Our dogs adore us and love loving on us, but don’t you take notice when your dog stops licking your face long enough to smell your breath? The first time I noticed Talla, my first American Pit Bull, doing it, I laughingly thought to myself — Wait, you, with your dog breath, want to inspect my breath?!
Anyway, next, I began questioning what reason my dog could possibly have to smell my breath; so, I researched the subject and found the following information.
Why does my dog smell my breath?
Dogs don’t communicate by speaking a particular language the way humans do, nor do they gather information the way we do. The average human gathers information primarily via what they see and hear, and while dogs do use their eyes and ears, they gather most of their information through their noses.
Dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell that can pick out odors humans cannot begin to distinguish one from another. As a matter of fact, dogs have 50 times the olfactory receptors that humans have.
A healthy human can distinguish whether meat is going bad by smelling it and even differentiate a few of the different ingredients that comprise a particular perfume. A healthy dog has the ability to smell each ingredient in a particular perfume or recipe separately.
In other words, while you might smell the garlic and onions in a dish, your dog can smell separately the garlic, onions, bell pepper, olive oil, ground beef, tomatoes, basil, thyme, oregano, salt, sugar, and black pepper in one whiff.
Because your dog has this keen sense of smell, he can tell a lot about the world around him by sniffing around in it. Have you ever noticed your dog acting strangely before a storm? It could be that they can smell that the storm is coming and possibly even detect clues regarding the severity of it. The truth is that dogs can detect more important things through their sense of smell than the weather.
Why does my dog smell my breath in the morning?
You’re in the middle of a great dream when suddenly you awaken to your dog sniffing your breath. You laugh, give them a big hug, and say — Good morning, but there must be a reason why they feel the need to check out your breath every morning. Here are some common reasons your dog may have for examining your breath in the mornings.
Your dog may be telling you they think it’s time for you to wake up and acknowledge them.
Most dogs are not at their most content being alone, so it is not uncommon for them to awaken their owners in the mornings, and one way that they do this is by smelling their breath.
They may not be trying to wake their owners by doing this, but it usually works the first time or two, so the dogs soon determine they can kill two birds with one stone. By sniffing your breath in the morning, your dog may be telling you to please get up and feed, love on, or play with them — acknowledge them.
They may simply be telling you — Good morning.
Maybe you’re already awake but still in bed when your dog approaches you to examine your breath. It might simply be a greeting. They might just want to say — Good morning, mom (or dad). I am excited about our day together. We always have tons of fun.
Your dog may be checking you out as a regular part of their morning routine.
You, hopefully, have your dog on a routine, and that’s because dogs thrive on routines. They just function better with a set way of doing things.
Dogs are constantly examining the world around them, many hyper-vigilant, and it could be that checking out your breath in the morning is just part of checking out your bedroom — part of their morning routine to satisfy their curiosity.
They may sense you are in a particular emotional state.
Your dog may sense you are experiencing an emotion they are not used to, one that makes them uncomfortable, or even one that they know makes you uncomfortable. Smelling your breath may be a way of examining your state of overall well-being. I remember my Pit Bull, Dega (Talla’s daughter), trying to comfort me once when I was in a stressed emotional state.
Your dog may just love you so much that they even love the smell of you.
Dogs, if they have been reared correctly, are adoring of their owners, but still, yes, just like humans, each dog has their own personality and is tempered differently from the next. Some dogs aren’t quite as cuddly as others, while some are just big babies.
Dega used to sleep beside me with her head on a pillow, yes, under the blanket all snuggled up next to me. It could be that your dog is sniffing your breath because they love you so much that even the smell of you makes them giddy.
They may be doing a quick medical exam to see if you are well.
A few still think it’s crazy talk, but scientific research has shown that dogs can detect multiple types of illnesses. Because their sense of smell is so keen, they are able to pick up on even minuscule chemical changes taking place inside the human body.
When the body is fighting off a disease, chemical changes take place, and dogs can detect these changes early on. These are a few of the illnesses dogs can detect in humans and other dogs, as well.
Glucose (Blood Sugar)
Chemical changes take place when someone has problems with their blood sugar. If their blood sugar is low, dogs can detect a chemical called isoprene on their breath. Some dogs can alert their owners to a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) attack before they even start to show symptoms.
There are even dogs who are trained to do this who serve as assistance dogs to severe diabetics to alert them when their glucose has spiked or taken a nosedive.
Dogs are great at picking up on seizures. Dogs seem to be able to tell when a seizure is coming on, and they are often helpful with epileptic patients because they can alert these patients giving them time to get to a location that’s safe and secure before the seizure actually takes place.
Dogs have been proven to be able to detect breast and lung cancer by smelling, yes, the breath, and dogs can detect other cancers by smelling the skin, urine, and blood. So, don’t get upset when your dog sniffs your breath, and be happy if they go on their way jolly and carefree.
If, however, they seem to be fretting afterward, you may have cause for concern. If this behavior continues, you should go get a checkup immediately. Your dog could save your life.
What does it mean when a dog keeps smelling you?
It may not mean anything if your dog keeps smelling you: He is detecting something he either likes or doesn’t like. Here are a few things it could be.
They could be smelling another animal.
Have you been petting another dog? Most dogs don’t like it when you cheat on them, so when they smell another animal on you, they tend to get a bit jealous. They may keep smelling you because they are trying to find out all they can about your “other animal”.
Your dog could be smelling food.
Did you go to someone’s house where they were baking apple pies? Did you go to a barbecue restaurant where the smell of smoking meat got into your clothes? If your dog smells smoked meat, they are going to be more upset than if you had cheated on them with another animal.
They could be smelling that you are ill.
As we talked about earlier in the article, dogs are able to sense things humans couldn’t begin to. They can alert to the slightest chemical changes taking place in the human body. When you are fighting any type of disease, chemical changes take place in your body. Your dog can smell them and sense that you are ill. If your dog keeps smelling you, especially if they are sniffing a particular spot on your body, you should have it checked out very soon.
Can dogs smell disease in humans?
Dogs can definitely smell several types of diseases in humans, and even other dogs. They can tell their owners when their glucose levels are off and when they are about to have a seizure. They can also detect illnesses like cancer and COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). If your dog keeps smelling you, especially in a particular area, you should make an appointment with your doctor very soon.
What can my dog learn about me by smelling my breath?
Dogs haven’t ever really lost the instinct that causes them to seek out food. They love to eat, so it’s no surprise that they smell their owners’ breath after they have eaten to get a better idea of what they ate. Undoubtedly, dogs want to suss the situation out, so they can determine whether there is any good food in the cards for them, but what other reasons might your dog have for smelling your breath? Most likely, it’s a greeting, pure curiosity, doggie affection, or a medical exam.