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13 Fun Facts About A Dog’s Sense Of Smell (Updated 2022)

Fun Facts About Dog's Sense Of Smell

Did you know that dogs have superpowers

With their strong sense of smell…

Your furry friend can know a lot of things. 

For one, they smell stuff that we can’t detect.

All thanks to their powerful snoots.

So, let’s talk about the fun side of a dog’s nose.

Continue reading to find out:

  • 13 fun facts about a dog’s sense of smell.
  • 9 different dog breeds with the strongest noses.
  • How dogs can save lives with their sense of smell.
  • And that’s only the beginning…

13 fun facts about a dog’s sense of smell


#1: Sniffing is a handshake in dog language 

Have you ever wondered why dogs sniff each other’s bums? 

You know, when you walk them outside…

And then you run into another dog. Now, your Fido’s all over them. It almost looks like they’re so excited to check out each other’s butts.

While for humans, this scenario feels embarrassing to witness. 

But for dogs? 

Apparently, sniffing each other is like a greeting for them. 

And in human practice, it’s the equivalent of a handshake.

But why does your canine friend have to do this? Is there no other way for them to greet each other? 

The truth is, it’s their best way of getting to know another furry pal. 

“Why can’t they just smell another body part instead?”

Fidos prefer smelling from behind because it tells them more.

How? According to vets, dogs have anal glands that release a unique scent.

And this odor is unnoticeable to us. But your pooch can definitely pick it up. 

So, why is it very important for them? 

The fact is, this scent tells your dog certain things such as:

  • If the dog is a friend or foe.
  • The gender of their new friend.
  • Whether they’ve met before or not.
  • What the other dog feels around them.
  • The things their furry pal has been eating.

And that’s only some of the many details your Fido can get. To them, sniffing bums is like an identification check. 

So, next time they meet a new friend at the dog park or such…

Try to give them enough time to get to know each other. 

Otherwise, it can get awkward for your pooch when you stop their sniffing.

Just imagine getting interrupted in the middle of a handshake. Isn’t that unpleasant?

Also, they won’t do this to their fellow canines only. In fact, they’ll even sniff a cat’s bum too.

Overall, that’s the weird but fun reason why dogs smell each other’s behinds.

Read next: Dogs Sniffing Aggression: 9 Reasons Why Dogs Get Triggered

#2: Dogs see with their nose, not their eyes

Your furry friend relies more on their sense of smell than their sight.

With that said…

For dogs, their eyes are only a bonus.

In fact, even if they lose their sight, nothing much will change for them.

But how can they manage such an amazing feat?

According to science

Dogs have what we call a “second internal nose.” And it’s known as the vomeronasal organ. Or also referred to as Jacobson’s organ.

Following that, experts claim one thing about this second nose.

And they say that at least 40% of a dog’s brain is dedicated to this organ.

With that, it allows their nose to pick up even chemical signals.

“But how does that make a difference for my dog?”

It means that Fido’s special organ can react to odorless things.

According to the VCA

Jacobson’s organ helps dogs identify pheromones. 

And these are chemical signals that the body releases. But what do they contain?

These signals can tell a lot of things to your canine companion. You can say this allows them to read your personal profile.

So, with this ability…

Your furry friend can definitely see more things through their nose.

Continue reading: Can Dogs Smell Human Pheromones? 7 Surprising Facts

#3: They know when women are pregnant

 Dogs can tell if there’s something in your belly.

…And it’s not only food.

They can also sense if a woman’s having a baby.

If this occurs, your pooch could be thinking:

“Sniff… sniff… wait, that smell is new. I know it’s not food. That’s so strange.” 

…and then they’ll start checking your belly out of curiosity. 

Months later, you found out that you’re pregnant.

Now, you connected the dots. Your pooch knew all along and tried to tell you the news.

But since they can’t speak, all they can do is show interest in your belly.

“How does my dog know?”

When a woman gets pregnant, her body goes through many changes. 

Along with that, the pheromones will become affected. Thus, the smell of your body will change.

Since your canine pal is always paying attention to your scent…

They’ll know right away when something about you changes. And they’ll try to inform you of these developments.

