Dogs are curious creatures by nature and this curiosity is a sign of a dog’s general good health and well-being. A dog’s nose and finely tuned olfactory system play a big part in allowing the dog to be a nosey parker.

Did you know that a dog has up to 300 MILLION olfactory receptors in its nose? (Humans have roughly 6 million.) And did you also know that approximately 10% of a dog’s brain is dedicated to processing scent? It’s no wonder dogs love to sniff.

Sniffing is an important and instinctual activity for dogs with many positive health benefits. That’s why it is an activity that I actively encourage for both my own dogs as well as the dogs I work with.

Why dogs sniff so much

Sniffing is how a dog learns about its environment and the objects within it. Smell is the most prominent of the senses for a dog and they are able to identify individual components that make up complex scents. The way something smells gives dogs more information than the way something looks, feels, sounds, or tastes.

It is often said that a dog sees the world through its nose.

Scenting helps a dog to identify important clues about other dogs like gender, age, health status, and what they eat. This is why your dog likes to sniff when out on walks and will often sniff the same spots each time and even leave its own information behind!

The importance of sniffing

Not only is scenting a way for a dog to learn important information about the environment but processing the individual scents is mentally taxing too.

Why sniffing is important for your dog:

  • Promotes good health and well being
  • Calm and soothe.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Provide much-needed mental stimulation.
  • Allows the dog to make choices.
  • Meet its instinctual drive.
  • Provides important information about the environment, other dogs, and humans too.

I encourage all of you to include dedicated sniff time in your daily dog walks and to use scent-based toys and games at home. These simple activities will help to keep your dog happy and healthy.

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