It’s a fact. Dogs sniff butts. They sniff other dog's butts, cat's butts, baby butts and yes, even the adult grown up butt. It can be a shock to feel a cold nose on your rear end when you are in the middle of getting dressed. It can also be very embarrassing when the said butt sniff is accomplished in public, and in front of people who get a good laugh out of it.
The American Chemical Society, ACS, has produced a quite informative and funny video about dogs and their butt sniffing activities. The ACS reports that depending on the breed, a dog's nose can be 10,000 times more sensitive than ours. Some breeds of dogs are trained specifically to hunt down scents such as illegal drugs, bomb residue, or for humans in search and rescue or recovery of victims. There has been some research into the ability of dogs that can sniff out cancer in humans.
Butt sniffing is a form of communication for dogs. The anal gland found at the tail end of a dog releases chemicals that a butt sniffer can decipher into "dog language." Sniffing lets the sniffer know what that dog is eating, if they are sick or hurting, and if they might be a new friend. When dogs sniff each other’s rear end they are actually using a form of communication that has evolved with dogs.
One reason a dog is ability to sniff out very specific scents as well as “communicate” with another dog is in the anatomy of the dog’s nose. A dog is endowed with two olfactory glands in their nose. The one called Jacobson's Organ is specifically designed to take those chemical butt signals and send them straight to the brain bypassing everything else along the way. Next time you see this typical doggy behavior you may find it less “rude” when you know what it really is all about.
Check out the video!
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