Everything You Want to Know About How a Dog’s Sense of Smell Works

While dogs may look cute and fluffy, they actually have a great sense of smell. A dog’s sense of smell helps and guides it through the day. Generally, a dog’s nose functions a lot better compared to people. This is because dogs have more olfactory receptors inside their noses. But what other things should you know about how your dog’s sense of smell works?

Dogs Rely on their Sense of Smell

A dog brain and a human brain differ in a way where the human brain has a bigger visual cortex compared to a dog’s brain. The dog brain has a larger olfactory cortex compared to humans. The olfactory cortex functions and processes the sense of smell, which explains the heightened sense.

While humans observe the world through their eyes, dogs experience and perceive the world through their sense of smell. Dogs also have another olfactory system that is located at the roof of its mouth. This is called the vomeronasal or Jacobson’s organ. This organ helps dogs sense things that cannot be seen, such as emotions, or whether another animal or stranger can potentially be either friendly or dangerous. This also helps dogs identify potential partners or mates as well.

Fun Fact: Dog Noses Are Wet for a Reason

You’ve probably noticed that your dog’s nose is always wet. Dogs’ noses have a layer of mucus that helps them capture scent particles. Dogs can also smell independently from each nostril. This way, your dog is able to determine which side or direction the smell may be coming from.

We recommend paying close attention to your dog’s nose. If it’s more wet than usual or seems unusually dry, it could be a sign that you need to take your furry friend to the vet.

What Can Dog’s Smell? A Dog’s Smelling Abilities

Since dogs have a heightened sense of smell, their great abilities can help people. Have you noticed dogs helping with various tasks that not every human can easily accomplish? What are some of the great things dogs can achieve or help with through their strong sense of smell?

  1. Tracking Scents – Since dogs are made to live and rely on their noses, they certainly have better olfactory skills compared to humans. Some dogs help with tracking people, especially missing ones and even criminals on the run. Dogs are also capable of working and using their sense of smell in stressful environments, which makes them even better when it comes to tracking the trail or unfamiliar persons.
  2. Finding Explosives and/or Drugs – Dogs can also be seen working with or helping security, military, or police track potentially dangerous items such as drugs and explosives. Dogs can be trained to detect explosives before explode, which can be very helpful to humanity. Dogs aren’t just a man’s best friend, they can even help other people as well!

To put it simply, your dog’s nose and sense of smell is an incredible gift and tool for both your pet and you. Allow your dog to sniff around and use its nose. Help it engage and experience new scents wherever you are!


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