Dogs have more than 100 million sensory receptor sites in their nasal cavity. In comparison, humans have 6 million sensory receptor sites in their nasal cavity. The canine brain has an area devoted to perceiving odours that is 40 times larger than that of the human brain.
It is estimated that dogs can smell between 1000 – 10,000 times better than people, which is why dogs can sniff out and detect illegal drugs, cancerous cells, and explosives so effectively.
Unlike humans, dogs have an additional olfactory tool call the Jacobsens organ that increases their ability to smell. This secondary olfactory system is specifically designed to recognize chemical changes.
Dogs communicate and navigate through life with the same amount of dependency on smell as humans do on vision. Since dogs move their nostrils independently, they can determine the direction that an odour is coming from, allowing them to use their nose as a compass.
Dogs use their sense of smell to identify many things. Some things on the list include – local territory, chemical emotions of people who are anxious or scared, pheromones of a selected mate, their birth mother, your birth mother and more!
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Written by: Carly T