Our precious pooches are full of surprises, especially when it comes a dog’s ability to smell. Did you know that your dog can smell your emotions? We dig into the facts.
Our four-legged furry members of the family rely on their sense of smell to get through their daily lives. Military dogs are used in tracking and detection. Other service dogs are able to detect when their owner is having an epileptic attack or if their sugar levels are dropping too low (for diabetics).
Your dog’s nose
Your dog’s nose is structured differently to your own. But he also has a different method of breathing. For example, each of your dog’s nostrils has a separate opening for breathing in and breathing out. Their nostrils also operate independently. This means that they are able to detect a wide array of smells from different directions.
Here are some other incredible facts about your dog’s ability to smell.
1. Your dog can smell your emotions
Now, this point might seem crazy, but it’s true! In fact, studies have proved this point to be true. Your dog’s nose can detect when you are scared or sad. Experts believe that this is because your dog is able to detect the scent of adrenaline, a common hormone released when we are stressed.
Read more: Why is My Dog Shaking? 8 Reasons Explained
Which means your dog can quite literally smell your fear. When we are scared or stressed, our increased heart rate and blood flow will send distinct body chemicals to your skin’s surface, which allows your dog to sense your emotions almost immediately.
The role of service dogs
This is why some people with emotional disorders and mental health problems seek comfort and companionship from service dogs as they can literally smell stressful events such as anxiety attacks experienced by their humans.
Dogs are also known to smell diseases such as cancer and even malaria. This is because serious conditions such as these leave certain odours that affect the way our body’s smell through our urine, sweat or breath.
Have a look at this article on 6 diseases dogs can detect through their sense of smell
2. Your dog knows your scent and will remember it
Every one of us has a unique scent and best believe your dog can detect it from a mile away. When you provide your dog with love, praise, food and attention they will begin to associate your scent with love and a sense of home. This means that your dog becomes strongly connected to your unique scent.
When you come home and your dog looks up at you with a wiggly wet nose, then he is recognising your smell before even laying eyes on you.
Did you know that when your dog looks like he is smiling when he looks at you, he might just be opening his mouth to take in more of your scent? A smell that is so emotional appealing
3. Your dog loves to get up close & personal to get a good whiff of you
As embarrassing as it may seem (especially when your dog forces his head into your friend’s crotch area) when your dog is sniffing your crotch area, he is just getting to know you on a sensory level.
Your dog’s sense of smell is able to detect pheromones from you and other animals. By sniffing your crotch, your dog is recognising you and greeting you.
Discover: How do I Know My Dog is in Pain? 8 Signs
4. Dogs love to sniff other dogs to get to know them
The same way we ask questions like “what do you do for a living?” or “where did you grow up?” dogs find out personal information about other dogs by sniffing their rear ends.
In fact, your dog can determine another dog’s age just by sniffing their rear or genitals. When your dog ‘marks’ a tree or object, then they are communicating with other dogs who smell this at a later stage. Your dog is simply leaving a little message for other dogs.
5. The breed of your dog determines his sense of smell
Your dog has millions of scent receptors in his nose, but this does not mean that all dogs have the same sense of smell.
Let’s look at some examples
A Dachshund has roughly 125 million olfactory receptors. A Bloodhound has more than double that with 300 million receptors. This is why bloodhounds are used for tracking and hunting. German Shepherds have about 225 million and are a popular breed for service dogs.
Did you know that our noses only have 5 million receptors? How fascinating our precious pooches are!
Yours in Not-so-average Pet Advice,
The Petinsurance.co.za Team