Jack Russell Terrier on a walk

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my dog want to eat gross stuff when he’s on a walk?

A: To us, garbage lying on the ground is nasty. To your pet, it’s a tasty investigation. There’s a whole mess of reasons why this might occur. If your pet is overly anxious, bored or just plain curious, a piece of trash might appear to be a snack. Another reason might have to do with a lack of nutrients, primarily vitamin B1. Learn more about coprophagia (eating feces) and pica (eating things that aren't food) from our friends at the ASPCA®.

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.

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cat with food bowl

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my cat cover his food?

A: When cats cover their food, they’re taking a cue from their ancestors (a practice referred to as “caching”). It’s their way of hiding the scent of their tasty meal from scavengers—or in a housecat’s case, other pets. Finicky cats may also cover their food to let you know they’d prefer something else to eat. Learn more

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.

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pet parents

Basenji sleeping

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my dog run or bark while sleeping?

A: Your dog is probably dreaming, just like a person who walks or talks in their sleep. Dogs experience the same stages of sleep as humans, including rapid eye movement (REM), which is the time when we might move around. Older canines spend more than 10% of their time asleep in the REM stage, while puppies are in dreamland for a more considerable amount of time. Learn more

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.

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pet parents

Dog tilting head

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my dog tip his head when he hears something?

A: While incredibly cute, the head tilt may be your dog’s way of trying to hear something more clearly. This position leans one ear forward to better catch the sound. Another theory involves patterned behavior. In other words, it looks cute for a reason. If you tend to lovingly pet your canine after a head tilt, then a sideways look may be a request for affection. Learn more

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.


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pet parents

Cat rolling on ground

Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my cat roll around on the ground?

A:  Sometimes cats roll out of excitement or joy, like the way dogs run around when you walk in the door. Other times, they may be seeking attention, and they want to be petted, played with or given a treat. If your cat enjoys catnip toys, it might also be that your frisky feline is feeling intoxicated. Learn more

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.

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pet parents

WELCOME,
PET PARENTS!

As we’re dedicated to making a difference for pets, we want to keep you informed about pet health topics and your ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. Our blog will provide you with fresh, interesting and informative topics—from pet health tips and customer stories, to the latest industry news and a Pet Parent Q&A column. Most of all, we encourage you to share comments and join the discussion!

Meet the Author

Julia H.

Social Media Coordinator

Pet Parent to:

Lucy, a 7-year-old rescued Golden Retriever/Chow Chow mix

Blog Guidelines

While we’ll strive to present all viewpoints on this blog, comments will be reviewed before posting. Offensive or inappropriate language, off-topic remarks and comments containing personal policy information will not be featured.

Also, conditions discussed in this blog aren’t necessarily covered by every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. For full coverage terms, conditions and exclusions, please refer to your plan.

As always, if you have a question about your plan, call us at 1-866-204-6764.

*Note: While these testimonials may include examples of recent claims payouts, reimbursement is subject to the terms and conditions of your plan. Identifying information has been changed.