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Wednesday, October 28, 2020


The illustration is from Rover.Com and the article appeared in The Conversation on October 26, 2020. 

GUEST BLOG / By Ellen Furlong via The Conversation blog
—Excerpt: A dog’s sense of smell is estimated to be 10,000 to 100,000 times better than that of a human. This is due, in large part, to staggering differences in odor processing in humans and dogs. While we have about 6 million olfactory receptors, dogs have a staggering 300 million. 

Their epithelium, or nasal tissue, is about 30 times larger than ours. And while people have between 12 million and 40 million olfactory neurons – specialized cells involved in transmitting odor information to the brain – dogs, depending on the breed, can have 220 million to 2 billion! How can you even conceptualize this breathtaking difference in abilities? 

This disparity is like detecting one teaspoon of sugar in enough water to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools. Now that your mind has been blown about your dog’s incredible sense of smell, you can use this information to make your dog happier by taking it on the occasional “sniffy walk” – letting it lead the way and take as much time to smell as it would like. 

Such walks can make dogs happier by allowing them to gain lots of information about the world around them. For the complete article click here. 

About the Author: 

Ellen Furlong, Associate Professor of Psychology, Illinois Wesleyan University has written for Audible / The Great Courses. She has received funding from The National Institute of Health. She is a member of The Animal Behavior Society, The Comparative Cognition Society, The American Psychological Association, and The Society for Teaching of Psychology. 

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