Scent of a Dog

Lee Foote
3 min readMay 30, 2024

No, I don’t mean bloodhounds or drug-sniffing dogs abilities here, I mean WHAT THE HELL DOES YOUR DOG SMELL LIKE? The correct answer here is “Depends” and like that old joke, would imply your dog is wearing incontinence diapers — and some do! No, it varies by breed and some of the heavier waxier coated water dogs like Chesapeake Bay and Labrador retreivers may carry a certain oiler scent accompanying their waterproofing skin compounds. The massive dry coats of huskys, Akitas, and Bernese Mountain dogs may develop a dry dirt scent if not curried or washed. Of course the haired dogs like poodles, dachshund, and Bissons have little dry scent. Yet, almost all dogs will roll in a rotten fish or a cow pie to acquire their own cover scent. It seems to be a predator trick to scent-mask their own odor with a common and unfrightening odor. We use Axe or Old Spice.

But this I know from losing a bet — your dog’s feet smell like corn chips. Guaranteed. The perspiration/scent glands in their feet play a vital communication role in scent deposition to leave their calling cards wherever they go. They will actually scratch behind piles of dog poop to really lay down that scent too.

What can a dog actually communicate so passively though? For one, a leg-lift from a Great Dane leaves a much higher mark than a beagle so size of scent-painting is an info start. The broken down proteins and fats being excreted…

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Lee Foote

Southerner by birth, Northerner by choice, Casual person by nature.