This is a guest post by Julia Wong
While your beloved pet dog shares the same basic senses as you: touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing, a few of your four-legged companion’s senses are much keener than yours. Let’s take a look at the amazing senses your dog has as well as some of the things your pet is capable of due to this innate sophistication.
Dogs have a Heightened Sense of Smell
One of the most impressive facts about a dog’s senses is the fact that a canine has a sense of smell that is 1,000 to 10,000 times more sensitive than a human’s, depending on the breed. Your dog relies on his sense of smell to interpret the world around him in much the same way you depend on your eyesight. According to a 2010 study conducted in Japan, dogs can sniff out cancer with greater accuracy than current methods used. In fact, it was found that a trained dog can detect up to 12 types of cancer by sniffing the breath and stool of humans. Specially trained medical dogs can smell changes in blood sugar levels that signal low insulin or high blood sugar to alert their owners or others to possible diabetic seizures.
A Dog’s Hearing is Very Acute
Then next time your pooch wakes you up in the middle of the night because he’s barking, don’t assume that he is having a dream or imagining something that’s not there. Your dog is probably hearing something you can’t hear because dogs can hear at 4x the distance humans can. Your dog’s ears are much better designed to gather sound waves as they have numerous muscles which move the ears in all directions. Plus, you dog can move just one ear at a time to absorb even more sounds. This is why guard dogs are so good at what they do as they can detect sounds humans can’t.
A Dog’s Touch is Much More Developed Than Most People Think
In spite of all the fur, a dog has a very good sense of touch, especially in the face. Dogs have built-in sensory receptors in heir faces so that as puppies, they can locate their mothers even when their eyes are closed. The reason your dog probably sleeps very close to you is so that he can feel when you get up to leave him as dogs are pack animals by nature and don’t enjoy being left alone.
Dogs’ Sense of Taste is Impressive but Still the Least Developed
Did you know that your dog can taste a teaspoon of sugar that’s been diluted in a million gallons of water? Amazing, right? Your dog’s sense of taste, like yours, is closely linked to his sense of smell. The difference is that you refuse to eat something that smells awful but your dog is the opposite – the stinkier the better. Canines are more focused on smell than taste. You have probably seen your dog gobble down food without hardly swallowing, let alone tasting. However, your dog can distinguish between sweet, salty, bitter and sour flavors. It’s just that your dog has about one-sixth of the taste buds in his mouth that you do. That’s why he relies more on the smell of food than the taste.
Dogs Can See Colors, but Not as Well as Us
It’s a common misconception that dogs are colorblind. The fact is that dogs can and do see in color, only it’s not in the same way humans do. Dogs can see colors within the blue and yellow spectrum which means that your dog can see certain colors and shades of gray. Dogs can’t see colors within the red and green spectrum so things of these colors are seen as yellow-brown or gray. A dog’s vision is designed to allow it to notice movement at distances far better than humans do. And, a dog’s eyes work very well in dim lighting. Canines have good night vision but they cannot see in total darkness.
Your pet dog indeed has amazing senses. Dogs have been trained to detect when humans are sick, they are good protectors, excellent companions and they can even sense danger before it happens with what researchers call a dog’s “sixth sense”. The next time you shop for pet or vet supplies online, buy your dog a special treat because after all, he is your best friend and well worth it!
Julia Wong writes about home, pets and entertainment.