Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
When two dogs initially see each other, one of the first things they’ll do is smell each other’s butts. If you are a dog owner, then you’ve probably watched your dog excitedly spin around in circles sniffing another dog’s butt. This butt-sniffing ritual is entirely normal, but have you ever wondered why dogs smell other dogs butts? Here’s everything you need to know about your dog’s butt-sniffing habits.
How Your Dog’s Nose Works
Before we can understand the “why” associated with dog butt-sniffing behavior, it’s important to first know “how” they smell. A dog’s sense of smell is thousands of times better than humans. They have what’s called a Jacobson’s organ in their nose that allows them to smell in layers. Dogs also have a canine olfactory system or smelling area that they can use to identify and remember smells. Yes, they can remember, or bookmark smells.
With their sophisticated noses, dogs can detect every ingredient in a scent separately. They can also remember that combination of smells the same way a human might recognize the notes in a song.
Anal Glands Are Unique Like Fingerprints
There are a variety of advanced ways that humans can uniquely identify each other besides sight and sound. Our retinas, DNA, and even fingerprints are all unique to us individually.
Dogs also have a way to identify themselves besides sight and sound. Every dog’s anal gland secretes a scent that’s unique to that individual dog. Anal glands and fingerprints have a lot in common, no two are the same.
Why Do Dogs Like To Smell Butts?
Here are all the reasons why dogs smell other dog’s butts.
Dog Identity Check: Do We Know Each Other?
When two dogs meet each for the first time, they will often alternate sniffing each other’s butts for an extended period of time. Why? They are memorizing that smell for future reference. The next time your dog meets that dog or encounter their poop in the neighborhood, they will remember the scent from this initial meeting.
Humans have a similar ritual. Ours typically involves a handshake and some small talk, not usually butt-sniffing, however, I can’t speak for everyone.
Hey Dog, What’s New With You?
So why do dogs smell each other’s butts again if they already know each other? Anytime two dogs have been apart from each other, they will usually reacquaint themselves by butt-sniffing. It’s equivalent to asking someone “What’s up?” By sniffing each other’s butts, the dogs will know where they’ve been and what they’ve eaten recently.
And butt-sniffing behavior isn’t just for greetings. If you own two or more dogs, then you might have noticed that they will sniff each other’s butts multiple times a day. If one dog ate some treats that the other one hasn’t, they would immediately know.
Basic Info About Each Other
Besides recognizing each other’s scent, dogs can detect a lot of useful information by smelling each other’s anal glands. Age, gender, and even mood (good or bad) can all be determined via scent.
Another way butt-sniffing plays an integral part in dog society is in health checks. Dogs can assess the health of each other via scent. If another dog is sick, then your dog will know and may choose to stay away from them.
Privacy Please: Refusing Butt-Sniffing
Sometimes dogs don’t want another dog smelling their butt. It might even lead to a dog fight. So if butt-sniffing is so prevalent in dog society, why would your dog refuse to let another dog smell their butt?
Think of it this way, a dog’s scent is like their social security number. If your dog has a bad feeling about another dog, they may not want that dog to know everything about them.
Find A Mating Companion
Another reason dogs will smell each other is for mating purposes. When female dogs are in heat, they will emit a distinctive scent that will travel great distances in all directions.
When a male dog finds a female, they will smell her to confirm she’s the one emitting the scent. The male dog can also determine if she is healthy by her scent and if they should attempt to mate with each other.
Why Do Dogs Smell Butts & The Importance Of Butt-Sniffing
Butt-sniffing is an essential communication tool in dog society. Dogs can learn a lot about each other by smelling each other’s butts. From identity and health checks to what they ate recently, all it takes to communicate that information between dogs is a quick whiff of each other’s butts.
So the next time your dog seems really interested in some poop on the sidewalk, realize that they aren’t just smelling poop. Your dog is actually examining endless layers of scents revealing incredible amounts of information about the dog that made that poop.
If the human nose was as sophisticated as dogs, would we go around engaging in butt-sniffing rituals too? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.