Why Do Dogs Roll In Fox Poo?

As dog owners, we all recognise and have come to dislike one of our furry companions’ least endearing habits, and that’s their tendency to roll in disgustingly smelly things. Top of the list of disgusting things is fox poo.

Fox poo is the worst because it stinks beyond belief, and trying to remove the mess and smell from your dog’s coat is a massive problem; never mind the mess it makes in the house before you can get your dog into the bath. It’s undoubtedly the “gift that keeps on giving.”

But why do dogs roll in fox poo? Is there a reason for this behaviour in our dogs?

Why Do Dogs Roll In Smelly Things?

To give dogs their due, they don’t just roll in fox poo. While that might hold the number one spot on the pungent list, dogs will roll in other disgusting things when fox poo isn’t readily available. Things like dead animals, dead fish, other dog’s poo, other animal’s poo, and if they can find some particularly pleasant-smelling pee.

While I happen to believe it’s beyond our imagination even to begin to understand what’s going through a dog’s mind when they flip on their backs and start to rub themselves on fox poo, scientists do offer a few theories.

Understanding why our dogs resort to this behaviour is fascinating and all well and good, but what most dog owners really want to know is the quickest way to wash it off and get rid of the smell at the same time. So I’m going to provide some tips on how to clean off the fox mess and also how you might stop your dog rolling in fox poo (and anything else smelly).

Why Do Dogs Roll In Other Animals Poop?

Many believe that dogs do this to disguise their own scent trail so that any possible prey will be unable to detect them.

There’s a bit of an issue with this idea because it doesn’t make sense in some ways. Disguising themselves to smell like an even more powerful predator doesn’t seem to me to be a clever way to avoid detection. If anything, it makes detection easier.

Perhaps a dog wants to smell like a predator, although I can’t find any substantial evidence that puts any truth in this idea. If a dog smells like a predator, possibly that will deter other predators from coming too close and are more likely to move on to find easier prey. Your pet dog is descended from wild dogs and part of that behaviour is built into them.

Once again, this theory has flaws because top-of-the-chain predators are known to do this, and there’s little to no risk of them being attacked and eaten.

Wolf research suggests that wolves may roll in animal faeces and carcasses to convey their own scent back to the pack.

Returning to the pack covered in blood and guts might be a way of communicating to the pack that they have found food. Hyenas in Africa also enjoy rolling around in the blood and organs of their prey, which is pretty disgusting to us, but experts have found that the smelliest hyenas get a great deal of attention from the rest of the pack members.

I suppose what passes for entertainment for Hyenas is pretty rare so it might be exciting behaviour for them. From a doggy, perspective is this another form of communication? For me, though, I think it’s a stretch to believe what Hyenas in Africa do to communicate has any bearing on a domesticated dog that lives with its human family.

The Enjoy It

Probably the most likely explanation is the simplest; dogs roll in fox poop because they enjoy it, and it’s fun.

By the look of ecstasy on the dog’s face, they seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves when they roll in fox poo. They rarely stop what they are doing until we get upset and pull them away.

Dogs have as many as 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, and when you compare that to humans, it’s fifty times more sensitive. In addition, the area of a dog’s brain responsible for analysing smells is forty times more powerful than ours.

It could be what we humans find a revolting smell; dogs think it’s more like Eau de Fox for the dog fraternity.

Why It’s Essential To Clean Your Dog After Rolling In Poop

While it’s smelly and inconvenient, even though it’s fun for the dog, you need to know when your dog rolls in fox poop how to clean the dog and prevent the fox poo smell from lingering on your dog and in the home or car.

Health Reasons

You must clean off your dog from a health standpoint as quickly as possible. Many of the intestinal parasites carried by foxes are transmissible to dogs, hookworm, parasitic worms and lungworm, in particular, can be pretty unpleasant, causing anaemia and diarrhoea. However, you can prevent these parasites if your dog is wormed regularly.

Can Cause An Upset Stomach

Aside from the fact that fox poo includes a lot of bacteria, it can also cause an upset stomach in your dog if they inadvertently swallow or lick any off their body. Wash your hands after coming into contact with a dog that has been merrily rolling in fox poo.

You must thoroughly clean the dog before Children, pregnant women, and others with impaired immune systems touch or handle the dog.

How To Clean Fox Poo Off Your Dog?

Standard dog shampoos can’t clean fox poo and other nasty things your dog might have rolled in because they are not strong enough. After all, most dog shampoos don’t contain a deodoriser, and while the shampoo might wash your dog’s hair and remove the bacteria, the revolting fox poo smell is not going away anytime soon.

You want a dog shampoo that is effective in killing germs and odor-causing bacteria but gentle on your dog’s skin at the same time.

Recommended Shampoo

We highly recommend ANIMOLOGY Fox Poo Dog Shampoo. This fox poo shampoo is not just tough on fox poo and the lingering smell it leaves behind; it’s equally efficient in removing the odour and residue of anything else your dog decides to roll in. This will leave your dog smelling fresh.

In addition to the essential deodoriser, the shampoo’s formula is low on foam, making it easy to rinse and preventing the time-consuming process of trying to get all the suds out under the shower.

Less time spent rinsing helps keep the whole bathroom from smelling like fox poo, and dog owners with long-haired pets will be particularly impressed. It contains an in-built conditioner with Pro-Vitamin B5 that will leave your dog’s coat soft and shiny. What’s even more crucial it will obliterate the smell of fox poo, which means your pooch will be welcome in the home again without everyone gagging.

The shampoo is suitable for all dog breeds, whatever their coat type or length, even puppies.

We have also heard of a home remedy that involves using tomato ketchup being rubbed into the fox poo with a damp cloth. We haven’t tried this, but if you have then please let us know how you get on.

How To Stop Your Dog Rolling In Fox Poo?

While we mention fox poo, in particular, this information is helpful whatever your dog rolls in.

I realise this is not always convenient, but avoiding areas where a fox has been offers the most straightforward approach to keep your dog from rolling in fox poo.

If you live in the countryside or enjoy walking your dog in these areas, you may have difficulty because foxes are so common.

Ideally, please keep your dog on the lead so that you may quickly remove them from any odiferous surroundings. When a dog begins to drop its head and body before it begins to roll, this can be a helpful warning sign if you’re quick enough and you can yank them away.

Sometimes I see my Cockapoo Luna sniffing the ground at the same spot for a long time, and I know she’s about to roll in something unpleasant she’s found. I have to tell her to leave it pretty firmly before she gives up the opportunity.

Teach Your Dog The “Leave It” Command

The “leave it” command is a crucial term your dog must understand and obey in the same way they should know the “stay” command. These commands should be taught from a very young age and practiced constantly, so the dog never forgets or gets lazy.

You don’t want your pooch to go near so many potential hazards, not just to stop them rolling in something disgusting. A well-trained dog instantly obeying the “leave it” command can be the difference between an affectionate pat on the head and a “good boy” to a visit to the emergency animal hospital. You will also need your dog to have good recall.

Dogs rolling in fox poo and other revolting smelling objects seems to be a natural habit that most, if not all, dogs given a chance will exhibit; it’s challenging to prevent. Dogs love getting the poo or whatever on the neck area, although if the dog is something of an expert, they can get the mess all over their backs.

Final Thoughts

What more can be done to deter naughty dogs from rolling in fox poo? Sadly, not much!

However, if you have thoroughly dewormed your dog and family members aren’t allowed to handle the faeces, the risk is minimal. Even so, dealing with fox poo and other things isn’t a lot of fun, so please try to use these suggestions.