why do dogs roll in the grass - dog rubbing itself in grass with its back

You might notice your dog's appreciation of grass when you walk outdoors. 

So, if you are wondering, “Why do dogs roll in the grass?” there could be a lot of explanations, but primarily, they do it because it stimulates their senses. 

While it seems weird to humans, our furry buddies have a mix of physiological and historical factors explaining why they like sniffing, eating, or rolling in the grass. 

It is safe to say that the grass is greener on their side (pun intended).

Kidding aside, dogs sometimes do many adorable things that are hard to explain.

But… should I be concerned about my dog rolling in the grass? 

No, you shouldn't, and soon you’ll find out why.

This article will discuss why dogs like rolling in the grass and whether it is normal behavior.

We’ll also give some explanations as to why they do it. 

If you’re quite intrigued now, let’s get started!

Related Article: Why Are Dogs Eating Grass?

Why Do Dogs Roll in the Grass? Is it Normal?

My dog likes rolling in the grass. Is it normal behavior? 

Yes. It is normal and common for dogs to roll in the grass.

While the exact reasons they do it may differ from dog to dog, it is often related to their instincts.

Dogs like rolling in grass primarily because they use their scent to communicate.

Other explanations point to them liking the smell, masking their scent, absorbing some natural aroma from the grass, or leaving their odor behind. 

We will discuss all of these even more in the next part.

Our furry friends have a superpower when it comes to sniffing things out.

Humans only have a humble six million scent receptors, but dogs have about 300 million.

To paint you a better picture, if humans can smell when someone is baking a cookie, dogs can smell every ingredient that was put in it!

This incredible sense of smell is also why they do a great job in fields that require sniffing, like search and rescue, assisting in law enforcement, and even detecting diseases from humans.

Now, dogs go all-out with rolling in grass because they communicate with their scent. There is a world of odors for them that our human noses can't even detect.  

why do dogs roll in the grass - dog sniffing grass

1. Dogs Like The Smell of Grass: A Fragrant Adventure

Dog’s noses are about 50 times more sensitive than humans.

So, every trip to the neighborhood or the dog park with a lot of grass, for them, is like seeing a neon sign saying, “Come and sniff me out!” 

So the next time you see your dog roll around in the grass, you know they are having a wild, fragrant adventure.

However, aside from merely liking the smell of grass, there’s more to a dog rolling in the grass than meets the eye.

2. Grass Makes Dogs Smell Invisible

Before dogs were domesticated, it was not all fun and games for them.

With the remnants of their hunting instincts intact, dogs roll in dirt or grass because it helps them (or at least, their hunting ancestors—the wolves) in the wild to get closer to their prey by smelling invisible. 

We all know they have a long history as hunters, so dogs are rolling in the grass out of instinct.

It is their adorable way of masking or hiding their scent with the new smells they pick up from and by rolling in the grass. 

Simply put, dogs are camouflaging their scent.

If tables were turned in this way, dogs or other prey could hide themselves from even bigger predators to survive. 

This ingrained instinct explains why dogs like rolling around in grass, dirt, and other smelly stuff, even in their less wild environment today.

3. Nature's Scent: Dogs Use Grass to Cover Up a Scent

Sometimes, our dogs don't like smelling like lavender, baby powder, or other scents of shampoo products we use on them.

So, another theory that explains why dogs roll in the grass after a bath is that they try to pick up a more natural smell and wear it like perfume.

In the same way as scent masking, dogs roll in the grass to conceal their scent by taking on the natural odors found in grass. 

Just because we like them to smell good (in a human definition) after being bathed does not mean they want how we make them smell. 

4. Dogs Roll in the Grass to Scratch Their Back

Dogs roll around in the grass because it simply makes them feel good. They’re relaxed and happy to be outside on such a fine day. 

However, unlike humans, whenever we feel some itch on our backs, our furry friends can’t just reach out with their paws to scratch it.

That’s just physically impossible for them.

So another reason we could look at is that dogs roll in the grass because their back is itchy. 

Nonetheless, checking on your dogs for allergies or skin issues is always a good idea to ensure that their constant rolling in the coarse-textured grass isn’t a health concern. 

Otherwise, they’re just having fun!

why do dogs roll in grass - puppy running in grass

5. Dogs Roll in Grass to Cool Off

Okay, we will be getting a little more sciencey here. For those who didn’t know, grass is cooler than concrete—literally. 

You see, each little blade of grass packs some water, and water doesn't heat up or cool down in the blink of an eye. 

So, what you get is grass that keeps it cool, temperature-wise.

This makes a bed of grass the perfect spot for our dogs to run around and cool off.

One of the reasons why dogs like rolling in grass is because it helps them cool down their coats. This could even help them avoid heat stroke.

