9 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Smells Your Breath (2023)

9 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Smells Your Breath (1)

Sometimes, dogs act in a way that makes us question…

“Why are they doing that? Is it normal?”

This time, your pup seems to like smelling your breath.

They can’t keep their nose out of your face.

You even wake up in the morning being sniffed in the mouth.

And you’re here because you’re looking for answers.

It’s your lucky day!

In this article, you’ll find out:

  • How a dog’s sense of smell can detect sickness.
  • 9 weird reasons why your dog smells your breath.
  • Why doggos like sniffing your breath in the morning.
  • How they know what you feel by simply smelling you.
  • And many more…

Table of contents

  • Why does my dog smell my breath?
  • 9 reasons why your dog smells your breath
    • #1: Your dog is checking your health
    • #2: Your dog is detecting cancer
    • #3: Your dog is inspecting your blood sugar
    • #4: They’re alerting you of a seizure
    • #5: Your dog is acknowledging you
    • #6: Your dog is sensing your emotions
    • #7: They love the smell of your breath
    • #8: It’s a morning greeting
    • #9: They’re just curious
    • BONUS: You’ve encouraged the behavior
  • Why does my dog smell my breath every morning?

Why does my dog smell my breath?

Your dog smells your breath to check your health or emotional well-being. They may also smell your breath if they detect cancer, seizure, or abnormalities in your blood sugar. They also do this to show respect. Some do it simply because they love your smell.

9 reasons why your dog smells your breath

#1: Your dog is checking your health

“The dogtor is in. It’s time for a check-up.”

You know you’re sick but you don’t want to admit it.

The symptoms are there but you keep ignoring them.

But what you can’t ignore is your pup’s insistent urge to sniff your breath.

They know something’s wrong just by the way you smell.

They have amazing olfactory abilities. VCA says that they have up to 300 million sensory receptors.

And they can smell 1,000 to 10,000 times better than humans.

This means they can smell things we can’t. And that includes chemical changes in our breath and sweat.

This gives them the ability to detect whether their fur parents are sick or not.

So if your pooch is smelling your breath, they’re probably just checking your health.

Although all dogs have a terrific sense of smell, there are certain breeds who excel in this.

Some of them are the following:

  • Beagle.
  • Coonhound.
  • Bloodhound.
  • Basset Hound.
  • Belgian Malinois.
  • German Shepherd.
  • Labrador Retriever.
  • English Springer Spaniel.

Did you know that dogs can even warn people when they’re about to have a migraine?

One study proved this to be true. The researchers conducted a survey that was completed by 1029 adults with migraines.

About 60% of them reported that their dogs alerted them even before a migraine attack would begin.

Being close to their human was the most common alerting behavior.

Other alerting behaviors were:

  • Licking.
  • Staring.
  • Herding.
  • Barking.
  • Lying down.

So make sure to pay attention if you notice your pooch acting differently.

Especially when they obsessively sniff a certain part of your body.

(Video) Why Your Dog Smells Like Fish: Natural Remedy

Or keep nudging you at one spot. To be safe, it may be best to get it checked by a doctor.

Your beloved pup may also smell your breath because they want to take care of you.

Once they detect that you’re sick, they would want to look after you.

Let’s take the experience of one fur mom as an example…

This fur mom had pneumonia and a sinus infection.

And ever since she got sick, she noticed that her Great Dane had been extra clingy.

And that all the pooch wanted to do was smell her breath.

Her dog would even immediately go close to her mouth when she’s coughing.

She basically has her own doggy nurse keeping an eye on her.

And the best bud that won’t leave her side until she’s well.

#2: Your dog is detecting cancer

“This is doggo, your friendly scent analysis.”

Dogs don’t only have the ability to sense simple illnesses. They can also alert you to life-threatening diseases.

One disease they’re commonly known to detect is cancer.

They can smell the presence of this disease just by smelling your breath.

In one study, 5 dogs were trained to pinpoint cancer based on breath samples.

They were able to identify 55 patients with lung cancer and 31 patients with breast cancer.

This showed a 88-97% accuracy rate of the dogs detecting cancer.

Researchers even found they can accurately sniff cancer from blood samples with almost 97% accuracy.

They can also detect prostate and bladder cancer by smelling urine.

How amazing is that? They can practically save a life just by using their nose.

An example of this is the story of a pet parent and her Hound.

She said that her dog kept on sniffing a “pimple” in her nostril.

