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Why Do Dogs Smell Each Other’s Butts?

We are getting to the bottom of one of the biggest quandaries in science: Why dogs sniff each other’s butts. Turns out this behavior is just one of many interesting forms of chemical communication in the animal kingdom.

image credit: Chaikom / Shutterstock.com

Dogs use a special feature called the Jacobsen’s Organ to get chemical signals from their nose sent directly to their brain.To the sides of a dog’s butt are pouches called anal sacs.

These contain glands which secrete chemicals that can tell a sniffer a lot of information about their owner, like gender, reproductive status, and clues about its health, diet, and even emotional state.


Dogs have a very keen sense of smell, which some experts estimate is anywhere from 40 times to 100,000 times more sensitive than the human sense of smell. People have approximately 5 million odor receptors in their dose, but dogs have a whopping estimated 220 million.