olfactory facts

3 Fun Facts About Your Canine Companions

Happy National Dog Day, y’all! We thought we’d throw around some pup-appreciation with the following dog olfactory facts for you to fetch. 

1. Besides being much more powerful than ours, a dog’s sense of smell can pick up things that can’t even be seen at all. The olfactory bulb, the area dedicated to processing smells, takes up many times more relative brain area in dogs than humans. This allows dogs to distinguish and remember a staggering variety of specific scents.

2. Everything in the street, every passing person or car, any contents of the neighbor’s trash, each type of tree, and all the birds and insects in it has a distinct odor profile telling your dog what it is, where it is, and which direction it’s moving in.

3. Dogs smell in stereo. The ability to smell separately - with each nostril - helps them determine from what direction smells come. A whole separate olfactory system, called the vomeronasal organ, above the roof of the mouth, detects the hormones all animals, including humans, naturally release.

For more on how dogs smell, check out the TED-Ed Lesson How do dogs “see” with their noses? - Alexandra Horowitz 


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