A dog’s nose is nothing to sneeze at. As you know, Bailie and I have been doing scent work for over a year now and Bailie has been tracking since August. Since these two sports are based on our sense of smell, Mom has been busy learning all about how a dog’s nose works. We could probably blog forever about the workings of our noses, but today I wanted to share five facts you most likely do not know about a dog’s nose and how it works.
Let’s start with a close up of my nose. Mom used a macro filter to try to get as much detail as possible into the photo. I have a couple facts to go along with this frontal view of my nose.
1. Wet nose. Humans love to discuss our wet noses – is it good, bad, what does it mean? Our noses are damp/wet to better capture odor when it passes by. The damp nose acts like glue to capture and hold on to the odors.
2. Two nostrils. Dog’s noses have two nostrils just as human noses do, but, did you know each nostril works independently? As we inhale, each nostril processes the odor and air in its own manner. Some call this sniffing in stereo.
3. Inhaling. When a dog inhales, the air/odor hits a small fold of tissue in the nose which separates the odor into two separate folds. One is used for breathing, the other is used for smelling.
Above is a side view close up of my nose also taken with a macro lens. This view will be helpful for the next couple facts.
4. Exhaling. While humans inhale and exhale through their nostrils, dog’s noses do not. Dogs inhale through their nostrils, but exhale through the slits on the sides of their noses. When the exhaled air exits through the slits, it creates a circular air pattern which draws in even more odor allowing the odor to build up inside the nose.
5. Vomeronasal Organ. Besides the Olfactory system for smelling which is much larger in dogs than in humans, the dog has a Vomeraonasal Organ. The Vomeronasal Organ is like a second Olfactory system and is responsible for picking up odors which cannot be seen such as hormones and emotions. It is this organ which gives a dog the ability to smell seizures coming on, detect illness, sense fear, and so much more.
If you and your human plan to participate in sports involving a dog’s nose, or are interested in training or working with any type of detection dog, it is helpful to learn how we work so you can better guide us and we can work together better as a team. If you would like to learn a bit more about dog’s noses, click here for a link to a four minute video. The video uses some simple illustrations to explain a bit more in depth what I’m barking about in this post. It is well worth watching, as it is really fascinating.
Every dog has a nose and all the information pertains to every dog, however, some dogs are better sniffers than others.
I’m co hosting the FitDog Friday Blog Hop with SlimDoggy, and To Dog With Love! Please join us on Fridays to share your fitness stories with others, find new ways to have fun, and new fitness ideas too! Tell your friends to stop by as well – fit dogs are healthier, happier dogs!
M. K. Clinton says
I did not nose some of these things! We have Very Impressive Sniffers! ♥
You nose, we are amazing…the peeps need to realize it 😉
Whitley Westie says
Cool nose facts!
Thanks, Mom was pretty impressed with what she learned.
Great blog post 🙂
Molly The Wally says
The nose knows. Have a fabulous Friday.
Best wishes Molly
A dog has to feel sorry for the humans as their noses are almost worthless!
Susan C. Willett says
I saw a TED video about dog noses and I found it really fascinating. One thing that got me really thinking was the concept that a dog’s sense of smell gives them an ability to almost time travel. They can “see” into the past by smelling who was in a particular place at a specific time, and learn all about them, and they can “see” the future by catching scents in the air of things that aren’t in sight yet.
–Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.
Mom is so fascinated with odor and dogs noses. It’s a whole different world.
Sparkle the PBGV says
Thank you for explaining our noses to our humans. They know nothing about ow the nose works., and they think they are superior! Then there is Bert’s nose…. XOXO Sparkle the PVGC
I know nothing about cat noses, I’m sure dog noses are superior. Sad humans can’t smell as well.
Our huskies use theirs to root like a pig.
LOL! I think they can smell through the dirt and mud!
Diane Silver (@ToDogWithLove) says
That’s really interesting. I did not nose those things!
Mom had no clue either.
great post! the nose knows it best, right? my nose is mostly dirty, but it works fabulous… and there is nothing in my crib my nose couldn’t discover :o)
I don’t see dirt causing any trouble with a good sniffer 😉 And humans think they can be sneaky bringing things into the house..wrong!
Very cool! You have a beautiful snooter! xo Chloe and LadyBug
Ellen Shedlarz says
I never knew there was so much to learn about a nose, especially one as cute as yours!
Mom never thought much about it until we started in nose work and she started learning how to work with us and our noses. Now, she is fascinated with it.
Now we nose all about the nose!
I don’t know how a feline nose works, though.
Oh my dog! So good to know! Now I understand why dogs go bananas when I walk into the room with even a wrapped treat. THanks!
The more Mom learns about noses and dogs, the more clear things are in life 😉 No sneaking around…we know what’s up.
That was great, so informative. Who knew dogs noses were so awesome.
Mom is amazed at our noses and what they are capable of.
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
Oh wow! A dogs nose is very complex!!!
I had no idea about some of these things so thanks for sharing!
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
Mom said it was way to “eye opening” to keep to herself and said I better share with friends and their pet parents.
Miley's Daily Scoop says
The nose knows!!! Thanks for sharing, very interesting!
There is a lot for humans to nose about our noses.
