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Monday, 26 April 2010

Why do dogs want to smell like Fox poo?

I live near the countryside in Worcestershire and my two year old Border Collie, Max, is always rolling in fox poo when I take him for walks. I can't seem to stop him doing this but how can I keep him clean and how do I get rid of the dreadful fox poo pong that seems to permanently cling to him?  Any advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks, Jaldi

It was once explained to me that this behaviour shows the dog going back to its roots. Apparently, to be a successful hunter a dog needed to be able to sneak up on its prey, and that's why they have the urge to roll in fox poo, dead fish, anything pungent that we find disgusting really! 
The poor little nervous bunny would sniff the air and think, "can't smell any predators so I can eat a bit more grass." The last thing that probably goes through the rabbit's mind is, "there's a really bad smell of fox poo that seems to be getting stronger, but a bit of poo won't hurt me!"
It can also be that to a dog's nose fox poo smells so very much better than dog shampoo! A dog's sense of smell is about a million times better than ours and it may be your dog is simply saying that stuff you wash him in smells really vile to him and it gives him a headache! A bit like standing next to someone on the Tube who has overdone the cheap scent.
To a dog's nose, fox poo must smell like Coco Chanel Mademoiselle does to us! 
But how do you stop the dog doing this every time you wash him? Or how do you repair the damage afterwards?
I've heard that tomato ketchup or concentrated tomatoes does the trick, but haven't tried it myself. 
Anyone given it a go? Anyone broken their dog from an obsession with Eau de le fox merde?
Beverley Cuddy, Editor 


  1. Luckily none of mine find eau de renard attractive but a couple of fosters have. Tomato sauce/paste etc do work, the acid in the tomato neutralises the fox poo smell. Its very difficult to stop dogs that like it rolling in it - you just have to be vigilant and firm NO when they start to get down to roll may work!

  2. We use tomato ketchup on Meg as she has a penchant for rolling in fox pooh. She went through a phase of doing it nearly every walk so I started to keep ketchup sachets (available from most reputable service stations...) in my pocket. It's often a good idea to keep a couple of disposable gloves (courtesy of your local garage forecourt) with it as it's not nice! Your dog may look as though they have been gored and may attract unwanted attention, but they will smell just fine.

    The more resistance I put up to Meg rolling, the more stressed she became and the more she rolled. I now just accept that this is what she does sometimes and now she rarely does it. When she stops she gets loads of treats and much fuss.

  3. There is a proprietary product that seems to work on fox poo smell - ByoFresh dog wipes. They have a website which should have stockists on, or a contact number. It would certainly be less messy than tomato sauce if you're away from home or out in the car!

  4. The tomatoe sauce trick works on my cocker spaniel after the event to get rid of the smell followed by a bath,but ide love to know how to stop her rolling in the fox poo to start with

  5. vinegar is a good deodoriser ,but you have to then use something nice smelling to get rid of the vinegar smell ,but vinegar is better than foxes poo or foxes urine