13 Smells Dogs Cant Resist

Dog Smelling Flowers

Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and just like us, there are certain smells they hate and certain smells they love. These smells are chosen by me based on experience and you may notice your dog loves similar smells too. Dogs are sensory animals and smell is there most powerful weapon. The strength of their nose means they get an unbelievable amount of joy from smelling things. So here are 13 smells dogs cant resist.

Dog Sniffing



Of course, all dogs love food, its something they just seem to want all the time. Cheese is one of my dog’s favorite treats if he is lucky enough to get any. One thing I always notice is that whenever I go to open a packet of cheese he is instantly at my feet. Of course, we try to discourage any scrounging, however, cheese seems to be irresistible and something he can smell from a mile off. Although its good for dogs to get nutrients predominantly from fats, cheese should not be a way to do this as too much is just generally unhealthy. Try giving your dog soft cheeses such as mozzarella as this contains less fat that more dense cheese like cheddar.


Again food is something that dogs just seem to love and being carnivores meat is one of their favorites. This one is a bit broad but dogs seem to be attracted to any sort of meat. I use an example of a roast chicken. As it cooks in the oven the air fills with the sweet aroma of Sunday roast, for Americans, this is just roast chicken and veg….gravy…Yorkshire puddings…roast potato…stuffing…OK, I digress. Either way, your dog loves the smell of meat and that’s why it has to be on this list. Meat can be a great source of nutrients for dogs as it is their natural food. many owners feed their dog on a raw meat diet, this is becoming more popular and a predominantly healthier option to dried kibble or wet tinned food. For more information on feeding your dog a raw diet check out this article by Pet WebMD.


Not something everyone wants to talk about but your dog certainly enjoys the smell. Whether its dog, cat, fox or even human your dog’s nose can sniff out poop a mile off. Often you will find your dog taking a little bit longer sniffing the poop and sort of analyzing it. This is exactly what they are doing, in fact, your dog is trying to identify the perpetrator and establish whether they are a dominant dog, a friend, female, etc. Your dog’s nose can analyze all this information and because dogs use poop to mark their territory they can communicate with each other. It’s more than likely your dog will respond by peeing on this area in an attempt to mask the other dog’s smell whilst responding to them.


We often forget that our garden is a place where your dog will spend many hours of their day, especially in the summertime, and making it a good place to be should be an important aspect of owning a dog. There are plenty of flowers and plants that dogs love but one, in particular, is lavender. When choosing plants for your garden you should be aware that there are many plants that can be toxic to dogs. generally speaking, you should let your dog eat flowers anyway as it can upset their stomach even if they are non-toxic. Lavender is a wonderful smelling flower and is known for attracting bees which help with pollinating the rest of your plants. This makes Lavender a great addition to your garden and a plant that your dog will enjoy too.


Herbs are known for their scent characteristics with many herbs being part of our meals. Dogs are also fond of herbs with rosemary being one of my dog’s favorites. To get the best rosemary during the summer months plant a couple of readily established plants in spring, ensuring they are in a partially shaded area. According to Rover, rosemary can be used as a natural flea repellant and can also be beneficial to your dog’s digestive system. Its also great to plant herbs that you can also use in your own cooking, with rosemary being a popular addition to some meals.


Basil is another herb that dogs absolutely love. This herb has a distinct smell that is commonly used in cooking, often I love using fresh basil for recipes or even a couple of ripped leaves on top of a pizza. Modern Dog Magazine suggests sprinkling a few chopped leaves over your dog’s dinner, as just like rosemary it can be beneficial to your dog’s digestive system. Basil is an easy plant to grow in your garden and one which your dog will enjoy. try using an already established plant such as ones found in supermarkets. plant in springtime as basil loves warm sunny weather and ensure the soil is moist but well-drained. This should give you a good crop throughout the summer which you and your dog will enjoy.

Other Dogs

This is an obvious one due to most dogs obsessive sniffing when they meet each other on a walk. You may think that when your dog smells another dog it is simply because they are curious, although sniffing another dog’s butt is beyond the realms of curiosity. It is in fact communication, which is something dogs use their noses for a lot of the time. When your dog sniffs another dog they are essentially introducing themselves, sort of like at the beginning of a tv game show where contestants say there name, what they do, and where they come from. Whether the information exchanged is that specific is entirely up to your imagination.


A dog’s sense of smell can create whole stories for them with an incredible ability to recall specific scent from the past. This gives your dog the ability to familiarise themselves with different people and other dogs they have met. One particular smell that dogs enjoy is the scent of their owner, as this is comforting for them. Often you will find that a dog intently sniffs something and then as they finish their tail starts wagging and they get all excited. This shows that your dog has taken the time to analyze the scent and then remember previous details relating to that scent, dogs tend to get exciting about familiar scents.

Anise (Aniseed)

If there is one smell that dogs are obsessed with it is Anise Seed. Anise or Aniseed is the dog equivalent to catnip and something that they go mad for. It’s perfectly OK to give your dog very small quantities of anise as the seeds to have beneficial properties to a dog’s health. However despite the positives too much anise can cause stomach upset and possibly affect the nervous system. It’s important to note that the downside of anise outweighs the positive benefits so it is probably not worth the risk, giving your dog the seed. However, letting them smell it is perfectly safe.  Anise is used widely and is not some sort of restricted plant. People often make dog treats from anise as it can be a more natural and cheaper alternative to regular dog treats. Remember to consult a vet before giving your dog anise. For more information on Anise check out this article from The Spruce Pets.


