A rather bizarre and yucky topic, ain’t it???
But unlike us humans, dogs, mostly Spaniels often exhibit a special kind of relationship with fox poo and other stinky things. Time and again, pet parents from all over the world have complained regarding their beloved pooch’s obsession with other animals’s excreta.
But what is the reason behind such an eccentric nature??? Is there any specific reason behind this action, or is it a simple act of ‘mischief’??? Let’s unveil the truth now.
So, why do dogs roll over fox poo?
The most commonly believed theory indicates that gundogs like Spaniels roll in fox poo to camouflage their own body scent. Bred to hunt rabbits, rodents, or other small creatures, they follow the wild laws to mask their natural scent and hence hunt effortlessly without warning their prey.
On the other hand, by doing so, it is also possible that the little woofer is trying to scare off their predators by generating a smell like them. So, if you stay near the forests or have frequent wildlife encounters, your Spaniel may be trying to ward off any future encounters by masking its scent and rubbing the new scent against the whole territory to create an illusion.
Are there any other reasons?
When it comes to reasoning out the exact cause behind such bizarre behaviour, pet parents and experts have a lot to say on this matter. From stating the act as an evolutionary trait of masking their scent (as discussed above) to depicting them as acts of pure ‘bad behaviour’, understanding their main motives isn’t that easy.
So, if you feel like there’s more than to hunting or protecting themselves, your Spaniel might be rolling in fox poo, because:
Leave their own smell in the poo
Spaniels are blessed with a heightened sense of smell that makes them the perfect partners for hunting. Moreover, they are also very territorial and don’t like other animals or dogs intruding into their area, unannounced. So, by rolling in the fox poo, it is their way of saying, “This is my area. STAY OUT!!!!”
Upon rolling, their bodies naturally leave pheromones on to the mass, which when sniffed by the next dog serves as a warning or a friendly hello. And hence, depending upon the message, the other dog may decide to stay put or leave their own customised message for your woofer.
Have more doggie-smell
Just like humans, Spaniels come with variable personas. While some of these pups may exhibit ‘diva-type’ character, others may get happiness by grovelling in layers of dirt, and some even go to the heights of rolling in fox poo just to get their owner’s attention.
Hence, if you find your pooch almost always diving into the carcass of other animals during walks, any of the above-stated reasons might be the root cause.
What are the side-effects if my Spaniel rolls in fox poo?
As per the Scott Veterinary Clinic, foxes are known to serve as the mediators of some of the deadliest viruses and pathogens. This is because they survive in the wild, and unlike domesticated animals, there’s no knowing what they eat and where they eat. Thus, even the slightest of contacts with their faeces and pee, is bound to make your pooch severely ill.
Moreover, if your curious pooch ends up chunking off a piece, it may also lead to lungworm and heartworm infestations. The larvae could enter into their mouth, making their way into their bloodstream or other vital organs and slowly growing to cause severe diseases. From there, they will start multiplying at exponential rates, requiring emergency assistance from professionals.
When infected the dogs will:
- Show a loss of appetite
- Frequent vomiting
- Severe lethargy
- An abnormally swollen abdomen
- Sudden unexplainable weight loss
- A dull coat
- Smelly and bloody diarrhoea, etc.
Moreover, these worms are also known to cause Echinococcosis, Toxocariasis, and many such highly communicable skin infections in humans, in case the larvae passes from your pup’s body to you.
Therefore, if your canine has somehow managed to roll in Fox poo, you need to instantly give them a thorough bath using vet-referred cleansing agents. Apart from giving the coat a clean, fresh smell, the product should be capable enough of destroying any larvae, virus or pathogens that may have taken the chance to stick to your pooch’s coat.
How to clean off fox poo from my dog’s coat?
Even though giving the Spaniel a nice warm bath is the ultimate solution, you can always go for some makeshift ideas depending upon your location.
Coz, see no pet parent roams around with a big tub of water and their pupper’s cleansing solutions, waiting for them to make the deed so that they can be washed at the spot. It is rather impossible!!!
So, what’s best is to keep a packet of dog-safe wet pipes or a bottle of water. This way if your canine runs into these grossy situations, you can always wipe them down or use the water to give them a quick cleanup. Doing so, will ensure that none of the poo goes inside their body, if your Spaniel decides to lick off the extra thing from their coats.
How to stop my dog from rolling in Fox poo?
The only solution: POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT TRAINING METHODS!!!!
Training your dog to ‘leave it’ is the best thing that pet parents can do to prevent such instances. No matter if your beloved fur ball is off the leash or on leash, distracting them from the source is better than giving them a bath every time they dive into the fox excreta.
- Start by initiating basic training commands, including ‘Sit’, ‘Stay’, and ‘Lie down’.
- Once your Spaniel has efficiently learned to respond to the commands, next teach them the command ‘Leave it’. For this make sure to have their complete attention and practice the set regularly, otherwise there is no value to the whole farce.
- When training, never forget to follow the good actions with delicious treats or good praises, so that the pup is able to associate the reward better.
Finally, remember that teaching the Spaniels to do certain things requires loads of time and patience, and therefore hurrying the steps or abusing them in any way, is never a wise idea. By shouting or punishing them you are only portraying yourself as the ‘Enemy’ and hence instilling absolute fear in them. Such pups grow into destructive or aggressive canines that are not only a risk to others but also to themselves.
What can I do?
So, if trespassing by foxes or other wildlife is a common occurrence where you live, keeping your area clean is what you need to do. As a responsible pet parent, you should regularly check your garden and remove any fox poo or other animal excreta that you might come across. This way you are securing both your and your Spaniel’s health, thus adding this to your daily chores is a must.
Additionally, it is also better to keep your pooch on leash when taking them on walks on nature trails or other sites commonly visited by foxes and wildlife. With the leash on, you will be able to control your pupper’s movement and hence remove them out of the way in case they stay fixated to a place for too long.
Fox poo or whatever, animal excreta is never safe. Therefore, no matter how obsessed your Spaniel might be with the gross thing, letting them do their little rolling, licking or pawing over it, should be a big NO-NO.
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