Those who fight the War on Drugs have had a powerful weapon on their side for a long time now, one which has made great strides in the monumental effort that is policing illegal drugs and other illicit substances.

This weapon is the drug-sniffing canine.

Drug sniffing dogs have been around since the days of Jack The Ripper, and have been responsible for countless arrests and convictions. This is so because sniffer dogs, as they are commonly known, are able to use their powerful canine sense of smell to “sniffer detect a wide variety of illicit narcotics, including the most popular substances like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and crystal meth.

Sniffer dogs are extremely successful at detecting these substances, but how do they measure up against newer, more modern drugs? How do they fare against one of the most popular recreational psychedelic drugs of the last century?

DMT is a powerful psychedelic drug that can cause hallucinations

Can Sniffer Dogs Smell DMT?

Yes, sniffer dogs can smell DMT. Whether they operate under police supervision or belong to private security firms, they are able to detect DMT consistently.

This is a fairly recent achievement, given that DMT has never been as popular or has been used as widely as other more traditional drugs like cannabis. However, police and international drug enforcement agencies have begun to train their sniffer dogs to detect the smells of new and exotic substances in the field.

What Other Drugs Can Sniffer Dogs Detect?

Besides the more traditional and popular drugs that we mentioned above, i.e., weed, cocaine, and heroin, sniffer dogs are getting better at what they do and each day they are trained to detect new things.

What Other Drugs Can Sniffer Dogs Detect?

Sniffer dogs that are active today are able to detect the following drugs and illicit substances:

  • MDMA: more commonly known as Molly or Ecstasy, MDMA is one of the most popular modern synthetic drugs. Nevertheless, MDMA use has gone down dramatically over the past two decades since sniffer dogs started detecting it.
  • Xanax: Xana is a legal drug that is often prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders. However, it is one of the most abused substances in the world, with millions of people taking Xanax for recreational purposes. While not all sniffer dogs can detect Xanax, those who have received specific training to detect it are able to do so easily.
  • Adderall: Adderall is another legal prescription medication that is widely abused by recreational drug users around the world. Adderall is highly addictive and creates dependency extremely quickly. This makes it very dangerous and worth detecting with sniffer dogs.
  • Opiates: The family of opiates is quite large, with many different substances belonging to this group of dangerous drugs. Opiates all produce morphine-like effects and are very popular with recreational drug users and drug traffickers.
  • Fentanyl: Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous recreational drugs on the planet. It behaves much like a heroine but has up to 100 times more potency. Fentanyl is responsible for an alarmingly large number of accidental overdoses in the world. As such, sniffer dogs are getting trained to detect it more and more frequently.
  • Kratom: This herbal substance is often used to treat withdrawal symptoms caused by drugs such as heroin. Kratom is surprisingly legal, but it can be abused as easily as harder drugs.

All dogs, especially sniffer dogs, have a very sensitive sense of smell but they can’t naturally detect any of these substances.

For a dog to learn to detect illicit drugs, it must undergo extensive training. This means that a sniffer dog has the potential to sniff out any drug that its handlers wish, including drugs like DMT.

How Effective Are Sniffer Dogs?

There are different methodologies to train regular dogs to become drug-sniffing dogs. Once training has been completed, sniffer dogs can detect the scent of even the smallest quantities of drugs in people, luggage, and vehicles.

Sniffer dogs are highly effective and efficient, and their noses are regularly able to get past the many thwarting efforts of drug traffickers.

Drug sniffing dog looking for DMT

For example, traffickers will often add distracting scents to their drug shipments. These scents include food products with strong aromas such as coffee, perfumes, animal musk, animal viscera, and even legal drugs.

However, sniffer dogs can reliably detect illicit drugs in over 87% of cases after only 60 seconds of sniffing. This is very impressive and a big part of why those who wage the War on Drugs are able to continue to put up a good fight.

Are Sniffer Dogs Addicted To The Drugs They Seek?

Sniffer dogs are not addicted to any drugs. This is a popular but false myth that is widespread despite holding absolutely no truth.

Drug-addicted dogs would be unable to follow the specific orders given by their masters. They would quickly become unreliable, experience health risks, and their careers would be short. Not to mention that purposefully creating a drug habit in an animal would qualify as cruel and unethical.

From a human, practical, and operation standpoint, drug-addicted sniffer dogs make no sense.