While dogs are remarkably cute and intelligent 99% of the time, there is that occasional behavior that makes us question why dogs are the way they are. Case and point: rolling in fox poo.
Dogs can roll in fox poo for a number of reasons, such as masking their scents or marking their territory, and some dogs even find it fun to roll in fox poo!
There’s nothing worse than having to get all the way home with a dog smelling of poo, then having to scrub it off them. Let’s explore the many reasons why your dog rolls in fox poo.
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4 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Rolling In Fox Poo
Experts aren’t sure why dogs adopt this smelly habit, but there are some theories into why dogs like it so much.
1. Masking Their Scent From Predators
The most common theory is that dogs are masking their scent from predators, keeping them safe. This primal instinct is still learned from when they were undomesticated.
However, there is an issue with this theory. Dogs and wolves (cousins) are not very stealthy when it comes to hunting. Instead, they tend to run at their prey as quickly as possible and tackle it.
With such a rushed form of hunting, masking their scent wouldn’t be necessary.
It’s also been reported that wild wolves often roll in the poo of other predators. Having themselves smell like lions or cougars wouldn’t make their hunting any easier!
2. Making Themselves Smell Like Predators
So, another theory is that dogs want to smell like other predators. If a dog were to smell like a lion, other predators like bears would want to stay away from them. This might mean that your dog is rolling in fox poo to keep threats away from them.
However, studies have also found issues in this theory, as wolves roll in the poo of other predators. Since wolves are top predators, not many other animals are a threat to them. So why would they need to mask their scent with another predator?
3. Marking Their Territory
Not all dogs feel the primal need to hunt things, so rolling in fox poo might not be to do with these theories. But what other theories are there?
Dogs like to leave their scent on things to mark their territory for other animals to get the message. Have you ever taken a dog on a walk who wants to stop and urinate on every single tree?
Other than urine, dogs can also roll around to leave their scent on things. So, rolling in fox poo might be your dog letting everyone know – including the fox – that they were there.
4. Having Some Fun!
Finally, another theory that many pet owners have is that dogs simply roll in fox poo because they’re having fun!
While we might think it odd for dogs to be having fun rolling in another animal’s waste, they certainly look like they’re having a good time during the moment! The smell doesn’t even seem to bother them.
Dogs have powerful senses of smell, so the scent could smell like perfume to them. They might even enjoy being told off by their owner afterwards.
What Does Fox Poo Smell Like?
Fox poo is known for being particularly smelly, which is why it’s such a pain when our dogs roll in it. But what makes it so smelly, and can you identify it with just your nose?
Fox poo has a distinct smell, most commonly described as musky. It smells very similar to dog poo, but it is even more pungent.
The incredibly strong smell comes from the musky liquid excreted from the fox’s scent glands. This is then transferred to the poo, causing it to smell much worse.
This smell will fade slightly as the poo dries, but if a dog rolls in it, the smell will often come back with a vengeance.
Why Do Dogs Eat Fox Poo?
Unfortunately, your dog might not just want to roll in any fox poo it finds. They might also want to lick or even eat it. But why is animal poo so enticing for dogs?
The simple reason dogs want to snack on poo is because it tastes nice. In fact, our Cavapoo Rosie loves to eat horse poop when out on a walk.
Carnivore poo will contain some degree of undigested meat protein, making it appealing for your dog to eat.
Again, this can be dated back to when dogs were undomesticated and living in the wild. They would have scavenged for food and eaten poo in a bid not to waste any vital energy or nutrients.
Risks For Dogs Eating Fox Poo
There often aren’t any issues with your dog eating fox poo, despite it being grotesque for the owners! However, there are a few concerns that might arise if your dog eats fox poo often.
- Parasite transmission from fox to dog.
- Risk of drug absorption if the fox has eaten any medicine.
- Bug transmission, such as salmonella, if the fox is a carrier.
If you can help it, we would recommend not allowing your dog to eat fox poo. Not only is it disgusting, but the risk of these health concerns makes it safer for your dog to leave the poo and have a safer treat at home instead.
Do Foxes Eat Dog Poop?
Yes, foxes will eat dog poop. In fact, a study even found that dog poop made up a significant part of the red fox’s diet!
Again, this comes down to the fact that dog poop will have undigested meats within it, which makes it appealing to foxes.
As foxes are wild animals without a reliable food source, finding dog poo available to eat is probably like winning the lottery!
Preventing Your Dog From Rolling In Fox Poo
If you let your doodle dog off the leash while taking them for walks, the best way to avoid returning home smelly is to avoid taking them anywhere that foxes reside. Unfortunately, since foxes are widespread, this is much easier said than done.
Alternatively, make sure that you practice the command ‘leave it’. This will come in handy for a plethora of things and should hopefully be enough to keep your dog away from any fox poo they find.
Other than that, you cannot do much to prevent your dog from rolling in fox poo!
There are many reasons why dogs might roll in fox poo, but we don’t have a definitive answer. Most owners just accept that their dogs find it fun to roll in fox poo.
Dogs are also known for eating fox poo, thanks to the undigested meat proteins within them. However, this could be risky, so try and prevent this from happening as much as possible.
To prevent your dog from rolling in fox poo, take them to places where foxes don’t roam (if you can find such a place!) or teach them to listen to ‘leave it’.