You know that your dog is amazing, but when you learn more about your dog’s senses, you’re really going to be surprised. Let us drop some of the most unbelievable dog’s sense facts on you to prove that dogs are, in fact, the best species on earth. You’ll want to tell your neighbours, your local Dog Sitter, your best friend. We get it – we can’t stop talking about them either!
Fun Fact #1: Doggos have 2 billion olfactory sensors and an extra smelling organ
Let’s say you always take your coffee black, but this time, someone slipped a small spoonful of sugar into it. Before you take a sip, you might smell that something is off, and wonder who is trying to sabotage you. Many of us would have to take a sip anyway, just to make sure.
When we’re talking about a dog’s senses in comparison, smelling a spoonful of sugar in a cup of coffee is too easy. Try putting a spoonful of sugar in two Olympic-sized swimming pools. That’s what it means when scientists say that a dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times as acute as a human’s.
We won’t get into the details of how your dog’s nasal cavities adapted so well to filtering scent. Having said that, there is one mind-blowing fact we couldn’t leave out: your dog has a whole other organ that you probably didn’t know about.
It’s called Jacobson’s organ, which sounds less-than-scientific but it’s real, we promise. This organ is located right in your dog’s snozzle, at the bottom of the nasal passage. With this special organ, your dog can smell pheromones, which are then sent to a different part of the brain than odor molecules. Think of it like a sophisticated sorting machine in your dog’s nose. Smells from trees, flowers, poo, dirt, their favourite Pet Sitter go one way. The smell from that wonderful Husky that lives down the street goes another way.
Clearly, dogs rely heavily on olfactory input. And, you can help them hone their sniffing skills by learning how to train your dog’s sense of smell.
Fun Fact #2: Dogs have built-in night vision goggles
There’s an idea that dogs don’t have very good vision, and it’s simply not true. Dogs may see less colours than their human companions and they may not see things as clearly in focus as we do, but they’ve got something better: night vision.
Dogs can see in the dark just a bit less clearly than cats, and way better than humans. And the science behind it is really interesting.
Here’s the deal. In a dog’s eye, there are a high number of rods, which are light-sensitive cells. More rods means more sensitivity to light and better vision in low lighting. In doggo eyes, there’s also less space between lens and retina, making for a brighter image on the retina.
And if that wasn’t enough, your dog’s senses have one more night vision trick. It’s called the tapetum lucidum. This part of the eye, located between the retina and the optic nerve, is like a mirror, reflecting light back towards the rods and cones.
This means that your dog has two opportunities to catch light in the image: once when the light first hits their eyes and second when the light is reflected on the tapetum. It’s this process that explains why your dog looks like something from another world when you snap a picture of them in low light. Glowing eyes? Thanks tapetum lucidum!
Fun Fact #3: Your dog’s senses rely on 20 whiskers
For some reason, we tend to associate whiskers with our feline friends. However, they’re an important part of your dog’s senses too. In fact, dogs tend to have just four whiskers fewer than their cat companions. They may also rely on them just as much.
These long, protruding hairs, which connect to your doggo’s nervous system, help your dog to locate food and navigate small spaces. They may also use them to keep an eye on things that are moving around them and check in on the weather and wind patterns.
If you take your dog to a professional Dog Sitter, those whiskers will play a key role in making your pup relax. After they sniff around and detect with their doggie senses that everything is fine, your dog will feel right at home,
In addition to being a crucial part of your dog’s senses, these cute little hairs have another function, too. When your pup feels upset, they may flare their whiskers to make themselves look bigger and prepare for a fight.
Fun Fact #4: Your dog’s senses have evolved for you
Well, not all of them. Most of a dog’s senses adapted for life in the wild. Their heightened sense of smell, their ability to see moving objects, their incredible hearing – these are all adaptations that allowed doggos to hunt, breed, and protect themselves from predators.
But there’s another sense that dogs have developed that set them apart from their furry fellow animals. Unlike most other animals, dogs have a sense for human emotions. By reading facial expressions and listening to verbal cues, dogs are excellent at identifying their Owner’s feelings.
What that means is that dogs have a list of possible human emotional states in mind; they may know when we’re angry, sad, or happy. Although many of us take this kind of thinking for granted, researchers have only recognized this ability in one other group – primates.
Scientists believe this is because dogs evolved alongside humans, and had a vested interest in sensing their Owner’s emotional state. The doggos who could read human emotions probably got special treatment like a seat near the fire or table scraps. Our history with doggos is so interesting. Check out our article on the history of man’s best friend to learn more.
Keep an eye on your dog’s senses
The more you learn about your dog’s senses, the more mind-blowing facts you’ll uncover. Our four-legged friends are amazing and science uncovers new stunning facts everyday. Let us know which of your dog’s senses interests you the most!