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How Good is a Dog's Sense of Smell? 5 Surprising Facts About a Dog's Nose

How Good is a Dog's Sense of Smell? 5 Surprising Facts About a Dog's Nose

If you love essential oils and have a pet dog, you're probably curious about how it's affecting your canine. The best way to understand this is by exploring a dog's sense of smell. 

It might seem like it's just a cute little nose, but the power in that cute little nose might blow you away. 

A Dog's Nose Has Two Functions

Dogs use their noses for both smelling and for respiration. According to Michael T. Nappier, DVM, DABVP, of the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, "a canine's nose has the ability to separate air. A portion of it goes directly to the olfactory sensing area while the other portion is dedicated to breathing."

Dogs Can Breathe in and out at the Same Time!

Amazingly, dogs are able to breathe in and out of their nose simultaneously. According to Nappier, "When sniffing, dogs noses are designed so that air can move in and out at the same time creating a continuous circulation of air, unlike humans who have to either breathe in or out only."

Dog in blankets

Dogs Use Smell to See

This might sound odd at first, but consider this, dogs are able to smell out of each nostril separately. Similar to how our two eyes each have their own image and angle but combine to form a holistic image, dogs' brains use their olfactory profiles from both nostrils to determine where certain objects with certain smells are in the environment. 

A Dog's Nose is an Evolutionary Tool for Survival

According to David C. Dorman, a professor of toxicology at North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine, "Evolutionarily, a dog's sense of smell helps them find a mate, offspring, food, and avoid predators." This is what has allowed dogs to survive and thrive throughout time. 

Dog Smelling

How Good a Dog's Sense of Smell Really Is

Consider this, dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors just inside the nose as opposed to 6 million olfactory receptors with humans. Aside from that, the part of a dog's brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is approximately 40x greater than that of a human. 

Dogs and Essential Oils

Considering all of this information, you may wonder whether or not it's safe to diffuse essential oils around your dog. To read specifically about dogs, please check out the Top 5 Best and Worst Essential Oils to Use Around Dogs. For information about cats, please check out the Top 5 Best and Worst Essential Oils to Use Around Cats.