Where humans have vision, dogs have smell.
That’s the comparison made by James Walker, Florida State University’s former director at The Sensory Research Institute. Indeed, while dogs’ vision might not be so great, their sense of smell overpowers humans’ sense of smell by an incredible margin.
In fact, if we were to compare an average dog’s sense of smell to our own, theirs would be 10,000 to 100,000 times better. Apply that analogy to vision for comparison, Walker says, and what humans can see clearly at one-third of a mile away, dogs could see at approximately 3,000 miles away.
So, it goes without saying that humans have been intrigued by this ability in dogs and have harnessed it to great effect — and not just for hunting.
A dog’s sense of smell can help humans in a myriad of ways. Below, we take a look at some of the specific instances in which dogs use their smell to assist and benefit humans.
Electronics Sniffing Dogs
In the crime-fighting world, small tech items like cell phones and thumb drives are routinely at the center of investigations. But these items often go undetected by officers and detectives. Fortunately, police have electronic-sniffing dogs who are trained to locate these items and thwart the efforts of criminals, predators, and terrorists.
Cancer Sniffing Dogs
Believe it or not, cancers can be sniffed out by trained dogs as well. In fact, highly trained canines can detect cancer correctly more than 95% of the time — often resulting in diagnoses that are more accurate than lab tests. Some of the cancers that these dogs can detect include kidney, bladder, and prostate cancers.
Diabetes Sniffing Dogs
Finally, dogs are also using their amazing ability to sense human physiology changes by detecting possible low blood glucose or “hypo” episodes in type I diabetes patients. A charitable organization called Medical Detection Dogs is leading the pack and training dogs to react if a patient is at risk of a “hypo” episode, a possibly life-threatening situation that often comes on suddenly.
When’s the Last Time Your Dog Had a Check-Up?
Dogs are amazing creatures with outstanding abilities, but like humans, they need regular check-ups and care to ensure their health and safety.
Sunset Veterinary Clinic is the premier family veterinarian clinic in Edmond, OK. Depending on the breed, size, age, and overall health of your dog, our vets generally recommend either once or twice-yearly checkups for all dogs.
Is your dog due for visit? Just give us a call to schedule a check-up!