Bottom scooting, bad breath, horrible eating habits, crotch sniffing and strange aggressions are just some of the weird behaviors our furry family members exhibit.
With more than 46 million dog-owning households in the United States, pet parents are all too familiar with quirky canine behaviors. Atlanta's Protect Your Bubble pet health insurance is "on a mission to educate pet parents about some of the craziest canine conundrums to determine once and for all."
Americans spend an estimated $13 billion on vet care annually, so it’s important to know what behaviors can lead to health issues.
Poop eaters, known as coprophagia. “There are many possible underlying causes for coprophagia including nutritional deficiencies and intestinal malabsorption, but I’m not sure anyone knows for sure why pets sometimes eat #2,” said Dr. Scott Gibbs, owner and veterinarian at Hilltop Animal Hospital, Raleigh, NC. “Some pets outgrow the behavior and others don’t. The only way to avoid this is to make it completely inaccessible, instead of dousing it in meat tenderizer.” VERDICT: not normal, but not super unusual either.
Humping: All pet parents have experienced that awkward moment when their dog starts humping someone or something. “Humping can be a sexual behavior but frequently is not. Humping in an unneutered or unspayed dog is likely sexual in nature, but in older dogs, it can be a sign of dominance or a reaction to something exciting, like a doorbell ringing or new people visiting,” said Dr. Gibbs. VERDICT: normal.
Crotch sniffing: Your dog greets everybody by sniffing his or her crotch. “In the doggie world, butt sniffing is a perfectly acceptable and polite way of greeting a friend,” said Dr. Gibbs. “Dogs have a very powerful sense of smell, so it’s easy to understand why they would use their sense of smell to investigate newcomers. It is thought that dogs can obtain and process a great deal of information from sniffing other dogs’ butts and – of course – our crotches.” VERDICT: normal.
Horrible breath: Also known as halitosis, dogs get bad breath for the same reasons that people do – a build up or accumulation of odor producing bacteria in the oral cavity, lungs or gut. “Halitosis is frequently associated with oral or dental disease, but can associated with more severe medical conditions like kidney disease. Either way, bad breath warrants a visit to the veterinarian for an evaluation,” said Dr. Gibbs. VERDICT – not normal
Butt scooting: According to Dr. Gibbs, “Butt scooting is typically associated with some underlying disorder, the most common being full or inflamed anal sacs or internal parasites. Persistent butt scooting warrants a visit to the doctor.” VERDICT: occasionally – normal; persistent scooting - not normal.
Hoarding: Hoarding is a commonly documented behavior in wild and domestic canines. “Don’t get too worried about hoarding unless your dog keeps hiding and hoarding your car keys or if it is accompanied by aggression toward family members or other pets in the house,” said Dr. Gibbs. VERDICT: normal.