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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Does perfume drive dogs mad?

I just wondered if any research has been done into strong perfume and dog behaviour?
I know horses can become unrideable when the rider wears it.
My friends horse was very bad when she wore Charlie.
Does it affect dogs?
I just wondered.
Could dog attacks/bad behaviour be linked to it?
Wendy Woo Hillings, Via Facebook


  1. My dogs go bad If Iv sprayed hairspray and perfume, they run round and rub there faces on the floor, I guess its because they don't like the smell, but they are never aggressive

    Karen :-)

  2. Apart from the fact that some perfumes can be over-bearing, could it be the association of the particular scent?
    I have known rescue dogs that react badly to the smell of spirits and beer. I can only imagine that the old owner was a drinker and a disciplinarian!
    The worst case was a dog that cowered when he smelled alcohol hand gel. We traced it back to a traumatic event involving the woman who used to clean the house.
    We'll never know but we have to respect just how powerful the dog's cold wet nose is!

  3. I used to run Puppy School classes and would try not to wear perfume for the first few weeks of the course and slowly build up.
    It's not just dogs and horses, babies can be very sensitive too. My nephew wouldn't be cuddled by me at all (I used to wear Rive Gauche), when I changed to the same perfume his mum wore, he was fine!

  4. I would say yes, it can be hugely significant. In terms of research we know that a dog's nose is extremely sensitive. It follows that any artificial scent can be very strong to them indeed. Dogs become used to certain smells from people but as a general rule, if we think it smells strong then it must be absolutely overpowering to a dog. Alcohol based smells evaporate rapidly (perfume, solvents/paint, beer and spirits) so it may simply be the strength of the smell rather than the association formed with it.

    It is worth remembering that a strong scent can block them from smelling more subtle scent and this could be distressing for them, especially if the experience is an unfamiliar one. I liken it to a very bright light in our eyes, or a very loud noise. We can only imagine what this must be like for a dog to experience - perhaps like smelling salts used to be used in Victorian times to shock people out of a faint..!

    Dogs learn that certain smells mean certain things so a particular perfume will be significant, but also any underlying smell from the human will also affect this. Often you will see an avoidance response or fear reaction in a dog when they witness something unusual, and this includes unfamiliar smells.

    As we know, search dogs that can detect particular scent from a great distance or in very small quantities, medical detection dogs that can detect variations in blood sugar and even detect cancer. There is no limit to what a dog's nose knows!