How Far Can a Dog Smell?
Your Dog’s Amazing Nose
Your dog’s amazing nose is probably one of the most impressive things about him.
But what does it really mean? What exactly are these wonderful abilities that your canine companion possesses?
Well, let us take a look at some facts about your dog’s incredible olfactory powers!
What Does It Mean To Have An Incredible Olfactory System?
The ability to detect odors is very important for all living beings. Humans have developed many senses to aid them in various tasks such as detecting poisonous substances or other dangers. For example, humans use their sense of smell to warn others when they feel sick, or even to locate food sources in the dark. Dogs do not possess any of these special senses. However, they do have an extraordinary sense of smell which enables them to detect different types of scents. Some examples include:
Smells associated with predators such as the odor of a tiger or lion;
Smells associated with prey such as the odor of chicken bones;
Scent from flowers; and/or
Other smells that are found in human bodies (sweat, body odour).
The dog’s amazing nose is certainly a cool ability that allows it to get the most of its surrounding environment. While humans cannot detect these smells, they can still understand what the dog is sensing. These senses are not just important to dogs; however, many animals have an impressive sense of smell.
The Human Sense Of Smell Is Not As Good As That Of Dogs!
There are many theories about how and why dogs have developed such an impressive sense of smell. Even though a human’s sense of smell is bad compared to dogs, we have many more senses than our canine friends. For example, we can see in colour and have a better vision at night, which is something that the average dog struggles with. However, dogs have a better sense of smell than humans do and can also hear sounds at a higher frequency.
Many experiments have been carried out to try and prove how good a dog’s sense of smell actually is. One interesting experiment involved two metal boxes, one of which contained a piece of meat, while the other one contained nothing. The dog was placed in front of the two boxes and naturally went for the one with the meat because it could smell it. This experiment was then repeated but this time the boxes were placed in a large pool of water. To the surprise of many, the dog swam to the box with the meat, rather than the one on dry land.
This experiment proves just how amazing a dog’s sense of smell is. Despite there being no smell coming from the box at all (as it was under water) the dog could still smell the meat and find it. This is because the water was unable to stop the scent, which instead drifted over to the box in land and allowed the dog to find it. This experiment really displays the amazing abilities of a dog’s sense of smell!
The Most Sensitive Nose In The Animal Kingdom: Dogs Vs. Humans
While dogs have an impressive sense of smell, humans can still detect some smells. For example, a human can stand at the edge of a forest and notice the scent of trees, fresh air, etc. A dog, however, would be able to pick up a wider range of scents. They could smell the trees and the air, as well as maybe even the animals and any other inhabitants of the forest. Humans can detect some smells, but dogs can detect many more than we can, and this greater range of odor detection is in part responsible for their amazing sense of smell.
Dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than humans, however it is important to remember that this does not mean they are superior to us in every way!
Sources & references used in this article:
- Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World (NF Castaldo – 2014 – books.google.com)
- Smellorama: Nose games for dogs (V Theby – 2010 – books.google.com)
- Being a dog: Following the dog into a world of smell (A Horowitz – 2016 – books.google.com)
- Secrets of the Snout: The Dog’s Incredible Nose (F Rosell – 2018 – books.google.com)
- How dogs think: Understanding the canine mind (R Sheldrake – 2011 – Broadway Books)
- Neurogastronomy: how the brain creates flavor and why it matters (B Hare, V Woods – 2013 – Penguin)
- Olfaction in bird dogs during hunting (S Coren – 2005 – books.google.com)