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

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 by Dogster Team

labrador retriever sniffing

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: 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

Dog in the fenced Backyard with Toy
Image Credit: Emily on Time, Shutterstock

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 canines.

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 safe amounts 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.

Since 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

dog digging in the yard
Image Credit: Tami Freed, Shutterstock

While humans are deterred and disgusted by poop and urine, dogs actively seek out intense, animal-derived smells. Canines have anal glands that secrete chemicals that dogs smell to gather information. These secretions are usually overpowered by the smell of feces, but dogs can sniff them out and learn about other dogs. This is also why canines will usually sniff each other’s rear ends when greeting each other. In the house, make sure 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 that it has a lid that your dog cannot open.

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Smells That Dogs Don’t Like

Just like humans, canines 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 canines 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.

Canines 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, canines 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. Canines 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: Prostock-studio, Shutterstock

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