Why are Smells so Important to Dogs?
A common scenario while taking your dog for a walk: His head is always down smelling the ground for good places to pee. Then, when face to face with another dog… they say hello from behind one another… Yeah, it may seem strange and even disgusting to new dog owners. However, one of the keys to understanding this behavior, is understanding their ‘world’.
To be blunt, your dog’s nose is his ‘world’. His sense of smell can very easily be compared to your eyesight. You can see so many beautiful and amazing or unusual things and your brain can assimilate them all so that you understand what you are looking at. In the same sense, whatever you dog smells, he understands.
Smell is Everything
We all value our sense of smell. For me, nothing beats the smell of fresh coffee and pastry in the morning! Also, smelling smoke can alert us to probable fire. In any case, to loose our sense of smell would be a big loss! For dogs, ‘a big loss’ does not even begin to describe the handicap they would feel.
Let’s analyze their wonderful nose for a moment. So small, yet so very powerful and essential in their lives. It is not for nothing that a dog’s brain has a much larger portion dedicated to analyzing smells. Consider this:
A human nose contains approximately 5million sent receptors; dogs on the other hand can have from 125-300million! Needless to say, we could never smell all the things they do. This is how they seem to develop that ‘sixth sense’ with their heightened smell and hearing. They can smell reactions in our bodies to emotions or that there is danger. That’s why Daisy lies her head on your knee when you are sad. Or, how some dogs can detect cancer before doctors do. Also how Grumpy knows there is an earthquake coming and barks the alarm.
There is so much we still do not understand about dogs and their precious noses. One thing is very clear! They were born to smell.
Happy Nose, Happy Dog
Every dog is unique and special. We want our beloved furry friend to live long, happy and healthy don’t we? After what we now know about how important the nose is in your dog’s life, it would be logical to also make sure it stays healthy and useful. But how can we take care of their nose? What should we be looking for?
There is an old saying that if a dog’s nose is dry and hot, something is wrong. This is in fact true in many cases, yet not always. Lets consider for a moment that your dog has been outside enjoying the sun. They are not as careful as we are as far as sun exposure, and yes dogs too can get sunburns! Their skin as well as noses can get flakey and dry, even sensitive due to the burn. Not a happy thing for their noses.
Another situation to look out for is car travel! Yes, we love to see our furry buddy having a blast in the back seat with his head out the window. However, consider the side effects of flying debris such as bugs or small rocks hitting his nose or eyes at 120 km/h. Yeah, that’s not such a pretty picture anymore.
In any case, I’m not saying we have to stand in front of our dog’s face to protect his nose from anything around him. Simply that we have to be aware how important their noses are in their lives. Simple colds can disable a major part of their living if their nose is stuffed with unusual colored mucus. It’s good to keep an eye out for these situations and take action before any permanent damage can occur.
We love seeing our dog look up at us with a happy wagging tail. So let’s keep it that way…nose and all! There are so many animal-safe and natural ways to protect and heal our dogs from anything that comes their way in life.
Happy pet, happy pet parents…