Karen B. London
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Dogs Can Be Gross
What they do is not necessarily appealing to us
A tissue. How lovely.

As a member of a species that generally doesn’t swallow the afterbirth or eat feces, I feel qualified to discuss the fact that some dog behavior grosses humans out. I was thinking about this recently as I raced to my refrigerator for a piece of cheese to use to encourage a dog to drop the tissue that had fallen from my pocket as I reached for my lip balm. He was attempting to chew the tissue (used, of course) and while many a dog has eaten tissues with no ill effects, it’s not generally considered health food. Luckily, the cheese was more appealing, so I was able to convince him to drop the tissue so I could put it into the trash bin where it belonged.


Dogs do other disgusting things besides the rather mild eating of used tissues. If people had any idea how often clients had confided in me that their dog had taken a discarded tampon from the garbage and ran through the house with it (invariably in front of company), you’d be amazed. This is common behavior in dogs, and the fact that we humans find it revolting does not make dogs any less likely to do it.


The same goes for rolling in the poop of other animals. Fox poop is a common cause of rolling, perhaps even more popular than horse poop. I’ve seen countless dogs roll in these substances, but I’ve yet to meet a person whose response was, “Right on. That’s always fun.”


What has your dog done that you consider revolting?




Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Carolyn | April 29 2011 |

She's cute, little, white and fluffy ... and for awhile was into eating her own feces. Fortunately she's pretty well grown out of it, but every once in awhile she still surprises me...

Submitted by Cathy | April 29 2011 |

I have a poop eater right now. There is nothing I can do to stop him so I just try to pick up before he gets to it. Since I have two other dogs I have to be on high alert at all times but I do have a very clean yard!

Submitted by Amy | May 1 2011 |

I was playing fetch with my dog at the park. Instead of bringing her ball back to me, she proudly trotted back with a dead squirrel in her mouth. (PS- She did not kill it, just a lucky find on her part.)

Submitted by Beata | May 2 2011 |

As I sat at the computer desk a dog I baby-sat surprised me when she came up and dropped on the floor out of her mouth . . . her poop. She went in the other room, but decided to bring it to the office. How nice, thank you =)

Submitted by Elia | May 2 2011 |

My dalmatian can sometimes fart like there is no tomorrow. sometimes i lock her in a room while I study, and opening that door is NO KIND OF FUN. She also once caught a rat and pranced happily to the backyard with it. We also had a pooproller poodle, who thought it was very entertaining to find poop on a walk and roll on it (luckily he though the ones in our backyard not worthy of attention). Once he rolled on a long dead bird in the park, we actually drew lots to see who bathed him. (I did, btw, I've never had to bathe such a stinky dog).

Submitted by Jessica | May 2 2011 |

Oh my goodness, where to begin? Well, my dad's dog is aptly nicknamed (of his many nicknames) "Poo-poo on patio dog." Why? Because not only does he do a poo-poo on the patio when my dad is out of town but because he enjoys "recycling" his poop when left in the backyard with it. Often times little bits of his recycled poop end up on the patio as well alerting us to his bad habit.

Submitted by Sue | May 2 2011 |

The one thing you learn in this house is...don't let the dog kiss you! My JRT Spudz poops and turns around and eats it and hovers around the other dogs to get at theirs too. I can't even get to him fast enough to clean it up.

Submitted by Stephanie | May 2 2011 |

My dog has a serious bathroom garbage issue.... I've had to take to keeping the garbage can on the back of the toilet. She will also occassionally steal underwear out of the laundry basket, and if I dont catch her, she will chew out the crotch. I've lost more underwear to the dog than socks to the washer ;)

Submitted by Rabbithead | May 2 2011 |

I have horses, so my three dogs chow down on horse poop every day. They also like the parings of the horse hoof that the farrier leaves after trimming the feet. I don't even pay attention to these habits anymore except when every now and then, they are smacking their lips in pleasure. Ick.

My labbish dog Jeep has killed and eaten squirrels, doves, moles, voles, chipmunks, baby turkey, bunnies. He once killed a day-old fawn and proudly brought it to me. THAT was painful. But I do believe Jeep could survive in the woods by himself. (He also chased a bear! but that's another story.)

BTW, we live in deep woods, a mile from a paved road. He's a lucky dog, rarely leashed.

