HomeDogsWhy Does My Dog Sniff Me When I’m Sleeping? Understanding Canine Behavior

Why Does My Dog Sniff Me When I’m Sleeping? Understanding Canine Behavior

Every dog owner has experienced unique quirks and endearing habits from their furry companions. One such peculiar behavior that many dog owners witness is their dog sniffing them while they’re in a deep slumber. While it might seem like a mystery, there are various reasons behind this action, rooted deeply in the canine’s instinctual behavior and their natural way of exploring the world.

Why Does My Dog Sniff Me When I’m Sleeping – the reasons

1. The Power of a Dog’s Nose:

Before delving into why your dog might be sniffing you, it’s essential to understand the potency of a dog’s sense of smell. Dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about 6 million in humans. This allows them to detect scents and nuances that we can’t even begin to perceive. Essentially, their world revolves around smells.

2. Establishing Bond and Checking Well-being:

Your scent is your unique identifier to your dog. Dogs have a fantastic ability to recognize and remember scents. By sniffing you, especially in a vulnerable state like sleep, they’re both reconfirming their bond with you and checking on your well-being. It’s a way of them making sure that their pack member (that’s you!) is okay.

3. You’ve Been Active:

If you’ve been out and about, your body collects various scents from the environment. When you return home, you’re like a walking sensory novel for your pet. They can pick up where you’ve been, who you’ve been with, and even what you’ve eaten. By sniffing you during sleep, your dog might be reviewing the day’s ‘events’ or simply indulging in their natural curiosity.

4. Changes in Your Health:

Dogs can often detect subtle changes in human health. There have been instances where dogs have sniffed out cancers, infections, or changes in blood sugar levels in their owners. While it’s not advisable to rely solely on your dog for health diagnoses, if your pet persistently sniffs a particular area on your body, it might be worth bringing up with a doctor.

5. Comfort and Security:

To dogs, familiar scents provide comfort. Just as a child might find solace in the scent of their mother, dogs find comfort in their owner’s smell. By sniffing you while you’re asleep, they could be seeking solace in your familiar scent, ensuring they feel safe and protected in their environment.

6. They’re Checking for Other Animals:

Dogs are territorial creatures. If you have been around other animals, especially other dogs, your pet might sniff you more rigorously to gather information about the new animal you’ve encountered. They can determine gender, health, mood, and even the diet of the animal you’ve come into contact with.

7. You Smell Different When Asleep:

When we sleep, our body goes through various cycles and releases different pheromones. Our sweat, the oils on our skin, and even our breath can alter in scent. To your dog, who has a keen nose, these changes are noticeable and might pique their curiosity.


Dogs and their olfactory prowess make them incredibly sensitive to the world of scents around them. While it might seem quirky to us, for dogs, sniffing is as natural as breathing. It’s their way of understanding, exploring, and connecting with their environment. So, the next time you catch your pup sniffing you while you snooze, remember it’s just their way of checking in on you, reassuring themselves, and staying connected to their world. Embrace these tender moments; they’re just another sign of the deep bond you share with your canine companion.



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