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A dog’s sense of smell is estimated to be 10,000 to 100,000 times better than that of a human. This is due, in large part, to staggering differences in odor processing in humans and dogs.

While we have about 6 million olfactory receptors, dogs have a staggering 300 million. Their epithelium, or nasal tissue, is about 30 times larger than ours. And while people have between 12 million and 40 million olfactory neurons – specialized cells involved in transmitting odor information to the brain – dogs, depending on the breed, can have 220 million to 2 billion!

How can you even conceptualize this breathtaking difference in abilities? This disparity is like detecting one teaspoon of sugar in enough water to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools.

Dogs have been constant companions to many during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have discovered one positive amid the pandemic: I love working with two dogs at my feet. As someone who studies dog cognition , I often wonder: What is Charlie learning when he stops to sniff the crisp […]

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