Dogs and canids have highly developed smell. They also like to roll in odoriferous items on the ground such as animal feces, a practice called scent rolling.

There are many theories for reasons for scent rolling, including:

(1) a way of taking the scent of another animal back to the pack

(2) an invitation to other members of the pack to provide grooming

(3) scents that we consider offensive may not be offensive to dogs


A consequence of scent rolling in animal feces includes coating the hairs with pathogenic bacteria and parasites, such as Echinococcus. Humans can become infected by rubbing the animal and then eating without handwashing. Other dogs can become infected if they lick and groom the coated animal.


Infection control:

(1) keep the animal clean, especially after scent rolling

(2) wash your hands after rubbing the dog

(3) keep your dog on a leash if in a natural area

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