There’s one thing I love about the summer and that’s the smell of freshly cut grass, although I’m sure hayfever sufferers won’t say the same thing. Dogs love grass all year round and there is often a very natural reason for why your dog loves sniffing the grass. You may have noticed your dog smelling grass and suddenly dragging their faces along the ground until they start rolling around on the floor. This reaction to grass is perfectly natural and its to do with how grass holds scent. The two things dogs love to do is deposit their own scent onto surfaces or hide it by rolling in smelling substances. If your dog is smelling the grass initially and then rolling its probably because they like the smell and are using it to mask their own scent.


Rot is a very broad smell and one that can be a particular pungent or not so bad. Generally, humans are not going to like the smell of anything that is rotting but your dog however loves the smell. This again stems from the idea of covering their scent as the stronger the smell the easier it will disguise them. Your dog will endeavor to roll around in anything that is rotting including animal carcass or rotting grass. Another reason dogs love the smell of rotting things is because they often give off a strong smell. Because your dog has an extremely sensitive nose they get pleasure from overpowering smells. these strong smells create reactions in their brains that lead to a wonderful sense of joy.


Fish is, of course, another food, and dogs love food as you have probably guessed. Because fish has such potent smell dogs can easily catch wind of it particularly on a hot day. The one fish my dog loves is barbequed salmon, obviously, the salmon is for me and not my dog but he does get given the skin after its been on the barbeque. Another reason we think fish is a smell a dog can’t resist is that they often take a liking to cat poop. Cat food commonly contains fish and after being through a cat’s digestive system it tends to reek of fish, so naturally, dogs love it. be careful letting your dog near cat poop, if your dog ingests it they are likely to get an upset stomach and you will end up with a mess to clean.


This one comes from personal experience as I know its something that many dogs including my own love. It’s often that when I’m walking with my dog, especially on the moors or through dense woodland, he seems to disappear and return soaking wet. Yep, you guessed it he found the water. Being a golden retriever he is naturally drawn to the water but his sense of it is second to none. just before he disappears he lifts his head and sniffs the air, which indicates to me he can smell the scent of the water itself, which is amazing. I’m sure other senses are at play too like hearing, but his ability to smell the water just tells me how much he loves it.

Why Do Dogs Love Bad Smells

One important point to remember is that dogs are extremely sensory especially when it comes to smells. For example, when we smell a cake cooking it smells good to us. Now amplify the smell of that cake to the levels of a dog’s sense of smell and the feeling we would get would be an overload of sensory pleasure. That’s how dogs feel when they smell something bad, yes it smells bad but its completely exercise for your dog to sniff. Although your dog might gain pleasure from smell something particularly pungent there is another reason they love bad smells. As mentioned under the grass heading, dogs aim to cover their own scent. This is much easier if what they roll in is really stinky. Animal carcasses are a particular favorite, but generally, anything that is going to make them stink.

Create Your Dog A Sensory Garden

If your dog loves to sniff and requires more consistent stimulation for their mind then sensory gardens are a great way to go. Sensory gardens involve planting dog-friendly plants all over your garden and allowing your dog easy access to them. Concentrating on some of the herbs and flowers mentioned above such as lavender and rosemary are a great idea, but there are lots more varieties of herbs and plants you can use. If you are gifted with a good amount of space sandpits can be enjoyable for dogs, although watch out for excessive digging and the unwanted spray of sand onto your lawn. If your dog is like mine a water feature would be loved beyond compare as many dogs love water and in the summer months it could become a much-needed addition. If you don’t have much ground to establish growing plants then you could use wooden planters or even build your own. They are super easy to make and give you the opportunity to plant a concentrated amount of plants that your dog loves.

Sensory Garden

What Makes a Dog Like a Particular Smell

When talking about smells that dogs can’t resist we assume that our dogs have an opinion of what smells good and what smells bad, but this is strictly true. When we smell a particular perfume we create our own opinion of whether it is a good smell or a bad smell, dogs don’t think this way. When a dog smells something they like it is because their brain is telling them things like “oh I can eat that” or “she’s pretty”…..something to that effect. we mentioned on this list about Anise being the dog equivalent to catnip. The reaction to both catnip for cats and anise for dogs is purely biological. Scientists are not entirely settled on what is happening it a cats brain when they smell catnip but it is thought to be an overload of their sensory system leading to a euphoric reaction, sort of like a drug, with no opinions expressed by your cat or dog.

Walking Your Dog

You will often find that your dog’s sense of smell is on display the most when you are out walking. The great outdoors offers so much for you and your dog. Dogs not only love the smells of certain things but when something is new to them they get enjoyment out of analyzing and processing the smell to gain information about the area they are in. Try taking your dog on a scent walk every now and then to really stimulate them mentally. You could even walk the route first and lay down some smelly items for your dog to find, this would be great fun for both you and your dog. It’s important to let your dog sniff as much as they can during a walk for many reasons, which you can learn about in our article on “Why Does My Dog Smell Everything On a Walk”.


These are some of our top smells that dogs can’t resist. However, it’s important to remember that each dog is different and particular smells bring about different reactions in each dog. There are many smells that certain dogs will adore and others won’t react much at all. Sometimes simply a familiar smell will envoke a reaction in a dog and so it doesn’t have to be anything in particular. Either way, I hoped you enjoyed our post on smells that dogs can’t resist. Check out our homepage for more great articles on getting out and about with your dog.








Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

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