Why Does My Dog Smell My Ears

Dogs can have strange behaviors sometimes. They smell, lick, chew, and dig things that we wouldn’t find sanitary at all. Still, sometimes it’s all perfectly good, acceptable behavior. Other times no so much. For instance, a dog sniffs you. They try to smell your ears, which can leave most dog owners clueless about what the behavior means. After all, with dogs, most things do mean something.

So, that got me wondering, why does my dog smell my ears? Dogs love your natural smell. They mark it in their memories to always know that you’re part of their pack. So, most of the time, it’s just a sign of affection. Now, sometimes, your dog is actually smelling an ear infection in your ears. Dogs are pretty good at detecting illness through their sniffing, so always pay attention when the smelling is odd.

Now, the best that you can do is to identify why your dog is smelling your ears. The first thing could be to try and feel whether or not you feel the slightest bit of pain in your ears. If not, then, it’s likely to be just affection. The only thing that you should worry about in this case is the germs in their saliva.

So, if you do want to know how to identify when it’s normal behavior and when it’s odd, and even how to get your dog to stop smelling and even trying to lick your ears, keep reading ‘til the end.

Your Dog Loves Your Natural Smell

This is weird for humans to think about, but dogs do love your natural body odors. They don’t care much about your new cologne, but they love to sniff your skin. It’s one of the ways that they identify who’s part of their pack. It’s how they remember. For them, it’s an act of love and connection. It’s like when we hug or touch other humans. It’s personal and unique for everyone.

Humans rely too much on their sight to navigate through the world. For dogs, it’s all about smell and hearing. Now, when it comes to personal connection, nothing beats the smell. They remember you way more through your natural scent than your voice. They can sense you miles away from them just by the specific odor that only your skin reproduces.

So, it’s inconvenient at times, but remember that it’s their way to show affection. The same way that you want to hug your dog on the tough days, he wants to sniff and lick your hand when he knows you need affection.

He Might Be Detecting An Ear Infection

With no intention of tearing down the possibility of an act of affection, dogs can also smell your ears due to an infection. Dogs take care of one another in their packs, and they know how to determine who’s sick and most vulnerable. That’s why they can detect illness.

When you have an ear infection, your ear wax smells differently than when you don’t. That difference in smell is what dogs can detect when they smell your ears. This is why it’s always a good idea to pay attention to see if their behavior is odd. It can be their way of letting you know that something is up.

So, try to pay attention to your ears. For instance, you could try to see if you feel any pain inside of it. If your ears are painful inside, then it’s likely the beginning of an infection. Even when you don’t, pay attention to the frequency that your dog tries to smell them. If it’s a bit odd, you can even consider paying a visit to your physician.

Your Dog Might Be Bored

No matter what your dog does, there’s always a possibility that it’s out of boredom. They’re like small children full of energy. When they don’t spend it or have nothing to do for a certain period of time, they act it out. This means chewing, sniffing, and digging what they shouldn’t. For instance, your dog might be trying to smell your ears because he has nothing better to do.

This is why it’ a good idea to try and see if it due to boredom that he’s doing that. The best way to do this is to play with your dog. Usually, the behavior goes away because their attention is directed toward something else. It’s also a great way to form a bond with your dog, so you should do it anyway.

A nice tip is to start with toys that challenge your dog mentally. This is the most efficient way to distract them. Get a pack o toys and see which one your dog likes the most. Make sure that they’re resistant toys for your dog’s breed. The LEGEND SANDY Squeaky Plush is an excellent pack of toys. Check it out here.

How To Discourage Him From Sniffing Your Ears

The best way to discourage your dog from sniffing your ears is to train him not to. The best way to train your dog to stop unwanted behavior is to show him that it’s ill-mannered. The first thing that you should do is ignore him. Dogs hate being ignored, so they’re likely to cease the behavior immediately.

Now, the best way to make sure that it doesn’t continue to happen is to train your dog. You do this with a reward system for good behavior. So, when your dog tries to smell your ears, you tell him no. When he stops and behaves the way you want, you give him a treat. You have to repeat this until he understands that he’s not supposed to do it.

So, train your dog with treats as a reward for good behavior. Also, train him to respect you even when you don’t have the treats. The treats are usually for the beginning of the training. It helps get their attention, and they’re nutritive. The Natural Balance is a great dog treat, and it’s perfect for training. Grab yours here.

It Can Be Just Dogs Being Dogs

Although the most common reasons for a dog to smell human ears are affection, ear infection, and sometimes boredom there’s sometimes more to the story. Sometimes, dogs do smell your ears because they’re just being dogs. This means that the behavior in itself has no meaning other than smelling a scent they’re detecting.

To us, dogs can be gross. They lick and smell things that we wouldn’t. Ear wax is one of them. As much as we love to find deeper meanings into what they do – and sometimes there’s definitely more to it – that’s not always the case.

So, especially when the behavior is not repeated, the chances are that your dog is just exploring the different scents that he’s detecting. In other words, it doesn’t mean anything. Still, it’s always a good idea to pay attention to how and when it happens. Just in case it is an ear infection.

It’s Important For Them To Know Who’s Vulnerable In The Pack

The reason dogs can detect ear infections and other illnesses, it’s that dogs need to know when someone else is sick. In the pack, it’s important to know who’s more vulnerable and sicker. This guarantees their survival. That’s why they can smell your ear infection.

Now, it doesn’t mean that your dog is detecting something every time that he smells you. But dogs do use smell to detect things and illness, as minor as it can be, is detected by them. This is why they could be smelling you, not just your ears, from time to time.

So, understand that it’s normal behavior for them. Now, if you want it to stop, follow the method explained above. Using the reward system is a great way to teach them anything you want them to learn.

Dog Saliva Has Tons Of Bacteria Be Careful

Finally, be careful with your dog smelling your ears, even if you don’t mind him doing it at all. The reason is that dogs’ noses carry a lot of bacteria due to their saliva. These bacteria could bring you a lot of problems if it penetrates your ears and surpasses your body defenses.

Now, it doesn’t mean that you can let your dog touch his nose on you or anything like that. It just means that you must be careful with certain areas like ears, mouth, nose, and eyes. These areas are more sensible.

So, make sure that you’re careful about this saliva issue. Do not let your dog smell your ears even if you don’t mind the habit. It’s unsafe for you to let him do it. You can still let him smell your feet when you arrive since they want to know where you were.

Final Thoughts

So, this is why your dog smells your ears. As you can see, it can be a way to show affection, detecting an ear infection, boredom, or even meaningless behavior. The best way to be certain is to analyze the context. See if what your dog was doing before and after the habit.


As a kid, J. Cesar has always dreamed of becoming Dr. Dolittle. When he isn't writing, you can find him supporting his favorite football team or eating ice cream with his best dog-friend by his side. Linkedin Profile, My Website

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