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Why Does My Dog Kick the Ground after Pooping?

Learn why some dogs kick with their back feet after eliminating.

Does your dog use his back paws to rhythmically kick and dig at the ground after he poops? While not all dogs engage in this behavior, a large number of them do.

Kicking the Ground after Elimination Is Normal for Dogs

Kicking at the ground with the hind paws after defecating or sometimes urinating is normal canine behavior. Many people assume the dog is trying to cover the results of their elimination when they engage in this behavior, but that is probably not the case. Rather, dogs are leaving information for the next canines that come through the area.

Scratching at the Ground Leaves Scent Markers

Dogs have scent glands in their paws, and kicking at the ground leaves odors from them in the area. The kicking behavior leaves visible scratch marks too. In fact, the odors left from the scent glands and the paws might be more potent and last longer than the scents from stool or urine.

The scents and marks dogs leave when they scratch the ground serve to claim territory and leave information for other dogs that come along and sniff at them. The odors also communicate things like whether the dog is a female in heat or an unneutered male. They can also contain information about nearby food or dangers the scent-leaver encountered in the area.

This Scent Communication Is Important for Dogs

As long as it won't disturb a perfectly manicured lawn, let your dog finish his scratching before you pull him away. Doing so is natural behavior for him, and it decreases his stress. Also, give him plenty of time during walks to stop and smell the odors previous dogs have left for him. It's a crucial thing in dog society.

However, you should always clean up your dog's poop after he goes. Doing so decreases the spread of intestinal parasites between dogs and is just the neighborly thing to do. Try these biodegradable dog doodoo bags and this cute pouch to keep them in.

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