Humans have many questions about how they compare to various animals, so the dog’s sense of smell vs humans is a common topic.
There isn’t any question about how much more powerful dog noses are compared to humans, but there are still some curiosities.
This article will break down the facts about dog and human nose capability to paint a clear image of the difference between the two.
Understanding your limits and the capabilities of your organs gives you a new appreciation of nature, so let us get into the details;
Dog Sense Of Smell Vs Human
Dogs, unlike humans, have an extra olfactory organ that improves their sense of smell. The vomeronasal organ (Jacobsen’s organ) is a component of the dog’s olfactory apparatus positioned inside the nose and emerges into the top part of the oral cavity behind the top incisors.
This fascinating organ is a supplementary olfactory system specifically developed for chemical communication.
The nerves from Jacobsen’s organ travel straight to the brain and, unlike the other nerves in the nose, do not respond to common odors.
These nerve cells react to a wide variety of chemicals, many of which have no odor at all. In simpler terms, they seek “undetectable” scents.
Humans don’t have this organ, and it is part of why dog’s sense of smell is so much better. The nose is interfaced with the brain like any other organ, so there aren’t any additional advantages to smelling.
Jacobsen’s organ interfaces with the area of the brain responsible for mating. It gives male and female canines the data they need to know if a dog of the other gender is available for mating by recognizing pheromones.
It also improves a newborn pup’s sense of smell, allowing him to locate his mother’s milk source and distinguish his mom from other nursing pups.
A puppy placed amongst two females will move to the mother who gave birth to him with a short sniff.
Puppies have heat detectors in their noses that assist them in finding their mothers if separated. The nose and Jacobsen’s organ, two elements of the dog’s odor detection system, combine to produce exquisite senses that neither could achieve individually.
When dogs bend their lips and widen their nostrils, they open Jacobsen’s organ, increase the nasal cavity’s exposure to scent molecules, and transform into a highly effective smelling machine.
The nose for dogs has extensive reasons that make it much more important to them than humans. Most humans depend on sight for most stimuli and accompany that with sound, smell, hearing, and touch.
How Powerful Is A Dog’s Nose?
What distinguishes canine noses from human noses? In their noses, they have up to 300,000,000 olfactory receptors, which is insane compared to around 6 million in humans. The part of a pup’s brain used for smell analysis is approximately 40 times bigger.
Dogs also exhibit neophilia, meaning they are attracted to new odors. Dogs have a more delicate sense of smell than even the most sophisticated man-made technology.
Powerful enough to detect chemicals at one part per trillion quantities in a liquid drop in 20 Olympic-size swimming pools. Dogs may be trained to detect bombs and drugs, track down criminals, and locate bodies.
And they’re increasingly being used in experiments to detect human diseases like cancer, diabetes, tuberculosis, and, most recently, malaria based solely on smell.
Dogs’ noses work in a very different way than ours. We smell and breathe using the same passageways in our noses when we inhale. A fold of tissue right within the nostril separates these two processes when dogs inhale.
When we exhale from our nose, we push the used air back in the same direction it came in, driving any incoming scents out. When dogs exhale, the slots in the sides of the noses allow the expelled air to escape.
How the exhaled air flows out significantly aids in introducing new scents into a dog’s nose. More crucially, it enables dogs to sniff continuously.
We can’t wriggle our nostrils on our own. Canines can. Each nostril’s so-called aerodynamic reach is lesser than the space between the nostrils, and this helps dogs figure out which nostril a smell entered.
This helps them pinpoint the origin of smells; we’ve all seen dogs following an intriguing scent swing back and forth along its unseen path.
Human Nose Fun Facts
Reading these astonishing facts about dog noses might have gotten you doubting your place in the food chain.
Not to worry, Mother Nature gave humans some pretty unique gifts regarding their noses. Here are some things you didn’t know about your nose;
1. It contains your breath
You probably already appreciate your breath, but it’s vital since your mouth and nose are the pathways via which air enters and exits your lungs.
The nose is the principal channel in typical everyday breathing. Even during exertion, when mouth breathing takes over, air still goes through your nose.
It’s always fascinating how, although your mouth is a larger tube, people are more uncomfortable when their nostrils are plugged or congested. That is how crucial your nose is.
Nasal breathing is also crucial in newborns, who breathe almost entirely via their noses. A unique characteristic of their neck shape allows them to inhale and feed simultaneously without choking.
2. It moisturizes the air you inhale
The air you inhale is processed by your nose, prepping it for the lungs and throat, which can’t take dry air well.
Because of a multi-layer air path with a trio of turbinates (upper, middle, and lower conchae), breathed air gets hydrated and humidified as it flows through your nose. These are lengthy bony structures that expand and contract due to a layer of tissue covering them.
This is the path where flow and moisture are controlled. If you experience a dry throat, it is possible that the air in this channel was not humidified.
This is also where your voice tone is formed as air travels through and the channel expands or contracts.
3. The nose cleans the air
The air we inhale contains various substances, such as oxygen and nitrogen, small bugs, pollutions, allergies, smoke, dust, bacteria, and viruses. Your nose contributes to its cleaning.
Cells with small hair-like extensions called cilia on the surface of the nasal membranes in your turbinates capture the nasty debris in the air so it doesn’t go into your lungs.
Instead, the waste settles in the mucus before being pushed down your throat and ingested. This is highly advantageous because our stomachs handle nasty particles far better than our lungs.
4. Regulates the temperature of the air you breath
Similarly to how your lungs and throat reject unclean air, they also dislike air that is too chilly or hot.
Air passage through your nose causes the air to warm up closer to your body’s temperature, which your tissues can tolerate better.
Heating cool air in the nostrils is more prevalent than cooling cool air in your nose. This is because humans spend far more time in surroundings below their body temperature of 98.60 than above it.
The best example of this heating and moisturizing action is a cold-weather runny nose. It is caused by the condensation of perspiration in your nose when cold air enters.
5. Your nose protects you through smell
Many brain cells that perceive scents are concentrated in your nose. To smell, the air we breathe has to be drawn all the way up into our lungs to make touch with these nerves.
Taste is heavily influenced by smell. Bitter, sour, sweet, and salty are our four basic tastes. All taste refinements are related to scent. As a result, when people’s capacity to smell is impaired, they perceive food to be tasteless.
The senses of smell and taste are essential for safety. To detect smoke, damaged food, and some harmful toxins or gasses, we use our sense of smell.
6. Smell is essential in identification, memory, and emotion
Smell collaborates with your olfactory bulb, positioned in the front of your brain, directly above your nasal cavity.
It is a portion of your limbic system that is connected with memory. We recognize other people based on our memories of their scent.
When you smell a particular perfume, soap, or body odor, you may recall someone in particular. If it brings back memories and makes you nostalgic and emotional, the limbic system is linked to controlling your brain’s emotional center.
There isn’t a question about it; in the dog sense of smell vs humans’ argument, dogs get the upper hand that’s to thousands of years of evolution.
Dogs can smell up to 100,000 times better than human, depending on the breed and specific dog genes.
Some dogs have a more substantial scent capability than others, primarily because of the shape of their faces.
Belgian Malinois have a much stronger scent than dogs with flat faces like bulldogs. This doesn’t mean that the human nose is inferior; it serves many crucial purposes for us.