Have you ever been outdoors with your dog, enjoying the moment when you suddenly encounter a dead animal? Then, in the blink of an eye, they roll in the putrid remains as though they’ve struck gold and quickly become engulfed in the appalling stench of decay.
There’s a reason for this undesirable dog behavior. Their wild ancestors had to hunt and scavenge for food, so they have an instinct to search and explore.
Owners have long wondered why dogs tend to roll in dead animals, and while the exact reason may never be known in your specific situation, there are some theories as to why they do it.
1. They Love the Smell!
Why do dogs roll around in dead animals? Because they think it’s AWESOME!
Dogs enjoy the smell: It’s possible that dogs like the smell of a dead animal because it’s new and exciting, and they can’t help but indulge in it.
The deceased (and likely diseased) animal is just too tempting, and dogs love wearing the smelly stuff like they’ve got on high-end cologne or perfume. You may see an animal carcass, but they see the cologne counter at Macy’s.
2. Masking Their Own Scent
They want to mask their natural scent. By rolling in a dead animal, dogs can cover up their own scent and make it easier for them to sneak up on prey.
This is an instinctual behavior that goes back to their wolf ancestors and the wild dogs that came before them. With the smell of a deceased animal on them, they are cloaked from a rival dog or potential prey, allowing them to sneak up on their enemies or their next meal undetected.
3. Marking Their Territory
Dogs will happily roll in the disgusting in the disgusting rotting flesh of a decaying animal to tell other animals, “Hey, this is mine; if you go near it, you’ll have to deal with me.”
Wild dogs will use this method to try and hold onto a carcass they don’t wish to eat at the moment and will return to eventually.
How To Keep a Dog From Rolling in a Carcass
Dead animals carry disease. You don’t want to let your dog roll all over your lawn if it contains dead animals. Dead animals can be a breeding ground for parasites, bacteria, and viruses that can be passed onto your dog if he comes in contact with them.
It’s important to keep an eye out for any dead creatures on your property and dispose of them properly as soon as possible.
The best way to keep a dog from rolling in a dead animal’s remains is to train them to stay away from it. This can be done by using positive reinforcement techniques such as rewarding the dog with treats or verbal praise when they obey commands and stay away from the remains.
Additionally, teaching them commands such as “leave it” or “ignore” can help keep them from investigating these areas while out on walks.
How to Clean Your Dog After They Roll in a Carcass
Washing your pup after they roll in a dead animal can be a daunting task. The first and most important step is to try to keep your dog from doing this again in the future. If you find your pup rolling around in dead animals, try to redirect their attention away from it and onto something else, like a game or treat.
But once the deed is done and you have to tackle the aftermath, you must take action quickly. Start by putting on some rubber gloves and then use an old rag or cloth soaked in warm water and pet-safe soap or shampoo in order to start cleaning your dog’s fur.
Continue wiping until you’ve removed as much of the mess as possible. You may need to repeat this step several times, depending on how far into it your pup has gotten.
Once you’re satisfied that most of the mess has been cleaned off, use a high-pressure hose (or handheld showerhead) with lukewarm water to rinse off any remaining soap residue.
Be careful not to point it directly at their face, neck, or abdomen – instead, angle it slightly away from them so that the pressure isn’t too strong for them. Finally, give them one last rubdown with a towel before letting them back inside for some well-deserved cuddles!