Sniffing and smelling whatever crosses their way is among dogs’ favorite activities. While you may get impatient when your dog tries to smell things when out for a walk, it may interest you to know that smelling is a healthy activity for dogs.
“Dogs’ noses are immensely more powerful than a human nose,” Dr. Justin Padgett of St. Clair Animal Care said while explaining why dogs love smelling things. “And because their nose is so acute, they use it more than other species to investigate their world. The smells they encounter impact their behavior and attitudes more than any of their other senses.”
Dr. Corinne Wigfall, a registered veterinarian with SpiritDog Training, explains that dogs sniff each other when they meet. The scent they perceive conveys more information than sight and sound alone. Dogs can smell fear, excitement, and reproductive readiness, among other things using their nose.
A dog’s sense of smell is between 10,000 to 100,000 stronger than the average human. Therefore, it is not surprising that some dogs are trained to detect drugs and explosives or track people.
When dogs sniff, their breathing slows down, and their heart rate lowers. Julia Jenkins, a certified dog trainer with Pet Dog Training Today, describes this as the “equivalent of us humans taking a big, deep breath to compose ourselves.” She adds that it helps them focus their energy.