Our sniffer is nothing compared to the one that belongs to our four-legged friends. In the same way that we use our eyes, dogs use their noses. It’s how they “see” the world in detail. And even cooler, it gives them an ability we can only wish to master: they can see through time! So what exactly is making the dogs sense of smell so great?
Now, that’s something to think about the next time your dog smells a tree, isn’t it? That trunk holds messages from the past! Let’s head off to dive into the world of the cutest snoots around to see what else we can discover.
“If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well.” — James Walker, former director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University1
It’s no secret that dogs are amazing creatures and awesome friends to us. They can help us when we need to transport life-saving medications, assist us in exploring the world, are wonderful companions, and can even detect health problems happening inside of our bodies.
To find out how they’re physically capable of doing this, we turn to one of our favorite channels, Deep Look. In our featured video, they’re bringing us inside of the dogs head to really understand how their bodies are capable of deciphering the scents of the world in impressive detail!
Where our senses (and even technology) fall short, dogs pick up the slack. Which, really isn’t surprising considering it could be said that we have been evolving with them next to us for tens of thousands of years! 3
If you’d like to sniff out more information about how exactly these super smellers can be trained to detect certain odors, this article from the Smithsonian gives us a wonderful overview. They take a look at a group of SADs (Seizure-Alert Dogs) and let us in on how they’ve been trained to detect the minuscule chemicals our bodies release during and before a seizure, why their noses are so amazing, and how they hope to bring these skills into the tech world.
This following article from our library helps us look even closer at these SADs! You’ll find real-life accounts of the impact these detection dogs have had on the peoples quality of life — especially considering they can detect when a seizure will occur 40 minutes before it actually does. (Remember that bit about seeing through time? Yeah, apparently the future is also on their radar.)
The other creatures we share this world with are awesome. They’re capable of so much! And the more that we’re able to team up with them, the healthier we all can be.
“If I could be half the person my dog is, I’d be twice the human I am.”
― Charles Yu
There’s a multitude of examples of these sorts of partnerships, and we created a circle of our articles about them to for you to explore!