why do dogs smell each others bottoms - a cat strangling a dog because it keeps sniffing its butt

Why Do Dogs Smell Each Others Bottoms? Top 5 Common Dog Questions


1. Why Do Dogs Smell Each Other's Bottoms?

We’ve all seen it. When dogs meet this is almost always the first thing they do. So why do they do it? Long story short, it all boils down to their Apocrine glands. Mammals, including humans, have Apocrine glands all over the body but they are concentrated in the armpits, butt and crotch. 

When dogs meet, butt sniffing is the equivalent to humans shaking hands and having a quick chat. A quick whiff and a dog is able to retrieve information such as gender, age, mood, fertility, health, spayed or neutered, friend or foe and if they met previously. Dogs have amazing scent memories in a sense that they can remember the scent of a dog they haven’t seen in a long time. 

Now, since humans also have Apocrine glands, butt sniffing naturally extends to humans as well. This explains why a dog might sniff a strangers butt. The dog simply wants to know more about that person. 

2. Why Does My Dog Follow Me To The Bathroom?

This is one of the greatest mysteries since man walked on earth – Why does my dog follow me to the toilet? You may or may not have noticed, but dogs have zero sense of privacy. Remember, a dog can poop in the middle of a busy intersection so watching his or her favorite person poop isn’t a big deal at all.

Here are some theories behind this mystery:

  1. You accompany them when they do their business so it’s only natural that they accompany you when you do yours. 
  2. Your dog may think the bathroom is a really important territory for you and want to help you protect it because you keep leaving your scent there multiple times a day.  We all know a dog marks its territory by leaving a scent when it pees or poops. 
  3. Dogs have a pack mentality. In the wild, they survive by staying in groups. They follow you everywhere because it makes them feel safer. They instinctively know that pooping puts you in a vulnerable position and want to be there to protect you. 
  4. Dogs have a keen sense of smell. And a typical bathroom has a lot of scents like soap, cleaning products under the sink, shampoo, etc… that your dog may find interesting. 
  5. Your dog likes your company and may simply want to know your whereabouts. 

3.Why Do Dogs Spin Around Before They Poop?

There are many theories as to why dogs do this. One of them is dogs quickly survey the area for predators because pooping puts them in a vulnerable position where they cannot fend themselves if need be.  Another theory says dogs with anxiety issues also have anxiety when pooping in public places. I can’t say I blame them because I’d be anxious too. Some dogs would rather not poop in public places and if you suspect this is the case, take your dog to a quieter area. 

The truth involves the magnetic field around the earth. A team of German researchers studied 70 dogs and discovered that dogs tend to do their business in the north or south direction and avoided facing east or west. They said it may help dogs find that location again if they have to. 

Prior to pooping, dogs also scent a location to learn about other dogs in the area.  A dog can pick up a lot of information from sniffing another dog’s excretions. It’s like checking a dog’s Instagram account. They can pick up information like gender, age, health, what they ate, etc…You know how sometimes people like to post pictures of what they ate? It kind of works like that too. 

 The scent also triggers them to go poop. Your dog’s excretions will leave scents that other dogs will pick up on. It’s like their version of social media. 

So next time when you’re standing in the freezing cold with your dog spinning around while trying to find his bearing, resist the temptation to rush your pet to do his business. Now you know what’s going on. 

There’s a 50% probability your dog will poop facing north. 

4. Should I Let My Dog Sleep On My Bed?

It is a personal preference. Almost half of dog owners let their pets sleep on their bed. Women report that it gives them comfort and makes them feel more secure than with a human partner. 

Will It Affect The Quality Of My Sleep?

Without question, yes it will. Dogs have different sleep cycles. They wake up around 3 times an hour and any movements can disturb your sleep whether you realize it or not. Dogs are always on alert for sounds making them light sleepers. 

Some dogs like to sleep horizontally like our Labradoodle, Watson. I can’t tell you how many times I almost fell off the bed. Now he sleeps on the couch. 

Is It Safe To Let My Dog Sleep On My Bed?

This is actually a question that your dog should be asking you because 2 out of 3 human diseases are Reverse Zoonotic meaning they can be transmitted to animals. If you and your dog are relatively healthy and your pet gets his regular anti-parasite treatments then it should be fine. Monitor for allergies. 

A Few Things To Consider

  1. It may be unsafe for dogs with mobility issues to get on and off your bed.
  2. Elderly dogs may suffer from incontinence and have accidents on your bed. 
  3. Puppies that haven’t been potty trained may also have accidents on your bed.

