How Does A Dog's Nose Work?

18th April 2018

dog nose

You know your dog can smell its treats before they’ve even reached the bowl, but just how does a dog’s nose work? Simply put, dog noses are way more powerful than our human ones. They also use a lot more brain power to sniff out things that we can’t smell. Here’s a look at how your dog’s nose is perfectly designed for Man’s Best Friend.

Size Matters

Dogs have relatively large noses when their size is compared to the rest of the dog’s face. This isn’t just a cute coincidence of nature, those large noses are filled with more smell receptors than a human nose could ever hold. A human nose has an average of 5 million turbinates, or smell receptors, lining its passageways. A dog has over 300 million nasal turbinates, which means they have a keener sense of smell than any human.

Dogs think about scents more than we do

Because of the huge number of nasal turbinates in a dog’s nose, more of their canine brains are devoted to the sense of smell than human brains do. Human brains can process and differentiate around 4000-10,000 different smells, but dog brains can differentiate between 30,000 and 100,000 scents.

One cool thing about the strength of a dog’s sniffer is the fact that some dogs can actually ‘smell’ medical problems such as impending seizures, low blood sugar, and even the presence of cancerous cells in the body.

They can smell in different directions

Dog noses may be cute, but they’re also designed with function in mind. The slits on a dog’s nostrils are positioned in such a way as to allow dogs to smell directionally. They can sniff things from the front and exhale to the sides simultaneously. This allows dogs to constantly bathe their nasal receptors in new scents, making them keen and picking up and maintaining a scent trail. Their continuous sniffing means they never have to take a break from smelling their environment.

Dog noses aren’t just one of the cutest things about your four-legged friend, they’re also one of the cleverest.

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