Understanding A Dog’s Sense of Smell

A dog’s sense of smell is a pretty remarkable thing capable of some crazy stuff. If you think of a dog’s sense of smell the same way you think of a human’s sense of smell, you are way off on how accurately you are representing the dogs.  Comparatively, to a dog’s sense of smell, we have almost no sense of smell at all.

Both humans and dogs have scent receptors called Turbinates. These are the things that pick up on the scents around us and register them in our brain and subconscious. To understand a dog’s sense of smell, you simply need to understand how many turbinates are in a dog’s sense of smell, and how many turbinates us humans have. First, a visual cue. If you unfolded all of our turbinates, you could have something the size of a postage stamp in your hand. If you were to unfold a dog’s turbinates, you would be holding something the size of a piece of white paper. Understanding the difference better now?

Another way I can word this, a human has 500 scent receptors. A Bloodhound has 300 million scent receptors. Does that put it more in perspective for you? So maybe, if you have a dog, you will think about this and maybe stop having 20 different scented candles all around your home. Imagine what that must do to their noses?

(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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