Sniff Out the Hidden Truth of Your Dog’s Secret Smelling Ability

Jessica Eriksson · Apr 20, 2021

Author: Michael Ngac

Have you ever walked your dog and he/she is sniffing away at something totally random?  

It might be a patch of grass...bush...flower patch...corner of the street…  

On the surface, you don’t really see anything special. However, for your little furry friend, there’s more that meets the eye. 

It’s known that your dog has a strong nose.  

But do you know how it works? 

(It might be more interesting than you think)  

Let me explain: 

How Does Your Dog’s Sense of Smell Work?  

The first step works like how any other nose would work. 

Enter air.  

When your dog inhales air, it goes into two categories:  

    • Breathing 
    • Smelling  

The scents go into the smelling category and are received by the olfactory receptor cells.  These olfactory receptors cells aka “smell nerves” are responsible for the smell in the first place, connecting the scent to the brain.  

Humans only carry an estimate of 5 million olfactory cells.  


Your dog on the other hand… carries 100+ million olfactory cells.  

This is one of the key reasons why dogs have a greater sense of smell than we do.  

If you were to spray Febreze around the room, you could smell the fresh scents. Now spray the Febreze in a football field, your dog can sniff out the exact ingredients and location.  

Talk about crazy.  

Hidden Features That Your Dog May Not Know 

Now that you have an understanding why dogs have such a greater sense of smell than us. Let’s dive into features in your dog’s sense of smell.  

1. The moist-spongy texture 

As much as you want to “Boop” your dog’s noise- there’s a reason why it has a moist-spongy texture.  

It actually makes it easier to capture any scents that are caught through the wind.  

The microscopic particles floating around stick better on wet surfaces, hence your dog’s wet nose and texture.  

2. The “unknown” slit in their nose  

Have you looked closely at your dog’s nose and noticed a small slit? 

It may seem like there’s no reason for it being there… however it’s actually where you dog exhales.  

Exhaling through that small slit, creates a small air circulation- making the odor around stronger.  

3. Breathing from Two Holes  

Believe it or not… 

Dogs can smell from separate nostrils.  

If a scent is coming from the left nostril, they know the scent is to the left, and vice versa.  

This unique ability helps dogs get a pinpoint location where a certain odor is coming from.  

4. Brain size  

Let’s be real, sometimes your dog isn’t the smartest around.  

But when it comes to scents- their brain is literally built for it.  

The area of the brain that’s responsible for smelling (olfactory) is bigger compared to a human’s brain.  

They are able to remember all their “scent data” in there and remember exactly what is what 

Be careful though.  

Happen to run into a friend’s dog? Your jealous pup will know right away from one sniff. 

5. Your dog’s 6th “scent” 

Inside their smelling nerve system, they have something called a “vomeronasal organ”  

It gives them the power to detect any hormones a living organism releases. This is why dogs can be great emotional support. Your dog can detect when you’re stressed out, mad, happy, etc.  

(Also, the vomeronasal organ gives them the power to determine if something is “friend or foe”)  


The next time your dog is out for a walk and sniffing that random grass or corner for no reason…  


Your dog is sniffing a whole story right in front of your eyes.  

The past of who’s been there, exactly what they did and where did they go. Your pup is sniffing out the present and scanning everything that’s around. The future is predicted of what and where is coming from.  


Sniff away!