How Dogs Can Smell When You’re Leaving—and How to Make It Easier on Them
If you’ve ever left the house early on what promises to be a hot summer day, you’ve noticed a certain scent. It’s warmth and lazy days and fun all wrapped together. Or perhaps you’ve smelled the scent of cold when you open the door for your winter evening dog walk.
To know a dog is to be interested in what it’s like to be a dog. And that all begins with the nose. – Alexandra Horowitz
Seasonal and temperature differences are about as deep as our inferior human noses will allow us to delve into time. Dogs, on the other hand, measure their days in scent. And, because their lives revolve around our presence, the longer dogs are alone, the more responsibility we have to assure that they’re comfortable and busy.
Smelling in stereo
Alexandra Horowitz, founder of the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, describes it as “stereo-olfaction”—the ability to discern completely different scents with each nostril. A dog’s nose enhances smell the way a fancy high-definition television enhances your visual experience.
How? The canine nose has hundreds of millions more receptor cells than the human nose, including many of which the human nose simply doesn’t contain.
This spectacular ability to smell is a primary factor in your dog’s ability to understand the passage of time. The strength of your scent on the air of your home, for example, can indicate how long ago you left the house. The weaker your smell, the longer you’ve been away.
How dogs smell time
To dogs, time quite literally smells different throughout the day. Morning has a different scent from afternoon, which smells different from night-time. The canine nose is so sensitive that dogs can determine the difference between 5pm and 6pm, the time when your partner’s car rolls into the driveway every weekday.
Of course, most dog guardians know their dogs love to smell! We also know that the longer we’ve been away, the more excited our dogs are to see us when we return.
Swedish researchers have done us the favor of confirming this is true. A study conducted in 2010 found dogs left alone for longer than two hours greeted their guardians more intensely and remained more attentive after their return.
How we can help a lonesome dog
These types of studies on canine behavior are a good reminder about how our behavior affects our dogs. But since most of us don’t have the luxury of quitting our jobs or keeping our dogs with us at all times, it’s our responsibility to make our absences as painless as possible for our canine loved ones. Try these solutions the next time you anticipate a long (or even a short) day away:
The ThunderShirt, which acts as a tightly-wrapped swaddle, can help some dogs to relax while the family is away.
DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) products mimic the calming scent of a nursing mother dog. DAP is available as a collar, plug-in diffuser, or room spray.
Classical piano music (check out Through a Dog’s Ear) can help a dog to relax while you are gone.
Puzzle toys go a long way towards engaging your dog’s brain while you are away. There are huge selections of puzzle toys out there. Check out our top picks here.
If your dog doesn’t suffer from isolation distress or separation anxiety, a number of new toys on the market allow you to periodically interact with your pup while you are away. For instance, by sending them a treat (the Furbo lets you see your dog as well as give them a treat; you can learn more at their site) or powering up a remote-controlled ball. If your dog does suffer from severe panic while you’re away, these products, unfortunately, are likely to make your problem worse.
Audio-visual experiences such as DogTV or a custom DVD show images of birds, squirrels, toys and other beloved doggy treats, and may entice some dogs into watching the boob tube while you’re away.
Creative enrichment involving scent and taste is enough to change your dog’s life from boring to amazing. Check out shelter enrichment for some awesome inspiration.
Stay for one more story, be sure to check out these Top Trending Stories below:
Defiant Husky Told To Get Into His Kennel, Uses “English” To Talk Back:
It’s bad enough when the kids learn how to talk back to you, but when the family dog learns how to push back, OH BOY! This video shows that even the strongest parent will secretly melt when trying to get this furry one to obey.
Brian, a handsome Siberian Husky with signature deep blue eyes, is repeatedly asked by his guardian to “Go in your house”. However, Brian is not in the mood to retreat to his doghouse right now, so he responds with a clear and resounding “No.” He is so clear in responding to this direct request (complete with wagging tail), it makes one wonder if Brian has a complete vocabulary to express himself.
Known to be one of the canine world’s most talkative breeds, Siberian Huskies no doubt developed their voices when having to pull sleds through the frigid climates of the northern hemisphere.
For kids who talk back to their parents, they will get a quick trip to the “doghouse,” but for Brian the talking Husky, it’s clear that he is going to stay right there on that comfy couch!
Be sure to stay for one more after watching this video! More stories below:
Dog Groomer Opens Shop In Middle Of Night To Give Stray Dog Haircut And Found Beauty Beneath Matted Fur:
One night, a couple driving down a highway near Oviedo, Florida, came across a sight that made them stop in their tracks. They saw a dog on the side of the road, wandering about without any clue as to where he was going, and almost running into traffic. They immediately pulled over and went to check on the dog.
They were shocked to see his physical condition. He had severely matted fur which restricted his movement and covered much of his face, which is why he couldn’t see where he was going, and almost ended up being run over. He was barely responsive and looked like he had been abandoned and neglected for much of his life.
