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11 Reasons Why Your Dog Sniffs Your Face (Every Morning)

Why Does My Dog Sniff My Face

Something warm is touching your face. 

Which caused you to wake up from a great slumber. 

You opened your eyes and saw your pooch in a sniffing frenzy. 

“What could this mean?”

In this article, you’ll find out:

  • Fun facts about your dog’s nose. 
  • Whether dogs can detect COVID-19 through sniffing.  
  • 11 reasons why your dog sniffs your face in the morning. 
  • And much much more…

Why does my dog sniff my face?

Your dog sniffs your face because they’re greeting you, checking your health, curious, excited, hungry, missing you, scent-marking, or being affectionate. They may adore your smell, or smell something unusual. Or this could be due to their natural instincts. 

11 reasons why your dog sniffs your face (every morning)

#1: This is Fido’s morning greeting

Sniffing you in the morning could mean…

“Good morning, hooman!”

This behavior came from their wolf ancestors.

In the wild, sniffing their pack’s snout and face is a form of greeting.

In modern days, domesticated dogs do this too with their human pack. And for the same purpose of greeting you.

You might see your pooch do this with other dogs too. Especially if it’s their first meeting.

Fun fact: Sniffing each other’s noses is a ritual in wolves and wild dogs. They use this to make peace after a conflict. 

#2: Your pawed baby is excited

Mornings can bring excitement to pooches. And that could be the reason why your dog sniffs you.

What’s up with the mornings?

Let’s say you’ve created a really fun morning routine for your dog. Such as letting them eat a yummy meal or playing.

Dogs love routines. And they’ll be eager to do it more if it’s fun.

Your dog sniffing you might be their way of saying…

“Get up! Let’s start our day now!”

You’ll be able to know that your dog is excited if they’re:

  • Barking.
  • Cuddling.
  • Wiggling.
  • Tail wagging.
  • Tongue hanging.

Further reading: 9 real reasons why your dog is hyper in the morning + 3 quick tips

#3: Your pooch is checking your health

Your Dog Sniffs Your Face In The Morning To Check Your Health

Did you know that your dog’s sniffing may save your life?

Dogs are able to smell the smallest scent of disease.

Sniffing you in the morning might be their way of checking your health.

Their intense smelling ability could help in detecting medical conditions.

But it’s hard to determine if your dog’s doing that. Because they can’t just tell us: “Human, you’re sick.”

Let me share with you a story of a fur dad and his Labrador. 

The dog parent said that he’s diagnosed with throat cancer.

But before that, his Labrador kept on resting her head on her fur dad. Which she never did before. She doesn’t do this with anyone else either.

And this behavior lasted for about 4 to 6 months.

The family thought there’s something wrong with her. But this thought was put to an end when the fur dad was clinically diagnosed.

That’s when they thought that maybe their Labrador knew. Because during the fur dad’s treatment, she was pretty attentive.

Here are the diseases that dogs are able to detect in humans:

  • Fever. 
  • Cancer.
  • Diabetes.
  • Brain injury. 
  • Tuberculosis. 

Interesting fact: Did you know that dogs can detect COVID-19?

An experiment was conducted on 8 sniffing dogs. They were trained to detect the coronavirus for 1 week. And it was done through sniffing the infected fluids of humans.

Results showed that these sniffing dogs had an accuracy rate of 94%. 

Aside from detecting sickness, Fido might also sniff you to make sure you’re okay.

Are you a heavy sleeper?

I refer to those who don’t wake up easily. Those who fall into a deep slumber no matter how chaotic their surroundings get.

You might be unaware but your dog could be doing things to wake you up. Such as barking or licking you.

And because you’re sleeping, you might not respond to them.

Your pooch might be alarmed if this happens. They might think that something is wrong. Much more if you don’t move in your sleep.

As a result, they’ll sniff you. And this might be their way of making sure you’re alive.

You might also be interested in: 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Checks On You When You’re Sleeping

#4: Your doggo adores your smell

“You smell good in the morning, Mom/Dad.”

Your dog could be sniffing you because your smell is pleasant to their nose.

Maybe you just washed your blanket and bed sheet. And your pooch might love the smell of it. 

A study suggests that there are scents that improve a dog’s well-being. It makes them less anxious. And causes less vocalization. These scents are:

  • Vanilla.
  • Valerian.
  • Coconut. 
  • Lavender.

#5: Your dog is curious 

Canines are naturally curious (just like human children). It’s a sign of a healthy dog. Plus, it improves their well-being.

Aside from that, letting them explore their environment has its benefits. It makes dogs use their senses to the fullest.

And in the sniffing case, they make use of their sense of smell.

Now, try to think about what could make your dog be curious about you.

Did you put a scented night cream?

Or did you just buy a new textured blanket?

Try to decode what’s interesting about you or your beddings. Because your pooch might smell something in you that piques their curiosity. And could be the reason why they sniff you in the morning. 

Trivia: Dogs can smell people or objects from 20 km. away

#6: It’s your pooch’s instinctive move 

Dogs are born with a sensitive sense of smell.

And that makes sniffing an instinctive behavior for them. They do this to get information from their surroundings.

You might even notice your pooch smelling an object for too long. And that’s okay. It’s normal and they might just be inspecting the thing.

Now, your dog could be doing it to you in the morning. And might be due to the same reason.

This would be the case if they also smell other things. Such as your pillows, bed and even your clothes.