Letting your dog sleep on your bed may cause separation anxiety. If your dog is suffering from this then it’s better to let your pet sleep in a different room. 

Doing this will teach your dog that it’s safe to be disconnected from you for periods of time. If your dog is already used to sleeping on your bed, do this gradually and use lots of motivation. 

natural calming remedies for dogs- a beagle sleeping soundly on a bed
Remember to change bedding covers regularly

5. Why Do Dogs Scoot Their Bottoms?

If you’ve seen your dog do this and you’re wondering why dogs drag their bottom along the floor, you may want to know the reason behind this bizarre act.  There are a couple of possible reasons for this but more often than not, it’s because their anal glands need to be expressed or emptied. 

Anal glands are also known as anal sacs and is located just inside the anus and contain one of the foulest-smelling fluids known to man.  Dogs naturally empty their anal glands whenever they do their business but sometimes they lose this ability. Dogs drag their butt along the floor because they experience irritation.  Another indication is when you see a dog licking it’s butt or chewing his tail.

 If you’re feeling adventurous and want to save a few bucks, you can express your dog’s anal gland yourself. In my opinion, some things are better left to the professionals. Call your vet to have it cleaned. 

Not doing it the proper way may lead to an impacted anal gland. If you see your dog acting strangely like having trouble sitting down, it could be an infection or rupture of the anal gland. Your vet can check for this as well. Prevent this by adding some fiber to your dog’s diet. 

Probiotics may also help. 

Another possible reason could be parasites. Worms in particular. Aside from scooting their butt along the floor or carpet, other symptoms to look out for are diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, anemia, dull coat, and a “potbelly”. Prevent parasites by having their stool examined every year. 

If you’re getting a dog, have it checked out by a vet before you take it home to prevent exposing your family to parasites. 

I hope you found this article to be useful! Please share it with fellow dog owners who may want to know the answers to these common dog questions.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian’s advice.

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125 thoughts on “Why Do Dogs Smell Each Others Bottoms? Top 5 Common Dog Questions”

  1. quite an intriguing and mind-blowing answer should be given to this quite frequently asked questions about dogs, i have a dog named Jimmy and I always wondered My DogFollow Me To The Bathroom? and I’m glad I found the answer here on your website. The fact that he wants to protect me everywhere I go demonstrates once again that dogs are man’s best and most loyal friends. I didn’t know that they follow the scent of soap and even the previous days I dropped some shampoo on the floor and he came close to smelling it…

    I’m so glad that I stumbled, upon this article henceforth I wouldn’t need to bother myself when my dog displays these habits…

  2. This article is very interesting since it analyzes the relationship between dog and man. The fact that the dog is accompanied to the bathroom or the sensitivity of smell and that there is a logical explanation is very accommodating.
    On the other hand, I am more convinced after reading this article that it is not convenient for dogs to sleep in bed with us.
    Thank you for providing and sharing this information.

  3. It’s quit an education for me.I really didn’t know dogs and human beings share so much in common.
    Just like we don’t forget someone we have been introduce to , so are dogs. We just have a different way of introduction and that is cool. They lift their tails to offer and invitation and we offer a smile or a hand shake. Still don’t want a dog sleeping in my bed but now I understand why others do it.
    I guest we are not so different after all.
    I really enjoy this article. Thank you.

  4. It’s quit an education for me.I really didn’t know dogs and human beings share so much in common.
    Just like we don’t forget someone we have been introduce to , so are dogs. We just have a different way of introduction and that is cool. They lift their tails to offer and invitation and we offer a smile or a hand shake. Still don’t want a dog sleeping in my bed but now I understand why others do it.
    I guest we are not so different after all.
    I really enjoy this article. Thank you.

  5. Very entertaining and insightful article you have written. Now, its been a few decades for me, but the only thing my dog did was to sleep on my bed with me. I was in high school and I was a buff guy. I weighed 230lbs. My dog was a Doberman/German Shepard so he weighed about 90lbs. And I slept on a twin bed…Wait it gets worse. I also had a cat and both of them didn’t like each other and he also slept on the bed. My cat by my head, my dog by my feet. I remember having a few rough nights of sleep when they were both snoring and spreading out their bodies. Sometimes I would wake up and yell, “Off the bed!” They would just look at me like they were saying, “What’s his problem.” Then go back to sleep. I just dealt with it. They were were my kids after all.

    1. lol! they were probably wondering why you were yelling in the middle of the night. Thanks for commenting, Courtney!


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