Ever notice your dog sniffing your eyes? Most dog owners have experienced this, but they don’t know why their pup does so! Here are some of the most common reasons dogs do this and some tips to deal with it if you find it annoying.
Why Does My Dog Sniff My Eyes?
An Expression Of Love
A dog’s nose is a potent tool, far more sensitive than ours. The powerful smell helps dogs sniff out explosives and even detect cancer cells.
Your doggie is expressing his affection by trying to clean you. In addition, just like humans, dogs have tear ducts that produce tears to keep their eyes moist and healthy.
So if your pup gets some eye gunk on his muzzle while cleaning you up, don’t be alarmed—it’s normal! It can also be tempting to take advantage of your pup’s sweet nature by getting him to give you kisses.
Dogs love attention from their owners, so if you offer them lots of praise for licking your face, it could reinforce a habit that might cause problems later on.
If your dog licks too much when he greets people, such as guests at parties or during play dates with other dogs, try distracting him with treats when people come over. You can also teach him to sit quietly before greeting people, which will make things easier for everyone involved. As long as your dog isn’t sick, excessive licking is nothing to worry about—your pup loves you very much!
Your Dog is Excited
Excitement is not just for humans. If your dog moves his or her nose up to your eyes, it could be a sign of happiness.
A warm, fuzzy feeling spreads through your dog’s body when they are excited about something and feel safe, sometimes leading to instinctual behaviours like nuzzling your face or wagging its tail. Your dog may also get excited by certain smells associated with you, such as shampoo or perfume.
The next time you see your pup sniffing around your eyes, try petting him on top of his head and saying, good boy! He might even kiss you in return!
The Upside-Down: If your dog suddenly begins sniffing at your eyes upside down, it may be trying to tell you something. This behaviour typically means that your dog wants attention from you, so go ahead and ask what’s wrong and let him know everything is okay. If you don’t respond to your dog right away, he will probably come back and do it again until you acknowledge him.
Have you ever noticed how dogs tend to sniff out their food before eating it? There’s a reason behind their strange habits—they are using their sense of smell to determine if what they are eating is fresh enough.
Dogs have approximately 220 million scent receptors compared to our measly 5 million, meaning they have a compassionate sense of smell. So, if your dog starts sniffing at your dinner plate while you’re still eating, it might be trying to tell you that your meal isn’t quite ready yet!
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Your Dog Needs Attention
As much as you want to, you can’t always give your dog your full attention—and that’s where sniffing comes in.
For example, if it’s been a long day and you are about to fall asleep in front of your laptop with Facebook open and Netflix on in another tab, then even though you don’t have time for a complete walk, tossing treats (or Cheerios) into his bowl while he takes care of his sniffing is a good compromise.
The same goes for when you come home from work. If there’s no time to play fetch or go for a run, toss him some treats to get his sniffing fix. Or, if you have time to sit down and watch TV together but not enough for a rousing game of tug-of-war, try sitting next to each other and having him sniff your hand by placing it on top of his nose.
He’ll enjoy getting quality face time with you without getting too rowdy. In addition to letting him know you love him, these quick sniff sessions will also help keep boredom at bay.
Your Dog is Greeting You
It’s not always a sign of aggression; if your dog is sniffing you, it’s because he considers you his friend.
A good rule of thumb: If your pup is sniffing an area of your body that is farther from his nose than where he’d greet another dog (tail up, butt wiggling), it’s probably safe to say he views you as part of his pack and isn’t trying to challenge you.
However, if he’s sniffing areas closer to his head (ears, eyes) or places on your body that are more likely to trigger other dogs into a fight stance—like underarms or crotches—it might be best to back away slowly until he calms down.
Keep in mind that any time a dog gets overly excited when greeting someone, there’s a chance for injury. Dogs tend to dole out love bites without realizing how hard they’re biting or how much damage they can cause, so be careful when interacting with overly-excited pups.
Aggressive behavior can develop quickly between young children and dogs, especially since kids often don’t know how to read their pet’s cues. Always keep a close eye on pets during playtime with kids.
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Fido is Investigating You
Sniffing is a dog’s primary sense, and he needs to use it often. When dogs smell things, they identify objects by associating them with their particular scent. Your dog may identify different parts of you with your face by their unique scents. For example, Fido may consider your nose to be distinct from other parts of your face (i.e., eyes and mouth), but still familiar enough to know that you are his owner.
If you notice that your dog seems especially interested in certain areas of your body—such as your ears or hands—it could be because those areas have stronger smells than others. So, when Fido sniffs at one of these areas, he’s not necessarily trying to get a whiff of something gross; instead, he’s probably just trying to understand better who you are!