Dogs exhibit a lot of weird behaviors during meal time. Some may pick up their food to eat it somewhere else. Others might refuse to eat unless someone else is in the room.

And still others will excitedly roll around after eating.

If your dog is rolling around after eating, you might be wondering if there’s something wrong with it. Is it having problems digesting? Is it in distress? Or is it just having fun?

The truth is that it could be any of these things.

Why does my dog roll around after eating?

Have you ever felt yourself get an intense sugar rush after eating? Sometimes dogs get this, too.

The major reason a dog will start to roll around after eating is that it suddenly has a boost of energy. That’s a lot like feeling your blood sugar plummeting and then eating a candy bar. This is especially common if your dog hasn’t eaten for some time.

But your dog could also be cleaning itself after a meal. Sometimes dogs will just rub themselves on the floor as a way to clean themselves. In the wild, they might need to give themselves a dust bath to clean themselves after a hunt.

It may seem harmless, but there can be complications. If your dog eats very fast and then starts to roll around and play, it could send itself into gastric distress. There are many digestion-related issues that dogs can fall prey to. They can get their stomachs twisted, end up with bloat, or otherwise just fail to digest properly.

It’s usually best for your pup to be as sedate as possible directly following a meal, even if they are feeling quite playful. And if they are suddenly rolling around after eating, you should try to redirect them into something that’s a little more suitable for digestion — such as a sedate walk outside. 

Why does my dog roll on his back after eating?

In short, most dogs do this because they are happy. A roll can be celebratory and playful. When dogs are happy, they express themselves by rolling over on their back.

This makes sense if you think about it. For your dog, being on his back is his most vulnerable position. He isn’t likely to do it unless he completely trusts you and the situation. But if he’s feeling great about his conditions and just had a great meal, he may roll on his back to celebrate it.

Additionally, dogs may just roll on their back because it makes them more comfortable while digesting food. If your dog likes to curl up with its stomach up and its paws in the air after a good meal, it could be that this is just the position that feels best to them.

Further, your dog might be “submitting” to you. You did bring him the food to begin with. Submitting to you could be your dog’s way of saying “thanks!”

Regardless, it’s not a bad thing — unless your dog is whining or appears to be in distress. If your dog is experiencing some level of distress, it’s possible that they aren’t digesting correctly or that they ate too fast. Don’t take this lightly; take your dog to the vet. Digestion issues can be extremely dangerous very fast.

Why does my dog rub her face after eating?

Does your dog frequently rub her face after eating? There could be four major things that could contribute to this type of behavior:

Your dog may simply be happy

When dogs are happy, they can get overwhelmed. You may have seen videos of puppies wagging their tails so hard they fall over, or older dogs dancing with their paws up.

Your dog may be having an allergic reaction

If your dog is actually scratching at her face and licking or chewing on her paws, it’s more likely that she’s having an allergic reaction. Since dogs can’t express themselves very well, she can’t tell you that the food is making her uncomfortable. More to the point, she can’t tell that it’s the food. She just knows that she now itches. 

Your dog could be cleaning her muzzle

If she got food or water on her muzzle, the easiest way to clean it off is to rub her face on the ground. You might also see her licking her paws and then swiping them over her face.

Your dog could have something stuck in her teeth

Sometimes dogs will paw at their mouth because something is stuck between their teeth. It makes sense; it’s hardly like they can pull out a toothpick. They may be able to resolve the problem on their own or they might end up requiring your help.

That’s a pretty broad spectrum of things that could be happening to your dog, isn’t it? If you’re concerned, you should investigate. If your dog appears to be itching and distressed, it’s likely that she’s having an allergic reaction. If she’s pawing at her mouth, you should inspect it; she could have something stuck in her teeth or be experiencing dental pain. But if she’s just acting like a silly, happy pup — well, that’s what she is!

Why does my dog roll on the carpet after eating?

Rolling on the carpet can be celebratory; your dog could be enjoying his meal and just want to celebrate his happiness with you. But if your dog is rolling specifically on the carpet, rather than on hard floors, there are two things that could be happening.

First, your dog could be rolling on the carpet because he’s trying to clean himself. Dogs will clean themselves after meals just like people will. Well, maybe not just like people. Rolling on the carpet is a lot like rolling in grass and dirt. It can be meant to get the scent of the meal off your dog and to ensure that nothing is stuck to your dog’s fur. In the wild, that would be a concern — so it can remain an instinct even outdoors.

Second, your dog could be spreading his scent. After a meal, he may want to warn other dogs off. By rubbing against your carpet, he will be sending his scent out everywhere. That tells other dogs to stay away. You won’t be able to detect the scent easily, but other dogs will. Your dog is being a bit territorial, but it’s only because he loved his food.

Rolling on the carpet is perfectly harmless for most dogs. If your dog isn’t in any distress (which can happen if your dog eats too fast or gets bloat), then your dog is just having a good time. And while you might not be found of ground-in dog smell in your carpet, it’s not likely to impact your carpet any more than your dog sleeping on it.

Is it normal for a dog to roll around after eating?

Yes and no.

Not all dogs roll around after eating. In fact, the majority of dogs don’t. But that doesn’t mean that rolling around after eating is bad.

A small percentage of dogs will frequently roll around after eating. They will happily eat their meal, drop to the ground, turn on their backs, and then wiggle around.

For the most part, this is a great thing. It means that your dog loved its meal and is celebrating. Your dog wants to express happiness in a way that you can understand. Or it may just want to tell other dogs, “This is my food and my home — stay away!”

Dogs will roll around quite frequently when they are happy or they have excess energy. Your dog could be celebrating or might just have more energy than they know what to do with, thanks to the process of digestion. There’s nothing to worry about if your dog isn’t distressed.

On the other hand, if your dog is rolling around while also scratching, it’s possible that your dog actually has an allergy to their food. Dog allergies are fairly common but they don’t present like human allergies so they are often uncaught. Frequently, dogs might be allergic to corn, wheat, soy, or chicken.

If your dog is rolling around and whimpering, it’s possible that they ate their food too fast. They could have a harmless stomach ache that will resolve itself. But they could also have a more serious condition such as bloat. If your pet’s stomach is hard or distended, your pet appears to be in pain, or your pet is exhibiting unusual behaviors they never exhibited before, it’s time to make an emergency call to the vet.

So, like many dog conditions, “It’s harmless until it’s not.” It is normal for some dogs to roll over after eating, but you should still think about your dog and consider whether the behavior is common for them.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.