The Dog Nose 101: Understanding A Dog’s Sense Of Smell

December 1, 2019


Humans have a difficult time understanding how other species’ senses work, as we’re used to thinking that everything human is “the best thing ever.”

Our four-legged best friends have an amazing olfactory ability, and some breeds are better at it than others.

To help you fully understand how a dog’s nose works, we’ll try to explain it in the easiest way possible – by comparing your dog’s sense of smell to your own.

You dog’s nose dominates its brain, and it’s the best tool for interpreting the world around it. You, as a human, depend on your sight to get around, while a dog uses its smell – and it gains as much information with its nose as you do with your eyes.

How Does It Work?

Both humans and dogs have bony scroll-shaped plates called turbinates, which consist of a spongy membrane packed with scent-detecting cells. As air passes over the turbinates, the cells transport the information to the nerves, which the transport the information to the brain.

And this is where things start to differ: a human has about one square inch of odor analyzing cells, while a dog may have as much as 60 square inches or those cells. Of course, the size of this surface varies among breeds, but even breeds with the smallest and flat-nosed faces can detect odor way better and way faster than the average human.

Identifying Scents

Every breed’s nose is specialized in identifying scents, and the percentage of the brain that’s devoted to analyzing smells is as 40 times larger than a human’s. In fact, all dogs can identify odors between 1000 and 10000 times better than human beings can.

The Nose Print

A dog’s nose print is consisted of a pattern of ridges and dimples that are as individual and unique as your own fingerprints. Kennel clubs and various companies that serve dog owners are now registering nose prints as a way of identifying and help locate stolen or lost pooches!

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