The Hound was so persistent that she eventually decided to have it checked.

The “pimple” ended up being a form of skin cancer.

Once she had it removed, her dog started behaving normally and stopped sniffing her face.

#3: Your dog is inspecting your blood sugar

“Hooman, it’s time to eat some sweets.”

Do you have diabetes? If you do, your pooch could be smelling your breath due to abnormalities in your sugar levels.

They’re able to detect a chemical called isoprene. Which is found in the human breath that rises when the blood sugar is low.

A study showed that at least 65% of their respondents indicated that their dog showed a reaction during their hypoglycemic episodes.

And 35% of the dogs warned their humans even before they were aware of their blood sugar levels.

(Video) 10 Odd Dog Behaviors and What They Actually Mean

They also mentioned that the behavioral responses from each dog varied.

Check the table below for the following results:

Behavior ResponsePercentage
Running away5.1%
Jumping or Staring30.4%

There are even dogs who are trained to do this. And they become assistance dogs to diabetic patients.

Their main job is to let the person know if their blood sugar has spiked or dropped.

According to WebMD, the following are some of the benefits of getting a diabetic alert dog:

  • Improved quality of life.
  • Fewer risk of passing out.
  • The blood sugar level is more controlled.

But keep in mind that it’s still up to you to manage your condition.

Watch this video of how a Labrador checks his fur mom’s blood sugar levels:

#4: They’re alerting you of a seizure

“This scent smells like danger, gotta warn my hooman.”

Dogs are so incredible they can even detect the scent of seizures.

They may be smelling your breath to warn you of the attack.

Researchers found that dogs can predict seizures before they occur.

They exposed 19 dogs to the odor of seizures. And discovered that all of them reacted to the odor by showing behavioral responses.

Some become more vocalized. While some made eye contact with their dog parents.

They also mentioned that the dogs in the study had no prior training.

Some of the pups even had a 100% accuracy rate of sniffing the scent.

This is especially helpful for people with epilepsy.

Their canine companion can alert them before the condition is about to happen.

And they will be able to call for help or go to a safe place before it happens.

#5: Your dog is acknowledging you

“How are you, hooman!”

The fact that dogs are socially motivated pack mammals explains a lot of their behavior.

In the wild, it’s normal for dogs to sniff the breath of their pack leader as a form of greeting.

Domesticated dogs also do this with other canines. And they even do it with their humans.

So if you’re not sick and don’t have any of the mentioned conditions.

Then they could be sniffing your breath to acknowledge you as part of the pack.

And as part of the doggo family, they want to take in your special scent.

Dogs also smell each other as a form of bonding.

So they may also be doing it with you to strengthen your bond.

It’s their little way of asking you how you’ve been. And what you’ve been up to.

#6: Your dog is sensing your emotions

“Doggo wants to know if hooman is okay.”

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According to research, our furry friends know how we feel by simply sniffing us.

They can detect the rise and fall of our hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine.

So they could be smelling your breath to check your emotional well-being.

Sometimes, they’re even the first to know that we’re feeling down.

And you’d notice how they’ll be eager to do things to make you feel better.

They may curl up next to you. Or give you lots of sloppy kisses.

They’ll do all these heartwarming acts to boost your mood.

But did you know that our mood can also affect them?

Another study found that there’s a link between a human’s scent and emotions to dogs.

The dogs reacted to the feelings of their humans by smelling them.

And whatever the dog parent was feeling, they’ll adapt to it too.

If they smell sadness, they’ll feel sad too. If they smell fear, they will be terrified too.

This is why it’s also important to pay attention to our mood.

Because what we’re feeling can also affect how our dogs are behaving.

#7: They love the smell of your breath

9 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Smells Your Breath (2)

“You’re my hooman! Doggo is gonna sniff you forever.”

Sometimes, your pooch could be smelling your breath simply because they love it.

As mentioned a lot of times in this article, a dog’s sense of smell is exceptional.

By smelling your breath, they can gather information about you.

They’ll know the insights of your day. And what food you’ve been eating.

They can also smell last night’s food even if you brushed carefully in the morning.

Let’s take these experiences of different fur parents for example.

For one fur dad, he said that his dog would sniff his mouth every time he eats something.

And he got so used to this that he would always gently blow a breath to his pooch just for them to both get over it.

While for another pet parent, her dog smells her after brushing her teeth.

She says that her pooch does this maybe because they love the minty scent.

