Why Does My Dog Roll In Stinky Stuff?
And What Can I Do About It?
It’s the nature of dogs that no matter how hard we try to keep them clean and fresh smelling, they will inevitably find the stinkiest, most disgusting pile of matter to roll in, often just after they’ve been bathed. Whether the stuff is a dead fish, a pile of kitty poop, or the rotting garbage needing to go to the bin outside, it’s all fair game for your canine companion if you’re not extra careful.
The several theories of why dogs roll and what they get out of it can be traced back to their wild canine ancestors.
One of the earliest theories put forth by animal behaviorists was that dogs roll in rotting, smelly “stuff” as a means of fighting ectoparasites (flies, fleas, ticks, mites) that would otherwise be attracted to their natural body odors. That particular theory was disproved when it was noted that many insects, including mosquitoes and flies, are attracted to such smells because it usually means that rotting organic material is close by.
A second, somewhat more plausible theory says that wild canines would roll in decomposing meat, animal dung, and other organic material to let their pack members know that there was food to be found in a nearby location. Since your domestic dog’s wild ancestors were not only hunters but also scavengers, it would make sense that much of what they rolled in would still be edible.
Zoologists note, however, that if that were the reasoning behind the stinky roll, you would expect the pack members to immediately start backtracking to the site where the original smell came from, and that simply doesn’t typically happen.
A third theory suggests that the dog is not trying to pick up smells from whatever it rolls in, but is instead trying to overlay that smell with their own scent as a means of marking its territory. Just as cats will rub up against furniture or people as a way to mark them with their odor, animal behaviorists say dogs do the same thing with their people, their toys, and their bedding.
Finally, some biologists believe that this stinky behavior is actually an attempt to disguise the wild dog’s own odor. The deer or antelope being stalked for that night’s dinner could easily recognized the scent of the wild dog on the wind and run for safety. To forestall this slip-up, wild dogs learned to roll in the dung of their prospective prey. Once the canine was covered in the prey animal’s dung, the hunted was much less likely to spot the hunter and the chances of making a kill were heightened.
What to do? What to do?
Once your dog has done the deed and you now absolutely must bathe him, you can try bathing with all-natural, organic shampoo and conditioner combo that saves you time and bother. By delivering vitamins and conditioners directly to your dog’s skin, his coat is left noticeably softer and shinier and the shampoo’s refreshing scent lasts for days.
If the smell is just more than you can handle, you can try an odor-neutralizing spray and shampoo, a two-step process that works on smells as bad as skunk spray. The thiol compounds in the spray chemically alter the molecules of whatever matter is causing the horrendous odor, making them much less potent. The essential oils and organic compounds in the shampoo can wash the stinky matter – and its smell – down the drain, leaving your dog clean and fresh and ready for a snuggle.
That is, until the next time.