What is your dog's most valued sense? Hearing? seeing? Nope, smelling.
Dogs have told me more times than I can count, that they can lose their hearing, lose their eyesight, but as long as their sense of smell works, they can manage life just fine.
How many elderly dogs do you know who are deaf, blind, can barely hobble around, but are still happy to be alive, relish every meal, and can even find their favorite ball or toy?
I have read that dogs have at least 250 MILLION olfactory cells in their noses. We only have 5 million! Does that mean that scents and odors are just stronger to a dog's nose? Nope. As an animal communicator, I have been told by countless dogs that these olfactory cells of theirs help them smell in 3D. They have a greater spectrum of smell than we do, so they can smell much more subtle scents than we can even imagine, even those 12 miles away or under water.
Disease and Crime Detection
Most of us are aware that Bloodhounds have been employed to track missing people for centuries. We now see "sniffing dogs" in airports and other ports of entry as they search out contraband products, drugs, ivory, rhino horn, live animals and other illegal substances being smuggled. Bomb sniffing dogs have saved thousands of lives. All of these canine heroes are true partners.
Did you know that medical personnel have coordinated with Border Collies to identify necrotic tissues in patients to help pinpoint cancerous cells? And that law enforcement professionals have found that Border Collies can locate dead bodies at the bottom of lakes? Add those talents to being excellent herding dogs and agility champs.
Here's a fun fact, there's' a component in our sweat, "butyric acid." If you put the 135-square-mile city of Philadelphia under a 300-foot-high enclosure, evaporated a gram of butyric acid, and let a dog in, the average dog would still be able to detect the odor.* How's that for a sensitive nose?
Many dogs are excellent at anticipating seizures in their humans. They can smell subtle chemical changes in the person's body and brain that precede seizures. Many humans have been forced to sit or lie down by their beloved dog. Puzzled by this unusual behavior the first time it happens, the human quickly comes to realize that their dog was keeping them safe until the seizure passes. Now assistance dogs have been trained to communicate what they're sensing in a way the human understands and can respond immediately.
So, next time you're out walking with your beloved dog, try to sniff along. Imagine the smells you'd smell if you were she!
with Love, Your Voice of Animals,
Next up: The amazing CAT nose!
*Source: "Dogster" online