Whether you have a Bloodhound searching for clues or a Cockapoo leaving sniff marks in the butter (gotta clear off that table fast!), it’s very likely that your pet’s nose has made an impression. Dogs have incredible noses that leave our sniffers in the dust. While most humans rely especially heavily on sight to function, dogs usually rely very heavily on their sense of smell to navigate and understand their world. Through the power of smell, they detect not only what is present in their environment, but they learn about the recent history and even the immediate future (smelling a visitor before anyone else is aware that they are about to arrive, for example.)
A dog’s nose is adapted to serve multiple functions. Perhaps most notably is the sense of smell. Additionally, that wet nose helps to cool the dog. While it’s not as efficient as humans sweating, dogs do sweat from their paw pads and secrete mucous from their noses, as well as panting behavior to cool off. Since this is such a small wet area for such a large animal, it’s important to keep in mind the ways to protect your pet from the dangers of heat stroke. The other function is respiration – dogs breathe through their noses! Dog noses can separate air so that some air is devoted to breathing and some remains present near the organs that detect aromatic particles. Some short-faced breeds, like Pugs, may have some troubles related to breathing and they are especially susceptible to overheating.
Dogs Smell in Stereo
While we generally just smell whatever is present as a single perception, dogs’ noses (and brains) allow for a more refined detection of scent particles. They are able to detect differences from one nostril to the next, just as we detect differences in sounds from one ear to the other or the slight differences from one eye to another to enhance our perception of depth.
A Dog’s Nose Can Smell 100,000x Better Than a Human’s
The 300 million olfactory receptors in a dog’s nose makes our measly 6 million look pretty pathetic by comparison. And it’s not just a difference in receptors – dog’s brains have more of their volume dedicated to processing smell than ours do.