Virtually every pet parent has watched their dog roll around in some pretty disgusting stuff. But here’s the thing - what humans think is gross, smelly, or downright nasty behavior can be a pet’s nirvana. 

    What’s Behind a Dog’s Stinky Behaviors? 

    There are plenty of theories that have been floated about as to why dogs feel an innate need to cover themselves in the grossest of substances:

    • Some suggest it’s in their DNA and is used to camouflage their scent to protect them from prey.
    • Others say it could be tied to marking territory or communicating to their pack that they’re good hunters.
    • It could also be as simple as a dog genuinely liking these smells and wanting to be covered in it, much like humans have favorite perfumes.

    Though the “why” is not firmly established, when your pet engages in these behaviors, there are things you can do to save your own nose.

    What to Do About It 

    Most vets agree this is normal behavior for dogs but understand living with a smelly pet isn’t most people’s idea of a good time. When your pup engages in these natural instincts, the first step is getting him back to smelling good. 

    • Before bathing begins, start with a thorough brushing to get rid of any debris, matting, or loose fur. Depending on your pup’s particular coat, use a rake, bristle, pin, or slicker brush to get it all out before heading to the bathtub or other washing place. 
    • If it’s a dead animal smell you’re dealing with, a degreasing shampoo will get the heaviest smells out of the fur.  
    • Leave the shampoo in your dog’s coat for at least 10 minutes before rinsing it out. Repeat if necessary, using a gentle rubbing action. The goal is to get rid of odors, not mask them with a shampoo fragrance. 

    Finally, rinse thoroughly and aim for a “squeaky clean” result. Then towel down your dog’s coat. 

    When you think the dog is completely rinsed, run your hand along the wet coat. If you feel a “squeak,” the dog is rinsed and ready to start drying. 

    If your furry friend rolls in poop, it might be even grosser, but it’s actually a little easier to deal with. A thorough brushing and shampooing should do the trick.  

    • Grab some rubber dishwashing gloves and then use the appropriate brush to wipe off the stain, making sure to get it all. 
    • Adding some citrus, such as an orange peel, to the bath water can help break down the grease. Rinse thoroughly and towel dry. 

    As long as you give the shampoo time to sink in and do its job, this should be enough to get your “poo-ch” nice and clean once more. 

    Doing What Comes Naturally 

    Dogs and stink will always happen, but try to remember what is foul to you is divine to them. The only surefire ways to keep it from happening is to keep your pet indoors or on a leash at all times. You can also train them to respond to a sharp command to stop the rolling. But shaming them for doing what comes naturally should always be avoided! 

    Topics: Dog Training & Behavior