Menstruation is a natural monthly process that takes place amongst females up to a certain age. For many women, this is a time of the month that can be quite stressful. Some women experience a lot of pain with their periods while others find that the hormonal changes result in mood swings. Some also feel embarrassed because they wonder whether others can tell that they are on their period as a result of the smell of menstrual blood.
For some people, this latter concern is down to the fact that they have a pet dog that behaves differently and seems to sense when they are on their period, which can often make women worry that other people may also be able to smell the same thing.
Signs Your Dog Can Smell Your Period
Well, the first thing to remember is that dogs have an extremely keen sense of smell. Of course, they have no idea what a period is but their heightened sense of smell means that they can pick up on the different scent that comes from you as a result of hormonal changes and menstrual blood.
Many dogs will attempt to sniff at your crotch when you are on your period for precisely this reason. Humans do not have this same sense of smell and are unlikely to be sniffing at your crotch to try and pick up on the scent of a period! So, although your dog can smell when you are on your period, you don’t need to concern yourself about other people smelling it.
Amongst the signs that indicate your pooch can smell your period are increased sniffing around you, specific sniffing around your crotch, circling around you, following you around more than usual, and head tilting when around you. The latter may be the result of your dog sensing hormonal changes in you. All of these are signs that your pooch has noticed a change in your smell. However, do remember that your dog is not aware that what they are sniffing is menstrual blood – to your four-legged friend it is simply down to a change in the way you smell.
In addition to the above signs, you may find that some dogs are more inclined to snuggle or cuddle up to you when you are on your period. This is not because they like the smell and want to indulge themselves! Again, it is down to hormonal changes in your body and in some cases changes in your behavior resulting from these hormonal changes.
Your dog may want to spend more time with you, may circle around you more than usual or may lick you more. Dogs are very adept at noticing things such as hormonal and behavioral changes in their owners, and this plays a big part in the way they react.
Another thing to note, gross as it sounds, is that some dogs will even be able to smell the menstrual blood on tampons and pads that have been discarded and may attempt to drag them off in their mouths! If you find your dog rummaging around in the area where you put your discarded pads and tampons, it may be time to find another more secure place!
If you think your dog might know it's your time of the month, watch for:
- Head tilting
More signs that your pooch knows you are menstruating include:
- Rummaging for used feminine products
- Snuggling and cuddling more
- Circling you
History of Dogs and Their Sense of Smell
Over the years, a lot of research has been carried out into dogs and their use of their senses. This is how we have come to learn about the excellent sense of smell that dogs have and as a result, they are used for many related jobs such as sniffer dogs within the law enforcement industry. We also know from research that dogs – and cats – can pick up on a woman’s menstrual cycle because of the changes that take place in terms of hormonal levels in addition to the odor. This is why actions such as crotch sniffing are common during this time of the month.
It has also been established over the years that many dogs are not repulsed by the smell of menstrual blood but actually find it quite fascinating. Dogs and puppies, in particular, will often take used and discarded pads and tampons off to play with.
Of course, this may be due to the shape and size of these products, as they may see them as handy play things. However, many female dog owners have reported their dogs rooting about looking specifically for their used products, with the smell of the menstrual blood likely to be what draws them to the area where they have been discarded.
Science Behind Dogs Recognizing Periods
It has been established that pets are not aware of what is actually taking place – after all, they have no concept of what a period is. However, they are able to detect the smell and hormonal effects of your period, which is why they show signs of being able to smell your period.
When you are on your period, there are changes in the levels of your estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone hormones. These will rise and fall during your time of the month and dogs are very adept at picking up on this. So, in addition to the smell of your menstrual blood it is also these changes that will make your dog behave the way it does.
Training Your Dog to Adapt to Your Period
When you are on your monthly cycle, the chances are that you will notice a change in the way your pooch behaves around you. As mentioned earlier, this is down to your dog being able to not only smell the menstrual blood (although it won’t know that it is menstrual blood) but also pick up on the fluctuations and changes in your hormone levels as well as changes in the way you behave. This is nothing to worry about – just because your dog is able to detect you are on your period it does not mean that every person you walk past will be able to smell the same thing!
One thing that you may want to think about, however, is if you are visiting friends and family members with pet dogs when you are on your period. The last thing you want when you are out and about or visiting loved ones is for their dog to spend the majority of its time trying to sniff at your crotch.
With this in mind, it is worth making sure you change your pad or tampon more regularly while you are out with your loved ones and their pooches. Some women opt for scented products to try and alleviate the odor but this is likely to do very little other than cause irritation. Dogs will still be able to sense a change in smell due to the scented nature of the products.
If you are worried about your dog’s determination to sniff at your crotch during your menstrual period, you should make sure you are firm when it tries to come close and start sniffing. If your dog has already had obedience training, using the ‘no’ and ‘sit’ commands will often suffice, as it means that your dog will know not to approach your crotch area.
How to React to Pooches Being Too Interested in Your Period:
Discard used feminine products safely and securely.
Use obedience training to discourage crotch sniffing.
Change your tampon or pad more regularly when around dogs.