Why do dogs wallow in dead animals?

Many dogs have this unpleasant behavior. We may think they are just a little bit nasty, but behind this behavior there are reasons why your dog may need relatively urgent veterinary assistance .

Do you want to know why dogs wallow in corpses or why, sometimes, they eat them or eat feces they find on the street? In this article from Animal Expert, we will explain why dogs perform this behavior and what we can do to avoid it. Find out below why dogs wallow in dead animals :

You may also be interested: Why does my dog ​​urinate when I scold him?


  1. Information for the herd
  2. Marking
  3. Cover your own scent
  4. Wake up call
  5. How to prevent dogs from wallowing in dead animals?
  6. Why does a dog eat feces or carcasses instead of wallowing?

Information for the herd

In wolves, wallowing in dead animals or other debris serves to transmit information to the rest of the pack . When a wolf encounters a new scent, it smells it and then rolls over on it, thus acquiring the scent on its body, especially on its face and neck. When he returns with the rest of the herd, the herd greets him, investigates the new scent it brings, and they follow the trail to its source. Thus obtaining food in the form of carrion . Wolves and wild dogs can act as scavengers when the prey population declines.

Some experts speculate that this is a behavior characteristic of some canids and that it has the same function as that of wolves. Although this does not explain why they roll on feces, only on dead animals.


Other people who are fond of dogs suggest that they do so for an entirely opposite reason. Instead of trying to acquire the smell, they leave their own olo r on the body or feces. Dog feces are coated in pheromones that give a lot of information. When a dog wallows, it usually does so starting with the face, where they have some pheromone-producing glands.

This would answer the question “why does my dog ​​roll in disgusting things” since it would explain why they roll on both corpses and feces.

Cover your own scent

Another thoughtful option may be that the ancestors of modern dogs used smells to camouflage their own . Prey also has a highly developed sense of smell, so it can detect its predator if the wind is going against it. Thus it was possible for the first dogs to mask their odor in this way. There is evidence that modern wolves do the same.

On the other hand, when we bathe our dog with scented shampoos or apply perfumes to them, the animal does not feel comfortable, it is not itself and it needs to acquire a more natural smell. For this same reason, a dog can take leftover litter found at home to its bed.

Wake up call

Sometimes a dog can have this behavior because it likes the attention it receives from its human when it does. It is a conditioned behavior and can be caused by stress, loneliness, boredom or lack of stimulation.

In extreme cases, when this behavior has been reinforced on several occasions (the dog wallows in dead animals and we listen to it), they may even like it and thus turn this habit into something positive for them that they cannot avoid leading to. cape.

How to prevent dogs from wallowing in dead animals?

First of all, we must understand that this is a natural and healthy behavior in the dog, but if we want to prevent it from doing so, the ideal is to start by teaching them the basic obedience orders , such as “come”, “stay” or “sitting” ” If your dog has been properly trained through the use of positive reinforcement (rewards, kind words and petting), it will be easy for you to stop the dog before it scrubs, using obedience as a control mechanism .

Once you have prevented the dog from scrubbing on dead animals, it will be essential to remove it from the area and reward it for obeying our instructions. In addition, we can further reinforce the fact of ignoring the corpses through later games and caresses.

Why does a dog eat feces or carcasses instead of wallowing?

If your dog eats excrement, the first thing you should do is visit the vet , because one of the reasons why a dog eats waste from other animals is an enzyme deficiency , due to which they cannot digest certain foods and have nutritional deficiencies. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency can also cause malabsorption , the dog will lose weight, have diarrhea and desperately try to eat anything to obtain nutrients.

If you have other animals at home, such as cats, rabbits, or rodents, it is very common for a dog to eat feces. Rabbit and rodent feces are rich in vitamins , especially group B. If your dog is lacking in vitamins, it may be that the feed you feed it does not meet all its needs.

Another reason is that the animal has intestinal parasites , such as worms. Intestinal parasites absorb the nutrients your dog should get from its food. Feces act as a natural dewormer. In any case, it is very important to visit the vet and make an analysis to see if your dog correctly absorbs all the nutrients or check if it has parasites.


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