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Amazing Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Dog’s Nose
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Amazing Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Dog’s Nose

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Besides sniffing and giving you cold wet kisses, what other superpowers does your dog’s nose have? As it turns out, your pup’s nose is their most prized possession because it helps them interpret the world. But sometimes, getting the sniff right can be difficult, especially if your pup develops a dry dog nose.

What makes a dog’s nose so special?

Did you know that dogs have anywhere from 225 to 300 million smell receptors in their noses? Proportionally, the part of a dog's brain responsible for analyzing smells is about 40 times greater than the corresponding area of a human’s brain, and it’s believed that dogs are 45 times better at smelling things than we mere humans are. It is estimated that almost one third of a dog's brain is dedicated to interpreting smells. 

Are some dogs even better sniffers than others? A dog's ability to smell depends on a few factors:

  • Number of scent receptors
  • Breed
  • Anatomy
  • Health

As a rule of thumb, the more smell receptors a dog has, the better they are at picking up even the faintest of whiffs. The size and surface area of a dog’s nose determine how many scent receptors they have.

Number of scent receptors

The typical number of scent receptors for a medium-sized dog is 225 milllion. German Shepherds and Beagles both have roughly this amount of scent receptors in their noses.

Breed

Some pups have long noses while others have quite short ones. A dog’s breed plays an important role in whether or not they well-suited for tracking tasks.

A Bloodhound has about 300 million scent receptors. They are better sniffers compared to Beagles. Bloodhounds were bred for hunting and tracking, both activities which required them to have the most discerning scent-picking noses.

Fun fact:

The nose of a dog is often called a snout. The dictionary definition of snout is:
noun. the projecting nose and mouth of an animal, especially a mammal.

The key descriptor here is: “projecting.”  Thus, not all dogs are considered to have snouts.  Such short-nosed dogs include the flatter faced brachycephalic breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, and Pomeranians. These are sometimes affectionately called squishy faced breeds.

 

Anatomy          

The surface area of a dog's nose contributes to their sniffing prowess. While a German Shepherd and Beagle each have 225 million scent receptors, German Shepherds have the narrower nose and therefore a reduced surface area upon which the scent receptors fit.

Most dogs bred for hunting and retrieval of prey have long narrow or wide noses.  The longer wider noses of bloodhounds helped them use their olfactory organ to carefully track and retrieve prey.  Dogs bred for companionship such as pugs sometimes have shorter, tiny noses that resulted from efforts to develop a certain aesthetic.

Health               

Your pup can lose some of their sense of smell due to an underlying condition, old age, or less serious environmental factors. A dry dog nose is one of the major preventable causes of scent impairment in dogs. Fortunately, there are simple and easy ways to treat and prevent dry dog noses that result from:

  • Low humidity (indoor or outdoor air dryness)
  • Anatomical predisposition
  • Sunburn
  • Cold weather
  • Excess heat e.g. a sleeping next to a fireplace

 

You can soothe your pup's dry flaky nose by applying a high quality dry dog nose balm like Pup Wax.  Pup Wax as a snout balm moistens your pup's nose and acts as a humectant that locks in moisture and prevents it from flaking or cracking. Dry noses and skin are more vulnerable to infection and irritation.  Pup Wax nose balm adds a protective layer to a dry dog nose to create the ideal nourishing and restorative environment.

Final thoughts

As you admire the cuteness overload of your pup’s snout or nose, you should make sure you help them protect and take care of this delicate essential organ. A dry dog nose can reduce your pup’s ability to smell but you can counter that with a simple, effective solution such as a high quality dog nose balm.

Go for pet-approved and vet-approved nose balms like Pup Wax that use only clean high-quality and organic ingredients. Always go the organic route when considering wax balms for your dog’s dry nose. Read through the ingredients and confirm there are no toxins or damaging ingredients in the product.  It is best to use products without mineral oil, cocoa butter, comfrey, tea tree oil, wintergreen oil, ylang ylang, petrolatum, or paraffin wax. The nose balm you choose should not only moisturize and protect but also carry healing properties that directly benefit your dog - this means you should avoid filler ingredients.  We also recommend avoiding balms with perfumes and fragrances, which are irritating to pup's sensitive noses.

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