Why does my dog love rolling in mud?

Why does my dog love to roll in mud?

As the owner of 3 mud loving Labradors that live in the country, I know how dirty dogs can get.

For most dogs rolling in mud and muck comes as second nature to them. Dogs are genetically programmed to love mud – happy and domesticated dogs sometimes feel the call of the wild when they see a muddy puddle. This could be your worst nightmare is all you want to do is clean your pup clean but remember it’s keeping them happy!!

There are made reasons behind our dogs loving the mud.  Experts have said it’s the genetic programming of dogs that makes them love mud.  Your dog may roll in the mud because he likes it or maybe he’s trying to cover his own smell to avoid danger or mask his smell after a bath. Whatever the reasons your dog rolls in mud, remember that dogs can’t help this behaviour and they should never be punished for exhibiting this.

So why do Dog’s like mud so much?

1 – For temperature control 

Many animals will use mud as a perfect way to cool down on a hot day. The thin coating of wet mud will help protect your dog from the heat – although this summer my dogs couldn’t find many puddles on their walks, so we had to provide other methods of keeping cool.  

The good news is, as we go into winter, your dog is less likely to need to cool down in the puddles but inevitably they will get covered in mud on their legs and belly thanks to our wet winter weather. 

2 – Trying to mask their scent

This goes back to wild dogs using the coating of mud allows them to remain undetected.  The mud will mask the dog’s scent.  

Your dog believes that if they are covered in mud when chasing prey such as rabbits or squirrels all the prey will see is a big moving pile of mud (or poo) and they will be invisible.

This doesn’t mean that our dogs are afraid or sensing danger if they decide to roll in mud.  Even happy, domesticated dogs can feel the call of the wilds when they see a muddy puddle.  

3 – They don’t like their own smell

If we think that dogs like bubble baths – we’re wrong! 

We all like our dogs to smell nice, using fragranced shampoos and sprays but there are times when our dogs prefer to smell like a traditional dog than pampered pooch.  

When we bath our pets, we take away their natural smell so they may cover themselves in mud to restore their own unique dog scent.

Dogs communicate with other dogs using their scent, which could be unpleasant for us when they share our house with them.  If dogs were left to themselves, they would rather roll in mud or fox poo any day, than take a bath and remove their unique scent.

4 – Dogs find the mud fun

Many dogs find it hard to resist playing in mud. Muddy playtime is just good fun for some of our dogs.

They could be playing in the mud to attract your attention or just having plain fun rolling and splashing around in the mud, but they don’t have to worry about muddy clothes and certainly won’t be thinking of who is going to do all the washing and cleaning when back home.

And if you react by laughing at them it could become a learned behaviour that you like it when they splash in the mud. But as a doting pet parent you can’t help but laugh at them.

Dogs live in the moment and mud acts as a source of enjoyment for dogs.

5 – They like the taste

Occasionally you will see your dog eating some of the mud that they’re playing in.

If your dog starts doing it regularly, speak to your vet as there could be an underlying issue with your dog’s health or some nutritional deficiencies in their diet.  

Mud can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that could harm your dog if ingested so it’s best to stop your dog from eating mud!

Keeping your dog away from mud

There are circumstances when your dog getting covered in mud is inconvenient.  There are several methods that will help keep them away from the puddles.

Distraction – Try to distract them with another fun activity. This can include playing a game of fetch, playing tug of war or similar such games

Training – Using positive reinforcement methods can teach them to stay away from muddy puddles.  This will take time, but it is time well spent.

Keep on a lead – On those days when you really don’t want your dog to splash through puddles, you could keep them on a lead for their walks.  You then have control and can steer away from the mud.

Dealing with a mucky pup

With some dogs, at certain times of the year, it’s inevitable that your dog may end up covered in mud – it’s not the end of the world if you are prepared.

If you have to travel home in the car – I can suggest a Noodle mat for them to sit on, a microfleece glove towel or Ruff & Tumble Drying Mitts for taking the worst of the mud off and a Ruff & Tumble Drying Coat.

When you get home any dry mud can be brush off.  If you need to bath your dog, use a natural soap with no chemicals in it.  I use The Dog & I soap in a sisal bag, then they get a Ruff & Tumble Drying Coat on until fully dry.  The mud tends to come off on the coat.

And finally

To make my life easier I keep everything in 1 place – just inside my back door before they can disappear into the kitchen and spread the mud around the house. 

I have a few favourite muddy dogs clean up products all available on the website www.distinctivepets.co.uk

Scruffs Noodle Mat – Our Price £22

Ruff & Tumble Drying Mitts – Our Price £21

Henry Wag microfleece Glove towel at £7.99 or Noodle Glove Towel at £17.99

Ruff & Tumble Drying Coats from £30.95

The Dog & I soap  from £2.95

Or you could consider the Muddy Dog Survival Kit priced at £40 – everything together in a handy drawstring bag. Or you could upgrade to the Ultimate Kit with Drying Coat with sizes to suit all shapes & sizes from £77.75