Bloodhounds are used in hunting, police, and search and rescue operations because they are among the top “sniffers” of all dog breeds. (AP)

Bloodhounds are used in hunting, police, and search and rescue operations because they are among the top “sniffers” of all dog breeds. (AP)

The inside of a dog’s nasal passageway is sponge-like. It has a huge amount of surface area to pick up smells. (RB)

The inside of a dog’s nasal passageway is sponge-like. It has a huge amount of surface area to pick up smells. (RB)

Elvis, a beagle, can sniff to tell if a bear is pregnant. Sound odd? Dogs have been trained to sniff out everything from explosives to bed bugs. (AP)

Elvis, a beagle, can sniff to tell if a bear is pregnant. Sound odd? Dogs have been trained to sniff out everything from explosives to bed bugs. (AP)

Bill Collins follows Rico. The Italian water dog sniffs out truffles, a very expensive root fungus used in fancy cooking. (AP)

Bill Collins follows Rico. The Italian water dog sniffs out truffles, a very expensive root fungus used in fancy cooking. (AP)

A Dog’s Nose Knows

Posted: April 29, 2019

What’s inside a dog’s nose? The answer is, way more than you ever thought!

Dogs’ noses hold tiny organs called turbinates. Your nose has them too. From a normal distance, these organs look like scrolls or seashells. If you look at them through a microscope, they look like thick sponges. Those sponges hold the body’s sniffer-cells. They connect to nerves that send smelly messages to the brain.

But there’s a big difference between your nose and your dog’s nose. Your turbinates measure about as big as a postage stamp. A dog’s—if you unfolded them—could be as big as a sheet of typing paper! Think of all the scent-messages flying into your dog’s brain at once! Unlike you, your dog doesn’t use mainly its eyes to make sense of the world. It uses its nose.

Scientists think a dog’s sense of smell is better than a human’s by 10,000 or even 100,000 times. If a dog had as much seeing power as it has smelling power, it could see at least 3,000 miles into the distance!

If you think about how dogs act, that makes sense. When two dogs meet on the street, they give each other a good sniff. Dogs even leave messages for each other on mailboxes and bushes . . . but not in words that can be read. Instead, they leave their urine scent behind. We think, “What a revolting way to say hello!” But just ask your dog. To him, it seems perfectly polite.