• Cierra Voelkl

Sight, Taste, Touch, Oh My!

We already know that dogs have incredible senses. Well while thinking of trotting around in Halloween costumes in the dark of night, we got to thinking: how amazing are those senses? Can they see in the dark? Let's find out...

1. Sight

Photo Credit: Nuzzle

So onto the initial question: sight. First off, their eyes are just straight up different than humans'. As far as we know, dogs most likely see the world in blacks, whites and grays compared to how we see color. And the amazing thing: they DO have spectacular night vision, at least compared to us. But one thing they do lack in is depth perception. On top all that, their ability really does vary depending on the breed and what they were bred for.

2. Taste

Photo Credit: Metro Paws®

You'd think that their sense of taste would be far superior than ours but alas, we'd be wrong. Our taste buds actually far surpasses them. Dogs only have 2,000 taste buds while we actually have 9,000 on our tongue.While they can tell the difference between flavors like bitter, salty, sour and sweet, its not as distinct as us. They really do hate bitter which is why bitter products are often used to deter chewing. And you know how your dog will eat anything from a piece of cake to cat poop? That's because they are neophilic aka will try almost anything you put in front of them.

3. Hearing

Photo Credit: DogHealth

Canine's incredible sense of hearing explains why they can hear a cheese wrapper being undone in the kitchen while they're in the backend of the backyard. Technically, we hear about the same as them but dogs can actually hear in ultrasound range which is two octaves higher than what we can hear. This is why they are so sensitive to things like dog whistles and we can't even hear it. The ability to distinguish sounds is also a talent of theirs as they can locate and pick out a single voice from many talking at once.

4. Touch

Photo Credit: Motherboard

The muzzle of a dog is actually the most sensitive to canines unlike us with our fingertips. They have different sensitivity spots due to their needs. For example, they aren't as sensitive on their paws as they have to walk on them. Fun fact, the neck is far less sensitive compared to the rest of the body which is why corrective collars are often used in training but be sure they sit correctly higher up on the neck as that area is a tad more sensitive so dogs can be responsive to corrections.

5. Smell

Photo Credit: New Atlas

Dogs' ability to smell has been used for human advantage for centuries. Take hunting and drug sniffing dogs for example. The fact that they have 20 times the smell receptors in their noses compared to us makes them able to detect smells 100 to one million less concentrated. Dogs can even use their sense of smell to detect changes in the human body such as diabetes, some cancer and seizer disorders due to a chemical change.

Going more in depth about what makes dogs senses so amazing really helps to understand why they do what they do. Whether it's sniffing the same spot for 10 minutes or tilting their head to sirens, they never cease to amaze us. So this Halloween, your dog might be a good buddy to take with you to lead the way through the dark, spooky streets!

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