Tuesday, April 20, 2010
First of all, a dog's nose is usually wet, and this is a good thing because the little tiny pieces of scent, which are called molecules, stick to a wet nose. So when the dog goes around sniffing the ground or somebody's luggage or somebody's crotch, the scent molecules end up on the dog's nose. And after that, they go inside the nose, where there is a whole bunch of sticky mucous. The mucous is in these folds of skin called membranes, and there are lots of mucous membranes inside a dog's nose. In fact, if you took all of a dog's membranes and spread them out flat, they would be as big as the state of North Dakota. Hahahaha! I'm just kidding! Actually, they would only be as big as a handkerchief, but that's still pretty big. Especially when you know that the mucous membranes inside a person's nose would only be the size of a postage stamp.
The scent receptors are connected to nerves that go to the brain, and the brain sorts everything out and makes sense of what the dog is smelling. So for example if a dog sniffs a spot where a cat has been, the dog can tell that a cat was there, whether it was male or female, how long ago it was there, and which way it was heading. Maybe a dog can learn even more than that from a scent, but I do not want to betray my fellow canines by giving away all our secrets!