We all know that dogs have an impressive sense of smell. On the surface, your little buddy’s nose looks cute, wriggling, and wet, but it’s a powerful device that guides him a lot in his pretty impressive ways. Science has been learning all kinds of things about the power of dogs’ sense of smell, and here are some amazing facts:
- A dog’s sense of smell is a lot stronger than humans’.
Dogs are paws-down winners over humans when it comes to nose sensitivity. They have 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, while humans only have about 6 million. It’s impossible to quantify how much better a dog’s sense of smell is to man, and some figures say their sense of smell is from 10 to 100 to 1,000, to 100,000 better. Scientists discovered that dogs could detect some odors at concentrations of parts per trillion. It can detect an equivalent of a half teaspoon of sugar in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
- We smell stinky to dogs.
Even at our cleanest, having used a lot of soap, deodorant, and perfume, we still smell stinky to dogs. Every person has a unique scent fingerprint, and that’s everything a dog needs to identify one person from another. For dogs, the human armpit creates a profound odor, the breath is a confusing melody of smells, and genitals reek. The unique scent of the human’s skin is caused by sweat and sebaceous glands, and when we touch objects, we leave a few our odors on them. Your dog recognizes that scent.
- Their nose has two functions.
According to Nappier, a dog’s nose has the ability to separate air. Cool, right? A portion goes directly to its olfactory sensing areas to determine smells, while other parts of the air are dedicated for breathing.
- They can take in and breathe out air at the same time.
Speaking about breathing, dogs’ noses are designed smartly so that air can move in and out at the same time. We humans can only breathe in or breathe out at a time.
- They have a scent-detecting organ that humans don’t have.
Dogs have a vomeronasal organ that helps canines detect pheromones, which are chemicals released by animals and other members of their species. This organ plays an important role in canine reproduction and other aspects of canine behavior.
- They can smell our hormones.
Research shows that it’s quite likely that a dog’s sense of smell can sense fear, sadness, and anxiety. The adrenaline, our flight-or-fight hormone, is undetectable by our noses. We can feel it working, but our dogs can apparently smell it. Fear and anxiety often come with an increased heart rate and blood flow, which sends telltale signs that body chemicals are moving to the surface of the skin. Trying to mask your fear or sadness with a smile may fool other people, but it’s not going to fool a dog’s sense of smell.
- Dogs can pick up smells of different sorts of invisible things.
All throughout the day, humans shed loads of skin flakes, falling like microscopic snowflakes. Humans shed around 50 million skin cells each minute. We don’t see it nor feel it, but these rafts are very visible to our dogs’ noses.
- Dogs learn about each other by sniffing nether regions.
You went to your neighbor’s house with your dog. You talk to them and converse on and on, only to figure out that your dog and your neighbor’s dog are sniffing each other’s butts. When dogs do this, chances are they’re learning far more about each other than you and your neighbor are learning through chitchat. When a dog sniffs another dog, he thinks along the lines of “Oh, you have nice owners, they gave you chicken recently. And you’re about five years old.”
- Humans can benefit humans in terms of safety and security.
We all know that dogs are hired by safety and security authorities like the police and military because of their ability to sniff bombs and contrabands. Dogs have helped police and security for many years, as they can be trained to detect narcotics in packages and luggage, as well as guns and explosives. Some dogs serve as search and rescue dogs and security patrols. They are very helpful in the law and enforcement scene, thanks to their super noses!
- Dogs can smell diseases.
Dogs can give us a heads up about a range of human diseases. Another reason why dogs are a man’s best friend is that they can sniff out cancers and diabetes in people, prompting them to act quickly rather than needing to call for the help of paramedics or be hospitalized when it’s too late. And they’re not just good at detecting human diseases – they can see if a tree is diseased, too. Dogs can smell disease in trees before they show signs of external damage because once we see external symptoms, it’s generally too late to save the tree.