10 Unexpected Things That Dogs Can Smell

Dogs can smell 10,000 times more than humans. This sense of smell is known as the Olfactory. Dogs are snoopy. They pick up every unexpected scent since their nose is made for sniffing. It has been seen that dogs can sniff a lot more odour than humans can. The skin cells that we shed (which is 50 million per minute) may not be visible to us. But, to the dogs, they are like microscopic snowflakes and are visible to the dog’s nose.

This world has thousands of fragrances and each one of them is sniffed by a dog! This is the reason why dogs are used in the professional fields of investigation. These trained dogs are made to work in different fields. By just sniffing the fingerprint scent, they can distinguish from one person to another.  But, you can also have these dogs as your pets that would save your life.

Given below are the 10 most unexpected things that Dogs can smell:

Top 10 most unexpected things that dogs can smell


Scientists have claimed that dogs are capable of smelling cancer, especially lung and breast cancer. The cancer cells have a peculiar smell. This smell is easily picked up by the dog’s super-sensitive nose. People having breast or lung cancer breathe out the waste products. These waste products are damaged cells produced from a type of protein. The dogs can smell this protein. They can also smell the urine and detect if the patients are having bladder cancer or not. They have also started showing results in melanoma cancer.

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Lately, sniffing dogs have become a valuable tool for early-stage diagnostics. They are trained in such a manner that they can sniff human breath and inform if they sense cancer.

Whale poop:  

Dogs are trained in such a manner, that they can track down dozens of threatened and endangered species. Such species are the Whales. Scientists require whale poop to research whales and their diet. But the problem that arises is that it sinks within 30 minutes of its release. Therefore, scientists need to find it as soon as it is eliminated. But how do we find it? Fortunately, we have dogs to our rescue.

whale poop most unexpected things that dogs can smell

Dogs can sniff whale poop from a distance of 1.6 miles away. By twitching their left or right ear, they alert the boat captain about the smelly treasure. They can also lean left or right to point out the location of the whale poop.

Read More: Why Do Dogs Eat Poop: Is It Safe For Their Health

Explosives and Weapons:

Earlier, during wars, dogs were used by the military army to sniff out weapons and detect the enemy army. They can track down fire accelerants like gasoline with a quantity of one billion of a tea-spoon. This is a huge quantity!

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Dogs can not only detect drugs, explosives and weapons; they are also capable of detecting tunnels and booby traps! Due to this, thousands of army lives are saved over time.  Barking in such situations will not work, therefore, dogs were trained in different ways to indicate the danger in front of them. Raising hair on the neck, crossing both ears or walking on hinds are some of the methods taught to the dogs in this field while training. 


Dogs can detect illness caused due to bacteria. Isn’t this surprising? Researches prove that illness like COVID-19 is sensed by them. A person affected with COVID-19 is likely to emit certain body odours and sweat. The scent of the body and sweat is recognized by the dog. Many countries have started involving sniffing dogs in safety protocols to combat the COVID-19 situation.

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They are also capable of tracking diseased beehives. Bees have almost reached a point of extinction. Thus, it is necessary to keep the beehives safe. Beehives are generally affected by a disease known as “American Foulbrood”. Dogs are trained to track the scent of the bacteria causing this disease. It helps the beekeepers in inspecting 100 colonies in 45 minutes whereas it would have taken two days for the human to do the same work.


The dog’s way of recognizing someone is through his/her body odour. For the dog’s nose, every scent is different and unique. They can find out any person even from a dense crowd. This ability helps them in searching for missing and drowned people

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Dogs have an inner motivation that pushes them to find discoveries or their toys. Once done, they are rewarded for their work.  They recognize people from their scent or the marks they have. It does not matter if the odour of the person is mixed with perfume. Some trained dogs also can distinguish “smell portraits” of identical twins.  

Bed Bugs: 

With the growing pollution, there has also been an apocalyptic surge in the number of bed bugs. These insects creep us out. But, the good news is, dogs love them. You don’t need the pest controller to do this work. Your pet can do it all.

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These nasty bugs release a scent from their glands which can be easily picked up by the dog’s sensitive and high-powered snout. They also shed their “molts” in-between mattress and sheets. These can be used by the dogs to search for any infestation in the home. Because of weaker capabilities, we humans can only pick up the odour of large infestations. Dogs can wipe out newly bought houses of bed bugs by almost 96%. 


Dogs noses are way superior to ours. They can differentiate from thousands of scents and find out what it is looking for. When the body starts changing during pregnancy, the dogs pick it up and start acting accordingly.  They can be conscious at times, and again regardless at other times.

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While a woman is pregnant, she goes through many changes in the hormones and body. There is a rise in the hormones of the body, which is quite normal. Hormones like Estrogen contribute to a healthy pregnancy, Prolactin prepares breasts for lactation and Relaxin loosens the area around the pelvic bones which help in delivery. These changes lead to a shift in your natural body scent which is easily recognised by your dog. 

Natural Disasters: 

Since ancient times, the dog has always protected his human. So don’t be surprised if you hear that these dogs can sense natural disasters. There are episodes where dogs saved people from upcoming hurricane and earthquakes. All this is because of their heightened olfactory senses.

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Scientists have confirmed that dogs are closer to nature than they are to humans. An upcoming storm, a disaster or even the slightest change in the atmosphere can be sensed by dogs. In times of crisis, these dogs sense danger because of their special sixth sense. But how predictable are these animals? Researches prove that dogs have a connection to the geomagnetic fields and their vibrations. Thus, its theory can be trusted.


Yes, you heard it right! Dogs can detect DVDs. Dogs have been able to find pirated DVDs worth millions of dollars. The Malaysian DVD pirates were so annoyed with such raids that they even offered a $30,000 bounty for killing them all.

Malaysian DVD pirates want sniffer dogs dead

Dogs are trained to detect polycarbonate which is a key component of DVDs. Sniffing out DVDs by a dog is not a probability, it is a possibility. Dogs are conditioned in such a manner that they can sniff out DVDs and be later rewarded. The desire for reward dries them to search out drugs, weapons or DVDs.


In case there is a change in the blood glucose level, a dog can sense that too. The odour of our sweat leads them to identify if there is a rise or fall in the glucose level. 

Diabetes alert dog

A change in the glucose level also changes the scent of the breath. Dogs are trained to detect this change and ensure if the owner or person is ill or not. The Diabetes Assistance Dogs are trained to touch their owner in a significant manner like pawing or nudging them. They usually become aware of the glucose level earlier than their owners. In this way, they can save the life of severe diabetic patients.


Adopting a dog into the family provides us with various facilities. These animals are not only pets to give us company, they also protect our home. All they ever want from us is some love and affection. With time, dogs are like to become children’s best friends. At our young age, the dogs are our teachers. If you have a pet at home, try being sensitive towards him. Owning a dog in the family, helps your child to become socially more active. Try keeping your life the same because dogs are sensitive to changes. They may not like it when you turn into a different person.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are the smells that dogs find offensive?

Smell of hot peppers, vinegar, citrus fruit, Alcohol and household cleaners can irritate the dog. If you have an adventurous dog at home, these scents might keep him quiet for some time.

Are dogs capable of smelling human sperm?

yes, they can. With a sample substance as small as o.05ml, dogs can detect human sperm. In cases of Rape, this ability of the dogs come into use.

Is it necessary to train my dog?

Training provides mental stimulation for the dog. Unable to train the dog doesn’t mean he is hard-headed. Dogs need time to adapt to human society for their actions might be considered rough for some.

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