Have you ever wondered what is really going on with your dog when you get home from a friend's house, who also has dogs, and your furry friend starts sniffing you like crazy?
Before we even begin to dive into this topic, it's important to talk about your dog's senses. An integral part of understanding your dog and why he acts a certain why is recognizing that dog's sense of smell is quite different than a human's. Sure, both dogs and humans have the same main five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste and sense of smell. However, dogs communicate primarily by smelling. They also have a universal sense of smell that we do not have, which allows them to feel the emotions of those around them.
So the short answer is yes, it is true your dog can tell when you've been around another dog. A dog's sense of smell is anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 times more sensitive than ours (depending on the breed). Dogs also have anywhere from 125 million to 300 million scent glands, which as you can imagine contribute to their ability to smell pretty much anything.
When you've been around another dog and get home to your furry friend, there's a pretty good chance they will go a little crazy and start sniffing you all over. This is because either they smell something they've never smelled before, or they recognize the pheromone of the dog you've been around. Pretty cool, don't you think?
Signs Your Dog Smells Another Dog On You
Like we just talked about, there is a good chance your dog will know when you've been around another dog. They can detect the unusual pheromone that is found in the urine, fecal matter, skin, and fur of other animals. Your dog will be able to tell a lot about where you've been and who you've been around.
In fact, dogs can tell if the other dog was male or female, what they ate, where they've been, what they've been exposed to, if they've given birth, and even what kind of mood they are in. And the tell-tale sign your dog can smell another dog on you? They are sniffing you like they've never sniffed before!
History of Dogs Smelling Other Dogs on Humans
There is no historical evidence of the first time a dog smelled another dog on a person, but that is not to say it hasn't been happening for thousands of years. While we may not know a lot of about when dogs started sensing other dogs, we do know quite a bit about their sense of smell. When dogs smell something - whether you or the fire hydrant on the corner - they are getting an entire story. They find out more in one sniff than we can even imagine.
Whereas humans rely mainly on their vision, dogs rely on their sense of smell. You could even say they "see" through their nose. Thanks to their acute sense of smell, they are able to distinguish individuals and gain a better understanding of the world around them. This means they know where you've been and who you've been around, even if you try and disguise it!
Science Behind Dogs Smelling Other Dogs on Humans
As we mentioned earlier, a dog's sense of smell is upwards of 100,000 times stronger than ours. Having a hard time wrapping your head around that? We are too. If you think about it, it is easy to see how dogs live in such a different world than we do. They can process so much more information than we can even fathom about smell. So next time you are surprised your dog seems to have picked up on the small chihuahua you stopped to pet after grabbing your morning cup of Joe, think again.
Dogs don't only use their nose to sniff out scents, but their mouth, too. When a dog inhales a scent, it moves into the nasal cavity, which is divided into two different chambers with more than 200 million olfactory receptors. The scent then becomes trapped by mucous while the olfactory receptors work overtime to process the smell. In many cases, it takes more than just one sniff for a dog to inhale enough odor molecules to identify the smell and information about the object. This explains what's going on when your dog is losing his mind sniffing your clothes after you get back from the pet store!
By a Chihuahua lover Allie Wall
Published: 02/16/2018, edited: 04/06/2020