Sniffing 101: Amazing Facts About Your Dog’s Sense of Smell
It’s common knowledge that canines can sniff out just about anything. But do you know how incredible a dog’s sense of smell really is?
From detecting illnesses to assessing moods, pooches can do amazing things just by taking a sniff or two. Keep reading to find out some truly astounding facts about dogs’ sense of smell.
Why Are Dogs’ Noses So Powerful?
A dog’s sense of smell is around 10,000 ‒ 100,000 times stronger than that of humans. People have 6 million olfactory receptors, while pooches have 125 ‒ 300 million! If there is no wind and the overall conditions are pristine, certain dogs can smell something that’s as far as 20 kilometers away.
Their noses discover new worlds, similar to what eyes do for humans. But have you ever wondered what it’s like to rely almost solely on your nose 24/7? If so, the six facts below will answer your question.
6 Amazing Facts About Dogs’ Noses
1. Faking It Won’t Work With Your Dog
Dogs sense fear, stress, and sadness in humans via their sense of smell. So, you will never be able to hide how you’re truly feeling from your pet. When you’re scared or anxious, your body secretes adrenaline, the fight-or-flight hormone, which dogs’ noses detect.
Don’t be surprised if your dog gets clingy when you’re down or upset — they’re just trying to help.
2. Stories Without Words
By sniffing trees in a new neighborhood, your dog discovers which other dogs have been there recently. Dogs get plenty of information with a quick sniff, a lot more than we sometimes do with words.
For example, when they sniff one another, they learn if the other is happy, angry, healthy, friendly, etc. And if they sniff each other’s privates, it means they’d like to get to know the other dog better.
3. Scent Memory
Dogs have extremely well-developed scent memory that enables them to recognize other dogs they hadn’t seen in ages. Dogs will have a few brief nose-to-butt moments and know what the other dog ate, where they’ve been, and what they did. Sniffing is also a helpful tool for remembering dominant dogs in order to stay safe.
4. One Bad Apple Can Spoil the Bunch
This saying doesn’t really apply when you have a dog. Namely, dogs can discover a single rotten apple in two million barrels.
Another example of how powerful their noses are is the fact that canines can smell one teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water. Imagine how handy this ability is for dogs who are trained to detect illegal substances, sniff out explosives, or work in search and rescue.
Dogs aren’t ready to put on their lab coats just yet, but they can be trained to smell certain types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, malaria, etc.
Additionally, trained dogs detect isoprene, a natural chemical in human breath, which sharply increases when blood sugar is low, effectively saving the lives of those affected by diabetes. We could even say that a dogtor’s diagnosis is usually on the nose.
6. Damp Noses
You’ve surely noticed that the outer part of any dog’s nose is usually wet. In fact, a dog’s sense of smell is at its highest when the nose is damp. That is precisely why dogs sometimes lick their noses — to enhance the scent and not miss out on any current events.