top of page

5 Things That Dogs Smell That You Can't

Bedbugs can hide anywhere, making it so hard for us humans to find them all. Dogs are smaller, more agile, and have an incredible sense of smell that allows them to identify something as small as one bed bug. They can also use their nose to determine the difference between live bed bugs with active eggs and dead bed bugs.

Training dogs to detect bed bugs has become a popular method for natural pest detection. Dogs can smell out bed bugs in locations humans would never even think to look, let alone locate them. Bed bugs can hide in some tight crevices, like the outlet switch, a pair of stuffed animals, in the carpet, or between the bedsprings. Once dogs detect the presence of bugs in a certain location, a trained exterminator can test these areas for bed bugs and act accordingly. The only facility in the U.S with accreditations for training scent dogs is the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association (NESDCA). Here, both dogs and their human handlers are trained side-by-side to produce the best working team.

Diabetes Diabetes Assist Dogs are trained to monitor smells in the air for a specific scent on the human breath that is related to rapidly dropping or low blood sugar levels. They are then trained to “alert” the person with diabetes, usually by touching them in a significant way such as pawing or nudging them. This alerts the person to check his or her blood sugar level. It also informs them that they should get something to eat to prevent hypoglycemia, or their blood sugars getting to a dangerous level. The canine partner can also be trained to retrieve juice or glucose tabs, get an emergency phone, or get help from another person in the house.

Diabetes Assist Dogs wear a backpack identifying them as an assistance dog. This backpack has pockets where medical information, a sugar source, and emergency contact information can be stored. This provides an extra safety net in case the person with diabetes is unable to get help in time. Anyone finding the person unconscious or acting abnormally would know it may be a medical emergency and know how to get help.

Whale PoopFrom a street dog to a search dog helping scientists!

Whales came into the picture in 2001, when Wasser was working on fecal hormone analysis of right whales with New England Aquarium researcher Roz Rolland. He realized that though the human researchers could smell the whale scats, which are bright orange and float on the surface like an oil slick, they just weren’t finding them as often as they could be. It occurred to him that detection dogs could solve that problem.

Davenport trained Rolland to be a conservation detection-dog handler and supplied her with Fargo, a Rottweiler trained to sniff out right whale scats from aboard a research vessel.

Rolland’s work was the first to locate marine specimens with canine assistance, and she used the samples to study the health and reproductive status of her right whale targets.

Tucker was found wandering the streets of north Seattle and was taken into a shelter as a six-month-old pup. He came to CK-9 when he was around a year old. Kids make him nervous—one whiff, and he gets antsy. He’s also developed arthritis in one shoulder. But in the field, he’s like Clifford the Big Red Dog.

No single breed is best suited to the task. Tucker’s kennelmates include Australian cattle dogs, pointers, shepherd mixes—even a Chihuahua mix. But they all have three things in common: they’re high energy, crazy for playing ball and skilled at operating in tandem with their human handlers, who live, work and play with their dogs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

DVDsLucky and Flo are a pair of black Labrador retrievers notable for being the first animals trained to detect optical discs by scent. They are sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) as part of an initiative to combat copyright infringement of film DVDs.[1]

Although the dogs are sponsored and publicized on the premise that they can detect counterfeit DVDs, they have no ability to distinguish between counterfeit DVDs and any other polycarbonate optical disc. The dogs' abilities were first demonstrated in May 2006 at the FedEx shipping hub at London Stansted Airport, though inspectors found all the discs the dogs detected that day to be legitimate. Another demonstration was held at the MPAA's Washington, D.C. office on September 26, 2006. In March 2007 the two dogs were sent to Malaysia to help sniff out DVDs. After a raid on a bootleg DVD ring in Johor Bahru on March 20, reports said that the dogs were now targeted by the DVD pirates and that a bounty had been put on their heads.

Cancer Dogs have the ability to sniff out certain types of cancer such as lung and breast cancer. Scientists have confirmed that cancer does in fact have a smell detectable by humans, but it´s only detectable in later stages. Dogs can smell the disease during its infant stages, which can lead to early intervention and possibly a lifesaving discovery.



bottom of page