A dog’s sense of smell compared to your average person is simply off the scale. In fact it’s often quoted in statistic that our scenting receptors are more than 44 times as strong as a human’s. However did you know a dog’s nose is flexible and we also have scent memory?… it’s all built-in and unique.
Besides having a flexible and mobile nose, which we can move around without needing to turn our heads. We also have a shelf behind our nostrils that retains scent molecules when we sniff. This storage system prevents smells being lost when we are breathing out and it enables us to retain and analyze scents.
We also have a highly developed vomeronasal organ, say that fast! Basically it’s an additional sensor formed of two sacs at the base of the septum. Now this vomeronasal organ is found in many other animals, but not often in such a developed state. We mainly use this organ to detect the presence of pheromones, (the chemical messages that are carried between individuals of the same species.) So as a dog I can smell to a much more refined degree than people, I can also take in a lot of information about other dogs by reading their scent.
What Scents do dogs like?
Now naturally I love the smell of a roasting chicken, and can go bonkers when burgers are being made that is a no brainer. However we do love strong scents that you humans think are disgusting. For example fox poo or an old dead fish are fantastic to smell and if I can find a way of transferring these smells onto my coat, I’ll do it!
Speaking of strong scents that people like to transfer onto themselves, like perfume for example, we dogs dislike it just as much. Try offering your dog a wrist that you’ve just sprayed with your favorite product, and watch our face scrunch up too.
Degrees of Smell depends on the breed
Just like people, we dogs have varying degrees of scent-awareness. As a beagle I belong to the group of scent-hounds, and we have the strongest sense of smell and my cousin the bloodhound is believed to have the most refined scenting of us all. Hunting and retrieving dogs score high too when it comes to sniffing out a good scent. However even the least scent-aware dog has a stronger and more sensitive sense of smell than a number of other animals, not just human.FYI…do you know that when I get on a scent, that my sight and hearing shut down? All I want to do is track that scent and I can’t hear you or see you shouting at me to come. That’s why sometimes its important to keep us on a lead so our nose does not get us in trouble!