Wednesday, July 25, 2012


How good is your dog's sense of smell?  Pretty remarkable considering that...

  • Less than 1% of your brain is used for smell. More than 12% of your dog's brain is dedicatated to olfaction.
  • You have 5 million scent receptors. Your dog has over 300 million.
  • Whereas the scent detecting tissue in the human nose is equal to the size of a postage stamp, your dog's tissue is equal to the surface of her body.  

You smell the fragrance of a flower.
Your dog smells every visitor.
Drug detection dogs have located marijuana  hidden in boxes of dead fish, found cocaine sealed in airtight containers floating in gasoline, and detected drugs in a car parked in a lot with 5000 other cars.

When your dog digs a hole, it's like
reading a history book.  She knows
who was there and when they visited
Arson detection dogs have the ability to smell one drop of fire accelerant, such as gasoline, in 180 gallons of water. That's the equivelant of one drop of water in 6 bathtubs full of water.

How does it work?
Scientists don't fully understand how the canine olfactory system works.  But it's safe to say that dogs see in smell.  The nose and the brain work in unison to process odor.   Your dog has to activate her sniffer to smell something, just like you have to open your eye lids to see something.  When your dog sniffs, she first forces air out to disturb the chemical molecules in the odor which she then pumps back into her nose as she sniffs again.
By sniffing, she is redirecting the odor to flow over the special nasal olfactory cells.  When you see her nostrils pump air in, she is, in effect, carrying messages to her brain where the odor is analyzed and cataloged.

Your dog's nose can even prove her identity in the same way your fingerprints prove yours. 

Look at the distinct patterns of swirls and circles on your dog's nose.  Like fingerprints and snowflakes, no two wet cold noses are ever the same. In some countries, canine nose prints are used to identify lost or stolen dogs.  The Canadian Kennel Club has been doing this since 1938.

To read more about canine olfaction check out this article - What a dogs nose knows

1 comment:

  1. My guy is not a scent hound, but he does know every bush that something else has used and makes sure he leave his scent;) I have noticed that he is using is nose more, now that he is going deaf.