Tips, Tails & Trends

Why Dogs Roll in Grass

Few dogs don’t have this habit to some extent—whether it’s a good shoulder-first roll in fresh grass with all its hidden secrets or a nosedive into a freshly manured field. The behavior is called scent rolling and researchers speculate that it originated as a way to bring information back to the pack. Of course, dogs have had much time and adaptation to make the behavior their own, so it’s likely dogs roll in grass and other interesting materials for a number of reasons. One is to get rid of unwanted smells, for example that doggie shampoo you enjoy but that Fido does not appreciate. Itchy skin can be another cause for frequent and vigorous rolling, so look out for fleas, tick bites, or tell-tale signs of skin conditions such as scabs, redness, rashes, or bald patches.

Rolling in grass is not dangerous in itself. Just be sure your dog has flea and tick protection, and be mindful of potential hazards like pesticides and herbicides that might be on the grass. Even absent any foul-smelling residue on his coat, your dog may need a good rinse post-roll.