Smelling in Stereo: How Dogs’ Noses Work – Ashley Eleveld

Posted by on Nov 23, 2015 in Education and Information | 0 comments

Smelling in Stereo: How Dogs’ Noses Work – Ashley Eleveld

Anyone who has ever owned a dog knows about the “butt sniff circle”. Mat Jobe argues butt sniffing is in fact the “most popular activity at any dog park in existence”. Many of you know why dogs do this, but do you know how it can determine the age, health, temperament, etc…of another dog simply from sniffing?

Dogs possess 300 million olfactory receptor cells in their noses (compared to humans’ 5 million). And, unlike humans, dogs do not breathe in and out of the same nostrils. Instead, dogs exhale through slits on the sides of their noses, and inhale through their nostrils on the front of their noses. These genetic features allow canines to “smell in stereo”, with each nostril smelling separately, allowing a dog to get a sense of both what a smell is and where it is coming from.

To learn more about how a dog can “see” the world (past, present and even things that can’t be seen at all) watch this entertaining and educational video by Alexandra Horowitz:

How do dogs “see” with their noses?

 So what can you do to care for your pooch’s nose? Check out these articles below to learn more about your dog’s nose, how to care for it and when to alert a veterinarian about possible concerns:

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