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Why do dogs sniff eachother’s butts?

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Transcript from this week’s episode of The Web-DVM:

Good evening, happy New Year to all, and welcome to our first

episode of the 2012 season.

Put a group of two or more dogs together and it never fails that the initial introductions will consist mainly of a group butt sniffing session. Why in the world to they do this? The answer is actually quite simple.

It is not that dogs are just gross and simply enjoy the scent of another dog’s butt stink. In reality, nestled within a dog’s anal region are two scent glands that tell another dog everything they seek to know about the dog. While we rely on facial recognition and conversation to greet and get to know one another, a dog’s entire autobiography is conveniently located in his butt. From what sex the dog is to what he eats, how healthy he is to even his mood, everything another dog wants to know is there for the taking by simply taking a few big butt sniffs.

You see, a dog’s sense of smell is something we cannot even comprehend. Estimated to be anywhere from 150,000 to 300,000 times more sensitive than our sense of smell, it should come as no surprise that they can learn so much about one another simply by sniffing one another’s nether regions.

So next time your dog is in the company of other dogs and is compelled to engage in that yin and yang concurrent butt sniffing position with another dog, your first instinct may be to pull him or her away – but don’t, they are simply getting to know one another.

This is Roger Welton reporting, for The Web-DVM.

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website Web-DVM.net.

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