6 interesting facts about a dog’s nose
June 5, 2019
Almost everyone knows that dogs have an extraordinarily developed sense of smell. They can smell stuff our human noses aren’t even near to perceive, which oftentimes results in funny or rather disgusting scenes. Who isn’t familiar with their dog going crazy over an ordinary looking piece of grass, or another dog’s poo? In any case, things that look disgusting or weird to us humans, are quite normal for our canine friends. In order to get acquainted with your dog’s smelling preferences, here are some interesting facts about your dog’s olfactory system.
1. Your dog’s sense of smell is about 100.000 times more developed than your own
Dogs rely on their noses more than anything else. As such, they can even become depressed without the full function of their noses. It’s their nose that tells your dog that you just came home, where you have been spending your time and with whom. To illustrate this enormous difference: humans have around 5 million receptors in order to be able to smell, whilst dogs have one thousand to ten thousand more nasal receptors. For example; a dog well known for sniffing out the tiniest bit of info is the Bloodhound. Bloodhounds have an average of 300 million receptors. Sort of beats our tiny human amount of 5 million, doesn’t it?
2. Dog scan literally smell in 3D!
As a human, you can see in 3D because both your eyes generate a total of two different views of the world. Dogs can do the same, but not just with their eyes: they manage equally with their noses. A dog’s nose picks up different scents with each nostril, which in turn are combined in their brain in order to generate something similar to a 3D road map. It tells your dog exactly where all the interesting smells are situated in their environment.
3. Dogs have a vomeronasal organ
Say what? In more simple language, the vomeronasal organ is an olfactory sense organ found in certain animals. This special organ contains sensory neurons, which can detect chemical stimuli. These chemical stimuli mostly consist of pheromones, which can be described as tiny bits of info that are shared between individuals of corresponding species. The vomeronasal organ is important in the process of reproduction between dogs, amongst other things. It is a very important aspect of canine behaviour and general canine physiology.
4. Dogs can breathe in and out at the exact same moment
Us humans breathe in sequences. Even special breathing techniques like used in meditation are always focused on two aspects: breathing in and breathing out. Usually, we try to take as much time as possible for both, since it can help us relax and be in the moment. But our dogs do things a bit differently! While your dog is sniffing out the world, their nose creates a continuous movement of airflow. The air can move in and at the same time, move out. This also explains the sounds a dog makes when sniffing, which is much faster than the sound humans make when breathing.
5. Your dog’s nose has evolved throughout time
Dogs have relied on their noses since, well, since dogs came to exist. Dogs don’t just use their noses for smelling out stuff but rely on their nose to find their mates, create healthy pups, sniff out the best food and replenishments and also to avoid predatory species. The fact that your dog’s nose is so sensitive is the result of an evolutionary process spanning hundreds (if not thousands) of years.
6. A dog’s nose has not one, but two important functions
A dog doesn’t only use its nose for smell, but also for respiration. Your dog’s nose can separate the air it breathes, meaning that one part is used for smelling and sensing, whilst the other part is used for breathing. In the end, maybe this last fact is not that interesting since us humans do the exact same thing. Then again; our dogs can smell 100 things at a time, while we usually only manage one or two smells at once.
All in all; our dogs are quite extraordinary, just like their noses! So always be careful with your canine’s nose. They are very sensitive, so make sure you never put too much stress on their smelling abilities. Using a lot of perfume or heavy chemicals when cleaning the house can upset them, so it’s best to temporarily let your dog out for a bit when feeling the need to use these products. Or maybe not use them at all; your own nose will benefit from some temperance as well!