We weren’t going to take him out but have decided that fresh air and sniffs will do him good – and the Labradors – and us, of course. Naturally, the sniffs we will enjoy will not be in quite the same league as the ones the dogs appreciate.
Dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell. They can identify smells one thousand to ten thousand times more accurately than we poor humans. The smell analysis percentage of a dog’s brain is 40 times larger than that of a human’s.
The following table, from ‘Understanding a Dog's Sense of Smell’ by Stanley Coren, PhD and Sarah Hodgson, emphasises the paucity of the human sense of smell compared to that of different breeds of dogs. (The heading seems to suggest that there are different breeds of people, too – and there are some who would not refute that!)
Table: Scent-Detecting Cells in People and Dog Breeds
Given these facts it is even more amazing to discover that the canine sense of taste is less well developed than the human’s. The main taste sensations are the same – sweetness, sourness and saltiness – but as dogs wolf down their food without first carefully smelling it as cats do it would seem that the smellier the food is the more eagerly dogs will consume it. This explains why dogs will eat anything they regard as having an attractive aroma – rotting carcases, mouldy food, anti-freeze will all be ingested with gusto.
I hope Frodo won’t have any more falling down practices in this cluster - we will be watching him closely for the next two or three days.