Updated at: 14-06-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Dogs have a great sense of smell and they can be easily trained to detect specific smells. This is why some dog breeds are used by most law enforcement agencies across the world including border officials, customs, and police. Sniffing dogs have been trained to pick out specific scents and they can undergo training to help them detect anything that has an odor.

Highly trained dogs are very accurate and they have been known to detect several different objects and drugs through the ability to smell. But can drug dogs detect unorthodox marijuana products like vape cartridges? This article will provide everything you need to know about drug dogs and whether they can smell vape cartridges.

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Can Drug Dogs Smell Vape Cartridges?

Can Drug Dogs Smell Vape

We all know that drug dogs can detect vape cartridges if they have been trained to specifically sniff out whatever the cartridge contains. However, sniffer dogs cannot smell through airtight containers or vacuum-packed containers that are made of glass. No smell will escape if the seal is airtight and this means that the dog will not have anything to smell.

Plastic wrappings and containers are porous and the odor will escape even if they are well sealed or vacuum packed. Furthermore, the outside wrappings may also contain minute traces of the package contents. There is a very high likelihood of transference that may cause dogs to detect any smell of contraband products.

How Can Dogs Smell Weed?

During their training, dogs learn to recognize two to five substances. A customs dog can be trained to specifically identify cannabis or THC. This means that if you have a vape or cartridge that has any of these contraband substances, then sniffer dogs will find them. It will just be the same way if the dog was trained to detect nicotine.

A sniffer dog will still identify a combination of drugs that are mixed in liquid form. The sense of smell of dogs can interpret distinct smells from parts of the same thing or even different areas. Keep in mind that the dog’s ability to smell vape cartridges mainly boils down to their training. Most sniffer dogs are trained to detect dangerous substances like explosives and hard drugs.

What Makes Drug Sniffing Dogs So Effective?

The sense of smell for dogs is considerably stronger when compared to humans. This allows dogs to track and even detect a wide range of items and even animals. For years, dogs have been used as working animals because of their unique smelling ability and they have been ingrained as true tools and companions both in ancient and modern settings.

Dogs have an ability to smell about 10,000 times more sensitive compared to humans. This is enabled by their over 50 times more scent receptors. However, not all dogs will have the same ability to track scents. Some breeds like German Shepherds, Labradors, and Bloodhounds are exceptionally skilled when it comes to hunting down trained scents. Some breeds even have the ability to smell sickness or even emotion in humans.

Can You Trick a Drug Dog?

Can Drug Dogs Smell Vape 2

It is difficult to trick a sniffer dog that has been specifically trained to detect drugs like marijuana. This is because the smell is very distinctive and it is difficult for anyone to hide. Regardless of who well you pack your drugs, they will still leak out some odors and will be detected.

If the banned products have been stored for some time, there is even a higher chance that highly trained dogs can easily detect the smell. Pet animals may cause some form of distraction for the sniffer dogs, however, they cannot fool a well-trained dog. Furthermore, most dog handlers will request you to remove your dog from the vehicle or the search area. Additionally, strong scents like deer urine may also act as a distraction for the drug-sniffing dogs. However, this cannot prevent them from detecting drugs or other scents they have been trained to detect.


Whether you are traveling through an airport or you are pulled over for a routine traffic check, it can be a nerve-wracking experience if you have cannabis products with you. Drug sniffer dogs will smell for vape pens and cartridges based on what is in the cartridge. These dogs can be signaled to detect whatever products or objects they have been trained for by the law enforcement agencies and this includes cannabis and nicotine.

With their specialized training and highly sensitive noses, drug dogs can easily sniff out vape and they cannot be easily fooled either. However, if they have not been trained to do so or they are not looking for vape cartridges then they will not detect them.

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