For one, some dogs may even become more affectionate when you’re pregnant.

#4: Sex and periods drive them curious

Sex And Periods Drive Your Dog Curious

Have you encountered a dog that wants to sniff your privates? 

I get it. This topic sounds quite embarrassing to talk about.

But… nothing escapes your pooch’s nose. 

With that said, your furry friend can sense human arousal.

Moreover, research also says:

Pheromones are released whenever you feel aroused. And in most cases, these signals are present in the genitalia.

So, when humans are in that type of mood…

Dogs become more curious. 

Also, this could happen before and after romantic intercourse.

But aside from that, there’s one more thing your Fido can get curious about. And that’s when you’re on your period. 

Most people would think:

“It’s because they like the smell of blood, right?” 

But, that’s not always true. Instead, dogs are more curious about the message they get. 

“What does that mean?” 

During your period, your body goes through hormonal changes. 

This type of change can affect your pheromones. These chemicals act as invisible messages

So, with your furry friend’s powerful nose…

They’ll pick up the signals right away.

And as a result, your pooch will start wondering whether you’re okay or not. 

Now, you can relax that they’re not a bloodthirsty canine vampire. 

You might also like: 7 Surprising Reasons Why Dogs Like Period Blood (& Lick It)

#5: Dogs can see the past 

Did you know that your pooch is a time traveler?

Just kidding, they’re not. 

But jokes aside, your dog can actually smell the past. And by sniffing history, they can picture what happened.

To support this, science states that your Fido can trace back events using scents.

So, as long as they can pick up on a smell… 

Your pooch will always have an idea of what happened.

For better understanding, picture this scenario:

You went outside to relax. Then, you decided to lay down on the grass. And lastly, you met another dog on your way back.

As soon as you got home, your furry pal’s all worked up.

“What’s that smell? Wait, you were outside and laying on the grass? Oh, there’s more… OMG. You met another dog behind my back?” 

…Yeah, your pooch can trace all that. 

And it’s because your body will catch all sorts of scents.

Now, that’s enough to show you how your Fido can time travel (kind of). In the end, this is also why many canine friends work great with the police. 

#6: They remember you through your scent

All humans have unique fingerprints. 

But, did you know that your scent is also one of a kind? That’s how your pooch can identify you with your smell alone. 

Still, no matter what you change about yourself… 

Your dog will always know it’s you. And there’s an explanation for that. 

Since their sense of smell is their best ability… 

Then your odor will be the one that stands out to them the most. 

It’s just like what humans do. 

For example, most people remember things as they see them. 

So when someone you know changes their appearance…

You’ll get a little confused. Moreover, you might even squint your eyes to get a better look at them. 

Now, do you see the similarities? 

Basically, dogs will try to sniff you more if your scent changes a bit.

But since they know your special smell, they’ll always know who you are.

Now, isn’t that kind of sweet? To Fido, you’re that one unique person in their life. 

So for them, nothing can ever replace your scent. 

Check out also: Ask A Vet: How Long Do Dogs Remember A Scent?

#7: Some breeds have better noses 

While most Fidos are excellent sniffers…

Did you know that some of them are actually less gifted on this area? 

With that said, some dog breeds have better senses compared to others. 

And to give you an idea, here are some of them: 

These 9 dogs have the best sense of smell among their kind. 

And from that list, Bloodhounds lead the top. A news article also revealed that this breed has over 300 million scent receptors. 

With that said, their brain is highly sensitive to any kind of smell.

Now, aside from that…

There are also dog breeds with the worst sense of smell

Here, let me list some of them for you:

And as you can tell from this group…

These Fidos fall under the brachycephalic breed. Dogs in this category have flattened noses.

With that, they’re also prone to breathing problems.

And because of their facial structures…

These dog breeds have a weaker sense of smell.

#8: Dogs can sense the future

Earlier, I told you that your pooch can see the past. 

But they can actually do more than that.

…And it’s their ability to sense the future

“Wait, how could that happen?” 

Your dog can do this thanks to their strong sense of smell.

