Why Does My Dog Roll in Grass?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
fast facts

There’s something about rolling in the grass that’s so irresistible to dogs. But why do dogs roll in the grass and should you do anything about it?

Dogs are goofy – there are no bones about it. But many of your dog’s seemingly strange behaviors actually serve a purpose. For example, when your dog smells another dog’s butt he is taking in some important information about that dog’s sex, age, and health status. Even your dog’s habit of rolling in the grass has a reason behind it!

Related: Why Do Dogs Sniff Butts?

What Purpose Does Rolling Serve?

Sometimes when your dog is rolling in the grass he looks like he is having a great time while other times he may look like he’s trying to rub something off of himself. The truth is that rolling on the ground serves several potential purposes for your dog. One reason (and perhaps the most obvious reason) is that he could be trying to get some sort of itchy debris off of his skin. That patch of lush green grass may look soft, but grass is actually mildly abrasive so it acts almost like the bristles of a brush, helping to loosen debris from your dog’s coat. For dog’s that have a double coat, rolling in the grass can also help to work dead hairs out of the coat. This is particularly common with breeds that “blow” their coats once or twice a year – when they roll in the grass it helps them to remove clumps of dead fur from their undercoats.

Related: 5 Books To Help Improve Communication With Your Dog

Another reason your dog might be rolling in the grass is because he’s found a patch of scent that he likes. Have you ever wondered why dogs seem to be drawn to smelly things and, furthermore, why they love to roll themselves in it? This behavior can be traced back to the wild heritage of dogs. Wolves, coyotes, and other wild dogs have been known to use certain smells to cover their own natural scent. For example, a wild wolf might roll in a patch of grass where a deer or a rabbit eliminated. By rolling in that scent, the wolf is effectively disguising his own scent, making him less detectable to his prey. The longer the wolf can prevent his prey from picking up on his scent, the closer he can get and the better chance he has of making a kill.

When your dog rolls in a patch of something unpleasant, he probably isn’t thinking about improving his ability to sneak up on squirrels – it may just be a matter of instinct. It is also entirely possible that there is no practical reason for his behavior – he just feels like rolling around! If your dog is rolling frantically, it could be because he’s actually trying to get something off of him. A slow side-to-side roll, however, is an indication of happiness – your dog is just rolling because it feels good. If you notice that your dog is rubbing his face, neck or back a little more forcefully it might be that he is doing a little bit of self-grooming or that he is investigating a particular scent.

Rolling in the grass can serve a purpose for your dog – even if that purpose is just to make him feel good. Unless your dog is actually rolling in something unpleasant or dangerous, there is no reason to stop him from performing this behavior. Roll away!

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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