Become A Smarter Dog Owner

Join other dog owners and get a free copy of our "Happy Dog Handbook - The Essential Guide For Dog Owners" and a daily email with carefully compiled tips, facts, and memes.

Become A Smarter
Dog Owner

Join other dog owners and get a free copy of our "Happy Dog Handbook - The Essential Guide For Dog Owners" and a daily email with carefully compiled tips, facts, and memes.

Why Do Dogs Roll In Dead Animals?

It’s a strange behavior, and there are several theories about why dogs do it.

Some people believe that the dog is trying to disguise its scent from predators, while others think it is trying to bring the animal’s scent back to its pack.

Still, others believe it’s simply a way for the dog to release tension or eliminate parasites.

We’ll explore all of these theories in this blog post and try to find an answer to this puzzling question “why do dogs roll in dead animals?”

Reasons For Rolling In Dead Animals

brown dog rolling in grass

For various reasons, is a dog rolling in dead animal carcasses (this can be a dead squirrel, dead fish, and other dead stuff).

Humans have witnessed the odd and often unpleasant sight of a dog rolling in something dead for centuries.

It is easy to write this off as gross or strange behavior, but there are several explanations for why dogs participate in this seemingly strange activity.

Here we will explore the real reasons behind a dog’s urge to roll in it when they find dead animals.

Wolf Ancestors

Dogs enjoy rolling in it for a couple of reasons.

One reason is that their wolf ancestors would roll in dead animal carcasses to disguise their scent from prey.

By rolling in the corpse, the dog’s scent would be masked by the more pungent smell of the animal carcass.

Another reason dogs roll in dead smelly things is because they like how it smells.

The pungent odor of the smelly stuff provides a sensory experience that dogs enjoy.

He’s Showing Off To Other Dogs

Dogs roll in dead things to show off to other dogs.

They hope the other dogs will admire them for their bravery and toughness.

By rolling in the carcass, the dog is also trying to mask his or her scent so that predators cannot track them down as quickly.

Marking Territory

Dogs roll in dead animals because they are marking their territory.

By doing this, they are sending a message to other dogs that this is their turf and they should stay away.

It’s also a way for dogs to get the scent of the other animal, which can help them identify danger or potential prey.

Essentially, it’s their way of saying, “I was here first.”

This behavior is automatic and common among many wild animals.

In some cases, the dog may bury the carcass to ensure others can’t get to it.

By rolling in dead gross things, dogs are actively claiming their territory.

Rolling in dead things is another way for our four-legged friends to let everyone know who’s boss!

That is part of a ” scent marking process,” which helps them track where they have been and who has visited the area before them.

It also serves as a social tool that allows dogs to communicate with each other without having to use words.


grey dog rolling in grass

A dog rolls in dead animals because it is fun for them.

They enjoy the smell and the feel of the dead animal in their fur.

It is a way for them to get a new scent and have fun.

Attention Seeking

Dogs roll in smelly stuff to get more attention from their owners.

It’s a way for them to communicate with us and let us know something is happening.

They may be trying to tell us that there is a dead animal nearby or that they need our help.

The dog hopes we’ll take notice by rolling in the carcass and come over to investigate.

They may also seek our approval since this behavior is often considered unsavory.

In any case, there’s more to this behavior than just a desire to get dirty!

Cover Their Smell

Dogs roll in dead things for various reasons, but one of the primary reasons is to cover their smell and natural scent.

Dogs have a compelling sense of smell and often roll in dead animals to mask their scent.

By doing so, they can avoid being detected by potential predators or prey.

Additionally, rolling in dead things can be a way for dogs to communicate with other dogs.

When dogs roll in the same spot where another dog has rolled, it sends a clear message that they are asserting their dominance over that area.

Washing Your Stinky Dog

dark brown puppy rolling in grass

If your dog likes to roll around stinky stuff, here are some tips for dog parents on washing them without getting the stinky fish smell all over you.