#8: It’s a morning greeting

Waking up in the morning with your dog’s wet nose so close to your mouth is probably a surprising sight.

But a dog’s need to sniff their fur parent’s breath is actually a common activity.

Smelling you as you wake up is their way of saying… “Good morning, hooman!”

Sniffing you is also their way to do a quick inspection of your health and mood.

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Plus, it’s a chance to shower you with some affection.

So if they do this, don’t get annoyed. They’re just showing you some TLC (tender loving care).

#9: They’re just curious

Your pooch smelling your breath in the morning could simply mean they’re curious.

Maybe they can smell food in your mouth and want to get a whiff of it

Or they can smell a certain odor in your face that’s interesting to them.

Your breath may also smell unusual and they want to know why.

Whatever the reason, they’re doing it because they’re intrigued.

And nothing will stop these curious creatures from sniffing everything they find fascinating.

Aside from sniffing, your pooch will also show other signs when they’re curious.

These are:

  • Alert.
  • Staring.
  • Pawing.
  • Barking.
  • Ears up.
  • Tails up.

Although you can’t stop they’re curiosity, there are things you can do to manage this.

The following are simple tips on how to handle a curious dog:

  • Keep a close eye on them.
  • Don’t let them sniff anything harmful.
  • Prevent them from being too excited.
  • Make sure they know their boundaries.

BONUS: You’ve encouraged the behavior

Dogs being creatures of habit would reinforce a behavior depending on how you react to it.

So if they smell your breath in the morning and you respond to them with affection, they’re more likely to do it again.

“Can I discourage this behavior?”

You can but first, consider if it’s something you can tolerate.

If not, one thing you can do is close your bedroom door so they won’t be able to go there in the morning.

However, letting your pooch smell your breath has actually a lot of benefits.

It may be uncomfortable for some but it could be helpful.

Through their nose alone, they can help detect early signs of some serious health conditions.

Plus, sniffing is also a great sensory experience for them.

According to RD, here are some fascinating things dogs can smell that humans can’t:

  • Drugs.
  • Weapons.
  • Bed bugs.
  • Ovulation.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Explosives.
  • Natural disasters.

Why does my dog smell my breath every morning?

Your dog smells your breath every morning to greet you. They also do this to catch your attention and show affection.

Some do it because they smell something unusual in your face.

Smelling your breath in the morning is a natural instinct to your pooch.

They put their nose close to your mouth to take in as much information as they can.

And you being their special person, it’s important for them to be able to recognize changes in your scent.

They like to be the first to know how you’re doing and if you wake up okay.

Related posts:

  1. 15 Reasons Why Your Dog Suddenly Smells Like Fish + 17 Tips
  2. 11 Reasons Why Your Dog Smells Like Pee / Urine + 15 Tips
  3. 11 Reasons Why Your Dog Sniffs Your Face (Every Morning)


Why does my dog smell my breath so much? ›

Regardless of breed or age, dogs might want to smell your breath for a variety of reasons. Some of them stem from their natural curiosity for a sensory experience while others do it in search of particular information they want to learn about their owners.

How do dogs act when they smell illness? ›

When a dog is detecting sickness in their human, there are some tell-tale signs you can read simply from your doggy's body language. The dog will raise his snoot and tilt his head when he is trying to concentrate on the things, sounds and smells around him. He will be relaxed, yet alert.

Why does my dog keep sniffing my private area? ›

Dogs rely heavily on their noses and have a much more sensitive sense of smell than humans, so they're naturally more attracted to sweaty parts of the body, like the groin area. A dog will sniff your crotch simply because they are curious about you and want to learn more about your age, sex, and mood.

Why does my dog smell my butt? ›

These glands release pheromones that convey all different types of information such as age, sex, mood, and if a mammal is able to mate. Dogs have apocrine glands all over their bodies, but the highest concentration is found in the genitals and anus, hence why they sniff each other's butts.

Do dogs pick up on human stress? ›

Dogs can sense when humans are anxious

Dogs are also great observers - our facial expressions, posture, the way we move, the smells we give off, and our tone of voice, all give our dogs vast quantities of information about how we might be feeling.

Can dogs smell your stress? ›

Now a study has found that dogs can do something just as remarkable: sniff out stress in people. The dogs were able to smell changes in human breath and sweat, and — with high accuracy — identify chemical odors people emit when feeling stressed.

