A Dog’s Five Senses

Nov 12, 2019 | Pet Health, Pets

As pet owners, we tend to assume that we are similar to our dog when comparing “our senses”.  But did you know that a dog’s senses are just like ours…but not!  What are the five senses and what is the most primary sense out of the five?  Dogs can Touch, See, Smell, Hear, and Taste but their smelling ability is rated top on the list!  My first thought when I was researching the five senses was that dogs should have a backup!  What happens if they were not picking up a scent or had an infection that could hinder their smelling abilities.  We, as humans, always want a backup or have a backup plan but what about dogs?  What do you think that would be?  A dogs acute hearing is the second best sense!!!
 
Scent
Dogs have somewhere between 125 million to 300 million scent glands, whereas humans only have 5 millions.A human’s sense of smell is 1,000 to 10,000 times less sensitive than a dog’s.  Dogs can move both of their nostrils individually, which allows them to identify which direction a smell originated from.  Dogs smell continuously while they breathe, unlike humans, who smell only on the inhale.
 
Touch
The sense of touch is used immediately at birth, when the 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.  Have you ever noticed that when you nuzzle your dog, they want more.  They become closer to you because you are their mother, their father and you provide a sense of comfort.  
 
Sight
A common misconception is that dogs do not see in color.  They do, but not complex colors like humans do.  It’s likely that dogs can see yellow and blue shades well, but red 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 the dim lighting.  Did you know that the color red looks green to a dog?  That is why it is hard for them to find a red ball in the grass and they rely more on their smell to find it.
 
Sound
Dogs have a very acute hearing and are able to detect sounds that are at significantly higher frequencies that 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.  Hearing is considered a dog’s second-best sense, after smell.  
 
Taste
People have around 9,000 taste buds on their tongue; dogs have only around 2,000.  Of course, a limited taste range does’t mean dogs aren’t open to enjoying new things.  As anyone who has lived with a dog knows, if something is edible, they will try it.  The problem is that they can’t always handle the rich foods that we eat.  Jake and Maggie tried frozen green beans for the first time this weekend.  Maggie liked them and Jake did not.  
 
 

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