Your Dog's Nose
While also the best for morning kisses and snuffly snuggles, your dog’s sniffer is an extremely impressive and intricate tool. Their noses have been crucial to their survival and evolution, allowing them to find food, mates, offspring and to detect predators, and constantly helping them to navigate around and communicate with the world around them.
Their sense of smell is significantly better than ours. Our humble 6 million scent receptors are put to shame by up to an incredible 300 million in dogs, and the dedicated smell sector in our brains is 40 times smaller. They even have a specific scent detecting organ which we simply don’t have. To put this into perspective, a dog would be able to detect 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar in an Olympic sized swimming pool…! Now that’s what we call a party trick.
Each nostril is able to smell individually, and their brain then connects the two streams of information to create a 3D scent map of their environment. They are also able to breathe in and out simultaneously so that the air is circulated in a continuous cycle.
Dogs’ noses have a wet consistency due to mucus it secretes itself and saliva which they add by licking it. Not only does this moisture help regulate their temperature via sweat glands in their noses by evaporating heat and keeping them cool, but also helps that sharp sense of smell dig even deeper. When dogs sniff, the wetness of their noses collects minuscule scent particles in the air around them. Licking their nose takes this even further, as they then get a “taste” for the smell, transferring the particles to a gland in the roof of their mouth.
Keeping an eye on that nose
Here are some things to look out for with regards to your dog’s nose which should prompt further enquiry:
-Changes in colour
-Bleeding, cracking or scaling
-Appearance of lumps or bumps around the nose, face and muzzle
-Nose dryness paired with unusual behaviour or other signs of illness
If your dog’s nose does change in appearance and if they are acting differently to normal, it’s imperative to get these checked out by a professional.
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