One of the reasons why dogs roll in dirt is to reduce their body temperature. This occurs when they’re overly panting in hot weather, or after playing hard in cool weather. Rolling around in dirt also releases chemicals that are calming to the dog.
Don’t get too surprised if your own dog rolls around in the dirt on occasion. This is completely normal behavior for some dogs, but it can be a serious issue for others.
Here are 10 of the most common reasons why your dog may be rolling around in the dirt
1. To Smell Better
If you have ever noticed that your dog sticks his nose in the ground, rolls around, and then sniffs some more, he is likely trying to smell better.
This is often done before entering the house or sleeping area at night. By rolling on the ground with the dirt, your pup is releasing pheromones from glands near his tail section. This makes him smell a little less like a dog, and a lot more like himself.
As previously mentioned, dogs roll in the dirt to cool themselves down on hot days by reducing their body temperature through evaporation from the heat of the ground. However, some dogs also enjoy rolling around in the dirt just because it’s comfortable.
They might roll around on their backs or sides and rub against the dirt until they find a good spot. Most will continue to roll until they feel completely comfortable and satisfied. Some dogs also like to do this before going to sleep, as if it’s their “nest” for the night.
3. To Pick a Fight
If your dog rolls in the dirt when another animal is around, he may be trying to pick a fight. Dogs have a scent gland near their face and neck which they rub on objects in an attempt to mark their territory.
However, if another dog gets too close while attempting to sniff this gland, he might mistake the other dog’s attempt at affection as a threat.
While fighting, dogs will roll around on the ground and then return to their human owners covered in dirt, which is why some believe that this habit isn’t very hygienic for your pup. However, it can also be used as a sign of dominance between two male dogs and is a way of establishing who is the alpha.
4. Stress Reduction
Dogs have many ways to reduce their stress levels throughout the day, but rolling around in the dirt is one of the most common behaviors for this purpose, especially among puppies and younger canines. It can bring relief from stress when a dog experiences a traumatic event or has a fear of something that makes it difficult to relax.
For example, dogs who don’t like going to the vet might roll around in dirt just before arriving at their appointment. This is probably because going to the vet can be a very stressful situation for dogs, and rolling around helps them calm down by releasing pheromones from their skin.
5. New Experience
As they do at puppy preschool, many dogs enjoy exploring new environments and will roll around in the dirt whenever they encounter it. This is because rolling around helps them feel more comfortable with their surroundings by relieving their stress level and releasing chemicals that make them feel calm.
When you take your dog on a walk and he starts rolling around, it’s because you took him to a new place that he has never seen before. Although it might seem strange, this is very normal behavior for dogs, especially younger ones who are just beginning to explore their environment.
6. To Get People’s Attention
Dogs have various ways of getting their owners to take notice, from barking and whining to staring intensely. However, some dogs will attempt to achieve the same objective by rolling around in the dirt.
If your dog rolls around on the ground whenever you greet him or pay attention to him, he might be requesting more love and affection than you are giving him. If this is the case, try to spoil your pup with a few extra pats and belly rubs today.
7. To Get Rid of Fleas and Ticks
Even if you do everything possible to keep ticks and fleas out of your dog’s thick coat, they might still manage to sneak in there somehow. And when this happens, you don’t want your pup to be embarrassed about having these parasites on their bodies.
Rolling around on the ground is a great way for dogs to get rid of fleas and ticks, as these parasites will fall off as soon as they feel your dog’s skin rubbing against the earth. It might look like your dog is trying to make dirt angels, but this is a sign that they want to get rid of their parasites and will benefit from a good bath afterward.
8. Because It Feels Good
If your dog seems very excited when you take them on walks, chances are he enjoys it more than other dogs do. Rolling around in the dirt might be because it feels good, or it could simply be because they are having fun.
If your dog goes on walks often and always rolls around in dirt whenever he can, there’s no need to worry.
Chances are your dog just loves exploring new places and walking around because it feels good. And if that’s not the case, then you might want to take your pup to the vet to make sure there are no health problems.
