How can some dogs detect illegal drugs?

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Some dogs are used as detection dogs to sniff out illegal drugs and other substances because dogs have a much better sense of smell than humans. These dogs are trained to pick up on specific scents, such as cocaine or marijuana, and are used in drug raids or in areas where drug activity may be suspected.

Dogs also have the ability to separate odors, which makes them extremely valuable when finding drugs that may be masked with other, potent smells. For example, if a small amount of cocaine were hidden in a barrel of coffee beans, a human nose would smell the coffee and nothing more. A dog, however, would be able to smell the coffee beans and the cocaine, separating the odors. Many drug smugglers try to elaborately mask the drug odor with many other odors to fool drug-detecting dogs.

Drug-detecting dogs must be properly trained and guided during sniffing procedures and drug raids. The handler of the dog must also be able to pick up on the cues of the dog.

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