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All dogs do: sniffing another dog's butt is the most normal thing in the world.
But why do they do it?
Although it seems a very simple question, the answer is not so much, and is even more interesting than it seems.
The secret, as the Chemical Society of the United States (ACR) says in an educational video, is in chemistry.
Dogs have, as is known, a highly developed nose. So much so that it is estimated to be between 10,000 and 100,000 times more sensitive than human smell.
And when they direct their snouts to the back of another dog, what they do is collect a lot of information about the other animal, from what they eat to their gender or their emotional state.
It is something like talking through chemistry. In fact, this is just one example among many of chemical communication in the animal kingdom.
In 1975, scientist George Preti, an expert in pheromones and human odors at the Monell Center for Chemistry of the Senses, studied the anal secretions of dogs and coyotes and identified the main components of the secretions produced by the glands housed in two small bags called sacs annals.
This chemical language, Preti observed, is composed of trimethylamine and various volatile fatty acids, and the aroma can change according to the animal's genetics and immune system.
But also, the interesting thing is to know how dogs do to perceive and process this chemical "message".
The dogs, the ACR experts explain, have an auxiliary olfactory system called the Jacobson or vomeronasal organ.
Designed specifically for chemical communication, this organ has its own nerves that communicate directly with the brain.
Therefore, there is no interference from other odors and Jacobson's organ can engage without distraction to read the chemical "business cards" of his dog friends.
Other experts in smelly messages
The dogs are not the only ones that communicate with smells. Nature offers numerous examples, here we tell you a selection of the most curious:
The sack bat is an expert in the art of chemical communication that not only secretes but mixes aromas to attract females.
These animals live in harems divided colonies, each with a male and several females. Males mark their territorial domain with secretions from a small gland called gular located under the chin.
But to woo the ladies, a single smell is not enough: it is necessary to mix this secretion with others produced by their genitals and urine, which the males carefully prepare each day inside some special sacks they have on their wings, such as explains Jason Goldman of BBC Future.
Although the result may be stinking for human smell, the "perfume" of these bats requires a complex process that will then emanate to seduce her, thanks to a timely beat of wings in front of the female.
The black antelope and its powerful aphrodisiac:
This mammal that lives in India, Pakistan and Nepal, has a curious, and certainly odorous, method to attract the attention of females.
In addition to the aroma secreted by their tear glands during the mating season, males communicate their intentions with their droppings.
Instead of chasing the females, the antelopes produce a lot of feces and wait for them surrounded by this peculiar aphrodisiac smell, a strategy that was recorded by BBC Nature.
The aromatic weapon of the ring-tailed lemur:
These primates of the island of Madagascar have a strange way of fighting over the territory: the males rub their tails with small glands that they have on their wrists and then shake it to spread the aroma.
It's deployment is usually enough to mark the hierarchy, although sometimes you can't avoid close combat.
In addition, shaking the "scented" tail also serves to attract females, according to BBC Nature.
My dog smells a lot like pee, why?
There are pathological causes that can explain why our dog's urine smells so strong, but sometimes the problem is that the whole dog smells like urine. This situation is more frequent in those long-haired animals that the genital, abdominal area and legs are stained with urine. It has no more relevance than the hygienic problem and we can solve it or at least reduce it by cutting the hair of the affected areas.
Other times, the dog smells too much of pee because suffer from urinary incontinence. This disorder is more common in older dogs, being normal that we see a small puddle of urine in the place where it rests. Even so, as there are different causes that may be behind the incontinence, we must go to the vet to get a diagnosis, since there are some treatable ones.
In the dogs with kidney disease We can also detect a smell of urine and, in particular, the mouth will smell like ammonia. The problem with this pathology is that it begins to show symptoms when the kidney is already very damaged. As it affects more likely older dogs, it is recommended that, in general, from 7-8 years of age we take them to veterinary review, since in a blood test we could detect this disorder. It cannot be cured but it can be treated to slow its progression and keep the dog with a good quality of life as long as possible.
My dog's urine smells like ammonia, is it normal?
A very common cause that explains why a dog's urine smells so strong is cystitis, in which we can notice a different smell in it, such as ammonia, although some caregivers indicate that their fishy urine dog. In any case, it is a strong smell that will catch our attention.
Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder and may be accompanied by a urine infection, which is characterized by, in addition to the strange smell, a increased urination frequency, pain in the abdominal area, sometimes presence of blood or hematuria, efforts to urinate and discomfort in doing so. The typical sign is a dog that adopts the urination posture, tries it, but does not get it or just ejects a few drops. This pathology is treated with antibiotics and it is important to start as soon as possible because, otherwise, bacterial infections can rise from the bladder to the kidneys, even causing kidney failure.
Calculations, which are deposits of minerals such as struvite formed at different points of the urinary tract, are another cause of cloudy urine. Some are undone and expelled on a proper diet, but others require surgery to remove them because they do not dissolve or are so large that it is physically impossible for the dog to expel them on their own. The stones may cause partial or total obstruction of the urinary tract. This last case is a veterinary emergency, since if the animal cannot urinate and does not receive treatment, it will die. Thus, if, in addition to noticing a strong smell, you wonder why your dog's urine is very yellow, it is possible that the reason is also in the presence of stones or urine infection.
Finally, the urine of a dog that has not been able to evacuate for hours, for example, during the night, will normally be more concentrated and, therefore, will smell stronger, without this implying any pathology. We must offer the dog enough opportunities to empty his bladder.
Why does my dog's urine smell bad?
The causes we have seen to explain why a dog's urine smells so strong, they also serve, if instead of a male we are the caretakers of a female. Of course, in bitches we have to distinguish well if it's about urine or vaginal discharge. There are several pathologies that include vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor, such as vaginitis or pyrethrum. In any case, the diagnosis and treatment of a veterinarian will be needed.
Dark urine in dogs - Causes
We have seen that in some of the pathologies that explain why a dog's urine smells so strong we can find blood in the urine, which can make it look dark. In male dogs this blood is one of the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, a disorder that affects non-neutered dogs in which this gland increases in size due to hormones. The treatment of choice is usually sterilization.
In addition, some diseases of consideration may stain the color of the urine to a brown or orange hue. For example, a liver failure It also has symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, yellowing of the mucous membranes or jaundice, bleeding or retention of fluid in the abdomen or ascites.
Another example of a relatively frequent pathology that can present dark urine in dogs is found in babesia, a parasite that the ticks transmit to the dogs and that sometimes becomes fatal. The darkest coloring is due to a hemolytic anemia It destroys the red blood cells and hence the darkening of the urine. Therefore, a color change of this will always be a reason for veterinary consultation.
This article is purely informative, at ExpertAnimal.com we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why does my dog's urine smell very strong?, we recommend you go to our Other health problems section.