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  • Writer's pictureKate Phillips

Why Do Dogs Roll In Fox Poo?

Updated: May 2

dog rolling, why does my dog roll in fox poo

Why Do Dogs Roll in Fox Poo?


The Evolutionary Roots of Fox Poo Rolling

We need to consider the history of their ancestors to comprehend why dogs behave this way. 

Before widespread domestication, wild dogs would roll around in fox poo and other animal faeces as a means of hiding their scent. 

This tactic helped them more effectively stalk and hunt their prey for food, as the pungent odour would mask their own presence. 

By blending in with the smells of their environment, these wild canines could get closer to their targets without being detected, increasing their chances of a successful hunt.

dog in field, why does my dog roll in fox poo

Masking the Scent


Wild dogs typically fed on animals such as rabbits, rats, and possums, which had highly attuned senses of smell. 

By rolling around in something as pungent as fox poo, dogs could minimise their own scent, making it less likely for their prey to detect them and evade capture. 

This behaviour was an evolutionary adaptation that allowed these predators to better conceal their presence and surprise their unsuspecting quarry.

dog in field, why does my dog roll in fox poo

The Allure of Fox Poo


But why foxes, specifically? 

While the exact reason is not entirely apparent, one theory suggests that the availability of fox poo, compared to other domesticated animals, may have played a role. 

Foxes are relatively common in many regions, and their faeces would have been more readily accessible for wild dogs to use as a natural camouflage. 

Additionally, some experts believe that dogs find the smell of fox poo appealing, much like how catnip attracts felines. 

Something about the scent profile may trigger a positive response in our canine companions.

dog in field, why does my dog roll in fox poo

Curbing the Fox Poo Habit


Knowing the evolutionary roots of this behaviour, it's no surprise that it can be challenging to break. 

After all, this instinct is deeply ingrained in our canine companions. 

However, there are steps we can take to discourage this habit and maintain a harmonious relationship with our furry family members.

dog in field, why does my dog roll in fox poo

Keeping Your Dog on a Leash


One of the most effective ways to prevent your dog from rolling around in fox poo is to keep them on a leash when around areas where the pungent scent may be present. 

This allows you to swiftly step in and divert their focus before they can engage in the behaviour. 

By maintaining control over their movements, you can steer them away from tempting sources of fox poo and prevent them from engaging in this undesirable activity.

dog with toys, why does my dog roll in fox poo

Providing Enrichment and Distraction


Make sure your dog has enough mental and physical activity as well as positive reward to help discourage them from rolling about in fox poop. 

Engaging them in interactive play, dog training, and providing chew toys can redirect their energy and attention towards more constructive and rewarding activities. 

You may lessen the possibility that your furry pet will succumb to the appeal of fox poop by keeping them busy both physically and emotionally.

dog in bath, why does my dog roll in fox poo

Cleaning and Deodorising


If your dog does manage to roll around in fox poo, it's essential to act quickly to remove the odour and prevent any potential health risks. 

Specialised shampoos and deodorisers can help effectively clean and freshen your furry family member, restoring their natural scent and minimising the lingering effects of the pungent fox poo. 

Prompt and thorough cleaning can also help discourage your dog from repeating this behaviour, as they may associate the unpleasant experience with the act of rolling in the faeces.

dog wrapped in toilet paper, why does my dog roll in fox poo

Case Studies - Small, Fluffy Dogs and Fox Poo Rolling


Let's explore a few case studies to better understand the experiences of small, fluffy dog owners dealing with this behaviour.

An owner's Bichon Frise was a notorious fox poo roller, much to the dismay of its owner. 

The owner found that keeping the dog on a leash around areas with a high likelihood of fox activity and providing plenty of interactive playtimes helped curb the behaviour. 

The owner could significantly reduce the frequency of these undesirable rolling incidents by controlling the dog's movements and redirecting its energy towards more positive activities.

Another dog, a Maltese, would frequently return from walks around the neighbourhood covered in the aromatic scent. 

The owner discovered that using a specialised deodorising shampoo and keeping the dog's coat well-groomed helped minimise the impact of these incidents. 

Prompt and thorough cleaning and maintaining the dog's overall hygiene proved to be effective strategies for managing this behaviour and ensuring the Maltese's comfort and well-being.

A Havanese was particularly drawn to rolling around in fox poo, much to the frustration of its owner. 

By incorporating more obedience training and rewarding the dog for ignoring the temptation, the owner reduced the frequency of these undesirable behaviours. 

The Havanese eventually learned to resist the want to roll in the fox poop by receiving positive reinforcement for the desirable behaviour, which improved the dog-owner dynamic.

pug, why does my dog roll in fox poo

The Importance of Understanding Fox Poo Rolling


Maintaining a positive and peaceful connection with your dog depends on identifying and resolving the causes of your pet's fox poo-rolling behaviour. 

By understanding the underlying motivations and providing appropriate solutions, you can ensure that this habit does not become a source of frustration or concern. 

Addressing this behaviour proactively can prevent it from escalating and causing further disruption to your household.

dog in towel, why does my dog roll in fox poo

Relationship with Your Furry Family Member


Ultimately, dealing with your dog's tendency to roll about faeces is a small part of the more significant endeavour to cultivate a happy and satisfying bond with your animal companion. 

Addressing their needs, enriching their lives, and building a strong bond can ensure your dog remains a cherished companion for years. 

When you collaborate with your canine companion to manage their instinctive behaviours, you demonstrate your commitment to their well-being and strengthen the trust and affection that underpin a truly rewarding pet-owner dynamic.

westie with dirty face, why does my dog roll in fox poo

Final Thoughts


Understanding and addressing your dog's fox poo-rolling behaviour is essential to responsible pet ownership. 

By exploring the potential reasons behind this behaviour and implementing appropriate solutions, you can foster a deeper connection with your furry family members and ensure their overall well-being. 

Accept your dog's unique behaviours and collaborate with them to build a happy, satisfying connection that benefits both of you. 

With perseverance, knowledge, and an openness to change, you can help your canine companion navigate their natural inclinations in a way that enhances the joy and companionship you share.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. For specific veterinary dog health advice, contact a veterinary pet healthcare provider.

At Mary Puppins,  we prioritise your cherished pets' well-being, offering a haven of comfort and care during their stay.

Our commitment is to ensure your small breed dogs are treated like family, receiving top-notch attention and care.

BOOK NOW  via our website. We have limited places and get booked up super fast. Give your little dog the five-star VIP holiday they deserve, while you enjoy yours.

mary puppins why does my dog roll in fox poo

why does my dog roll in fox poo

mary puppins why does my dog roll in fox poo

Kate Phillips, Chief Editor

BSc (Hons), MSc

Kate is the UK's very own Mary Puppins, a professional Dog Nanny, an expert in small breed dogs and a pet parent to her own beloved small dogs.

With over 30 years' experience and successfully helping high profile celebrity pet parents raise their furry families,

Kate shares her top tips with you.

Kate guides readers on small dog breeds, dog health, dog training, dog nutrition, dog food, dog walks, dog accessories, dog enrichment, rescue dogs, dog behaviour, dog grooming and the best products for dog mums and dog dads to create the ultimate lifestyle for their small dogs.



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