Submitted by Anonymous | May 2 2011 |

I have a dog that eats the cotton crotch out of my panties! When I do the wash, and start folding, there they are with holes or tears all in the crotch! GROSS!!!

Submitted by Anonymous | May 2 2011 |

This is really gross...

One time I was wiping, you know, after going. My dog ran in and snatched the toilet paper out of my hand and ran away. By the time I found her in another room, she had eaten it.

Like I said, really gross!

Submitted by Laura | May 2 2011 |

I teach riding lessons and have a springer spaniel who goes out to the barn with me. Saturday, I looked up during the middle of teaching a lesson to see my (otherwise wonderful) pup with a dead chipmunk hanging out of his mouth. Fortunately, he knows the command "drop it" and when I screeched it out in horror, he promptly did so. Poor chipmunk was removed from the scene using a pitchfork with my dog looking longingly after it!

Submitted by danielle | May 2 2011 |

I have a poop/anything-disgusting eater, but I think the winner is my friend's father's dog, Roxy. We have a picture we affectionately call "mouse mouth" because all you can see sticking out are two rear legs and a tail from a field mouse...

Submitted by MDR | May 2 2011 |

I also have a poop eater, possibly two poop eaters out of three dogs. I have been giving them pineapple chunks because it supposed to make the poop less appealing to the eater. Pumpkin puree works too.

Submitted by Yvonne | May 2 2011 |

Eats poop; chews on toe nails (leaving them throughout the house); tampon applicators; licks privates all the time -- what a lady she is!

Submitted by Anonymous | May 2 2011 |

After walking my Malamute three miles on a warm morning, I slipped off my socks to put my feet up. Before my sock could even hit the laundry basket, it was in his mouth. As I was reaching for my "trade" cookie - I watched the dog HOOVER an ankle sock in like two seconds as if it was a piece of spaghetti - sweat and all. It's sad when the vet techs know you by name because your dog has a pension for all things gross and bite-sized.

Submitted by stephanie | May 2 2011 |

All of the above, plus:
Try to eat their own vomit. I usually have them on a leash when this occurs, so it's easy to pull them away.
Also, one of my male dogs insists on licking up all of the female's urine before he "marks" the spot himself, or at least it looks like he's licking it or gently tasting it.
As for rolling in other animals' poop, in my part of the country it's ducks, geese and, of course, cats. They also like to roll in and eat dead dry worms either in the grass or on concrete slabs.

Submitted by cupatea4thee | May 2 2011 |

Why is it even a consideration that our fur babies would eat their own vomit. Screaming "NOO!!" while waving your arms around wildly trying to keep the other dogs away till you can get the paper towel and a bag is pointless. They are in such a rush to get it back down. Bllaaaa.

Submitted by jen from nyc | May 2 2011 |

my dogs go to central park everyday. it is off leash before 9am, so they love to explore. they have played tug of war with a dead raccoon skull, one rolled inside a dead canadian goose carcass, but it gets worse. people poop in the woods, namely hobos and.joggers. I've seen and yelled at joggers dropping trou in the.woods. my dogs LOVE to roll in human poop. ugggggghh.

Submitted by Anonymous | May 2 2011 |

If my dog vomits, she quickly devours it before I can clean it up. Sometimes I only am aware she did it because I see a slimy wet spot on the floor. So gross!

Submitted by Jennifer | May 2 2011 |

My aussie was almsot throwing herself in the air with glee when rolling in something at the dog park last year, and having read how much dogs love this I thought I'd let her have a bit of fun....until she kept rolling. I hustled over and found I'd made a huge mistake: she'd found a dead skunk to roll in, it'd been there long enough that it was grey so I mistook it for a squirrel until I was hit by the smell. Fastest drive home from the dog park ever, thank goodness regular doggy shampoo got it out!

Submitted by Finn's mom | May 2 2011 |

While on a girl's and their dogs weekend, a friend's dog ate a used tampon from the garbage. The next morning, the other dog pooped the tampon out, at which point my dog started chewing on it and running through the yard. My friend noticed and started chasing my dog. From where I stood, all i could see was what looked like a tail. I shouted to my friend "is that a mouse?" and she said "I think it's worse." She was right.

