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Why do dogs sniff?

Updated on October 11, 2008

The amazing nose of a dog

The nose is considered to be the strongest weapon of the dog. It is what makes the primitive dogs survive in the wilderness. Dogs have this excellent ability to smell game and prey even from a great distance. A dog's scenting ability is millions times better than what humans have. So why then do dogs have to sniff everything in their path?

Dogs constantly lick the nose to keep it moist. A moist nose collects scent molecules from the air and from all the places and things that the dog sniffs. A dog has an olfactory bulb that is four times bigger than what we have. This gives the dog its excellent smelling ability. The dog is the only animal that can sniff and find the delicious and extremely expensive truffle in Italy.

Pictures of dogs sniffing

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The guard dog

Dogs sniff a lot to identify if there is an imminent danger. Notice how your dog will smell anybody who enters your home. Because of the great smelling ability, the dog will know where that person has been and what it is up to.

In the wilds, wolves and primitive dogs can avoid danger by sniffing. Apart from avoiding predators that pose a danger to their lives, dogs can also avoid fights with other dog by sniffing. Dogs are extremely territorial animals. Their territories are marked with their unique scent. Another dog violating the marked territory would result to dog fights.

The doctor dog

We know that dogs were used as seeing dog and therapy dogs. Studies conducted verified the ability of the dog to sniff out certain types of cancer. The dogs can detect lung and breast cancer much better than high end cancer detection tests. These dogs can also point out a pregnant woman. Dogs are known to warn an epileptic owner of an impending seizure. Truly amazing!

The detector dog

Dogs have rendered invaluable help in search and rescue operations. These dogs can find missing people buried in snow and under mounds of rubble. Detector dogs were trained to sniff bombs, narcotics and other dangerous chemicals.

Dog …the ever loyal and loving companion

Nobody can ignore the fact that dogs have evolved to be excellent companions and loyal friends. But did you know that the sniffing ability of the dog aids them in being compassionate and loving friends. A dog can empathize with the emotional state of the owner as it can distinguish tears of joy from tears of pain and sadness.

Dog sniffing

Dog finding mold using its nose

Dog sniffs out bed bugs


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