Have you seen a lot of your dog's belly recently? Sometimes it feels like he's spending all his time rolling on his back and wriggling around. As long as he hasn't rolled in something he shouldn't have, it's hard to resist that derpy upside-down face and paunchy belly. But why do dogs roll on their backs?
Why Do Dogs Roll Around on Their Back?
To truly understand why your pup is rolling around, it’s important to look at contextual clues and body language. If your dog has been waiting for you to get in from work, he’s probably just happy to see you. Take it as a compliment that he feels comfortable enough showing his vulnerable belly!
This trust, combined with a comfortable bed, sofa or rug can also explain why he rolls around when you’re spending some downtime together. Considering some dog owners wouldn’t mind a belly rub ourselves, who are we to judge our dogs for wanting one?
If your dog rolls on his back when he’s having a play fight with other dogs, there are two main theories. One is that he is being submissive and effectively “waving the white flag.” However, a 2015 study suggests that this type of behavior is actually tactical and that dogs adopt a supine position to avoid getting bitten. Being in this pose also gives them a better place to launch bites from.
One common reason for dogs rolling on their backs is simply to scratch an itch. If your pup can’t reach a spot with his paw, his only option is to rub it against a surface that might give him some relief!
Occasional itching like this is nothing to worry about, but if your dog appears to be rolling around like this very regularly it could be a sign of fleas, tick bites or even a skin infection. Check your pooch’s skin and fur carefully for any signs of irritation, and consult your veterinarian if you’re unsure.
Why Does My Dog Roll Around on Her Toys?
Surely it can’t be comfortable to roll around over hard toys? Well, if you’ve ever had a good massage you can probably attest to the fact that hard pressure can feel good on your back. In the same way, some dogs roll on their toys as the equivalent of a good back rub. Even if it looks uncomfortable, your dog wouldn’t be rolling around on top of his toy if it was causing him any pain.
Why Do Dogs Roll in the Grass?
If you’re wondering why dogs roll around in the grass, you might be surprised to learn this is an instinctive behavior closely linked to their sense of smell.
While you may recoil in horror at your dog’s desire to find a patch of grass with smelly droppings or the remains of dead animals, this behavior serves a very important purpose. Rolling around in these stinky objects helps to mask their scent, which in a past life would give away their position to an enemy or a predator. To this day, wolves roll in different scents to disguise themselves from prey when they’re hunting.
It’s very difficult to change instinctive behavior, so you may be better off removing any stinky objects before your pooch has a chance to roll in them. If you can’t do this in time, the power of distraction is your friend. Give them a pleasurable alternative to this unwanted behavior in the form of a delicious treat. Canidae® Sustain Jerky Treats: Cage Free Duck With Carrot certainly taste good enough for the job, and as an added bonus they’re good for your pet and the planet too.
Talking of smells, if your dog starts to “drop and roll” right after a bath, he might be trying to rid himself of an unwanted smell like a scented shampoo. Dogs have a personal scent and if you try to cover it up they might not be too happy. It’s a good idea to use simple, scent-free products and remember to ask your vet if you have any doubts.
Whatever reason your dog has for rolling on his back, you can add some stability to his life by switching to Canidae. Our delicious PURE Grain Free Lamb and Pea dog food packs premium proteins and healthy fats into a clean recipe that contains just 10 key ingredients. A healthy dog is a happy dog, and the addition of antioxidants, glucosamine and chondroitin gives your best friend’s immune system and joints an extra boost.
If you’re not sure which Canidae recipe to feed your dog, try our quiz. With just a few details we can advise you on the perfect food!