Will and Eko says
A dog’s nose never ceases to amaze me. We’re so used to taking in the world through our eyes that it’s tough to comprehend how much pups “see” with their nose.
Mom is always blown away when we see a hide in nose work but don’t alert on it until we smell it. In some ways being complimentary with sight and smell is an advantage, but each creature needs to understand the process of the other.
Interesting information! and Mom says she would add Fact #6: Noses are wonderful to kiss!
This is very true too!
Frankie and Ernie says
VERY interesting information about our sniffers and whiffers…
We knew it all along, but humans just don’t understand.
Two French Bulldogs says
We are jealous of your big nose. Ours is flat causing us not to be excellent sniffers
Lily & Edward
You flat nosers do sniff the same way, but it is not so easy for you. I’m sure you have other talents to make up for it.
Talent Hounds says
Cool post, good to nose 😉 lol and yes they are wonderful to kiss!
Thanks. Mom loves learning about how our world works.
Hawk aka BrownDog says
My Human knew about the wet nose and the sides of the nostrils. What she didn’t know was how the breathing and scent are accomplished.
Horses have a related nose structure. Though they don’t have the side slit, theirs is a convoluted structure with overlap on the upper outside portion. This allows the horse to smell a riders fear. BOL!
Watch a horse sometime. My Human likes to watch the soft “rufflin'” of their nostrils when they are at rest. They make a soft sound I can’t describe. Their noses are far more expressive than ours. And of course Human noses, they’re pretty much useless.
Y’all come on by,
Hawk aka BrownDog
We don’t know much about horses here in suburbia, but they sure have big noses! Human noses are pretty much a waste as they don’t detect much of anything.
Maria Sadowski says
I’m so fascinated with dogs and their sense of smell. Our American Eskimo is food crazy, and for the longest time he sniffed around the hallway closet, tried to squeeze through the tiny gap under the door, and even dig himself in. When I finally opened the door there was one tiny morsel of dry dog food on the floor. I’ve no idea how it got in there, but he sure wanted it.
Yep, we can see that happening. Our old neighbors dog sat by the hall closet for days until they realized the fireworks were on the shelf in the closet and the dog was a retired bomb detection dog who was trying to alert the explosives!
Dolly the Doxie says
Very good information Emma thanks! Especially since I start my first nose work class next week! Love Dolly
We are so excited for you and to hear how it goes. I bet your mom will love it too!
SlimDoggy (@MySlimDoggy) says
Interesting info. Did you learn about how age can impact a dog’s sense of smell?
No, but so many older dogs do nose work and are really good, so I don’t think it really makes a huge difference.
Jan K says
That was so interesting! I didn’t know any of that. All I know is that your dogs’ noses are very impressive! It amazes me when I watch Luke and Cricket searching for a treat when we do our nose work games.
I knew there was a reason why I did a powerful lot of sniffin’, Emma. Glad there’s a reason for it! 😀
Even with a muddy nose you can smell the good stuff 😉
Emma, I read somewhere that a dog’s drool also helps contain the scent. Is that true? I think I read it about a blood hound. Ace is a really drooly dog, but when he’s tracking something, the drool really flows then.
I enjoyed the closeups of your nose. Very cute!
The only thing I know about drool is the Newfy in our class leaves drool all over the place, but no idea if it helps with the scent. I just know it helps us clear out our system by drinking water before a search.
Really interesting! Thank you! I always new the dog’s nose was awesome – now I know they’re super awesome!
The more my mom learns about how we work with our noses and odor, the more amazed she gets. Cool stuff for humans!
Tenacious Little Terrier says
The real mystery is if they have such good noses, why do they have to “greet” each other so closely?
Oh come on, who doesn’t want to get their old nose right into someone’s behind 😉 Actually, our noses instinctively want to get to the strongest point of odor for the best detection which means, yes, we can smell it from a long ways away, but we get a better story the closer we get. If all we wanted was a whiff, we wouldn’t be able to point things out to humans because we wouldn’t go to the source.
Barbara Rivers says
Super interesting facts you shared with us, thank you! The only one I knew was that the wet nose captures odors better than a dry one.
My mom finds it all fascinating.
Raven (@indulgedfurries) says
Those were very interesting facts about dog noses. You missed the most obvious: they’re cute!
That is true, but cute doesn’t help with smell 😉
What wonderful information Emma….Just love that you explained to humans that each of our nostrils processes smells differently, tres cool!!
Dory, Jakey, Arty & Bilbo
Noses in stereo 🙂
2 Brown Dawgs says
Very interesting. Our doggies like to work their noses too now I know how they work.
It’s just the tip of the iceberg and pretty general, but it gives humans a good idea as to why we do what we do.
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
loved all the facts, great pictures.
Thank you. Mom finds noses fascinating.
We knew bout #5 (we do that ALL the time) but we didn’t know about sniffing in stereo! Wonder if we kittehs do it too?
We know nothing about how kitties smell. I don’t think it is as good as dogs, but for sure better then humans!
6. They leave the cutest prints behind on the window. Fun information!
Somehow, Mom doesn’t always find our nose work so pretty, but we keep making more anyway!
Groovy Goldendoodles says
Very interesting Emma, I love it when Harley wiggles his nostrils.
Now that we do nose work, we’ve started making all different kinds of noises when sniffing for things.