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Why Does My Dog Roll in the Grass? 6 Likely Reasons

Beth Crane

By Beth Crane

dog on real grass

There has certainly been a time when you’re out with your dog walking through the grass, and they’ve stopped, dropped, and rolled. You might be thinking, as you’re standing there waiting for them to finish rolling around, why on earth they’re doing it? The answer to this question is quite interesting; your dog could be wiggling through the grass for a range of reasons, from being itchy to the simple fact that it feels good! Read on to discover why your dog rolls around in the grass and whether you should try to stop it.

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The 6 Reasons Why Your Dog Rolls Around In The Grass

1. Because They’re Itchy

If your dog takes every opportunity to roll enthusiastically on the ground, they may be trying to scratch an itch.1 Because dogs can’t reach the entirety of their bodies to scratch (particularly their back), you can imagine how frustrating it would be to have an itch! However, by rolling around on the ground and wiggling from side–to–side, your dog can reach all those areas for some relief.

You may notice your dog scratching with their legs too, and all the itching could be a sign they have a skin problem or a parasite infestation if they do it often. Look at their skin through their fur for signs of redness, lesions, or parasites, and call your vet if you’re concerned.

golden retriever rolling in the grass
Image Credit: VDB Photos, Shutterstock

2. They’re Masking Their Scent

Dogs have a powerful sense of smell. They communicate through scent, so your dog may be rolling in the grass to try and use the smell of the grass to cover up their natural scent. This is a throwback to their days as wolves, and they could be covering up due to anxiety or masking their scent from prey animals. If a prey animal can smell your dog downwind, they’d run. But, if your dog uses the grass fragrance to cover themselves, they become less detectable.

3. They’re Marking Their Territory

Because dogs’ noses are so sensitive, they’ll pick up even the slightest traces of other dogs. For example, your dog likely has their nose to the ground when out on a walk. If they detect the urine or pheromones of another dog in the grass, they may roll around on top of it to add their own to the mix. It’s your dog’s way of asserting that it is their territory!

German shepherd rolling in the grass
Image Credit: Javier Peribanez, Shutterstock

4. They’re Communicating

Scent is the most important mode of communication for dogs. They use it to communicate with one another across large distances or on walks, and rolling is a part of this. If your dog smells the scent of another dog or animal in the grass, they may roll in it to pick it up and delve in further. They could be leaving their own scent to say they’ve been there or smelled an interesting smell, so other dogs should smell it, too!

5. They Have an Ear Infection

If your dog is rolling their head on the grass, they could have an ear problem. The signs of an ear infection or ear pain are usually quite clear-cut and can include rubbing the head on the ground,2 head shaking, and scratching at the ear. If you’ve noticed your dog rolling their head from side to side on the ground as well as any of the following signs, it’s important to take them to their vet to get their ears checked out:

  • Head shaking
  • Scratching the ears
  • Redness around the ear canal or inside the ear
  • Discharge or a smell coming from the ear
  • Scabbing or crusty ears
  • Pain
Samoyed rolling in the grass
Image Credit: Daxiao Productions, Shutterstock

6. Because It’s Fun!

Lastly, your dog might love rolling around in the grass because it’s fun! If it’s a warm day and the grass is moist, stretching out and rolling around probably feels amazing. They’re expressing their emotions, feeling happy and contented. If there’s no clear reason why your dog is rolling in the grass, they’re probably just enjoying the moment.

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Is It Normal for a Dog To Roll Around in the Grass?

Rolling in the grass is a normal behavior for dogs. As long as they’re not itchy or rubbing their ears, it’s likely that your dog is just expressing natural behavior when they roll about in the grass, which is a good thing that all dogs should get the opportunity to do. If they stop, drop, and roll frequently, there may be a cause to investigate their coat and ears for signs of itching before they continue to be sure they’re healthy. Otherwise, it’s normal behavior for a happy dog!

Do I Need To Stop My Dog Rolling in the Grass?

young woman plays with an animal with her dog on the grass in the park outside
Image Credit: ShotPrime Studio, Shutterstock

If your dog has been checked out by your veterinarian and given a clean bill of health, you don’t have to stop them from rolling in the grass. It’s a natural behavior that makes them happy; as long as it’s not bothering anyone, they can continue. However, make sure that your dog has adequate protection against parasites if they’re bound to roll in the grass, and don’t let them roll anywhere that could have been sprayed with harmful pesticides (or in anyone’s yard!). If you must stop them, redirecting their attention to something else, like a toy, when you see the signs that they’re about to roll is the most effective way to get them to stop.

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Dogs, like people, have some habits that might seem perplexing. Rolling around in the grass (often with a silly expression) is one of these, but rest assured, it’s simply a dog thing. If your dog is obsessive about rolling or seems frustrated or tense when they do, they could be suffering from itchy skin or ears that your vet should check out. Otherwise, your dog could use the grass as a communication switchboard for the other pups in the area. Or, your dog could love the feeling of rolling in the grass!

Featured Image Credit: tauanaaulerrosa16, Pixabay

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