What diseases can dogs smell in humans? ›

Dogs have an acute sense of smell. This could prove useful in the medical world, as researchers are finding that dogs can sniff out the markers of breast, colorectal, lung, and other types of cancer. Humans have put dogs' remarkable sense of smell to use by training them to sniff out explosives and narcotics.

Can my dog tell if I'm sick? ›

So, dogs know a person's individual smell and when illness changes that smell, dogs can notice that, too. Even humans can observe the scent of sickness with some health problems. For example, diabetic ketoacidosis can cause fruity or acetone-smelling breath.

What does a dog do when he senses death? ›

Dogs alter their behavior when they mourn, much like people do: They may become depressed and listless. They may have a decreased appetite and decline to play. They may sleep more than usual and move more slowly, sulking around.

Why is my dog acting weird and sniffing everything? ›

As previously mentioned, pacing and obsessive sniffing can be a sign that your dog is experiencing mental health problems, including anxiety, nervousness, boredom, or under-stimulation. If the behaviour is becoming repetitive or obsessive, you should discuss your dog intensive sniffing with your vet.

Can dogs smell infection in humans? ›

Because of their incredible sense of smell, dogs can detect subtle changes in human scent caused by disease. They can smell out illnesses such as cancer. It turns out that cancer and other diseases or infections have a smell. Chemicals called volatile organic compounds are produced by cancer cells.

Why does my dog stare at me? ›

Just as humans stare into the eyes of someone they adore, dogs will stare at their owners to express affection. In fact, mutual staring between humans and dogs releases oxytocin, known as the love hormone. This chemical plays an important role in bonding and boosts feelings of love and trust.

Can dogs see in the dark? ›

Obviously, his stronger sense of smell is useful, but it's also because dogs can see movement and light in the dark, and other low-light situations, better than humans. They are assisted by the high number of light-sensitive rods within the retina of their eyes. Rods collect dim light, supporting better night vision.

Should you clean a dog's bum? ›

Scrubbing at your dog's tender backside with soap could cause stinging and irritation, and it's usually not necessary. Once debris is softened with warm water, it can usually just be rinsed or gently wiped away. Pre-moistened wipes or a washcloth can help between baths.

Can a dog tell if you are pregnant? ›

“Your dog is smart enough to pick up on these changes during pregnancy, both in a physical way — which is how your body will be changing, your stomach, your smell — and in an emotional way, such as your feelings and your mood,” she says.

Can dogs smell depression? ›

Recent studies say yes. They can smell stress, depression, sadness and grief. Dogs can smell the production of various hormones and brain chemicals. Dogs can smell the rise and fall of serotonin (a brain chemical associated with depression).

Can my dog sense my sadness? ›

Dogs are sensitive to human emotions. And it doesn't take much for them to pick up on your sadness—they can sense it in you, and tell the truth, even in other dogs. They are able to tell when people are feeling sad by reading their body language and facial expressions.

What does it mean when a dog puts their paw on your arm? ›

When you are petting your dog, and he puts his paw on your arm or leg, it is kind of like petting you back. While most dogs can't do an actual stroking action, laying their paw on you is a sign of affection, closeness and trust This is his way of creating a special bond with you.

Do dogs worry about their owners? ›

Their findings suggest that “dogs, to a great extent, mirror the stress levels of their owners.” The study, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports , included 58 dogs, 25 border collies and 33 Shetland sheepdogs, and their exclusively female owners.

What smell do dogs fear? ›

At the top of the list? Citrus. Most dogs can't stand the taste and smell of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. Here's why — plus, how to use their dislike of citrus to your advantage.

Can dogs sense a good person? ›

Dogs can sense when someone is a bad or good person. Your dog may not know the moral decisions a person has made, but he can pick up on signs of nervousness, fear, anger, and danger. Dogs notice specific things about humans that even other humans are not aware of.

Can dogs sense death before it happens? ›

Research has shown that dogs can literally smell things like stress in humans. Changes associated with death occur months before the event takes place. These changes can affect subtle differences in the smell of a person or another animal, an indicator that death is near.

Can dogs smell heart attacks? ›

In some cases, dogs have been known to sense when a seizure is about to happen. Heart attacks: It's unclear whether the dog is reacting to a change in odor or behavior, but there are many reports of dogs becoming agitated and barking at the early signs of a heart attack.

