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11 Weird Reasons Why Dogs Roll In Their Food (And Treats)

Why Do Dogs Roll In Food

You are bringing in new food and treats for your lovely pet.

As soon as you feed your dog, they start rolling in their food.

It seems like they are not interested in mealtime.

You start getting frustrated.

You are wondering:

“Is it normal behavior?

“How can I correct it?”

Continue reading to find out:

  • 11 reasons why your dog rolls in their food and treats
  • What can you do about it
  • Tips on how to stop this behavior
  • And much much more…

Why do dogs roll in food?

Dogs roll in their food to show that they are happy or to ask for playtime. They can also be guarding their food or covering their scent. Possible serious reasons are itchy backs due to allergies or ticks. Dogs may do this when they are adjusting to a new space or a way to get your attention.

Why does my dog roll in his treats?

Dogs roll in their treats when they smell something new. They sniff and inspect it before eating up. It is also a form of communication. Sharing the good news to other dogs that they got a new treat is natural for them. Overall, rolling in their treats means that they are enjoying it.

11 reasons why dogs roll in their food (and treats)

#1: Expressing happiness

Rolling on their backs and showing their belly is a sign that they are happy. You can say that your dog is rolling in happiness.

They want you to know, “I am so happy with my food.” 

There are several ways that your dog expresses happiness physically. Dogs may express it in different ways.

But generally, they exhibit similar physical signs to show their emotions.

Observe for relaxed signals like tail wagging. They may also open their mouth softly to show joy.

It may look weird, but a dog rolling on his back with a soft smile is a happy dog.

#2: Guarding their food

You recently brought a new pup home. During mealtime, you noticed your adult dog rolling on their food.

It is pretty unusual. Your long-time pet has never done it before. What could be the reason?

Rolling over their food means they are guarding it. Your furry pet wants to tell your new pup, “This is mine.”

Licking your food ensures that others will not eat it anymore. It’s the same in the animal kingdom.

For dogs, the scent is a sign that they own something. Now that a new pup is at home, your long-time friend wants to mark their territory.

Observe your pet if the rolling comes with growling and other aggressive signs.

You can definitely train your doggie if this is the reason. Sometimes, our pets act like kids that require positive reinforcement.

Train your dog by rewarding their good behavior with praises and treats.

#3: Rise in dopamine

What is dopamine? We humans have it. Your dogs have dopamine too. 

It’s called the chemical in our brain of “feeling good.” If we see something pleasurable, the dopamine in our brain rises.

Imagine getting your favorite dessert on a stressful day. A moist chocolate cake or strawberry ice cream is in front of you.

It’s a reward after a long and tiring day. It’s how your dog feels as well when they see their favorite food.

It can be their favorite pork or beef served warm and moist. Your dog’s dopamine rises.

Feeling all the pleasure, they can’t help it but roll over their food. 

Lucky for our pets, there will be no judgment. As for us, rolling over food will raise eyebrows.

Saying, “It’s yummy” is enough.

#4: Spreading the good news

In the wild, wolves roll over their food before eating it to send a message to the pack. 

They’re directing other wolves that there is food available from where they have been.

It’s a way to tell the others, “We got food there!” 

Spreading the good news for doggies is done best with their scent.

It can also be a way to say, “Smell where I came from.” 

Whatever it may be, other dogs will now know that they got something yummy.

Communication is key. With our furry friends, it’s communicating with scents.

#5: Surprised with the new treat

Your Dog RolIs In His New Treat When Surprised

You bought a new best-selling treat. You are excited to go home and let your fur baby try it.

When you give them the treat, your pet starts to sniff, lick, and roll over it.

Do they like it or not? Your dog is still inspecting it.

The unfamiliar scent piques their interest. Dogs are familiar with the scents that they’re used to.

They’re surprised at the new treat but curious at the same time.

Consider it as normal behavior, especially if you are introducing a new food or a 


Dogs have up to 300 million receptors in their nose, while humans only have 6 million.

It’s also fascinating to know that dogs have neophilia. They’re naturally attracted to new scents.

So if you are giving them a new treat, do not be surprised with the rolling.

It will eventually stop once they get used to the smell.

#6: Covering their scent

Whether they are running in the wild or cozying in your home, dogs have the same instincts. 

Covering their scent is natural for a dog. They want to mask their presence to cover their tracks.

It can be because they want to sneak up on prey. Masking their scent will help them succeed in their mission.

Another is to fend off other animals. Other dogs will less likely recognize them if they cover up their scents.

Strong scents can naturally tempt your dog to roll on his food. The appealing smell is too hard to resist since it is in their nature. 

If the rolling bother you since it makes your dog smelly, you can try training them by ignoring this unwanted behavior.

Dogs are a lot like children.

When you make an issue out of bad behavior, it may lead them to do it frequently since they get your attention.

The answer is to stay calm. Rewarding and praising a good deed is key. 

Once you give a command and your dog follows, encourage it with a treat. They will understand that a good habit earns them praise.

