Why being patient and allowing for sniffs means the world to your dog
What wouldn't we do for our best friend?
It turns out, at the very least, we should be allowing them to sniff while out for our regular leisurely stroll.
Now, while plenty of us like to move speedily, especially after all that Christmas pudding, sniffing is our dog's gateway to understanding the world — it's utter heaven for them. So, to make for a happy pupper, it's entirely worth allocating extra time to allow for sniffing during your walk, unless of course, it's something totally repulsive or unsafe that has caught their... nose.
It's something we mere mortals will never fully be able to comprehend, but not being able to sniff, for our dog, is a bit like us having to go for a walk with our eyes closed.
Dogs have somewhere between 200 million and one billion scent receptors compared to our petty six million. It's mighty impressive, and possibly quite unfortunate from time to time, depending on what kind of smell is lingering...
It's those adorable wet noses that provide our dogs with exceptional insight and information, helping to trap scent particles and assist them in interpreting their world, even 40 feet below!
Knowing just how well a dogs ability to smell really is can be quite difficult, however. Even factors like wind and rain affect how well they pick up on certain scents.
Different breeds have different capabilities too. Bulldogs, pugs, Boston Terriers and the likes (brachycephalic dogs) have squishy snouts rather than the lengthier ones of say, a labrador, and so their smelling abilities would be different.
It's a dog's turbinates that are full of smell receptors. These sit in the nasal passage, so bigger and longer noses can have more of these and it is these turbinates that are responsible for sending messages to your dog's brain about the scent they've identified. It's a huge and important mental exercise for them.
Then, if you compare your brain to that of your dog, the part of your brain devoted to smell is, proportionally speaking, 40 times smaller than your dog's.
Dogs also have what's called the Jacobson Organ at the very bottom of their nasal cavity. It allows them to pick up on pheromones — the chemicals that are released by mammals and they'll tell your dog a lot about his or her compatibility with other canine friends and even, you know, if they'd like to get frisky.
Can you clearly pinpoint the pheromones in the air? We think not.
So remember, while you're power walking your way through the park this healthy January, remember to factor in the exceptionally important sniffing time for your fur friend — they'll be happier, more content and their overall health and wellbeing might even soar.
Just another life lesson we can learn from our precious pup — take a few minutes of each and every day to simply smell the roses!