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why do dogs roll in fox poo

Why do dogs roll in fox poo and how to clean it?

Dogs get up to some odd behaviours, one of which is rolling in fox poo but before we get too worried let’s see why do dogs roll in fox poo? If you have found your beloved pet enjoying getting to act like a pig in this stinky mess, don’t panic. 

Although you will have a difficult time cleaning them if it has happened, there is an explanation for why they do it. So don’t be mad at your dog because they act goofy and in turn make a mess. 

Why do dogs roll in fox poo?

As annoying as it is, dogs tend to roll in many different stinky duds. Dead animals, urine and even other animals’ poo, I saw my dog roll on a discarded fish once. We can’t actually ask our dogs why they want to pick up the most disgusting stuff on the ground with their fur. 

Theories for why do dogs roll in fox poo 

As common as rolling in poo is, there is not an exact definitive answer to explain it. There are many theories, speculations and some may be accurate, but unless we can speak with our dogs we won’t know for sure. 

Wolves and why do dogs roll in fox poo?

Dogs were domesticated from wolves or wild dogs and because of this, the theory is that dogs roll in poo to mask their scent. Wolves are known to roll in certain smelly things and this is used to explain the same behaviour in dogs. 

Since wolves are predators we assume scent-rolling is used to help with their hunting habits. However, it’s not exactly clear that there are any hunting benefits to getting foul smelly fox poo on their fur.

Wolves don’t sneak up on their prey enough that they would need to mask their scent. Usually, wolves just sprint out and chase their prey, so it doesn’t make sense for them to roll in their prey’s poo. 

What might be a better explanation is that wolves bring certain scents back to the pack. Either to introduce these scents or because they get attention from the rest of the pack. 

Other theories suggest dogs might want to leave their scent on the poo which will prove quite the difficult task. The most hands-off theory is that dogs just like it and are having fun rolling in smelly fox poo. This or they enjoy your reactions and want to get your attention. 

If true then our dog could be masterminds of pushing out buttons. This idea much like every theory about rolling in poo is purely speculative. 

How to deal with a dog that has rolled in fox poo?

The why from “why do dogs roll in fox poo” falls from the wayside after it happens. All that will matter now, is how do I deal with this stinky fox poo on my dog’s fur? Now comes the task of cleaning your pooch. 

Risks of rolling in poo

With everything our dogs do, from eating stuff they’re not supposed to or overeating treats, rolling it poo can have negative effects. 

Poo can have parasites and so rubbing against said poo can come with an infestation. Foxes in particular do carry intestinal worms and it’s highly possible that your dog can be affected. 

Worming tablets for your dogs should protect them but it’s best to avoid contact with poo in general. 

Stop your dog from rolling in poo

As for how to prevent it from happening, well the only surefire way to do it is to keep your dog on a leash. Once loose you won’t be fast enough to stop your dog from frolicking in the dreaded fox poo. 

If your dog has a good recall then make sure to keep them in eyesight and keep vigilant to call them back. The leave command also works in such a situation. Now if any of these commands are not reliable, then it’s best to physically keep them away. 

Removing fox poo

If you could not prevent your dogs from rolling in fox poo, which will happen at least once, you now need to clean your dog. 

Use gloves to start cleaning your dog. The gloves are a MUST because the smell will be intense and you don’t want it near your bare skin. Use some paper tissues to remove as much poo as you can and wash your dog as usual, with the gloves still on. 

Now, the smell will be hard to tackle. You’ll need to wash your dog a few times, and you will need a specific shampoo for foul smells. 

If you’re in a pinch, and you won’t have such a shampoo then you will need the good old ketchup or tomato juice. Yes, exactly like the skunk remedy.

Just use it as a shampoo and rub it into their fur. You can even leave it for a while like a couple of minutes and then rinse. You will need to repeat this a few times though, maybe even the next day. 


Why do dogs roll in fox poo does not come with a clear answer but it won’t stop your dog from doing it. If you’re unlucky enough to have it happen then you will find yourself with quite the cleaning job. 

Even if your dog will not be squeaky clean after, the smell will go away in time. Ketchup should help and as odd as it sounds, have an extra bottle of ketchup in case it might happen, your nose will be thankful. 

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