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March 27, 2013

How Strong Is A Dog’s Sense Of Smell?

It’s no secret that dogs have an outstanding sense of smell, but recently I decided to do a bit more research to find out just how powerful the canine nose is. In a store loaded with dog food, Eko somehow knew from two aisles over

It’s no secret that dogs have an outstanding sense of smell, but recently I decided to do a bit more research to find out just how powerful the canine nose is.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

In a store loaded with dog food, Eko somehow knew from two aisles over exactly where he could find some hidden morsels

Even though I have first hand experience with Eko, I was still blown away to learn that the area of the brain responsible for interpreting smell is forty times bigger in dogs than in humans (relative to brain size).  And while humans have a paltry five million smell-sensitive receptors, dogs can have up to three-hundred million.  This all adds up to an estimate that a dog’s sense of smell is between one-hundred thousand to one million times more powerful than humans!

Windy City Bandit

Now I don’t feel so bad that Eko can still find the treats I hide from sight

Try as we might, humans just can’t compete with a dog’s nose.  And boy, have we tried.  Despite all our advances in modern medical technology, studies show that a trained dog’s sense of smell is the most effective form of screening for some types of cancer.

And – make sure you’re sitting down for this one – the Pentagon recently spent over $19 billion to research and develop a next-generation bomb detector.  Humbled, and with his pockets $19 billion lighter, the head of the program admitted, “Dogs are the best detectors.”  In fact, dogs performed nearly twice as well as the best devices the Pentagon developed.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

And certainly no amount of money could build you a better treat detector than Eko

The more I learn about dogs and the more I learn about people, the more convinced I am that Warren Bennis’ famous prediction will come true:

“The factory of the future will have two employees: a man and a dog.  The man’s job will be to feed the dog.  The dog’s job will be to prevent the man from touching any of the automated equipment.”

Hm, now that I think about it, this is kind of how things work in my apartment already!

Comments for How Strong Is A Dog’s Sense Of Smell?

  1. They should give me the 19 billies, because I guessed it :o) I can smell things for miles, specially “hot dogs” :o) I love the first picture, reminds me of my mom in her special store :o)

  2. Evelyne says:

    yes, they do have a powerful sense of smell. Yet, they don’t hesitate to lick their own parts or drink from the toilet, go figure! I always thought that human taste was more related to smell than to the sensors in the tongue (those can only detect salt, sugar, bitter and sour). Dogs just trash that theory! 🙂

    And prepare to be surprised: pigs (yes, pigs) have a sense of smell even greater than dogs! And are often smarter too!!!

    I bet you’ll think about that next time you eat bacon, lol!

    http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Pigs.htm

  3. emma says:

    I am a scent hound so I know all about noses and smelling…it is pretty amazing how bad a human nose is!

  4. hehehe I can smell a treat from miles away:-)

  5. Delft says:

    Dogs also have fantastically acute hearing. Just try rustling the bag of treats / chocolate paper etc.

  6. onebluedog says:

    Hehehe, I just love that picture of Eko in the pet store 🙂

  7. dogdaz says:

    Love the picture of him on the stairs by the frig. This is oh so true. Best smell detectors in the world.

  8. I’m fascinated by the fact that dogs can detect cancer. It blows my mind.

  9. Marcela says:

    Lol. What an adorable tushy:)

  10. […] How Strong Is A Dog's Sense Of Smell?. […]

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