First, use a dog shampoo specifically designed for your pup’s fur.

Avoid using human products as they irritate your pet’s skin and coat and aren’t good for your furry friends natural scent.

Once you have the right shampoo, wet your dog with warm water and lather up their fur, making sure to avoid their eyes and ears.

Take extra time scrubbing around their neck, feet, and belly, where most of the dirt is likely located.

After washing off the suds, rinse any remaining dirt or soap residue with clean water until it clears.

Finally, towel-dry them off before letting them go outside for fresh air.

With these simple steps, you should be able to help eliminate that nasty smell from rolling in dead stinky things.

Preventing Your Dog From Rolling Around In Dead Animals

light brown dog rolling in grass

If you have a dog, there’s a good chance you’ve had to clean up after it rolls in a dead animal.

While it’s amusing to see your dog playing “zombie,” the reality is that it can be quite dangerous for them.

Not only can they pick up parasites and other diseases from the carcass, but they can also track those contaminants into your home.

So how can you prevent your dog from rolling in dead animals?

The easiest way is to keep them on a leash when they’re outside.

That will not only keep them from getting close to any dead animals but also help keep them out of trouble (and away from other dogs).

If your dog is mainly determined to roll in something gross, try spraying them with a water hose or giving them a quick bath when they get back inside.

That will help discourage them from rolling around dead animals in the future.

In addition to physical activity, ensure your dog gets plenty of mental stimulation.

Studies have shown that dogs who understand commands and have had some basic training are less likely to engage in undesirable behaviors like rolling in dead animals.

Work on basic commands like “Come” or “Sit” as well as recall (fetching something you ask them to).

That will help keep their minds busy, so they are less likely to search out the scent of a dead animal.

Finally, ensure your dog is getting enough exercise and playtime daily.

Boredom can lead to destructive behavior, so ensuring your pup has an outlet for all that energy can help reduce the desire to roll around in things they shouldn’t.

Taking these steps can help prevent your pup from rolling around in dead animals.

Keeping them on a leash when outside, providing them with mental and physical stimulation, and ensuring they get plenty of exercises are all great ways to keep your dog safe and healthy.

What If My Dog Eats An Dead Animal Carcass?

older dog rolling in grass

Animal carcasses can contain dangerous bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can help ill your dog. If your dog eats an animal carcass, it could get sick.

Call a vet immediately if you think your dog has eaten a carcass.

Depending on the type the carcass belongs to, your vet may recommend that you bring in a stool sample for testing.

It is also essential to watch for any signs of illness, such as vomiting or diarrhea. If your dog does become ill, it may need to be treated with antibiotics or other medications.

It is also essential to ensure that your dog has access to plenty of fresh water and that the area where they are housed is clean and free of animal waste.

If you regularly take your dog into areas where there are wild animals, it’s essential to keep them away from carcasses and other potentially hazardous materials.

Monitor their behavior closely and discourage them from sniffing around dead things or eating anything they find.

Following these simple tips can help ensure your pet stays healthy and happy.

You should also ensure that you stay up to date on vaccinations for your pet, as this will help to protect them from any potential diseases they may come into contact with.

Finally, if your dog does happen to eat a carcass, seek veterinary attention right away.

Before You Go…

Now you know the answer to the question, “Why do dogs roll in dead animals?”.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Or watch this video:

Dimitra Kokologianni, DVM
Dimitra holds a Masters’s degree in public health and a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. She is a versatile professional with over 7 years of experience. Her passion for animal welfare and preventive medicine makes her an excellent resource for our readers.

Become A Smarter Dog Owner​

Join other dog owners and get a free copy of our “Happy Dog Handbook – The Essential Guide For Dog Owners” and a daily email with carefully compiled tips, facts, and memes.

Become A Smarter Dog Owner

Join other dog owners and get a free copy of our “Happy Dog Handbook – The Essential Guide For Dog Owners” and a daily email with carefully compiled tips, facts, and memes.