Dogs' sense of smell overpowers our own by orders of magnitude—it's 10,000 to 100,000 times as acute, scientists say. "Let's suppose they're just 10,000 times better," says James Walker, former director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University, who, with several colleagues, came up with that jaw-dropping estimate during a rigorously designed, oft-cited study.
"If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well.
Put another way, dogs can detect some odors in parts per trillion. What does that mean in terms we might understand?
Your Dogs Super Dog's Nose
Dogs Do Have A Super Nose
In her book Alexandra Horowitz, a dog-cognition researcher at Barnard College, writes that while we might notice if our coffee has had a teaspoon of sugar added to it, a dog could detect a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water, or two Olympic-sized pools worth. Another dog scientist likened their ability to catching a whiff of one rotten apple in two million barrels. (Article By Peter Tyson).
In her “fascinating book…Horowitz combines the expertise of a scientist with an easy, lively writing style” (The New York Times Book Review) as she imagines what it is like to be a dog. Guided by her own dogs, Finnegan and Upton, Horowitz sets off on a quest through the cutting-edge science behind the olfactory abilities of the dog. In addition to speaking to cognitive researchers and smell experts, Horowitz visits detection-dog trainers and training centers; she meets researchers working with dogs to detect cancerous cells and anticipate epileptic seizure or diabetic shock; and she even attempts to smell-train her own nose.
As we come to understand how rich, complex, and exciting the world around us is to the canine nose, Horowitz changes our perspective on dogs forever. Readers will finish this book feeling that they have broken free of their human constraints and understanding smell as never before; that they have, for however fleetingly, been a dog. And, as The Boston Globe says about Being a Dog, “becoming more doglike, not surprisingly, can make anyone’s life a little more vivid.” (Article By Peter Tyson).