A dogs nose has special powers that far surpass the human nose. Did you know that their nose can separate smell from breathing? Pretty neat. When we breathe, air and smell go through the same airways but dogs have a fold that separates these two functions. This allows them to continuously pick up new scents. It is said that a dog can detect some odors in parts per trillion. What does this mean? Explained well by author of Inside of a Dog, Alexandra Horowitz, “while we might notice if our coffee has had one teaspoon of sugar added to it, a dog could detect a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water, or two Olympic-sized pools worth.” Pretty crazy to think of it like that.
This is all possible because of an organ they have that us humans don’t possess, the vomeronasal organ aka Jacobson’s organ. It is responsible for picking up pheromones and located in the bottom of a dogs nasal passage. This organ has its own nerves leading to a part of the brain that is solely responsible for taking in signals. Scent detection has come a long way over the years. Canines can detect many things but for us, most importantly, they alert on the presence of live bed bugs and/or viable eggs.