Why do dogs roll around in fox poo?

Why do dogs roll around in fox poo?

Does your dog seem to constantly be coming back from walks smothered in fox poo? You are not alone. Some of you reading this might be wondering what fox poo smell like. Well fox feces typically has a pungent odour. It is often described as musky, earthy, and unpleasant. The scent can vary depending on factors such as the fox's diet and the age of the feces.

So why do they love the odious smell of fox poo and what makes them want to roll in fox feces?

Dogs have a strong sense of smell, and they are attracted to the scent of fox feces for several reasons:

Instinctual behaviour: Dogs are descendants of wolves, which are natural predators of foxes. They have an instinctual curiosity and interest in the scents left by other animals, including foxes.
Communication and marking: Dogs use scent marking as a way to communicate and establish territory. The strong odour of fox feces can serve as a form of communication for dogs, conveying information to other dogs in the area.
Novelty and stimulation: The unique and strong odour of fox feces may simply be intriguing and stimulating to dogs. They are often attracted to new and unfamiliar smells, and the scent of fox feces can be particularly enticing to their sensitive noses.

The last theory is that your dog is simply just showing off that they’ve found something cool and want to share it with you – don’t they always seem so happy when they’ve rolled around in some fox poo and can’t wait to jump all over you.

It's worth noting that while dogs may find the smell of fox feces appealing, it's generally best to discourage them from rolling in or consuming it, as it can harbour bacteria and parasites that may be harmful to their health.

To discourage dogs from rolling in fox feces, you can try the following strategies:

Supervise and intervene: Keep a close eye on your dog when they are outdoors, especially in areas where foxes are known to frequent. If you see them approaching fox poo, immediately call them back or distract them with a toy or treat. Use positive reinforcement to reward them for responding to your commands.
Basic obedience training: Teach your dog basic commands such as "leave it" or "drop it." Practice these commands regularly in different environments, gradually increasing the distractions. This will help you gain better control over their behaviour and prevent them from engaging with fox poo.
Leash control: When walking your dog in areas where foxes may have left feces, keep them on a leash. This gives you direct control over their movements and prevents them from accessing the feces.
Remove fox poo promptly: If you have fox feces in your yard or nearby areas, make sure to remove it as soon as possible. Regularly clean up your yard and dispose of any feces in a sealed bag or designated waste bin. Removing the source of attraction reduces the likelihood of your dog rolling in it.
Distractions and redirection: Engage your dog in activities or play games that keep their focus away from the fox feces. Provide them with toys, engage in interactive play, or practice obedience exercises to redirect their attention and energy.
Scent deterrents: Consider using scent deterrents that are unpleasant to dogs but safe for the environment. Certain products are specifically designed to deter dogs from rolling in or approaching certain areas. Consult with a professional trainer or veterinarian for recommendations.

Remember, consistency and positive reinforcement are key when training your dog. Reward desired behaviours and be patient during the training process. If the behaviour persists or becomes a significant concern, consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviourist can provide additional guidance tailored to your dog's specific needs.

You may be too late and now need to get rid of the stench. To remove the smell of fox poo from your dog, you can follow these steps:

Act promptly: It's best to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent the smell from lingering and spreading further.
Wear gloves: Put on disposable gloves before handling any soiled areas to protect yourself from potential bacteria or parasites present in the fox feces.
Remove visible poo: Carefully remove any visible fox feces from your dog's fur using a paper towel or plastic bag. Be cautious not to spread it further.
Rinse with water: Use lukewarm water to thoroughly rinse the affected areas of your dog's fur. You can use a hose or a bucket of water to do this. Take care to avoid getting water in their ears, eyes, or mouth.
Use a mild pet shampoo: Wash your dog with a gentle pet shampoo specifically formulated for dogs. Follow the instructions on the shampoo bottle, and lather it thoroughly into your dog's fur, paying extra attention to the areas that came into contact with the fox feces.
Rinse and repeat: Rinse your dog's fur thoroughly to remove all traces of shampoo. If necessary, repeat the shampooing process to ensure the odour is completely eliminated.
Dry your dog: Use a towel to gently dry your dog's fur. If your dog tolerates it, you can also use a low-heat setting on a pet-safe hairdryer to speed up the drying process.
Check for lingering odour: Once your dog is dry, carefully sniff their fur to check for any remaining odour. If you detect any residual smell, you may need to repeat the bathing process or consider using specialized pet odour-neutralizing sprays or wipes.
Brush their coat: Once your dog is fully dry, brush their coat to remove any remaining debris and help distribute natural oils, which can contribute to a healthier coat and reduce odours.

You can also get some anti-fox wet wipes, which will help a little in cleaning your dog – maybe enough for the car journey home until you can get them in the shower. They are however not an effective way to get rid of all the fox poo.

Remember rolling in strong-smelling substances, including fox feces, can be considered a normal behaviour in dogs. Dogs have a natural instinct to explore and interact with their environment, which includes investigating and marking scents. Rolling in odorous substances is believed to be an instinctive behaviour inherited from their wild ancestors.

However, it's important to note that not all dogs engage in this behaviour, and some may show less interest or completely ignore strong smells. Additionally, some dogs may show a preference for certain scents over others.

While it is a normal behaviour, it can be undesirable for dog owners due to the unpleasant smell and potential health risks associated with fox feces. In such cases, training and management techniques can be employed to discourage dogs from rolling in these substances.

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