alternative walks where there are no fox holes close by - this is probably found out by trial and error or by chatting to other dog walkers that you meet.
Article by: The Pet Owners Association