Why Does My Dog Roll Around After Eating?

It may seem strange when you see your dog rolling around after a meal. After all, most humans are ready for a relaxing nap, not a burst of physical activity. But fear not, there are logical reasons behind this peculiar behavior. In many cases, dogs roll around after eating to clean bits of food from around their mouth. Rolling may also serve as an instinctive way to hide the scent of food or to dislodge food stuck between their teeth.

However, it is important to note that this behavior isn’t always harmless. Rolling after food can sometimes indicate a medical problem, such as sore gums or an allergy. So, let’s dive deeper into why dogs roll after eating and when you should be concerned.

Why Do Dogs Roll Around After Eating

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reasons why dogs roll around after eating. There are several plausible theories, but not all apply in every situation. Nonetheless, here’s an overview of the most likely explanations for this behavior.

Cleaning (Or Drying) Their Face

Dogs like to keep the hair around their mouth clean and dry. So, it’s only natural for them to clean themselves after a meal. This may be more of an issue for dogs with long coats, as their hair tends to fall into the bowl more often. You might also notice these dogs rubbing their face after drinking to cope with the discomfort of wet hair around their mouth.

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Food Stuck Between Teeth

We all know how frustrating it is to have food stuck between our teeth. It’s even more bothersome for dogs, as they don’t have an easy way to remove it. Some dogs may try to dislodge the stuck food by rubbing their face along the floor or rolling around. This is particularly common in dogs with misaligned teeth, but any dog can experience food getting stuck between their teeth. Keep in mind that misaligned teeth can lead to other health problems, so it’s crucial to watch for signs of dental issues like bad breath or pawing at the mouth.

Masking The Scent Of Food

In the wild, the scent of food can attract predators since many animals have an excellent sense of smell. To reduce this risk, it is believed that dogs instinctively rub their face on the floor after eating. This behavior could help mask the scent of leftover food, making it less likely for the dog to be located by other animals. It’s worth noting that domestic dogs have evolved significantly from wolves and wild dogs, but some of their wild instincts still remain.

Teeth Or Gum Pain

If a dog has a tooth or gum problem, eating can cause them additional discomfort. Rolling around can provide temporary relief by putting pressure on the affected area. However, if your dog consistently rolls after eating and exhibits other symptoms like red or inflamed gums, bad breath, slower eating, pawing at the face, whining during meals, or a reluctance to be touched on the head, you should contact a vet immediately. Teeth and gum issues can be painful and affect your dog’s quality of life.

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It’s Fun!

Sometimes, rolling around is simply a fun activity for dogs after the excitement of a meal. You’ll often see them put their head against the floor, leave their rear end up in a play bow position, and walk forward. They may also roll over and scratch their back against the floor, thoroughly enjoying themselves.

What Are Some Other Reasons For A Dog Rolling Around?

Rolling around isn’t exclusive to post-meal behavior. Dogs may roll around for various reasons, ranging from an itchy back to more serious medical issues. For example, dogs often roll around to dry themselves after a walk or bath. This may be accompanied by frantic digging or rubbing against furniture.

Moreover, dogs sometimes try to remove collars or harnesses by rubbing their face along the floor, especially if they aren’t accustomed to wearing them or if the collar is uncomfortably tight. To avoid this issue, it’s advisable to introduce a collar or harness to your dog slowly, using positive reinforcement techniques.

Additionally, certain dog breeds with skin folds on their face may roll around to itch or clean between the wrinkles. Using a soft cloth to wipe around their mouth, especially after a meal, can help alleviate any discomfort.

While rolling around isn’t always a sign of a medical problem, it can be a symptom that your dog is unwell or in pain. Medical conditions that cause itchiness can also lead to rolling around, as it provides an effective way for dogs to scratch large areas of their bodies. Some potential conditions that might trigger this behavior include:

  • Ear infections: Rolling around and putting pressure on the ear may relieve discomfort. Look for other signs such as ear swelling, redness, and discharge.
  • Ear mites: These parasites cause intense itchiness in the ear, hence dogs with ear mites often roll around to try and alleviate the itch.
  • Dental disease: Rolling around and rubbing their mouth can be a way for dogs to cope with dental pain. Pushing your tongue against a sore gum can sometimes provide temporary relief, just as rolling does for dogs.
  • Low calcium: Calcium deficiency can cause skin dryness and itching, leading dogs to roll around in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort. Other symptoms may include loss of appetite, twitching, and fatigue.
  • Allergic reactions: Allergies can cause itchiness, prompting dogs to roll around to scratch the affected area. Additional symptoms may include paw chewing, pawing, itchy eyes, redness, and gastrointestinal problems. Allergies can have various causes, including environmental factors (such as dust mites or pollen) and food. If you notice any allergy symptoms, it’s best to contact a vet.
  • Puppy teething: Teething can be an uncomfortable process for puppies. Rolling around and putting pressure on the gums is a way for them to seek relief from the pain. Chewing also helps alleviate teething pain, which is why puppies can be so destructive.
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When Should You Contact A Vet?

If your dog rolls around for a short time after eating, and there are no other symptoms, then there is often nothing to worry about. Your dog is likely just cleaning or drying the hair around their mouth. However, if rolling is accompanied by other symptoms of illness or pain, you should always contact a vet. These symptoms may include:

  • Signs of gum or tooth issues, such as bleeding, bad breath, pawing at the head, whining, slower eating, and loss of appetite.
  • Symptoms of allergies, such as itchiness, chewing, red or inflamed eyes, diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • Signs of an ear infection, including red or inflamed ears, discharge, pawing at the ears, and swelling.

You should also contact a vet if the rolling seems excessive, frantic, or unrelated to eating or getting wet. It’s a good idea to schedule a vet check-up if your dog starts rolling after eating more frequently than normal.

In summary, it’s common to see dogs rolling around after a meal. Most of the time, it’s a harmless behavior that dogs engage in to clean themselves or simply have fun. However, it’s essential to be aware of potential underlying medical issues that can cause this behavior. If your dog is rolling around more frequently, appears to be in discomfort, or exhibits other symptoms of illness, it’s best to seek veterinary care.

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