Why Do Dogs Sniff Each Other’s Bums?

We’ve all watched it happened and wondered why. Well, it’s about time we addressed this age-old question: Why do dogs smell each other’s bums? 

Clearly, dogs aren’t well versed with human etiquette or boundaries. Not only do they greet other new dogs with a sniff of their rear end, but they also tend to extend this greeting to new people as well. While this invasive sniffing can be pretty embarrassing, it’s simply your dog’s way of saying hello and learning more about someone.

So, Why Do Dogs Smell Each Other’s Bums?

Dogs have an unbelievable sense of smell. With up to 300 million scent sensors, dogs have a sense of smell that is 10,000 to 100,00 times better than ours. Atop this, dogs also have a Jacobson organ or vomeronasal organ that helps them process smells. It is found above the roof of the mouth and is responsible for how a dog interprets the smell. About 40% of their brain is dedicated to identifying odors. 

When humans meet, they assess each other by tone of voice, hugging, shaking hands, evaluating body language, or even facial expression. Dogs, on the other hand, smell each other’s bums to assess each other. Why bottoms and not any other part of their body? Inside a dog’s rectum, there are two small sacs known as anal glands. When a dog poops, anal glands are emptied, leaving a smell behind. The smell may not be pleasant in our noses, but due to the great sense of smell in dogs, they can smell what we can’t.

Here are some of the reasons why dogs smell each other’s bums.

  • Obtaining information

Dogs learn about each other through smelling each other’s bums. Just like people greet each other, dogs sniff each other’s bottoms to greet and obtain information about the other dog. Through sniffing, dogs can tell the other dogs’ gender, health, diet, reproductive state, and emotional state. Puppies have great scent memory too, so when they sniff each other’s bums, they can determine if they have met before. 

  • To form a relationship

Each dog has its unique scent. Smelling each other’s bums allows them to establish which one of them will be dominant and which will be submissive. Dominant dogs initiate the sniffing first while the submissive one waits for its turn. 

If a dog doesn’t want to share any information, they will sit down and cover their butt with their tail to minimize the odor they emit.

FAQs About Dogs Smell Each Other’s Bottoms

Why does my dog smell my crotch?

It all comes down to sweat glands, also known as apocrine glands. These glands are concentrated in the armpits and genital areas. These glands produce pheromones that convey information regarding sex, age, mood, and whether you are ready to mate. Since a dog can only reach your crotch, that’s where they tend to direct their heads to collect the information they need. 

Why do dogs smell another dog’s pee?

Originally, canines used urine as a communicative tool to gather information about another. When they smell the pee, they can tell whether the previous dog is male or female, if they are ill, or even if the dog is stressed or not. Dogs pee on various things like trees, posts, and fire hydrants to mark territory. To be the most dominant dog around, it will try hard to replace the previous scent with its own.  

Why do dogs smell another dog’s poop? 

Without a doubt, poop does smell pretty gross. However, dogs possess olfactory senses between 10,000 to 100,000 in number, which means the poop smells differently from dogs’ noses. Dogs sniff poop to gather information about health conditions, diet, distress, home environment, and even another dog’s mood. The main aim of smelling poop is to gather information and learn more about the dog.

Why do dogs smell each other’s noses?

Dogs are good communicators. Even though they do not communicate verbally, they have their way of relaying certain information to another dog. When a dog sniffs or touches noses with another dog, it is a part of a greeting and way of socializing. Dogs also sniff each other’s noses to find out if they had a treat earlier and if they can be able to access that food. 

Can dogs smell other dogs on you?

Have you ever come from petting or playing with another dog, and your dog smells you longer than usual or acts a little unusually? If you are wondering if they know, your pet parent instincts are right. Your dog can smell other dogs on you. Your dog can smell the pheromones of other canines on you, which are usually present on their skin, fur, urine, and fecal matter. 

Through these pheromones, your dog can tell a lot about the dog you were with, including their sex, where they’ve been, what they ate, if they’ve given birth, and what their mood was. Some telltale signs that your dog has picked up the scent of another dog on you include:

  • Drooling.
  • Twitching whiskers.
  • Intense sniffing that is longer than usual
  • Jumping excitedly or other anxious/hyper behavior. 

How can I get my dog to stop smelling my guest’s crotches?

While the gesture may be innocent, you and your guest may want to avoid the awkward and embarrassing situation. If your dog is a crotch sniffer, consider informing your guests first to offer their hand to your dog when they approach. This way, your dog can collect information on the new human without getting too up-close and personal. Another option would be to train your dog to sit whenever someone new enters your home. 

In a nutshell, smelling, whether it is bums, noses, poop, pee, or guests, is one of the ways through which dogs communicate and collect information. It isn’t a behavior that should be frowned upon but rather redirected if it leads to discomfort or harm. It isn’t something to be embarrassed about. If anything, you’ve got a budding socialite on your hands.

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