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What Smells Do Dogs Like Around Your House? 6 Vet Reviewed Scents

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on March 4, 2024 by Dogster Team

dog sniffing the kibbles on person's hand

What Smells Do Dogs Like Around Your House? 6 Vet Reviewed Scents


Dr. Ashley Darby Photo


Dr. Ashley Darby

BVSc (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs have much more powerful noses than humans. While humans have about 6 million olfactory receptors, dogs possess 300 million olfactory receptors.1 A dog’s nose is often referred to as the compass that they use to navigate the world, and dogs even use scents to communicate and understand the world around them.

With how different human noses and dog noses are, it’s no surprise that we have differing preferences for scents. There are many smells that dogs may find pleasant that humans may or may not. Here are several scents that you can find in and around the house that your dog will probably enjoy sniffing.

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The 6 Smells That Dogs Like Around The House

1. Scent of Their Owners

owner cuddling and hugging her pet pomeranian dog
Image Credit: Alina Kruk, Shutterstock

Dogs like the scent of their owners. This is why you might see your dog sniffing through your laundry or stealing your favorite blanket. Some dogs can also feel less anxious if you leave an article of clothing that you’ve worn recently inside your dog’s crate while you’re out of the house.

Research shows that the scents of a dog’s family members can trigger the part of the brain associated with pleasure. So, they can feel happier when they can detect the smell of their favorite humans.

2. Smell of Food

Many dogs are food-motivated and will love the smell of food. They’ll often be found in the kitchen while people are cooking and will usually beg at the dining table during mealtimes. If your dog is a foodie, it’s a given that they’ll love the smell of their favorite food and treats.

3. Plant Based Smells

wolfdog smelling plants
Image Credit: AvinaCeleste, Pixabay

One study showed that dogs were more likely to interact with the scents of blueberry, blackberry, mint, rose and lavender, suggesting that they liked these smells.2 It’s important to note that while dogs may enjoy these scents, it’s best not to use essential oils around them. Essential oils tend to be too strong for them and can even be toxic to dogs.

Fortunately, there are many scented products that are specifically made for dogs and much safer for them to use. For example, you can find many calming collars and stuffed toys that contain a safe amount of chamomile and lavender.

4. Food Storage Containers

You might find your dog sniffing around the area where you keep their food. Since dogs navigate the world with their noses, it’s valuable information for them to know where food smells are the strongest. They might even sniff empty food storage containers to satiate their curiosity and know what kinds of foods they can expect to see in those containers.

Because dogs have such sensitive noses, it’s important to store their food in a secure place that they can’t get into by themselves. Even if the food is out of sight, they’ll be able to locate it easily with their powerful sense of smell.

5. Poop

dogs sniffing the dirt and rocks outdoor
Image Credit: RJ22, Shutterstock

While humans are deterred and disgusted by poop and urine, dogs actively seek out intense, animal derived smells. Dogs have anal glands that secrete chemicals that dogs smell to gather information. These secretions are usually overpowered by the smell of dog feces, but dogs can sniff them out and learn about other dogs. This is also why dogs will usually sniff each other’s rear ends when greeting each other. In the house, make sure that your dog can’t get access to things like cat litter boxes and dirty baby diapers.

6. Garbage

It may be a gross habit, but the garbage is a treasure trove of strong smells that will likely excite your dog. Of course going through the trash can put their health in danger if they consume rotten food and other dangerous objects. Always keep the trash can away from your dog and ensure it has a lid that your dog cannot open.

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Smells That Dogs Don’t Like

Just like humans, dogs will have their own unique preferences for smells they like and dislike. However, there are a few scents that most dogs generally don’t like. First, many dogs don’t really enjoy the smell or taste of citrus. It’s possible that dogs may not like citrus because of the sour taste and the bitterness of the fruits’ piths and peels.

Dogs also usually don’t like the smell of essential oils and potpourris because they’re too strong. Artificial fragrances, perfumes, and colognes may also be irritating to dogs.

It’s also important to note that secondhand smoke can irritate dogs and cause health issues. Breathing in secondhand smoke can cause irritation and respiratory issues. In severe cases, dogs can develop lung cancer or nasal cancer.

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Many scents that dogs prefer often contain helpful information for them. So, it’s no surprise that they’ll be interested in smelling articles of clothing, food containers, and other dogs’ feces. Dogs may also like certain smells because of the positive or calming effects these smells have on them.

Dogs rely on their noses to understand their environment and enjoy sniffing around. So, as long as the item that they’re sniffing is safe, it’s completely fine to give them enough time to explore and smell to their heart’s content.

Featured Image Credit: PisutKP, Shutterstock

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