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If you’ve ever watched your dog go to the bathroom outside, you might notice that when he’s finished, he wipes the grass. He kicks his paws into the air and does an odd sort of dance. It’s called “Paw Scraping” and today we’re setting out to determine just why it is dogs display this particular type of behavior.
Dogs wipe, or scrape their paws after they pee and poop for several reasons. Each reason has its own meaning. While many believe that dogs are trying to cover up their mess, this simply isn’t the case.
When your dog pees or poops it represents a marking of your dogs’ territory. This sends a message to both dogs and humans alike that this is your dogs’ turf. When he scratches or scrapes his feet on the ground he leaves his scent behind. Dogs have scent glands in their paws that release pheromones into the air when they scratch or scrape the ground. This lets everyone and everything now that your dog has been there, and well, done that. This behavior occurs most often in the morning when the scent is faint. Your dog renews his scent to begin the process of marking his territory all over again. It might also occur in the presence of another dog, or when your dog uses the bathroom in a new place for the very first time.
Dogs also scratch the ground with their paws in order to clean them. They might not be as thorough as cats when it comes to hygiene but staying clean is still important to your dog. Watch your dog and you’ll notice he scratches or scrapes away from where he eats and even where he sleeps. This is done for obvious reasons; he doesn’t want to contaminate his food, his water and his bed.
It’s nothing to be concerned about and it won’t harm your dog but it will give you one clue as to the health of your dog. If you’ve noticed your dog is scratching or scraping nearly as much as he once did, this might be a sign your dog is having a health issue. If you notice he’s scratching less it’s important to check his feet, legs and joints. He might be suffering from arthritis and a visit to the veterinarian might be in order.
It’s not necessary to break your dog of this habit but it can be done by distracting your dog quickly with a treat after he does his business.
Keeping reading our blog for more information about nutrition, behavior and all things related to the life of your beloved canine companion.
Today we would like to the American Kennel Club for helping us with this post. Visit their website http://www.akc.org for tips on how to help your dog live a happy and healthy life.
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