Why Do Dogs Sniff Before They Pee?

Updated: July 12, 2022

It has been every dog's ritual to sniff the ground or the floor first before getting down to business. You might notice your puppy keeps sniffing the ground or that your adult dog always sniffs before going potty. But have you ever asked yourself why do dogs sniff before they pee? The answer? It's their way of communicating.

"Scent marking is one of the most amazing instinctual behavior of dogs. Your furbaby deposits his own odor in his pee (or poop) in his surroundings to mark it's his territory or to make a statement."

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In this article, we've come up with a thorough explanation of why dogs sniff before they pee and answer why do dogs sniff everything. We’ll also share things you can to prevent your furbaby from peeing in inappropriate areas in your house over and over again.

Why do dogs use scent marking and why do dogs sniff before peeing?

Getting down to business

Scent marking is one of the most amazing instinctual behaviors that dogs take part in. Your furbaby deposits their own odor in their pee (or poop) in their surroundings to mark that it is their territory or to make a statement.

So, why do dogs sniff before they poop or pee? Other dogs who come upon your dog's pee or poop are able to tell a lot about your furbaby - how long they have stayed in the area, if your furbaby is in heat, and since dogs oftentimes pee when they are scared, it can also serve as an alert warning for danger for other dogs who come across it. When your dog sniffs before pooping or peeing, they are checking for scent marking from other dogs. So, if you have wondered why do dogs sniff the ground on walks, the answer is that they are using their instincts for safety and information.

Beyond this, according to Wag Walking, your dog may also be checking their own pee to check up on their own health. Dogs are very good at taking care of their own health as they were once originally from the wild. Some first-time pet parents will want to avoid letting their dogs sniff too much because they fear that it is not healthy for them to be around their pee or poop. A puppy sniffing a lot can be a sign of these instincts coming alive and is completely normal, they are exploring the world through their noses. So, if your puppy keeps sniffing the ground before they poop or pee, it is best to be patient and let them explore. Just make sure that they are not trying to eat their poop.

You can also encourage dogs to use their nose and natural instincts by providing them with a Forager™ Mat or Forager™ Bowl. These are snuffle mats and bowls designed to provide mental enrichment for dogs and allow them to use those instincts. If your dog is taking too much time sniffing on your walks, throw a few treats into their snuffle mat or snuffle bowl and let them go to town. The SoftSnout™ material is non-abrasive to pet noses and non-slip backing prevents sliding on your floors as your furbaby gets in their nose work.

Why it’s sometimes a problem

Though sniffing before peeing is a dog’s natural instinct, it is also particularly one of the main reasons why house-training problems are stressing out most pet parents. Some dogs will always pee at specific spots in the house. Pet parents will attempt to clean the mess by using common house cleaning products that are easily available, only for their dogs to pee on that area again!

Let's admit it, we’ve all experienced this and it drives us insane most of the time.

But why do dogs pee on the same spots again? Well, it's because ordinary housecleaning products may clean up the pee puddle but it will not remove the pee smell and that's why your furbaby pees there again.

Solving the problem

You know your dog best and you know the signs when they are about to pee. Aside from constantly sniffing the area around, they may also:

  • display an uncharacteristically antsy and fidgety manner
  • whimper
  • cry a little to express his lack of comfort
  • begin circling
  • scratch or paw at the door
  • return to a previously soiled area in the house

Messy pee cleanups can be stressful, especially if your furbaby constantly pees on places where they shouldn't. Here are some things you can try for your furbaby to avoid doing so:

Why do dogs sniff before peeing, why do dogs sniff before they poop

Use pet stain remover products. As mentioned, ordinary housecleaning products may clean the pee puddles but are not able to completely remove the pee odor. To prevent your dog from peeing over and over again in a specific area, use cleaning products that are specifically made to remove pee stains and odor, like enzymatic cleaners.

Enzymatic cleaners, according to the Chicago Tribune, are any cleaning products that use enzymes in their formulas to help break down odor and stains. Enzymatic cleaners can break down both stains and odors, totally getting rid of strong pee smells rather than just covering them up with another smell. Moreover, it’s not just potty-related problems that enzymatic cleaners can be of great help. They’re also exceptionally effective at removing stains of soil and mud on your carpets and floors.

Let your furbaby wear diapers. If you don't want to deal with the cleaning at all, you can actually choose to have your furbaby wear dog diapers or dog belly bands. Pet Parents® Dog Diapers and Pet Parents® Belly Bands were designed to prevent accidents from turning into messes. Belly bands are an excellent way to prevent your male dog from marking inside your home. Male dogs are especially prone to marking, so, these washable belly bands are a great solution as you work on training and breaking the habit. Meanwhile diapers can be used for females and males for all sorts of messes.

These Pet Parents® products are made with our soft non-abrasive WickQuick® proprietary fabric that wicks any moisture or liquid away from the surface, helping prevent the occurrence of diaper rash and urine burns. This way, your dog stays comfortable and your house stays clean. These washable diapers and belly bands also have sewn-in pad layers that are great for any kind of mess, not just pee!

Neuter or spay. If dealing with the peeing messes and marking takes a lot of your time, you might want to consider having your furbaby neutered or spayed. According to The Nest, peeing is like a social networking for your dog and tells the neighboring dogs “I'm available.” Neutering a male dog greatly decreases household urine marking to about 50 to 60 percent, as stated by the ASPCA. It does not happen instantly after neutering or spaying and can take a few weeks before marking lessens or disappears. Not only does neutering or spaying help you in dealing with your furbaby’s peeing but also offers other benefits that will help better the life of your dog.

Place food where your dog usually pees.You may try to place food or treats in the place where your furbaby usually pees. Dogs do not like to “do their business” in places where they eat. If a food or a treat is on your furbaby's inappropriate peeing spot, they might change their minds. Just make sure that the spot is thoroughly cleaned before placing any food down to avoid sickness.

Potty train them. Potty training a dog requires time, patience, and commitment as this does not happen overnight. You may begin with indoor potty training, where you designate a specific area in your house for your dog to go potty. You may use Pawtect® Pads as your potty area. Reward your dog every time they use the Pawtect® Pads. If they don’t, avoid punishing them. Doing so will only scare them and the inappropriate peeing and marking will continue as long as you don’t see them doing so. Instead, call your dog’s attention and lead them to where the pads are.

Why do dogs sniff before they pee? Sniffing before peeing is an innate behavior in dogs but you really don't have to stress out so much about it. Although you might wonder, “why does my dog sniff everything,” it is important that your dog keeps sniffing to collect all the information they need to fulfill their instincts. If your dog turns sniffing to peeing indoors or marking, there are steps you can take to help prevent future accidents and efficient ways for your furbaby to avoid soiling the house. Allow your dog to sniff and utilize their canine instincts and keep up training to ensure that you are enjoying your time together.

why do dogs sniff before they poop

"To prevent your dog from peeing over and over again in a specific area, use cleaning products that are specifically made to remove pee stain and odor."