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While AKC Scent Work is a relatively new sport, it has become one of the fastest-growing. This low-impact sport is an excellent way to build your dog’s confidence and is great for all dogs no matter their size, breed, age, or ability.

Scent Work is all about your dog’s joy of sniffing. In AKC Scent Work, dogs search for cotton swabs saturated with Birch, Anise, Clove, and Cypress essential oils, and alert their handlers of the scent’s location.

Two of the most common questions for dog owners interested in this sport are:

We recommend you order a preassembled kit online with everything. you’ll need to get started. However, if you want to give Scent Work a try and don’t want to order a preassembled kit online, you can build your own Scent Work kit using these approved supplies. We’ve created a list of 10 items needed in a Scent Work kit so you can get started and practice at home.

Cotton Swabs for Scent Work


In AKC Scent Work, dogs smell for cotton swabs saturated with essential oils. Without key products, like cotton swabs, the sport wouldn’t be possible. These specific cotton swabs are made with organic, highly absorbent cotton, and are 100 percent biodegradable. The swabs are also 100 percent cruelty-free, and hypoallergenic. In accordance with AKC requirements, you can’t use swabs with plastic stems, only paper stems are allowed.

The 220 reviewers on Amazon gave positive feedback and an average of 4.4 out of five stars. Individuals praise the organic cotton and high quality of the swab. Price: $7

Birch Essential Oil for Scent Work

You can’t forget the essential oils! During a Scent Work trial, dogs sniff out cotton swabs that have essential oil such as Betula lenta (Birch) on them.

Amazon reviewers give the product great feedback and an average of 4.5 out of five stars. Some reviewers who gave five stars say they are using the product to train their dogs. Price: $8

Anise Essential Oil for Scent Work

Dogs must use their nose to find hidden odors including Anise (aniseed, Pimpinella anisum) Essential Oil, which is sweet and smells like licorice.

Customers who have reviewed this product say it was very strong and recommend it. It has an average rating of 4.3 out of five stars based on 16 reviews. Price $7.99

Clove Essential Oil for Scent Work

Another target odor used in Scent Work is Eugenia caryophyllata (clove). This essential oil is 100 percent pure.

With more than 936 Amazon reviews and a rating of 4.6 out of five stars, you can be assured that other customers enjoy this product. Customers say they highly recommend it and love the smell of it. Price: $8

Cypress Essential Oil for Scent Work

Cupressus sempervirens (cypress) essential oil is another target oil and is a must-have in a DIY Scent Work Kit. Cypress essential oil has a fresh evergreen smell and is known to promote vitality and energy.

This product has more than 34,000 reviews, and a 4.3 out of five stars on Amazon. Customers say the essential oil is high quality, highly recommended, and goes a long way. Price: $8

Jars for Scent Work

You’re going to need something to store your cotton swabs, and these handy mini-mason jars are perfect. Since glass is one of the least porous materials, it helps contain the essential oil scent. This set includes 25 glass jars and lids. It has many positive reviews on Amazon, and customers who left reviews say the jars were well packed, arrived intact, and were overall very satisfied with the product. Price: $25

Metal Tins for Scent Work

In Scent Work, cotton swabs are placed inside metal tins which are then hidden for the dog to find. These specific metal tins come with screw-top lids, are made of aluminum, and have no sharp edges. You will need to drill or poke holes in the lid. The 30 customers who left Amazon reviews praised the product. Price: $9

Scent Work Tweezers

Your Scent Work kit isn’t complete without the little things — like tweezers. You’ll need tweezers to put essential oils on your swabs without contaminating scents. The three people who left reviews for these tweezers on Amazon gave five out of five stars. They say they are well-built and an excellent product at a low price. Price: $4

10-Foot Dog Leash For Scent Work

Per Scent Work rules, dogs are required to enter and exit the search area on a leash. The leashes are required to be made of plain, pliable material. While any size leash is permitted, dogs need room to find hidden odors and alert you when they do. These leashes are a perfect size at 10 feet and meet all the requirements.

The 15 people who gave reviews on Amazon provided an average of 4.2 out of five stars. Customers say the leash is lightweight, high-quality, and sturdy. Price: $11

Sport Dog Harness for Scent Work

ComfortFlex Sport Harness (m, Bordeaux)The Comfortflex harness is very popular in the sport of Scent Work. It is easy to put on and take off, does not restrict movement, and comes in a wide variety of colors. Per Scent Work regulations, dogs must wear a properly fitted collar or harness approved by the judge. The harness will be constructed of plain, pliable material and will be designed so that there is minimal restriction of the dog’s movement. No special training tools, such as electronic collars, prong collars, head halters, or no-pull harnesses will be permitted during the search. Price: $35

Scent Work Carrying Case

Once you have all of your supplies, you’re going to need something to carry your items in. This cute dog makeup bag is perfect for a Scent Work Kit and every dog lover. This specific case is easy to clean, waterproof, and the right size to store your entire kit.

All five reviewers on Amazon gave five out of five stars. Customers call this bag cute and roomy. Price: $22
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