Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Can Dogs Smell Testicular Cancer? The Interesting Explanation!

Rachel Giordano

By Rachel Giordano

English Bulldog sniffing a man

Dogs are incredible beings that use their extraordinary sense of smell to navigate and investigate their surroundings. A dog’s sense of smell is powerful, as they have over 100 million receptor sites in the nasal cavity—humans have 6 million1. This fact puts their sense of smell in perspective.

Interestingly, cancer inside the body gives off an odor, and trained canines can detect certain cancers2 in a person through breath, blood, urine, skin, or sweat3. But can dogs smell testicular cancer4?

There’s no concrete information regarding if dogs can smell testicular cancer. Still, it’s believed they can smell certain types of cancer, such as lung, bladder, ovarian, and prostate cancers5, so let’s examine this topic further.

Divider 2

Can Dogs Smell Testicular Cancer?

Obviously, many types of cancer exist, including testicular cancer. Cancer cells take on a certain odor, but unclear why this is true6; however, scientists theorize the smell could be caused by a molecule called polyamines7, which are linked to cell growth in the body. Cancer raises polyamines, which is what are believed to cause the odor that dogs can detect.

While we couldn’t find evidence of dogs detecting testicular cancer, several studies show that dogs can detect many forms8. Breast, ovarian, and lung cancers are detected by sniffing blood samples, bladder cancer by sniffing urine, colorectal cancer by smelling stool samples, and cervical cancer by sniffing biopsy samples, making the ability to smell testicular cancer plausible.

Image by: Bogdan Sonjachnyj, Shutterstock

Why Do Dogs Smell Your Crotch?

It’s important to note that just because your dog sniffs your private area doesn’t mean you have cancer. Apocrine glands are a type of scent glands found in the armpits and groin area, and a dog can get a sense of your mood, age, sex, and mating ability from sniffing these glands.

How Do Dogs Detect Cancer?

Studies show that trained dogs can detect cancer through the blood, breath, urine, stool samples, and biopsies of a person with cancer due to their smell receptors, which are 10,000 times more accurate than humans. Thanks to the study, we can speculate that dogs can sniff out cancer in a person with almost 97% accuracy. However, much more research is in order before doctors can use dogs to officially detect cancer in patients.

Can Any Dog Smell Cancer?

While any dog may have the ability to sniff out cancer, only trained dogs can actually alert people to its presence. For example, in the UK, medical detection dogs are specifically trained to detect cancer in its early stages, as well as other diseases.

In the US, the In Situ Foundation, a 501(c) 3 organization based in California, created the first medical protocol for the selection and training of cancer detection dogs and experienced handlers.

The goal is to use dogs for early cancer detection before invasive medical measures are used that sometimes produce false positives for cancer.

dog training outdoor
Image by: Nomad_Soul, Shutterstock

How Do Dogs Act When They Smell Cancer?

Reports indicate that a dog will constantly nudge and sniff at the site of cancer within the body. If cancer is detected, a dog may also use body language, such as whining, staring, pawing, head tilting, and whining.

There are stories of dogs sniffing and licking cancer sites on their owners, including a Siberian Husky detecting ovarian cancer by constantly sniffing its owner’s belly, so much so that she decided to have a checkup. The doctor summed up the problem as an ovarian cyst, but her Siberian Husky wasn’t convinced and was persistent in sniffing the area. She revisited the doctor and was officially diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. She is now cancer-free.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Healthy and Safe

Whether you have a cancer-sniffing dog or not, all dogs require complete and balanced nutrition, exercise, and mental stimulation. Avoid feeding your dog any harmful foods, such as chocolate, raisins, onions, or garlic, and ensure you take your dog for regular checkups. Our dogs do so much for us, and we should return the favor by taking care of them!

man and dog walking
Image by: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

Divider 2


Any dog owner knows how special these beings are, and a fascinating perk of owning a dog could save your life. Through studies, we have learned that dogs can smell cancer, and currently, dogs are being trained in the US and the UK specifically for this purpose.

While we couldn’t find studies indicating dogs sniffing out testicular cancer, it’s certainly plausible that a trained dog could detect this form of cancer. More research is still needed, but we are on the right track to using dogs for this incredible purpose.

Featured Image Credit: Christine Bird, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database