WHY YOUR DOG SMELLS BETTER THAN YOU

Close up image of chihuaha face

A dog’s sense of smell is about 1,000 to 10,000,000 times more sensitive than a human’s (depending on the breed). While you have about 5 million scent glands, a dog, depending on the breed, has anywhere from 125 million to 300 million making your dog’s sense of smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than yours. And the part of a dog’s brain that is used to analyze smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than a human’s.

Dogs’ noses function quite differently from ours. When we inhale, we smell and breathe through the same airways within our nose. When dogs inhale, a fold of tissue just inside their nostril helps to separate these two functions.

Dogs also have a second olfactory capability, due to the Jacobson’s organ, an organ not found in human. Also called the vomeronasal organ, it’s located in the bottom of a dog’s nasal passage and picks up a variety of pheromones, the chemicals unique to each animal species that signal mating readiness and other sex-related details.

So how good is a dog’s sense of smell? If we used the sense of sight as an analogy, it means that what you can see 1/3 of a mile away, your dog could see 3,000 miles away.

We might notice a teaspoon of sugar in our cup of coffee- A dog can detect that teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water. Or one rotten apple in two million barrels.

Face of a tan and white dog with a cute nose.

Cute face, cute nose! At Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic.

A drug sniffing dog detected 35 pounds of marijuana that was packed in a plastic container and submerged in a gas tank filled with gasoline.

A cancer-sniffing dog kept returning to a spot on a patient’s skin that doctors had declared cancer-free. A subsequent biopsy confirmed there was melanoma in a small fraction of the cells.

What does this super sense of smell mean for your family dog’s behavior?

It’s why male dogs that have not been neutered can pick up a scent and follow their nose to the receptive female that might be nowhere in the neighborhood.

It’s why your dog knows there’s a treat sitting on a table that is too high up for him to ever be able to see it.

It’s why the local fire hydrant and/or tree, acts as Fido’s Facebook- letting all the dogs know who’s been by.

Yellow fire hydrant.

Facebook for Dogs in San Tan Valley, waiting for someone to come along and “post” on its time line.

 

 

Have a question about your pet or its behavior?  Contact us at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic by texting or calling  480-987-4555

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270 East Hunt Hwy, Ste. #4
San Tan Valley, AZ 85143
480-987-4555