Why Do Dogs Roll in the Grass?

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Do you ever wonder why your dog rolls around in the grass?

You see these dogs in your front yard just enjoying themselves rolling on the grass and dirt.

And you just... Wonder why.

Now, it seems like a strange behavior, but it turns out there are good reasons for it!


Dogs roll in the grass to release their natural scent


Similarly to why they adore rolling around in poop, dogs roll around in the grass to mark their scent on the grass.

Essentially by doing this, they are communicating to other dogs (and animals) that this is their territory.

And since dogs are very smell based creatures, it also lets other dogs know that the grass they're on has been staked and 'claimed' (though the smell will be overridden later)


It's also a way for them to get comfortable with their scent.

Not only does rolling in the grass help dogs mark their territory, but it also helps them become more familiar with their own smell.

This is especially important for puppies who are still getting used to their new surroundings and family.


They may also be trying to cover their own scent with another smell



If your dog has a strong natural scent, they may be rolling in the grass to cover that up with something else.

This could help them blend into their surroundings better by masking their own smell and replacing it with another.

For example, some dogs hate the smell of the shampoo when they're bathed (even if it smells great to us).

So, essentially in their pre-rolled patch of grass, they're trying to remove that shampoo scent from themselves.

This behavior is also believed to be a remnant of their ancestors - they mask their own scent to prevent being tracked by other predators, or to mask themselves from potential prey.


Some dogs roll in the grass as a way of playing or communicating with other dogs


If there are other dogs around, your dog may be rolling in the grass to communicate with them and play.

For example, if they smell another dog's scent on the grass or dirt, they may roll in it as a way of asserting dominance.

Or, they want to just add their scent to the group too, so others will know they were there!

Mostly, dogs do this to leave their scent behind - in another article, we remarked that a dog's nose is extremely sensitive.

So sensitive in fact, that they're able to pick up scents from a pretty far distance away.

At the same time, they like to leave scents of their favorite things on themselves - namely, you and your pack (i.e. other dogs, you, your family members)


So in this way, your dog could also be rolling around in the grass to leave scent markers of how awesome you are to other dogs!


Grass feels good


Your dog might also roll around in the grass because it feels good.

The blades of grass are soft and can feel good against their skin.

If you've ever laid down on freshly mown grass, you'll know that it feels great and smells great as well.

If we enjoy it, dogs most likely will, too!


It also ties in to our next point...


Grass can help relieve itchiness and skin irritation



If your dog has been scratching themselves a lot lately, they may be rolling around on the grass to try and alleviate some of their discomfort.

Of course, this may also indicate that they might have some other underlying skin issues - but usually, they just want to get an itch scratched that they normally cannot reach.

There are also anecdotal cases where dogs actually roll around in the grass to help remove dirt, or even ticks or small insects that may be on their back.


Rolling in the grass can help keep dogs cool in hot weather


Interestingly, dogs also roll around on the grass to help cool themselves down!

If your dog has just come inside from playing outside in hot weather, they may be rolling around on the grass to cool off.

This is especially so if they find a patch of grass that is has shade on a hot day - it's a cool haven compared to the other patches of grass around.

This is why it's so important to make sure that dogs have plenty of shade when they're outside - That, and always bringing water for your dogs when walking them for a distance.


They're just being dogs.


Remember that dogs descended from wolves and predators, so a lot of the time, it could just be an inherent genetic trait that they still carry around today.

At the end of the day, you should be able to determine why your dog likes rolling around in grass by simply observing them.

And sometimes, well, they just enjoy doing it because they like rolling around on grass. Most of the time, dogs that spend a lot of time outside generally enjoy grass rolling more than the apartment based ones.


Should you stop your dog from rolling around in the grass?


The answer is - It depends.


If you live in a highly-populated area, it's possible that your dog may pick up something harmful from rolling around on the grass.

For example, some dogs have been known to get pinworms or other parasites from regularly climbing into bushes and rolling around in dirt and grass.

So if you're concerned about this happening to your pup, keep them away from areas where stray animals might hang out (i.e. parks with lots of people).

In this case, then you should probably train your dog some basic skills, such as verbal recall.

Conclusion


Dogs roll in the grass for a variety of reasons.

Some dogs do it to help with their allergies, others are trying to self-groom themselves after coming back from an off-leash run around the neighborhood, and some may be rolling because they just want to.

No matter what your dog's motive is for rolling in the grass, you should always make sure that he has access to water when doing so. Grass can cause skin irritation if left on too long without being washed off first.


At the end of the day, a lot of the reasoning and rationale we humans place on the actions of dogs may amount to nothing.

Simply put, 'why do dogs roll around in the grass' is merely something that dogs do, and sometimes, there's really no reason to it.

They just love doing it, and perhaps seeing our disgusted look when they do.


about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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