Why do Dogs Sniff Everything?

Dog sniffing everything in Locust Grove, GA
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Why Do Dogs Sniff Everything?

Dogs are notorious for sniffing everything that they can get their nose on. While this can be bothersome to some dog owners when done excessively, sniffing is possibly the most important ability that a dog has.

There are two main reasons why dogs sniff everything that they can. The first is that dogs gather a lot of important and useful information from the scents that they pick up. The second reason is that they simply enjoy it. Dogs sniff in stereo, and can even sniff out the individual ingredients on a hamburger!

Here we will be explaining everything that dog owners need to know about their dog’s sniffing habits. In addition to exploring the question of why dogs sniff everything, we will also be answering some other commonly asked questions about a dog’s sense of smell. Let’s get right into it.

Why do Dogs Sniff?

Dogs are genetically hardwired to smell things. They have such a keen sense of smell, that it is claimed dogs can smell one teaspoon of sugar in enough water to fill two Olympic swimming pools.

The sense of smell is extremely important for dogs because it is one of the main ways that they pick up information in their environment. This goes beyond smelling for food. Dogs can also smell other animals, people, and even objects. As you can probably imagine, this could be a life saver for a dog out in the wild.

The usefulness of a dog’s strong sense of smell is not the only reason why dogs sniff everything, though. Many dogs simply enjoy smelling their environment, and this is why they do it so much. 

Dog sniffing everything in Locust Grove, GA

Why do Dogs Sniff Everything Before They Poop?

Your dog is likely sniffing a lot before they use the bathroom. This is most likely because they are sniffing the scent of another dog that used the bathroom there in the recent past. When dogs eliminate themselves, they also mark their scent, even when we pick up after them. This is not a bad thing, and it is a subtle way that dogs communicate with one another.

Why is Your Dog Sniffing Everything in the House?

Oftentimes dogs will sniff everything in the house because there is a new scent present. Changes to their environment can also result in this response from your dog. Usually, this just means that your dog is curious, and you do not need to worry too much about it.

Why is Your Dog Sniffing Everything Suddenly?

Most dogs will suddenly start sniffing everything because they caught a strong or unusual scent. Some dogs are more prone to doing this than others. Dogs of breeds from the scenthound group are most likely to smell things in this way because they have an extremely strong sense of smell. These include but are not limited to breeds like Beagles, Bloodhounds, Basset Hounds, and Dachshunds.

Why is Your Dog Sniffing the Air and Looking Up?

Dogs will sometimes sniff at the air and look up when they sense a sudden change in their environment. This could be in response to a new person, animal, or object entering the area. Additionally, strange sounds and smells could cause your dog to become curious and sniff for more information. Occasionally dogs will also do this in response to changes in weather.

Additionally, some dogs will sniff and look up when their owner has a change within their body. For example, dogs can smell when a diabetic owner’s blood sugar drops. If the dog has been trained as a service dog, they can even alert their owners of body changes like these. Dogs have also been known to alert their owners of upcoming seizures, dizzy spells, and loss of consciousness. Some dogs have even been able to successfully detect cancer.

Do Dogs Sniff Things Just Because They Like It?

While there is no doubt that most dogs love to sniff, they will usually do it for more reasons beyond just enjoying it. Dogs receive a lot of important and useful information from the scents that they smell. So, their strong sense of smell has a very practical element to it as well.

Do Dogs Remember Scents?

Yes, dogs do remember scents. This is especially true when the scents are very important to them. You can be sure that your dog remembers the scents of their favorite foods and treats, for example. Dogs will also be able to remember the scents of their owners, family members, and other pets in the home. Your dog likely remembers the scents of their doggy friends as well.

Scent memory in dogs is very strong. So strong, that it is estimated that dogs can remember the scent of their mother for up to two years after separation. The same goes for the mother dog in this scenario. Since the bond with their owner is also very important to dogs, it can be assumed that they will remember this scent for a long time as well.

Should You Let Your Dogs Sniff Everything?

It is fine to let your dog sniff a lot, for the most part. In fact, many dog experts encourage lots of sniffing in dogs. This is mainly due to the importance of this sense in dogs, and how mentally stimulating it is for them. For example, most dogs enjoy walks more when they are allowed to sniff during them.

Is Sniffing Good Mental Stimulation for Dogs?

Yes, sniffing is amazing for giving dogs mental stimulation. A fun game that you can play with your dog is throwing pieces of treats into the grass or balling them up in an old towel. This is a great hands-off activity that will keep your dog’s mind going.


A dog’s sense of smell is one of their most important tools to navigate the world around them and find out more information. When your dog is sniffing everything around them, know that they are just taking a second to mentally stimulate themselves, and that is a good thing! Your dog doesn’t have language to understand the world around them, but their sense of smell comes in at a close second. Next time your dog wants to stop and sniff around for a minute during their daily walk, let them.

If your dog seems to be sniffing everything around them, they may be looking for more mental stimulation. A veterinarian can help with this! If you and your dog are located near Locust Grove, GA, Woodland Animal Hospital is here 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Our expert veterinary team can examine the possible root cause of this behavior and even help to identify more ways you can give your dog some more mental stimulus throughout the day. Give us a call today at (770) 467-3140, or request an appointment online.

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