It happens to everyone. We all fart from time to time, often in the presence of our canine companions. Have you ever stopped to wonder what your dog thinks about your farts? 

Why do dogs smell your farts?

Many dogs will sniff their owner’s farts. Some dogs will look longingly at your rear end, clearly wanting to get up close and personal. Others take a whiff and seem to be offended. Still others will ignore it. Their noses smell it, they just choose not to react. 

It can be difficult for humans to understand why their dog is fascinated with their farts. After all, we avoid smelling them whenever possible. 

Dog’s “See” the World With Their Nose

Dog’s noses are extremely powerful compared to us. They have 300 million olfactory receptors, compared to 6 million for humans. The area of their brain devoted to processing smells is 40 times greater than ours. 

Both humans and dogs use sight and smell. However, dogs use smell as their primary sense. Humans use sight as the primary sense. For example, you may smell an apple pie cooking. You know something is causing the smell, so you go to the kitchen and open the oven. You see the apple pie, and say, “Oh, that’s what the smell was”. 

Dogs are the opposite. If you walk into the room, your dog will think “There’s a person. Let me smell them”. They smell you, and then know who you are. 

However, this leads to a question. If their sense of smell is that powerful, how can they tolerate a smell that makes our eyes water?

Dogs Learn About You By Smelling Your Farts

Dog’s noses can give them lots of information. Dogs smell each other’s poop, and their own, to learn essential information. A dog’s poop is essentially a biography. They can learn the dog’s age, diet, health status, and emotional state. 

It’s possible that farts could contain some of this information as well. Your dog may be smelling your farts to learn about your health, what you’ve been eating, or even your mood. 

It Doesn’t Stink to Dogs

Dog’s don’t seem to classify scents as good and bad the way people do. Instead, they tend to classify them by how pungent they are. Dogs smell poop and dead animals. A fart isn’t likely to be offensive to their noses. 

Do dogs like the smell of farts?

It’s hard to say for sure how dog’s feel about human farts. It seems to vary from dog to dog, or perhaps fart to fart. 

Dogs Love Stinky Smells

Generally, dogs seem to be drawn to pungent smells. To us, it seems they often prefer the stinkiest scents imaginable. Dogs can actually smell the individual scents in a smell. It’s similar to the way we can look at a picture of a house. We can then pick up specific features, like the shutters, the color of the door, the pitch of the roof. Because dog’s smell differently, it’s hard to say what it actually smells like to them. 

One theory for why dogs prefer the stinkiest of scents is that it’s a survival tactic. Dogs in the wild will often roll in strong smelling substances, including carrion. This covers up their own scent, which can keep them safe from predators. 

Is It All Perception?

We tend to think that bad smells are universally accepted as bad smells. However, there are two ways we come to the conclusion smells are bad. 

The first is evolution. We find smells like feces and dead animals repulsive because they can carry diseases or parasites that make us sick. The bad smell is essentially a warning to stay away from it so we don’t get ill. 

The other reason we classify smells as bad is through learning. We are taught through our culture and society that some things smell good, and other things smell bad. This can vary greatly from place to place. This shows that our classification of pleasant and unpleasant smells isn’t nearly as cut and dry as we believe it is. 

Dogs Don’t Breathe in Smells

For better or worse, we breathe in what we smell. Our nose is closely connected to our mouth as well. You may have noticed when you smell a particularly strong odor, you taste it as well. This is likely one reason why we are adverse to bad smells. It enters our lungs which can pose a risk if the smell is from something toxic. 

Dogs, however, have a specialized organ that prevents the air from going into their lungs when they are smelling. They can go nose deep in a pile of poop without inhaling the poop air. The organ essentially closes off the airway so the dog can take a big sniff. This gives dogs greater freedom when investigating questionable smells. 

Do dogs think your farts stink?

There’s no definitive answer. Dogs are fascinated by repulsive smells, and often seek them out. It’s safe to assume that most dogs don’t think farts stink. However, some dogs do seem to be repelled by farts.

Do Farts Offend Dogs?

Austin Powers exclaimed, “How dare you break wind before me”, and then broke wind himself. It’s a hilarious scene that plays on human sensibilities. We are often offended not only by the smell of farts, but by the fact that someone would dare to fart in our presence. 

Humans are well aware of where farts originate. To us, anything that comes out of our butt is taboo. However, dogs don’t have the same issue. They walk around sniffing each other’s butts, so it’s unlikely they are offended when you break wind. 

Some dogs do seem to act offended when their owner farts, but it’s likely not a sense of proprietity that causes the reaction. 

Some Dogs Dislike Fart Smell

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some dogs dislike the smell of farts. These dogs will leave the room when their owner farts, often giving them a how could you look before exiting. Rarely, a dog will growl or even nip its owner when they fart. 

Why do dogs react to farts?

There are many potential reasons why dogs react to farts. Some dogs react positively, while other dogs run from the room. 

Fear

Just like people, dogs can develop fears and even phobias. You might be surprised to learn some dogs are scared of farts. The phenomenon has spawned some hilarious Youtube videos, but it’s not nearly as funny for the dogs involved. 

You might think it’s the smell, but it’s more likely the sound associated with farts that scare dogs. They can identify their own farts, and distinguish them from the farts of other dogs. It isn’t known if dogs realize that the smell of the fart is connected with the sound of a fart releasing, however. 

It’s likely that the dog is scared of the fart sound because it’s similar to other scary sounds, like thunder. 

If your dog is scared of farts, they will cower or tuck their tail between their legs. They may raise the hair on the back of their neck and avoid eye contact. Flattened ears and lip licking are also signs a dog is scared. 

Curiousity

Dogs likely react to farts because they are curious. Because they use their noses as the primary sense, it’s normal for them to investigate smells. If your dog perks its ears and begins sniffing the air when you fart, this is likely the reason why. 

Why do mine and my dog’s farts smell the same?

Basically, dog and human farts smell the same because they have a similar composition. 

Human farts are composed of atmospheric and nonatmospheric gases. These include nitrogen and oxygen. Non-atmospheric gases in farts include carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane. These are known as fermentation gases.” Sulfer gases, particularly hydrogen sulfide, is what causes farts to stink. 

The exact smell of farts will vary from person to person, or dog to dog. It’s determined by the gut microflora and the food eaten. Your dog can easily distinguish your farts from theirs. 

With our inferior noses, farts generally smell the same to us. We may occasionally notice one smells worse, or identify farts from specific causes. Broccoli can produce a sulfur smelling fart. 

Can dogs see our farts?

A hoax article claimed that there was a scientific experiment to determine if dogs can see farts. Unfortunately, the experiment was made up. To the best of scientific knowledge, dogs can’t see farts. However, as discussed earlier, dogs use their sense of smell similar to how we use vision. In that sense, you could say that dogs can see farts. They don’t see them with their eyes, but they create quite a picture of the world with their nose. 

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.