Click here to learn more.
Every day, all over the world, dogs repeat the same ritual: Nose to the ground, they sniff along a dotted line of an invisible treasure map, stopping at that “X” marks the spot where they can finally get down to business.
What’s with all this sniffing, anyway? The simple answer: It’s the way dogs have been communicating with one another for centuries.
Scent marking is an instinctual behavior in which a dog deposits his own odor — in the form of urine or feces — onto his environment to mark territory or make a statement.
Other dogs who come upon the scent can discern a lot about fellow canines in the neighborhood. With one whiff of urine, a pup can determine how many dogs have been there, how long ago they were in the area and, best of all, if there’s a female in heat nearby.
While urine marking is the most common form of scent marking, feces can also be used to leave a message. When a dog defecates, pressure against the glands on either side of the anus can cause the glands to expel a unique, musky scent onto the feces.
Since dogs can also express their anal glands when scared, the scent may also serve to alert other dogs to danger. On a more mundane level, dogs may just sniff the feces to determine what another canine has recently eaten, telling them that ingestible goodies may be close at hand.
Once they’ve garnered all the information that they need from urine or feces, most dogs return the favor by leaving their own deposits. It’s their way of saying, “This is my turf, so stay out!”
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank You For Signing Up
for the Petwire newsletter, sending you all the pet news each week directly to your inbox.
Get the latest pet news, tips, tricks, and expert advice sent right to your inbox!
For the next four days, patrons of the café will be able to meet 16 adoptable kitties as they sip on espresso…
The last Friday in April is dedicated to undigested cat fur. To celebrate, we found photos of the cutest kitties…
A new film features 11-year-old Cory Gould, who has Asperger syndrome, and his incredible knowledge of dog breeds.
Disco, who knows more than 80 phrases, songs and sounds, is a YouTube star who's beloved around the world.
We polled Vetstreet readers and veterinary professionals to see if they drift off to sleep with their cat or dog…
Want to make some enemies in your vet’s waiting room? This funny new video from Dr. Andy Roark shows you how.
The silky-coated Burmese is a compact but heavy feline who loves to show off his impressive athletic skills.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.