Benefits of Letting Your Dog Play in the Grass

Rolling in the grass and playing in it has several benefits for your dog.

For one, this encourages a healthy amount of exercise to benefit your dog’s well-being. 

Rubbing themselves in the grass also stimulates their mind while satisfying and giving them some sensory enjoyment!

It might also be a good and effective way to encourage a lazy dog to exercise!

Related Article: How Much Exercise Should My Dog Get?

Reminders to Keep Your Dog Safe While He's Rolling in the Grass

As pet parents, of course, we want our dogs to be happy and safe.

So here are a few tips to remember when your dog's having a great time in the outdoors.

1. Ensure the safety of the area. 

Make sure that the grass, wherever you’re in, is free from harsh and harmful chemicals that could irritate your dog’s skin. 

It’s also not a bad idea to check for sharp objects and other potential hazards that can cause harm to you and your dog. 

2. Keep your eyes on your dog. 

This might not be related to dogs rolling in the grass. But, Whatever activity it may be, supervision is important.

Especially in letting our furry friends run free and play hard. 

Please watch over their playtime to make sure they do not swallow anything harmful or get into trouble with other dogs in the area.

3. Achoo! Allergies!

Always observe your dog’s body language. Allergies are always a possibility because some dogs may have grass allergies.

So, if you notice aggressive itching while your dog rolls in the grass, you should have a quick trip to the vet.

why do dogs roll in the grass - dog on a leash walking on grass with owner

Dogs Rolling in Grass: FAQs

Are Dogs Happy When They Roll in the Grass?

Yes! Rolling in the grass is typical for expressing a happy canine behavior. 

See, our dogs experience the world uniquely, compared to us humans.

A big part of their lives revolves around sniffing and feeling.

They're not nosy for no reason; it's just how they connect with their surroundings, wherever they may be.

Touch is another big aspect of their sensory game.

Rolling in the grass? Well, that's one more way they're getting up close and personal with their environment.

Why Do Dogs Roll in the Dirt?

Dogs like to roll in dirt and other stinky stuff, just as they do with grass.

The answer to this is just the same thing with rolling in grass. 

It’s either they like the smell, the feels, or it’s just their survival instinct resurfacing. 

Should I Let My Dog Play in the Grass?

As we have established in this article… 

Yes.  Letting your dog play in the grass is generally a good and harmless idea.

It’s a good way for them to get exercise, stimulate their brains, and get free scratches!

Just make sure the area is clean and free of anything that might harm your pup.

What If My Dog Won’t Roll on His Back?

We have discussed why dogs rolling in grass is normal canine behavior. 

But what if your dog does not want to?

Well, maybe they’re not just in the mood!

There are many reasons to explain why your dog may not seem as excited as other dogs when seeing grass or dirt.

Rolling over their back means that dogs must expose their belly; for some dogs—it’s just uncomfortable.

Having an exposed belly is a vulnerable position for your dog to be in.

So, whether they want to roll on the ground depends on the situation. 

When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog Rolling in the Grass?

As discussed in this article, rolling in grass is OK for dogs.

However, keeping an eye on your furry friend’s behavior or body language is always recommended to understand further if they’re feeling good. 

Sometimes, dogs roll in the grass to scratch their backs, which is normal! But, if your dog exhibits excessive itching, you should check for fleas and other signs of allergies or skin concerns. 

Here are some signs to look out for when your dog is rolling in the grass:

  • Does your dog look frenzied while rolling in the grass?
  • Does your dog scratch the same spot?
  • Does your dog’s skin appear red or irritated?

To learn more about canine allergies, read this article, where we went more in-depth!

To remind you, chatting with your vet to rule out medical concerns is always safe. It’s good to have it checked out. 

Nonetheless, if your dog seems happy while rolling in the grass, there’s nothing to worry about.

why do dogs roll in the grass - dog smiling with teeth out while laying in grass

Why Do Dogs Roll in the Grass?: Before You Go…

There is nothing to be concerned about why dogs roll in the grass

It is their strong connection to everything related to smell, their deeply ingrained hunter instincts, the sensation, and just for the pure joy of it.

This is considered a part of normal canine behavior! It’s just one of our dogs' silly things, but now you better understand why they do it.

Of course, if you prefer your dog not to roll in the grass so much and want to lessen this behavior, you can always try positive reinforcement training to redirect your dog’s actions. 

Positive reinforcement techniques for dog training could be used to lessen excessive habits positively and encouragingly. 

Would you like to know more about training methods? This article discusses the Most Effective Dog Training Methods According to Science!

What do you think of this article? Let us know in the comments!

Now get out there with your furry friend and touch some grass! (no pun intended)

Dog psychology is truly mind-boggling. Here are other weird dog behaviors you might want to know more about!

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