Submitted by Janis Bishop | May 2 2011 |

I was walking with my dog Sunny in Sibley East Bay Regional Park and she came running up to me after rolling in a very fresh cow pie. She was covered in bright, shiny green goo up one shoulder, all over her collar and covering half of her face. She was very proud! Driving home with her was very smelly (luckily I crate her) and I could barely get the green color out of her fur even after a warm bath. Yuk!

Submitted by cj | May 2 2011 |

We just this moment got back from a walk where my Border Collie mix, Molly, attempted to roll in what may or may not have been bird guts. I've learned to tug the leash a little to pull her away from the goo and then let her roll til her heart's content :)

Submitted by Jennifer | May 2 2011 |

when my dog Moon was a puppy he loved to eat worms off the sidewalk after a heavy rain. Understand that I hate worms more than anything. I don't mind spiders or snakes.....I hate worms. So Moon ate some worms and then came inside and threw up, mixed in with the vomit was a live wriggling earthworm. I had to clean it up, trying my hardest to not get sick myself. It still makes me sick to think about it!!!!

Submitted by Megan | May 2 2011 |

Nose up the cat butt. If the cats tail is up, the dog nose is trying to get to it. Seriously? We know where that thing's been...

Submitted by laurelin | May 2 2011 |

We are lucky enough to live in a peaceful household inhabited by a cat, our dog and a pair of free-range house rabbits. The dog, a hound, defies breed expectations with the other three ... but, let's face it. Rabbit poops are doggy M&Ms, and Sadie is thrilled to have 2 dispensers of her very own. We, on the other hand, are thrilled to have a shop vac.

Submitted by Anonymous | May 2 2011 |

Poop eaters are the worse to me... So the Adolf's meat tenderizer goes on the food and is stopping it. There is also some stuff you can get that is just for that but expensive if you have a large dog. A friend said Pineapple has the same enzymes too so it is suppose to help...

Submitted by Karen London | May 2 2011 |

Ooh, it's so fun to read all these disgusting habits. What a tribute to dogs' wonderful qualities that we love them so much anyway!

To add to the grossness, my first son was one of those babies who threw up at least once every time he nursed until he was about six months old. We used to call him our little Mount Vesuvius because it was like living with an active volcano. After one particularly big "eruption," my husband calmly asked, "Do you want to shower first or should I?" Our dog happily cleaned up the mess on the floor and walls while we were busy coping with what had happened to us and to the baby. Yuck.

By the way, I'm surprised not to see more comments about dogs treating the litter box like an all-you-can-eat buffet. It seems pretty common.

Submitted by Jessica @ YouDi... | May 3 2011 |

My miniature dachshund Chester at a tampon (used....gross) when we was a puppy but it got stuck in his stomach and I had to pay $1,500 to get it out. Now he just sticks to lots and lots of dog poop. He will gladly eat another dog's poop too!

Submitted by Anonymous | May 3 2011 |

Our Lab got so excited to see our friends yesterday that she dived and rolled in HER OWN poo! I'm sure a paw shake would have done...!

Submitted by Anonymous | May 3 2011 |

My Cavalier King Charles, Lance was less than a prince when he rolled in a broken, rotten turtle egg! I tried to keep him from it with no success. Afterwards, he came running to me with such excitement and pride on his face! Little did he know that his joy was so short lived and that he had a manditory bath in his future!

Submitted by Laura | May 3 2011 |

My dog, Holly, likes to dig my used pads out of the trash. Even more embarrassingly, she once got a used condom. It might not be so bad if I weren't living with my parents. Luckily, I picked it up before they saw it. The taste for bodily fluids is probably the one disgusting trait dogs have that actually bothers me.

Submitted by Anonymousashley | September 11 2011 |

I have a 7mo old Blue nose APBT, he is a panty licker... he will pull dirty underwear out of the laundry basket and when u get out of the shower... the crotch of them are pretty much done for. I was repulsed by that until we went camping last weekend and he came running out of the woods with human poo all over his beautiful white face. :-( so my dog earned the nickname sh*tface. That's as bad as having the stinky kid in class!

Submitted by Veronica | September 12 2011 |

My Dachshund loves to do "room patrol" after kids visit, 'cause he knows there'll be crumbs left over on the floors. But one day, while I was at my laptop, he was sniffing around, and I heard him licking away at something. The "something" was what looked like spilled yogurt...but turned out to be the cat's vomit. Erp.

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