There's A Whole World Of Dog Perfume & We Don't Hate It

Photographed by David Cortes.
No matter how much I pride myself on being able to suss out the top notes of any fragrance upon first sniff or pinpoint the exact cross streets of a 5-star Indian restaurant from a mile away (or at least a block or two), there is a truth that must be reckoned with: I am only human, and that means I will only ever have around six million olfactory receptors.
My dog, on the other hand, has roughly 50 times as many. The percentage of her little doggy brain that is devoted to analyzing scents is a whopping 40 times larger than my own. (It really isn’t fair — she’s not the one with secret aspirations of becoming a world-renowned fragrance “nose.”) Dogs experience their entire lives through their noses, sniffing out everything from drugs and cancer to garbage bags and butts. So why shouldn’t they get to enjoy fragrance, too?
Perfume for dogs? you might think. That’s ridiculous. But is it really? What makes perfume for dogs any more frivolous than perfume for humans? You don't need to wear fragrance; neither does your dog. You're alike in that sense. But it's nice to smell good, and you'd be surprised by how many fragrance offerings actually exist for dogs. Ellen DeGeneres makes quite a few of them, for example, and there are options ranging from cheap yet effective to truly luxe.
Of course, it's always a good idea to ask your vet if your dog has any allergies or medical conditions that could be impacted by a dog perfume — and definitely don't use actual human perfume, since the high quantities of alcohol can be extremely drying and irritating to your pup's sensitive skin. There are plenty of dog-friendly options to choose from that smell great and are totally safe, so spritz away. This is one situation in which testing on animals is actually a good thing.