But the real question is, where do they use their nose to feel the future?

The answer is the air

While there’s still an ongoing debate about this topic…

Many fur parents believe that their canine friends can sense disasters. 

So for better understanding, imagine this scenario. 

You’re sitting outside with Fido. Suddenly, they started sniffing the air. And they kept doing that for a couple of minutes. 

Next thing you know… 

Your pooch started to look anxious. They’d tuck their tail between their legs. Or maybe fold their ears back. 

And then, it began raining heavily. 

With that, you realized that your Fido knew what was coming. 

“But how did they figure it out?” 

When your dog was sniffing the air, they were picking up scent particles. 

Simply put, they can feel the pressure in the sky, thanks to their nose. 

Moreover, a news journal says that dogs can also feel electric currents in the air.

With that, they’re able to smell the future. 

But other than the weather… 

There are reports saying that Fidos can sense earthquakes and tsunamis as well. 

Science says that animals like dogs showed strange behavior, moments before disaster.

On top of that, news revealed that this phenomenon was first reported way back in 373 B.C.

All in all, some experts believe that this mysterious act is related to a dog’s sense of smell.

And to further support this claim… 

There’s also Dr. Stanley Coren’s research on the topic. He observed that 49% of dogs had increased anxiety levels before an earthquake hit. 

But in the end, many fur parents still choose to trust their Fido’s instincts. 

So, whether you believe in these theories or not… 

What remains a fact is your dog’s powerful nose.

Read next: Why Is My Dog Sniffing The Air And Looking Up? 13 Reasons

#9: They sniff messages from their pee

They Sniff Messages From Their Pee

In today’s technology, communication is now easy for humans like us.

We can send emails to talk to anyone, no matter where they are. 

But have you ever wondered if there are other ways that dogs can communicate?

Apparently, your furry friends use peemail.

It sounds silly, but it’s true.

Your pooch sends messages to others using their pee.

How? 

Like I said in fact #5, they trace back events based on fragrances they can sniff.

And that’s why there’s a thing called scent-marking in dogs. It’s when they pee in places to claim them as their territory.

“Ha, this spot’s covered in my scent now. This means it belongs to me.”

…That’s probably what your pooch is thinking when they pee everywhere.

Also, this explains why Fido likes to sniff a lot when they’re outdoors. They could be picking up their daily peemail from the neighborhood dogs.

Plus, Dr. Stanley Coren even said that it’s Fido’s way of gossiping around.

And don’t worry about this practice making them smell like urine… 

So don’t hold them back too much. 

After all, dogs are curious animals. So, it’s natural for them to wanna know more. 

#10: A dog’s nose can save lives

First, you found out that your pooch can somehow time travel. 

Now… it’s time for you to know the truth. 

Your dog can also be a superhero.

So, how can they do that? 

With their superior sense of smell… 

Research found out that dogs can smell things such as cancer cells.

Also, hormones shift a lot when the body is ill. And this affects the way a person smells.

So even if it’s not something as serious as cancer…

Dogs would still notice when their hooman feels sick. In fact, many fur parents share their stories about how their Fidos saved them.

For example, their pooch started sniffing them more than usual. 

Plus, they were smelling the same spot all the time. In some cases, their furry friend even started crying after sniffing them. 

All in all, their dog was acting strange. Since they’re worried, they went to the doctors. 

And as it turns out, many of those fur parents were actually sick. 

But thanks to their furry pal’s warning… 

They survived and even made full recoveries. 

Because of these stories, experts started learning more about Fido’s ability. 

With that said, a study reported: 

Dogs have a 97.5% success rate when it comes to sniffing diseases.

Due to this, AKC says that hospitals now train canines to work for them. 

I guess you can now call them super furry heroes.

Nevertheless, this tells you how dogs can save lives with their nose. 

#11: Their sense of smell is 100,000 times better than humans

While this fact already seems too obvious…

Not everyone knows how big the difference can be. 

So, let’s compare Fido’s nose to yours.

Science states that humans have over 400 scent receptors. Meanwhile, vets say that dogs have around 300 million.

