A Dog’s Sense of Smell
The most important sense that dogs possess is their sense of smell. Dogs have anywhere from 200 to 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose, while humans have only about 5 million. This means that a dog’s sense of smell is 40 times more developed than ours. For this reason, dogs rely greatly on smell to perceive and relate to the world around them.
There are many smells that dogs pick up that go unnoticed by humans. Studies have shown that a dog is able to communicate through smell and can detect a person’s mood and health through smell.
Dogs are also able to recognize and precisely detect objects through their sense of smell. For example, if you were to throw a ball into a sink full of similar balls, your dog would be able to recognize the ball you threw by smelling the sweat residue left on the ball you touched.
This great sense of smell has made dogs an essential part of search and rescue operations. Dogs have been true heroes in times of natural disaster by finding people stuck under buildings and rubble. Police also use dogs regularly to help detect illegal substances and explosives. Some popular breeds used for this task are Labrador Retrievers, English Springer Spaniels, German Shepherds, Beagles, Bloodhounds and English Cocker Spaniels.
Dogs also rely strongly on their sense of smell for procreating. When a female is in heat, she will secrete pheromones that possess smells that sexually stimulate male dogs.
In conclusion, a dog’s sense of smell is not only a prominent sense aiding the species, but it is also essential for helping humans in very important circumstances.