4 min read


Why Do Dogs Smell Human Ears



4 min read


Why Do Dogs Smell Human Ears




Does your dog love to smell human ears? Our pet canines really do some strange things on occasion and smelling ears is definitely one of them. Has your dog just stuck his nose in your ear and had a good sniff? It's really funny when they do that especially if their nose is cold. They quite often like to have a good snuffle too while they've got their nose in your ear. It makes you wonder what they're thinking when they do it, doesn't it? Or it might even have crossed your mind to question what makes them sniff ears in the first place. It's not exactly something people do, is it? Could you imagine if we did? So why do dogs smell human ears?

The Root of the Behavior

Dogs live by their sense of smell. It's one of their main ways of getting sensory input. Their nose is probably even more important to them than their eyes or ears. It harvests scents which they, in turn, convert into information in their brain. Dogs are not like humans in the way they only want to smell something pleasant either. While we love the whiff of a flowery perfume or exotic cologne, your pup is not so selective and enjoys the smell of things which we would consider to stink. Ears and ear wax have a peculiar smell all of their own, which you may or may not have noticed, and dogs like it.

Your dog loves any personal odor which your body emits, even if it's completely unnoticeable to our lazy, human nasal senses. While he might not particularly like the scent of your shower gel, he'll love any of your natural body smells, including the one coming from your ear. Your dog can whiff it a mile off. In fact, he can even become addicted to sniffing you. How weird is that?

Let's face facts. For your dog to be able to smell your ear means you have to be at a level where he can reach it. If you're having a lazy Sunday morning in bed and your pup bounds into the bedroom and sticks his nose in your ear, he may well not be smelling it. He may well have discovered that poking his cold wet nose into your ear is a playful and effective way of waking you up and getting you out of bed to take him for a walk. It sometimes pays to remember just how clever your dog can be and the lengths he'll go to to get your attention when he's bored.

A dog's sense of smell is so acute, it's been scientifically proven they can not only sniff out drugs and explosives, but diagnose illness in humans too. Thy really are amazing creatures, aren't they? If your dog keeps persistently smelling your ear or someone else's, it may be that you have some problem or even an infection brewing in your auditory canal.

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Encouraging the Behavior

While your dog may love having a quick sniff of your ear, it might not be so good for you. Doggy breath can carry a lot of bacteria. Who knows where else he's had his nose? Considering all the strange things he likes to smell, including the trash and rotting things, if he breathes in your ear, he could, quite innocently, give you a nasty and painful ear infection.

When your dog is jumping up at you all the time because he's trying to smell your ear, it can become quite uncomfortable. Worse, he might jump up and try to have a sniff of someone else's ear. It might be a child or an older person who is frail and doesn't have good balance. He could knock them over and cause them injury. Even if he doesn't have any bad intentions whatsoever, they may well be frightened by his actions or you could end up with a big medical bill if they need to see a doctor.

If your dog is waking you up by sticking his nose in your ear, you might want to consider that he's bored. Us human's love a nap any chance we get, but your pup is always more than ready to go exploring the great outdoors. If you can't take him out for a run around more often than you do, you might want to start closing the bedroom door or hire a dog walker.

Other Solutions and Considerations

If your pup is always jumping up at people to try and smell their ears, you might want to consider signing up for a few training sessions with a professional dog handler. They'll be able to advise you on some very effective methods to teach your dog how to behave correctly when around people. If you think your dog might have become obsessed with the smell of your ears and won't stop sniffing them, you might want to consider making a quick visit to the doctor's just to check everything is okay. If you're given a clean bill of health, why not think about changing your pet's exercise routine so he gets out a little more. All the scents he finds outside will soon help him forget the one emanating from you ear.


As weird and wonderful a fact that it is, yes, dogs do smell human ears when they have the chance. If your pup's favorite way of waking you up in the morning is sticking his nose in your ear, to save you the discomfort, why not think about teaching him to shake hands instead?

Written by a Chihuahua lover Liz Correal

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 03/15/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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