FunNature & AnimalThe smell of dogs, what do they use it...

The smell of dogs, what do they use it for?

Dogs have an extremely keen sense of smell. This impressive capacity has given them very important jobs: drug and explosive detection dogs, rescue dogs … their nose is also capable of perceiving messages sent by other animals, messages that their interlocutor emits in the form of hormonal secretions and more specifically using pheromones.

Pheromones are capable of producing emotional modifications in animals that perceive their smell, they can act on the hormonal secretions of the animal that receives the message. In order for this curious means of communication to come to an end, dogs have “emitting centers” for pheromones : glandular devices that manufacture and expel information. Among them we have the perianal glands (located on both sides of the anus), the supracaudal glands (located in the upper area of the tail), the facial and perioral glands (on the face and around the mouth) and the foot glands (between the toes).

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Many of us have observed how dogs smell “the rear” … it is a way of getting to know each other. Of course, it is less “disgusting” to ask the name or hand over a business card … Although it may seem shocking, the smell given off by the perianal glands contains much more information than a small piece of paper can offer. The “sniffing” of the “underworld” of their new friend is undoubtedly for them, the best way to start a relationship.

We will also have observed how our dog rubs its muzzle against the floor, against the furniture, how it scratches compulsively with its paws … Most do not even consider that these actions mean anything more than a pleasant form of scratching or a simple form of search. Nothing is further from reality!! Our good friend is leaving messages for whoever might be interested, usually of the same species. With the rubbing of his face, with the scratching , he is marking areas, he is impregnating a very specific territory with the information of the pheromones that his glands give off. They cannot leave messages on a voice mailbox, they cannot send a telegram, but they have more than enough means to achieve the same effect without carrying a mobile phone hanging up and without going to the nearest post office.

We are clear that to communicate, the dog emits pheromones, but for the olfactory communication process to be complete, it must also “receive” them, smell them. The dog’s nose must be moist to develop its excellent olfactory ability. Your olfactory mucosa has chemoreceptor cells responsible for “understanding” odors, if the environment of the olfactory mucosa is humid, everything will be fine. The nose of a healthy dog can even run without any pathology. If, on the other hand, the nose is dry (fever, illness or some pathology), the dog will be unable to “understand” messages, appreciate the smells of food …

The particles that carry odors dissolve in water before being perceived by the chemoreceptor cells, which is why a humid environment is so important, essential for the sense of smell to work.

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