It is a well-known fact that dogs do not always have the strongest sense of limits. These are creatures that like to lick the faces of strangers and smell their crotches, after all.
This last behavior can lead to some uncomfortable moments for menstruating women, many of whom have reported feeling that they attract additional attention from dogs during the time of the month.
So, why do dogs seem to become more comfortable with women in their menstrual periods?
The truth about happy dogs
Dogs are creatures driven by scent. They experience their world predominantly through their sense of smell. When a woman is in her period, she probably only smells different, which is interesting for the dog.
The canine sense of smell is so powerful that dogs are famously employed in drug detection operations, forensic investigations and bedbug detection. There are about 300 million sensory receptors in their noses, compared to 5 million human noses. Studies have also shown that dogs are effective in detecting health conditions such as cancer and migraines.
When dogs sniff each other or when they are sniffing a woman's crotch while she is in her period, it is an information-seeking session. When a woman is menstruating, they are sure that pheromones are coming out.
Looking at it biologically, dogs have a special sensory receptor called the vomeronasal organ, or the Jacobson organ. In humans and other mammals, apocrine glands secrete pheromones, which can transmit a lot of information to dogs. These glands are highly concentrated in the groin areas in humans, so dogs are attracted to these regions of our body in their aromas-based information collection sessions. This is also the reason why dogs sniff the genital and anal areas of others as a greeting.
Many times it's about sex. They may be smelling from the presence of testosterone. Intact male dogs are often more aggressive and territorial, so they are more likely to be really involved in it, because they are trying to verify if testosterone determines the presence of some kind of challenge that must be posed or threatened to be.
Male dogs intact (ie, those that are not castrated), can sniff the bitches to detect information about their reproductive status and then can assemble them, depending on what they find. And bitches that greet other bitches may also be sniffing for information about their fertility to know if they pose a threat.
Imagine a young woman in her fertile years. In a way, that represents a threat to another woman. As human beings, we only pretend that we do not care, but dogs do. They are not pretending.
Which dogs are more likely to do so?
While a dog sniffing the crotch of a woman who is menstruating may not involve the same detection of threats or the search for sexual information, there is still a level of interest.
Medium to large dogs are more likely to be "opportunistic crotch hunters," which means they could suck if their nose is near a woman in their period. It is not so easy for smaller dogs to put their nose where it does not belong, unless you are sitting on the ground.
Sniffer hounds have a stronger sense of smell than other dogs, so they are more likely to be interested in the groin area of a woman who is menstruating, but mostly it is about how well trained a dog is.
Some dogs have been trained to make greetings in a more educated way and have only made more greetings, so, regardless of what they detect, it will seem that they do not care. But you can still smell that you are in your period. They have just been conditioned to be indifferent. Other dogs are more obnoxious and simply put their nose in the crotch and take a good inhale.
If your dog is a crotch tracker and you feel embarrassed about it, teach him incompatible behavior, such as sitting quietly. Use treats to reward your dog for sitting when other people are nearby.
The buffer problem ...
A related issue is the attraction that many dogs seem to feel toward the buffers used in garbage cans.
If a dog swallows a tampon, it can cause a potentially fatal blockage, especially if the tampon has not broken first. In this case, it is best to try to induce vomiting and call your veterinarian immediately.
The easiest way to avoid this scenario is to use trash cans with a lid, although that may not be enough.
However, the sniffing period of the crotch is like a small side effect of the amazing power of the canine scent. It might work against you in public environments when you have a bloodhound that gives you a virtual Pap test, but when you do a cancer screen, you really appreciate that bloodhound and the precision of your nose.