While we rely on our eyes, our pups rely on their noses
Just like humans, dogs have all the senses – sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.
But unlike us, a dog’s sense of smell is far more precise. In fact; this is their most powerful sense.
The science behind a dog’s sense of smell
In every nose, there are “receptors” – these are the things that help us smell. And while we have around 6 million, dogs’ noses have up to 300 million.
This explains why a dog’s sense of smell is so incredible!
Did you also know that dogs brains are 40% more stimulated by scents than humans? This means that they process smells in 40% more detail than we do.
As well as this, our pups even have an extra organ for sniffing! It’s called the “Jacobson’s organ” – located in the nasal passage, and it heightens their smell senses.
But why are dogs’ noses so smart?
While our furry pals are now accustomed to cuddles and care from humans, this wasn’t always the case. Dogs’ were originally wild animals – and still are in some parts of the world.
So it really all comes down to biology. Dogs’ sense of smell is more heightened than ours because of their instinctual behaviour.
In order to survive, wild dogs’ smell predators, as well as hunt and sniff out food and water. As, after all, dogs’ are descended from wolves, and wolves can sniff out prey from miles away!
So what can dogs’ smell?
Dogs’ noses can pick up anything from a fellow pup down the road to human emotion. It’s quite amazing really.
Puppies and people
One of the most noticeable traits in our pups is human recognition.
Have you ever noticed that your pup will be standing happily at your gate when you arrive home? They can smell you as soon as you’re close by.
A dog’s sense of smell is so reliable that they don’t need to see you to know it’s you. In fact, blind dogs will quite easily recognise their owner with their noses.
The same goes for strangers. Dogs’ noses know when a new person is on the scene – and this is why many of our pups stand at the gate barking constantly.
Furry friends and food
As humans, we can of course smell yummy – or not-so-yummy – food. But have you ever noticed your pup tries to eat things that aren’t food? Your moisturiser, for example?
When it comes to dogs’ sense of smell, if it smells yummy it goes in the tummy.
And because dogs can’t differentiate between edible and non-edible foods, we need to be careful not to leave yummy-smelling things around that our pups could mistake for food.
Dogs’ and danger
Now, although pups may not know the difference between food and moisturiser, they are very intelligent in other areas.
For example, dogs’ noses can sense danger. Dogs’ smell the chemical reactions that occur in human and animal brains. So if they detect negative emotions, they will make themselves alert – and not just to protect themselves, but to protect you; their best friend.