Weird Pet Behaviors: Decoded

Natural behavior or a cause for concern?

Every pet owner knows that dogs and cats can do some pretty strange things. While some weird pet behaviors might be cause for concern, other things are pretty harmless. We’ll explain why our pets do some of the seemingly crazy things they do.

Growling at Other Dogs

Is your dog perfectly gentle with humans, but aggressive toward other dogs? It might be the result of an unpleasant interaction with another canine in the past. If you can’t think of an incident which might have prompted the behavior, chances are your dog just isn’t familiar with other dogs. If he’s an “only child” and spends most of his time around humans, other dogs might seem unusual or downright frightening to your pooch. Try introducing him slowly to a docile dog, preferably one that’s smaller than he is.

Eating Feces

While this behavior comes with a major ‘ick’ factor, experts agree it’s a natural dog instinct. Dogs evolved as scavengers, and believe it or not, animal feces is a source of protein. Discourage your dog from eating stool as you would with any other unwanted behavior, and make sure if you have cats the litter box is kept out of your dog’s reach. Be sure to mention this behavior next time you see your vet, as it could be a sign of a nutrient deficiency.

Kneading Her Paws

Does your cat move her paws back and forth on you or a soft blanket, as if she’s kneading dough? This is a comfort mechanism, like a baby sucking on a pacifier. It’s also a sign of affection. This behavior develops shortly after birth as kittens nurse from their mother. Some cats quickly lose the behavior, while others keep it up as adults. If it doesn’t bother you, there’s nothing wrong with it.


Some pets are more sociable than others, and you’ll get to know fairly quickly how much alone time your dog or cat prefers. But if your pet is spending more time alone than usual, especially if he seems to be hiding from you—like under beds or in closets—it might be time for a visit to the vet. In the wild, a sick or injured animal is a vulnerable animal. So, it’s natural for them to seek out quiet, hidden spaces when they’re not feeling up to par.

Rolling in Grass

It’s not uncommon to see a dog at the park going crazy rolling around in the grass. There are several explanations behind this seemingly erratic—albeit cute—behavior. Sometimes it’s purely for fun. Dogs love the feeling of the coarse grass against their skin, almost like a back scratch. Other times it’s a stinkier reason. Dogs love to investigate anything smelly, from garbage to another dog’s urine, and some go so far as to roll around in it. Rolling in the grass is harmless, but be warned—your pooch may require a thorough bath afterwards!

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