And with that huge gap, it can amaze any dog lover. 

Doesn’t it make you curious about the way your pooch smells the world around them?

If that’s the case, you can check out this educational video:

#12: Nothing tricks their noses

Some people still underestimate a canine’s nose. 

But the fact is, almost nothing that can trick their senses.

With that said, have you ever tried giving your pooch medicine? 

Some fur parents struggle to do such a simple task. But it’s only hard because their Fidos can smell the chemicals. 

So, even if you hide them in their food…

Many dogs will still know what you’re up to. Though, some aren’t picky, so they’ll be easy to handle.

And when it comes to food… 

Your pooch can smell all the ingredients. To humans, food has a blended aroma. It masks the scent of some ingredients.

So whatever’s the strongest scent, that’s the only thing most people can smell. 

But, for your pooch…

They’ll know everything that’s inside the food. Now, isn’t that impressive?

If Fido could talk like hoomans, they’d probably say something like:

“I can smell the butter, potatoes, eggs, milk, and pretty much the whole recipe.” 

And when a person says things like this, it’s almost unbelievable, right? 

But for dogs, this is only an everyday scenario.

#13: Dogs can smell your emotions

Finally, I can tell you another superpower of your pooch. 

“Huh, there’s one more?” 

Indeed, it’s their ability to smell your emotions. 

“So, not only is my dog a time traveler, but they’re also a mind reader?” 

I guess you can say that. But, it’s not your thoughts that they could see.

Instead, it’s the emotions that they can smell. 

And they do this with ease, thanks to your pheromones. As I explained earlier, these signals contain a lot of info about you. 

Pheromones reveal things such as:

  • Your mood.
  • Your health.
  • Your recent activities.

So, every time your emotions shift…

Your body reacts to this by releasing signals. This happens beyond your control.

And that’s how your furry friend will know what you truly feel, even if you hide it. 

“But how does my pooch recognize my emotions?” 

Today, experts still debate whether dogs can understand humans or not. 

But based on one study

A phenomenon called emotional contagion happens in dogs. It means that your furry friend can recognize your expressions. 

With this, they’ll use their intelligence and sense of smell to figure out your feelings. 

And again, your pheromones have a scent that matches the look on your face. 

For clarity, here’s an example. 

Let’s say that you were smiling when you gave them a treat. And on that same day, everything was great for you and your pooch. 

So, what does your furry friend learn from that? 

For one, they’ll remember your scent that day. Let’s pretend that you smell sweet when you’re happy. 

Next, Fido could recall the look on your face. And you were smiling. 

Now, let’s summarize the situation.

You smelled sweet, you were smiling, and that entire day was happy. 

So, to your pooch… 

They’ll learn this memory as something good. And using that, they’ll know right away if you’re happy.

Moreover, some fur parents even claim that their Fidos comfort them when they’re sad. It only reveals their furry friend pays a lot of attention to them.

But all in all… 

This shows their intelligence and sense of smell help them understand you. 

With their amazing abilities, dogs can understand humans deeper than any other animal.

BONUS: Why dogs have wet noses

Before you go, here’s an extra fun fact about your dog.

Have you ever wondered why they have wet noses?

Like, you’ve never seen them dry. 

Well, there are 2 reasons for that.

Reason #1: According to vets, a dog’s nose works better when it’s wet 

How? It’s because moisture can trap scent particles. 

Also, some dogs will even lick their snoots for that reason.

By doing this, your pooch can smell things easier. And better sniffing means they can find out more information.

I guess you can say a dog’s wet nose works like a magnifying glass to a detective.

Reason #2: It helps keep their body cool

Did you know that dogs don’t sweat as humans do? 

Apparently, science explained that it’s because of their fur.

“But what does this have to do with their wet nose?” 

Well, since dogs can’t sweat the same way we do…

Then Fidos can’t regulate their body temperature. And this can make them sick if they can’t stay cool.

So, if dogs can’t release their body heat because of their coats…

Then they’ll just do it where there’s no fur. As a result, they have sweat glands on their snouts and paws.

And this explains why your pooch’s nose is always wet.