Can dogs sense illness or death? ›

While dogs might not be endowed with the ability to sense death quite to the degree - or for the reasons - that people think they can, it is true that dogs have heightened senses that can help them sense not only oncoming natural deaths, but natural disasters, gas leaks, and more, which could cause death.

Do dogs know we love them? ›

Yes, your dog knows how much you love him! Dogs and humans have a very special relationship, where dogs have hijacked the human oxytocin bonding pathway normally reserved for our babies. When you stare at your dog, both your oxytocin levels go up, the same as when you pet them and play with them.

Why does my dog sleep so close to me all of a sudden? ›

It's a sign of affection, closeness, and connection, and your 'furkid' is saying that it feels safe to be with you. It's a continuation of the bonding process that began when you and your dog first met each other. Your dog is reassured by your presence and it needs constant confirmation that you are there for him.

Do dogs know when you're crying? ›

One research study conducted by University of Lincoln's School of Psychology found that dogs truly recognize emotions in humans and other dogs as a result of combining what they hear and see when a human is crying.

What is the last sense to go in a dog? ›

Puppies are born deaf, and this is the last of their senses to fully develop.

What not to say when a pet dies? ›

Here are some examples of what not to say when a pet dies: "Don't cry." Crying is part of the grieving process for many people. "It's just a [dog/cat/etc.]." A comment like this that downplays the loss is mean and thoughtless. You don't know what the pet meant to that person.

What is my dog trying to tell me? ›

Generally, one bark is to alert. Multiple barks mean he is trying to tell you something – anything from hunger to needing attention. Yipping or whining – A pup usually yips or whines when he is uncomfortable or lonely. You will probably notice yipping as you leave or when you put him in his crate.

Why does my dog try to lick my mouth? ›

Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it's a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!

Why does my dog put her face on my mouth? ›

Dogs have scent glands in their faces, so when your furry child rubs its head on you it might actually be an attempt to mark you with its scent. This kind of territorial marking serves as a signal to other dogs to steer clear. Nuzzles in the context of a good ol' snuggle session, however, are much more straightforward.

Can dogs smell stress in our breath and sweat? ›

“The findings show that we, as humans, produce different smells through our sweat and breath when we are stressed, and dogs can tell this apart from our smell when relaxed – even if it is someone they do not know,” Wilson says.

Does my dog really love me? ›

Dogs really do love us unconditionally. Your dog follows you everywhere. If you feel like you can not take a step in the house without your dog at your heels, consider yourself loved. Dogs cling to you for more than just security.

Does my dog think I'm his mom? ›

So, yes, a puppy can definitely think of you as his “mother” — that is, his provider and protector — and develop as strong an emotional bond with you as if you were blood-related. Your puppy will also quickly learn to pick you out among strangers, both by sight and through his powerful sense of smell.

Do dog licks mean kisses? ›

A dog who licks you is showing you that they love you, so it's no surprise many people call them "dog kisses". It's a natural action for dogs — a way for them to express how they feel about you. Charlotte adds: "It's important that you don't force a dog to give you 'kisses or cuddles'.

Do dog kisses mean love? ›

They Show Affection

Just like you imagine, doggie kisses are also forms of affection. That is, it's affectionate when combined with butt wiggles and other signals of happiness.

Why do dogs boop you? ›

Take it as a sign of affection if your dog snuffles into your hand or your face. They're making the effort to physically connect with you, and physical affection is a universal sign for love. So what's the verdict on dog boops?

Why do dogs push their head into you? ›

Reasons Your Dog Might Bury Their Head in You. Some dogs show their love with a wagging tail or jumping, and others show affection by burying their head in the person. The burrowing makes it easier for your pup to smell you, and since their smell is their strongest scent, it helps them bond with you.

Why does my dog put his paw on me? ›

When you are petting your dog, and he puts his paw on your arm or leg, it is kind of like petting you back. While most dogs can't do an actual stroking action, laying their paw on you is a sign of affection, closeness and trust This is his way of creating a special bond with you.

Can my dog smell my illness? ›

Dogs' sense of smell is so subtle that they can notice the slightest change in human scent caused by disease. The tiniest shifts in hormones or volatile organic compounds released by diseased cells can be picked out by dogs.

Do dogs smell when you are sick? ›

So, dogs know a person's individual smell and when illness changes that smell, dogs can notice that, too. Even humans can observe the scent of sickness with some health problems. For example, diabetic ketoacidosis can cause fruity or acetone-smelling breath.


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