A dog’s nose is very different to ours. They smell and sense the world in a completely different way to us. Most of us view the world predominately through our eyes where as a dog does it through their nose. They know so much more than we think and their nose has a lot to do with that.
So let’s have a look at what a dog nose.
A Dog’s Strong Sense of Smell
A dog’s sense of smell is more than 1000 times more sensitive than humans.
Dog’s noses can have up to 300 million olfactory receptors compared to about 6 million in people. The part of the brain in dogs that process smell is also much, much larger in proportion than it is in humans.
The Dog Nose How to Find You and More
Dogs have been used in tracking for over 100s of years by man. First used for hunting, search and rescue and more recently trained to detect diverse odours such as narcotics, explosives and more.
Different breeds of dogs sniff in various ways. For example, a Beagle will follow air and ground scent with their nose mainly pointing to the ground and a German Shepherd tends to smell the air-scent with their head up rather than keeping their nose to the ground. A Blood Hound’s nose is able to trace smells over 300 hours old. There’s also a bit more to nose here. The Blood Hound’s floppy ears help them smell by fanning odours up their nostrils and their loose skin also helps trap and retain the scent.
Dogs Picking up the Scent
Alexandra Horowitz, a dog-cognition researcher at Barnard College, writes that while we might notice if our coffee has had a teaspoon of sugar added to it, A dog could detect a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water, or two Olympic-sized pools worth. Diabetic alert dog’s nose picks up on the special scent that is released when their human’s insulin levels drop.
There's More to Their Nostrils Than You Know
A dog’s nose does more than just breathe air in and out. Their nostrils can work independently from each other so one nostril can breathe while the other can smell the scent and break down the odour.
Did you know that a dog’s nose print is thought to be as unique as our fingerprint. I know my dogs have left their unique print many times on my glass doors and windows. How about you?
Dogs Decode PeeMail
Have you ever taken your dog for a walk and they want to stop and sniff every bush or post that another dogs has peed on. That’s because dogs can find out a lot about other dogs through their pee. It can often be referred to as PeeMail, dogs leaving messages for each other. They can determine the sex of the other dog and whether it is a female on heat or if male dogs have been de-sexed. They can also sense other dog’s health and stress levels and even thought to convey another dog’s social status. It would be interesting to know if they can tell if other dogs are large or not. Because I know many tiny dogs that see themselves as six foot tall with a big attitude.
You Can’t Fool Your Dog’s Nose
Dogs smell your fear. When we fear something or are feeling nervous our heart rate changes and we produce chemicals in our bodies that dogs can smell on our skin. So there is no point trying to pretend in front of our four legged friends because you won’t be fooling them. They also recognise your unique scent under all those products we use on ourselves such as perfume, deodorants and soap.
A Dog Nose How to Greet You
Dogs introduce themselves with their nose. How many times do you feel that wet nose when you meet a new dog? Dogs get to know each other and us through smell. Yes and smelling each others butts is completely normal. This is how they get to know each other and become friends.
Smelling Great or Stinky
Have you ever put on some perfume or deodorant for your dog to turn away or start sneezing. They don’t seem impressed with your smell do they?
Well that being said, have you ever had your dog roll around in delight in something that smells disgusting? I know my dogs have always managed to find that fresh patty of cow manure to roll around on and then to sit up and look so proud and happy. It’s like they are saying “Look at me I smell great!”
What we think smells great may not smell pleasant to dogs and visa versa.
I have found that my dogs love to lie in the garden that is filled with lavendar, wormwood and rosemary. These herbs have volatile oils that can rub off and help prevent fleas and other external parasites as well as making them smell nice!
So there you have it, I hope you know a little more about what your dog nose through this light hearted article.
Hi I'm Sharon Osmond the owner and founder of K9 Swim. The Splash Blog is where I share tips and information on dog's health and safety and some fun facts and stories.