#7: It’s playtime

It’s mealtime, but instead of eating, your dog rolls on his food and plays with it. 

Your furry friend is signaling,  “I want to play.”

Think about it. If they haven’t got the time to exercise or play around, chances are they will end up playing with their food.

If they cannot find their toys, their next favorite thing to play with is their food.

It can be frustrating if you schedule their mealtime, but they are rolling on their food instead.

How to handle these furry balls of energy

Your dog may have a lot of energy stored, so they want to play. 

If you want your furry pal to focus on their mealtime, take time to play with them.

Exercising is also a must to release their energy. There are a lot of fun ways you can play or exercise with your dog.

Try these fun activities when you are outdoors:

  • Hide and seek.
  • Catching frisbee.
  • Chasing bubbles.

You can also play indoors:

  • Tug of war.
  • Find the treat.
  • Fetch the toy.
  • Climbing the stairs.

As for exercising, walking with your dog or taking a stroll should be a part of the schedule. Playing is already a form of exercise.

But for older dogs, a short walk may be better. Puppies are more active, so you can enjoy playing with them.

Find the time to play or exercise with your pet. They won’t roll on their food anymore. Not only will this resolve food rolling but other unwanted behaviors as well.

Dogs are active animals. If you neglect play or exercise, they may act out with weird behaviors.

Other than rolling in their food, dogs who lack play and exercise may also chew on things or become hyperactive. This is caused by the pent-up energy they have in them.

If you have limited space, watch this video and learn more tips on how to entertain your dog at home.

#8: Scratching an itch

An itch on our backs can be frustrating, making you want to scratch it so bad.

So you grab anything that can reach the itch at your back. 

You feel relief once it is scratched.

Imagine your dog going through the same thing. They cannot tell you verbally.

The most satisfying thing they can do is roll over something to cure the itch.

It’s your pet’s way of saying, “My back is itchy.”

Does it happen often? It’s high time to have your furry pal checked.

Skin allergies or tick bites are two major causes why your dog feels itchy.

Do not ignore these signs if you see them often rolling, not just with their food but with other stuff as well.

It’s time to bring your pet to the vet if they do it often.

Read more: 7 Weird Reasons Why Dogs Scratch Themselves + 5 Solutions

#9: Personal preference

We all have personal preferences. For humans, it can be our chosen hairstyles.

You prefer bright-colored shirts while your friend buys dark-colored ones.

We prefer certain perfumes for an important occasion. Believe it or not, your dog has a personal preference too.

It can be fulfilling for our furry friends to roll over in their favorite scent. The smell may be stimulating for them.

A dog’s sense of smell is way beyond powerful compared to humans. They can smell one rotten fruit out of two million barrels of fresh fruit.

Surely, if your nose is that sensitive, you would enjoy certain smells more strongly than others.

#10: Socialization

Dogs are rarely loners in the wild. They grow up socializing with others.

A study states that just like humans, dogs love to socialize.

Living with other dogs helps them to understand others. We have learned that wolves roll on the same smelly stuff to share scents.

It’s like their group’s trademark scent. They feel that they belong. Socializing with the same smell is unity for them.

Domestic dogs need socialization too. Your pet should learn to socialize starting from 4 to 12 weeks.

It’s a vital time in their lives to learn to interact with humans and other dogs.

It is a blessing when your dog rolls over their food than on a dead animal.

We have heard of dogs rolling on stinky stuff. The smell of food would be a lesser problem.

If your dog needs socialization, there are ways to help them achieve it. Consider these three socialization tips:

Bring your pet to a dog park. 

Let them observe first. Give your dog a treat when another dog goes near the fence. It helps them to associate it with something positive.

Walk with your dog and avoid yelling or tugging when you see other canines. 

If you want to distract them, say, “Watch me.” Give your doggie a toy or a treat when they follow.

Let your pet attend a dog training class. 

If you are not confident in training your furry friend in this area, a dog trainer can do it.

You might also be interested in: 13 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Nibbles On Your Other Dog

#11: Attention seeking

Bringing in a new baby or a puppy into the family may make your dog feel lonely.

Research says that dogs can feel afraid, jealous, or anxious as humans do.

They can express their anxiety by rolling on their food.

It’s another way of telling you, “Notice me.”

We can get busy with new things. Your furry friend may feel neglected. 

Our pets value our attention and affection. At times, it can be because of a new environment.

It might be that they have not fully adjusted to it. They depend on you to help them cope with the sudden change.

What can you do? Thankfully, you can resolve it by merely giving your dog the attention they deserve.

If there are new people or pets at home, follow these tips to help your beloved pet cope:

Introduce the new slowly. 

Remind the latest addition to the family not to shout or yell. A soft hello and a brilliant smile will do the trick.

When letting your adult dog meet a new pet, make it a pleasant experience. 

Give treats and rewards during the occasion.

Praises work better at this time instead of corrections. When your dog is adjusting to a new situation, support them by saying, “good job” or “well done” when they obey.

Read next: 11 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Wraps His Paws Around You