Why Do Dogs Roll in the Grass? 3 Reasons, and 2 Risks

why do dogs roll in the grass
© Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

Written by Dayva Segal

Updated: October 12, 2022

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Any dog owner knows this behavior well. You get to the park and your dog is so excited about the grassy expanse before them. They start rolling around in the grass, seeming to be in a state of bliss. Why do dogs roll in the grass?

There are a few reasons why dogs seem to have such an affinity for grass and many of them go back to their origins in the wild.

It’s All About the Scent

There are three reasons your dog might roll in the grass that are related to scent.

They may be attempting to get rid of a particular smell, swap it for another, or mark a spot with one of their own.

First, they may be following their instinct to hide their own scent in the wild. Rolling around in the grass can help their smell blend in with the surrounding environment. This is likely an instinct from hunting behaviors. Hiding their smell may have allowed domesticated dogs’ distant wild ancestors more opportunities to sneak up on prey and get more meals.

Other times, your dog might roll in the grass to get another scent off of them. For example, if you’ve given your pup a bath recently, they might want to get all dirty again to get rid of the shampoo smell that we humans consider nice.

Your dog might also be trying to mark the area with its own scent. Dogs do this a lot. For example, they pee on objects to mark their territory and let other dogs know they were there. By rolling in the grass at the park, they are marking the spot where they were, and telling their dog buddies, “Hey I was here!”

Dog’s noses are much more powerful than ours. They are much more sensitive to the scents in their environment and they use scents to communicate. This is why some of their behaviors, like rolling in the grass, are likely linked to this sense.

why do dogs roll in the grass
A happy Dalmatiann rolling in flowers in a meadow. Sometimes dogs just roll in the grass because they are happy or they like it!

©Elisa Day/Shutterstock.com

They Might Just Like It

Dogs tend to roll in the grass when they are happy. And, most dogs are happy when they get to the park! One of my friend’s dogs, a Boston terrier, would roll in the grass, seemingly as a delay tactic whenever it was time to leave the park. It was his way of saying, “But mom, I don’t wanna go yet!”

If a dog has an itch that they just can’t scratch, rolling in the grass might be a good way to relieve the itchy feeling. Even if not, the texture of the grass might feel good. Dogs like to get scratched on their backs whether it’s your fingers or some grass doing the job.

However, if you notice your dog is itchy all the time, it may have an allergy or a skin infection. If they scratch themselves frequently and roll in the grass a lot, take your dog to the vet just to make sure all is well.

Is It Bad For Your Dog to Roll in the Grass?

In general, it is completely fine for your dog to roll in the grass. However, there are some situations in which you would want to prevent it.

Your Dog Loves to Roll in Garbage, Dead Animals, and Poo

Some dogs love the grossest things. If your furry friend enjoys getting down with doo doo or roadkill, you’ll want to curb their grass rolling behavior. Rolling around in unsanitary areas can make your dog sick.

The Grass Has Been Treated With Pesticides or Herbicides

Keep your dog away from grass that has been treated with potentially harmful chemicals. Many pesticides can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms. In general, it will not make a dog seriously ill if they are just exposed to a bit of the pesticide, but it would still be best to avoid a day or two of diarrhea or throwing up. Pesticides are much more harmful when ingested or if your dog is exposed to larger quantities at once.

Your Dog Does Not Have Proper Flea and Tick Treatment

The grass is where fleas and ticks live. All dogs should have some kind of preventative flea and tick treatment whether it is a topical treatment, a collar, or a medication. Otherwise, they are almost certain to get insect bites or an infestation of fleas after rolling in the grass.

why do dogs roll in the grass
All dogs should be regularly treated for ticks and fleas, especially when they have access to outside areas.

©Chutima Chaochaiya/Shutterstock.com

How to Stop Your Dog From Rolling In the Grass

If you ever need to stop your dog from rolling in the grass, experts recommend using “positive reinforcement training.” This training method works well to build loyalty and trust between dog and owner. In this situation, you would use positive reinforcement training by redirecting your dog’s attention to a different activity and then giving them a treat to reward them when they obey your command. Working with a professional trainer is a great way to learn more about training your dog in this manner.

If you haven’t used this type of training and need to curb your dog’s behavior quickly, teaching them a few simple commands like “sit,” “leave it,” or “stay,” can help them to stop rolling in the grass.

However, for most dogs, rolling in the grass is a perfectly safe and normal activity that does not require any behavior modification or training.

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About the Author

Dayva is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering astrology, animals, and geography. She has over 12 years of experience as a writer, and graduated from Hofstra University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Music and a Minor in French. She has also completed course work in Core Strengths Coaching, Hypnotherapy, and Technical Communication. Dayva lives in the SF Bay Area with her cute but very shy cat, Tula.

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