By Nan Talleno
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Your dog’s nose certainly knows a lot of information.
Dogs accurately rely on their sense of smell for almost everything. It’s how they recognize the world around them. Their sense of smell is extremely important to them to deliver vital information, even more so than that of their sense of hearing or even sight, (with the exception of sighthounds.) The whole interpretation of their surroundings is summed up successfully through this unique sense.
The dog’s sense of smell is connected to the limbic system, which is the emotional center of the brain. A canine instinctively refers to everything through his/her scent first. In fact, if a dog is not relying on the nose initially, he/she is exhibiting extreme fear or excitement or under a high level of anxiety or stress.
The dog’s nose is an amazing organ. It is considered to be thousands, even up to a million times more sensitive than that of the human nose. Dogs have 220 million olfactory receptor cells in the nasal passages compared to a human’s 5 million. They can sense changes in environment, changes in character of other animals or humans by detecting changes in hormonal levels and sweat, find missing people and objects, sniff out bombs, drugs and even detect cancer.
All puppies are born with the sense of smell at their disposal. Even at birth, a puppy relies fully on his sense of smell. Depending on the breed, after about fifteen days their eyes open and after twenty days their ears begin to function.