One reason you likely love hanging out with your canine companion is their entertaining antics, from tilting their head when you ask if they want to go for a walk, to chasing their tail in circles. Although you realize these displays are part of your dog’s goofy personality, you no doubt still wonder why they do what they do. Let’s solve some of the mystery with the most likely reasons behind your dog’s odd behaviors.
Question: Why does my dog like to eat poop?
Answer: Does your pup sneak snacks out of the cat’s litter box? Or, do they snatch up stool samples when out walking in the neighborhood? This habit, mostly considered disgusting, actually has a medical name—coprophagy. Many underlying causes can lead to coprophagy, such as:
- Your dog is hungry
- Your dog likes the smell or taste of feces
- Your dog is missing key nutrients from their diet
- Your dog enjoys the attention coprophagy garners
If your pet’s coprophagy is excessive, there may be a medical reason, so schedule a consultation with our team.
Q: Why does my dog scoot their hind end along the carpet?
A: Scooting, which is generally seen as another gross canine behavior, may look comical, but it’s no laughing matter. When your dog drags their hind end along the ground, they’re typically uncomfortable for some reason, which may include:
- Inflamed, impacted, or abscessed anal glands
- Intestinal parasites, such as tapeworms
- An irritated hind end after a bout of diarrhea
Your dog most commonly scoots along the carpet because of an anal gland issue. The anal glands are two small sacs inside your dog’s anus that fill with a thin, foul-smelling fluid that is naturally expressed during defecation. However, inflammation or infection can create a problem with that natural expression, causing pressure and discomfort for your pet.
Q: Why does my dog hump other dogs, objects, or my leg?
A: Humping in dogs is commonly associated with sexual behavior. However, while male dogs do mount to mate, female dogs and neutered male dogs also hump each other, and there is nothing sexual about it. Most commonly, humping is a sign of overexcitement. You’ll often see dogs humping each other, a stuffed toy, or your leg when they’re playing, fighting, frustrated, or confused about how to respond in a social situation.
Q: Why does my dog sniff other dogs’ butts?
A: A quick sniff of another dog’s butt can provide your pooch with a great deal of important information about their potential friend or foe. Sniffing another dog’s hind end can tell your dog the other dog’s emotional state, health status, and sex. Your dog may also sniff a strange person’s rear to gather information.
Q: Why does my dog chase their tail?
A: Tail chasing most often is simply a way for your dog to expend excess energy, but can become an obsessive behavior. Your dog may also chase and bite at their tail because they have a flea infestation. If your dog’s tail-chasing behavior becomes excessive, they may need veterinary attention.
Q: Why does my dog walk in circles before lying down?
A: Although you’ve purchased the softest, coziest bed for your pooch, they may circle around before finding the perfect spot to lie down. This behavior is believed to have been passed down by their wild ancestors, when wolves, for example, would circle in a spot to tamp down leaves and grass to create a resting area.
Q: Why does my dog eat grass?
A: Dogs commonly snack on grass when let outside, especially in the morning when the grass is covered in dew. While your dog may simply like the taste, they may also chew on the dewy grass because their diet lacks nutrients. Dogs may also eat grass when they have a gastrointestinal upset so they will vomit, but most dogs who eat grass don’t vomit afterward, so this theory is less likely.
If you’re unsure whether your dog’s behavior is normal, contact our Colony Veterinary Hospital team. Some behaviors can be caused by an underlying medical issue that needs addressing, so schedule an appointment if your pet is acting in an unusual way.