How well can dogs smell in relationship to people?

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A dog can smell about 100,000 times better than a human. This is mostly because of the large olfactory bulbs that are attached to a dog’s brain, as well as the size, texture and function of a dog’s nose. A human’s olfactory bulbs weigh approximately 15 grams, while a dog’s olfactory bulbs weigh around 60 grams. A dog’s brain is roughly one-tenth the size of a human’s brain, which means that a dog brain has nearly 40 times the amount of space specifically dedicated to smell than a human brain.

Dogs have an extremely well-developed sense of smell that allows them to track scents and notice smells that humans couldn’t possibly detect. For this reason, dogs are often enlisted to help with drug raids done by police and special task forces, military operations, and many other circumstances where an acute sense of smell is needed. A dog is able to pick up chemical or drug scents that are one or two parts out of a billion– a feat that no human nose could ever accomplish.

Another large part of a dog’s superior smelling ability is the size, texture and function of the nose. A dog’s leathery, wet nose traps smells that are then passed up to the smell receptor cells in the brain for analysis. A dog’s wet nose plays an integral part in his ability to pick up even faint scents and magnify them.

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