The olfactory system is the sensory system used for olfaction, or the sense of smell. Most mammals and reptiles have two distinct parts to their olfactory system: a main olfactory system and an accessory olfactory system. The main olfactory system detects volatile, airborne substances, while the accessory olfactory system senses fluid-phase stimuli. Behavioral evidence indicates that most often, the stimuli detected by the accessory olfactory system are pheromones.
The olfactory system is often spoken of along with the gustatory system as the chemosensory senses because both transduce chemical signals into perception.
Dogs, as all mammals, have natural odors. Natural dog odor can be unpleasant to dog owners especially when dogs are kept inside the home, as some people are not used to being exposed to the natural odor of a non-human species living in proximity to them. Dogs may also develop unnatural odors as a result of skin disease or other disorders or may become contaminated with odors from other sources in their environment.