Reading tip: 7 Weird Reasons Why Dogs Sniff Your Clothes + 3 Tips

#7: Your fur baby is hoping to get something 

Dog Demands

Demand for food

Did you stay up late last night? After which you had to sleep longer than usual?

If so, you could be late for your fur baby’s mealtime. And this might cause your dog to sniff you in the morning.

A hungry dog will go into a sniffing frenzy.

This boils down to their natural instinct. Going back to when they’re still in their mother’s care.

This behavior occurs when puppies are hungry. What they’ll do is sniff and lick their mother’s snout. 

“What’s that for?”

They do this because they’re hoping to get food from their mother.

And now they have you as their fur parent. They might do the same thing to you when hunger strikes.

However, your fur pal might sniff you not only for food. 

And dog parents should try to decode what their canine’s action means.

Wondering how?

Don’t worry, I got you. Here I’ve listed some of the signs your dog could be showing. And what it could mean:

Demand for play

Some dogs can be really active and playful in the morning. And you’ll be able to tell if a dog wants to play if their:

  • The tail is wagging.
  • The mouth is open and grinning.
  • Legs are hitting the ground repetitively.
  • The head is down and the rear end is up (this position is called the play bow).

Demand for “doing their business”

There are dogs who want to start their day by doing their business outside. Here’s what you have to spot:

  • Pacing.
  • Whining.
  • Sniffing around.
  • Circling and then followed by squatting.

Demand for attention

You might have noticed that there are pooches who’re clingy. And some of them seek attention first thing in the morning. 

Watch out for the signs of attention-seeking such as:

  • Jumping up.
  • Wagging tail.
  • Muzzle licking.
  • Lowering their body.
  • Stretching their backs.

#8: They smell something unusual 

Did you just change your body wash’s scent?

Or maybe you washed your beddings with a different fabric perfume?

If you answered yes, that might be the cause why your dog sniffs you.

Dogs will sniff anything that is new to them. And it boils down to their curious minds.

Pooches might do this also to be familiar with the new odors they detect.

This actually happened to my previous workmate. Which is a fur parent of a male German Shepherd, Nico.

Here’s what happened:

My workmate lives in her apartment alone. So she sleeps with Nico to feel less lonely. They’ve been doing this ever since her pooch is still a puppy.

And she said that Nico has been a great sleeping buddy. He doesn’t snore and he doesn’t wiggle a lot during sleep.

But Nico acted weird all of a sudden. She wakes up every day with Nico’s sniffing behavior.

That made her curious. She started sniffing her pillows and clothes. Investigating what Nico is sniffing on her.

After sniffing her beddings, she didn’t find an answer. That’s when she unconsciously touched her hair.

Then bingo! She remembered buying a new coconut-scented shampoo.

To make sure that she’s right, she made Nico sniff her hair.

Guess what happened next.

Nico started sniffing her hair like crazy. He seems to really love the scent of coconut. 

Trivia: Did you know that some dog breeds have a more sensitive sense of smell than others?

Dr. Nappier says that hound dogs have the best sense of smell.

Some of them are even used as sniffer dogs.

Wondering what’s that?

It refers to dogs who help in detecting certain substances through sniffing. Such as drugs, bombs, and guns.

Dog breeds that are known to be sniffer dogs are:

  • Border Collies.
  • Belgian Malinois. 
  • Golden Retrievers.
  • Labrador Retrievers. 
  • English Springer Spaniel.  

#9: You reward their behavior 

Your dog could be sniffing you in the morning because you reinforced it.

Try to think of how you respond to this behavior.

Do you ignore them? Or do you cuddle them?

If your answer’s the second, then you made this behavior rewarding.

Responding to a dog with attention means they’ve done a good job. And this causes a satisfying feeling for dogs. Which they love. 

As a result, you might find them sniffing you every morning. That’s because if you reinforce the behavior, they’ll likely repeat it.

#10: Your pawed baby is missing your scent

Do you let your dog sleep on their dog bed?

Or do you let them sleep in a separate room?

Sleeping without them on your side will make them miss you.

This could be the answer to why they sniff you in the morning.

Dogs adore smelling their favorite human. They’ll take any opportunity to let your scents sink into their senses.

Since they’re away from you during the night, they’ll miss you. As a result, they’ll sniff you in the morning to make up for the lost time.

This is exactly what Charmy does. Which is my friend’s 3-month-old puppy.

She doesn’t sleep with her fur parents. Charmy has her own sleeping spot in the living room. And she loves it there at night.

But this little pup is on her attention-seeking game every morning. This particularly starts when her fur mom goes out of their room.

What she’ll do is run towards her fur mom really fast. Then her fur parent will pick her up.

And when Charmy’s face is in front of her mom’s, she’ll start sniffing. Not only on my friend’s face. But also on her hands and legs.

And she only does this in the morning. And also when my friend returns home from work. That’s when my friend concluded that maybe Charmy is just missing her. 

#11: Doggo is scent marking you

Does your dog sniff you and then rub their nose against you?

If so, that could mean that they’re scent marking. And they do it through sniffing. 

Most people are aware that dogs use their excrement to scent marks. But only a few know that they can do this too with their nose.

“How can that happen?”

Dogs have sweat glands in their body. It can be found in their paw pads and nose.

And their sweat glands produce pheromones.

A study shows that pheromones are used in scent marking.

With this in mind, your dog could be marking you as their territory through this behavior.