9. When in Pain
If you notice that your dog starts rolling around on the ground whenever they feel pain, this can be a sign of many different types of injuries and illnesses. Whenever your dog is feeling pain, their instinct is to find some dirt and roll around in it, as this helps release chemicals that reduce their stress levels.
If you notice your dog doing this whenever they feel pain or discomfort, such as after surgery or when recovering from an injury, make sure to take them to the vet for an examination. Sometimes veterinary intervention is required if the problem doesn’t go away after a few days.
10. When Excited or Embarrassed
In addition to rolling around on the ground when they are in pain, dogs might also do it whenever they feel excited or embarrassed. If your dog is a very social and friendly guy who is always happy and jumping around, he will most likely roll around on the ground when you greet him.
It’s also likely that your pup will roll around in the dirt whenever he does something naughty, like stealing food from the counter. This is because these dogs feel embarrassed whenever they get caught doing something out of line, and rolling around on the ground helps them relieve their stress levels.
Remember that acting excited or embarrassed when your dog does this is the best way to show them you care!
11. Because of Allergies or Skin Problems
If your dog rolls around on the ground all the time, it might be because they are in pain. However, they could also be doing it due to allergies or skin problems.
Dogs who have trouble with their skin and coat sometimes try to lick and scratch at it to make the problem go away, but this can lead to further skin damage.
It’s also possible that your dog is suffering from allergies, which triggers them to rub their face against the ground in an attempt to get relief.
In both cases, you should take your pooch to the vet and make sure that they’re healthy and happy. Otherwise, you might need to make some changes in your dog’s lifestyle – i.e., spend less time outdoors or get rid of any allergies they might be experiencing.
12. When They’re Bored or Lonesome
Dogs who are bored and don’t have much to do might resort to rolling around on the ground as a form of entertainment.
It’s also possible that your pet doesn’t have many friends or gets lonely from time to time, so they might roll around to feel closer to other dogs who are near them.
If this is the case, you should make sure to give your dog enough toys and playtime with other dogs to avoid the problem.
Otherwise, they might resort to rolling around on the ground all day long, which can lead to more injuries and health issues if their skin gets damaged.
13. When They’re Trying to Show You Something
Dogs will roll around in the ground for a variety of reasons, but they might also do it when they want to show you something.
For example, if one day your dog rolls around on the grass in your front yard and you go outside to investigate, don’t be surprised when they roll towards you with a hidden ball or a chew toy in their mouth.
Some dogs might even roll around in the ground just to get your attention, which is probably why they’re always excited when you come back home every day. If this is the case with your dog, just follow their lead and show them that you appreciate their effort!
14. When They Have Something Stuck Between Their Teeth
It’s not uncommon for dogs to chew on things when they’re bored or lonesome, but they might also end up doing it when they have something stuck between their teeth.
For example, if your pup is in pain because of an old tartar build-up and can’t reach it with their nails, this might lead to them rolling around in the grass.
Don’t be surprised if your dog suddenly rolls around and starts acting more excited than usual if they have something stuck between their teeth. You should take them to the vet so they can get some help with the problem and don’t need to resort to rolling on the ground anymore.
15. When Their Paws or Ears Feel Itchy
Dogs will do pretty much anything when they feel itchy, so they’ll try to relieve the problem by rolling around in the grass.
If you don’t pay attention to your dog’s behavior or you’re too distracted by something else, there’s a chance that their rolling around on the ground might be a sign that something is wrong with their ears or paws.
The good news is that it’s usually easy to fix this issue if you just pay attention and give your pup some relief.
However, there are also certain situations when their ear or paw problems could lead to more serious health issues, so make sure to check if everything’s okay as soon as possible.
16. When They’re Trying to Get Rid of a Leash Knot
Dogs might rely on their owners to take them out for a walk every day, but their leashes can also be a source of discomfort sometimes. If your pup is trying to remove the leash knot from their fur or skin, you should take this as a sign that something is going on.
Once you’ve identified the problem and fixed it, your dog will probably stop rolling around in the grass. However, if they’re not able to remove the leash knot from their coat with their nails, you might have to help them out by cutting off the knot.