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A Dog's Five Senses

A Dog’s Five Senses: 

They are just like ours-but not. Just like for humans, the five senses play an important role in helping dogs  understand their surroundings. But the way dogs use those senses if often very  different than how we do. 


The sense of touch is used immediately at birth, when puppies are cleaned by  their mothers through licks and nuzzles, which may register with them the way a  hug does for a human. A dog’s paws contain nerve endings that can help it  navigate its movements. A dog’s muzzle is rich in nerve endings, and the nose thus serves both an olfactory and a tactile, exploratory function. 


A common misconception is that dogs don’t see color. They do, but not  complex colors like humans do. It’s likely that dogs can see yellow and blue  shades well, but reds and oranges are more difficult for them to perceive. Dogs do  have better night vision than we do, and they are skilled at picking up on  movements even in dim lighting. 


The area of a dog’s brain dedicated to scent is thought to be 40 times as large as that of a human’s. Not only that, dogs have hundreds of millions of scent receptors in their noses, versus a mere 400 for humans. And dogs smell continuously while  they breathe, unlike humans, who smell only on the inhale.  


Dogs have very acute hearing and are able to detect sounds that are  significantly higher frequencies than what we can process. They are also better than  humans at isolating sounds, which means that in an area with a lot of noise, they  are skilled at finding their target. (Those movable ears help a lot here.) Hearing is  considered a dog’s second-best sense, after smell. 


Dog’s don’t excel. People have around 9,000 taste buds on their tongue; dogs  have only around 2,000. Of course, a limited taste range doesn’t mean dogs aren’t  open to enjoying new things. As anyone who has lived with a dog knows, if  something is edible (and sometimes if it’s not), they’ll try it. The problem is that  they can’t handle the rich foods that we eat. Chocolate, garlic, coffee and onions  are thought to be harmful to a dog's digestion. 

So as you can see, dogs have the same five senses as humans. However, some are  more highly developed, and others are deficient compared with those of humans. Dog’s sense of smell is by far the most acute and is immeasurably better than that  of humans. Dog’s also have Special Senses. They have an acute sense of hearing, which allows them to hear distant thunder before we do. Dogs can smell changes in the atmosphere (ozone) better than we do, so they may sense an oncoming  storm. Dogs can detect changes in barometric pressure or electromagnetic fields  that may be related to coming storms. 


The more we learn about our canine friends the better we are in understanding  their needs and behaviors. This results in much happier lives for the pet  owner and the dog.  

Gail Moscato 


Positive Paws BHC 


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