The couple just couldn’t leave him there. So they decided to take him in the car with them. But since they were unable to keep him overnight, they put out a desperate plea online – a call which was answered by groomer Kari Falla.
When a dog is matted that badly, it can cause its blood flow to stop as well as bruising to the dog. Seeing the dog in such bad shape, Kari knew she couldn’t wait till the next day to help him.
Kari rushed to her salon, BGE Grooming, in the middle of the night. “I knew it was bad, but nothing prepared me for what I saw. It smelled like death and the dog could not walk,” she said. Kari worked tirelessly till 3 in the morning. She fully shaved him, and estimated that he had been carrying over two years of unchecked fur. She bathed him and took him to her local vet. Meanwhile, they decided to name him Lucky.
The next big surprise came at the vet’s office. Apparently Lucky was both blind and deaf. Add that to his matted fur and bad shape, he was almost certain to end up being road kill before the end of the night, had he not been lucky enough to be spotted by the kind couple.
The vet neutered Lucky and gave him shots and a teeth cleaning. Next step was to find him a forever home. Lucky’s story was posted on Facebook, and it caught the eye of Zachary Blair. He was so moved by the way everyone came together to help Lucky, he couldn’t wait to give him a forever home.
We hope no dog gets left on the road in such conditions. Every dog is precious and deserves a forever home where they’re loved and cared for.
Dog Seen Outside Of Store With A Sign Around His Neck:
Animal lovers have a lot to say about this story but regardless of what you may think, this is one SMART DOG!
Steve Moore rescued Jackson, a three-year-old Golden Retriever, from the shelter. Jackson needed a home and Moore stepped up to the plate. Moore took Jackson in and began working with him every day. In just a month, Moore had him trained to do something PHENOMENAL! His “trick” had every passerby that saw Jackson, wanting this dog for themselves… a dog NO ONE showed interest in just a month prior.
Moore took Jackson to high traffic, busy areas so he could work with him while getting used to the noises and distractions around him. He had Jackson sit and stay. Then he had him sit and stay for a longer period of time. Then, he had him sit and stay while he walked away from him. He did this repeatedly UNTIL Jackson could be left on his own long enough for Moore to go inside of a store and get his errands done. Since dogs are not allowed in most stores, this was a better alternative to leaving him in a car where he could overheat. Plus, he wouldn’t be tied up, so if an emergency should happen, Jackson could run to safety.
The final stage was to get him to sit and stay WHILE wearing a sign around his neck. “Dad told me to wait here. Me waiting.” And Jackson is really good at waiting! Even with commotion around him and people walking up to say “hi” and give him pets, Jackson waits, FAITHFULLY for his human to return. Now that’s a GOOD BOY!
Lucky Elderly Man Is Greeted Every Day By A “Friend” Who Crawls Out Of The Ice:
We’ve all seen some unique and unlikely friendships over the years, but this one here may take the cake! One day, a starving otter appeared at an elderly man’s door wanting some food. Ever since, Seppo Laamanen, 65, and Iivari the otter have been inseparable best friends.
It all started when Seppo fed worms and fish to the small and malnourished otter who was clearly looking for food. After that, the friendly animal repaid the kindness by visiting the man at his home in Punkaharju in easter Finland. This was the start of something special.
There’s no way Seppo could’ve ever imagined it’d all lead to this. This adorably unique friendship is one for the ages, and it’s something you have to see to believe. There’s nothing like the bond between two friends regardless of the species! 🙂
10 Of The “Most Loyal” Dog Breeds On The Planet:
Giving love and support to humans is something that some dogs do better than others. While many dogs love everyone they meet and are willing to take treats or belly rubs from anyone, the pups we found are just the opposite.
These 10 dogs are some of the most loyal breeds on the planet. They are rock steady in their loyalty to their owner no matter what.
When the American Kennel Club (AKC) lists loyalty to describe the temperament of the Akita, you know they mean business. The beautiful double-coated working dog of Japanese ancestry is considered hardwired in protecting those she loves. They should be socialized with other dogs and people from the time they are puppies. Their silly, fun, but dignified personalities round out the loyal Akita.
This working dog is smart, full of energy, and oh so loyal to their family. They get along great with kids and have an innate instinct to protect their pack. He’s a watchdog with a heart of gold who oozes dedication to his owner.
Known as the “small dog with the big ears,” this adorable breed hails from the Scottish Isle of Skye, hence the name. Whether you live in the city or the country, this small dog with a big personality is steadfast in snuggling, playtime, and remaining loyal to his owners.
This merry hound is friendly, curious and incredibly loyal. While he doesn’t mind the occasional couch potato time, this spunky pooch is energetic and merry. A fun fact about this hound: the breed standard is for 13 inches and under and another in the 13-15 inch category. No matter how you size him, these adorable dogs just want to cling to you.
This wrinkly non-sporting breed is standoffish to strangers but very loyal to his owner. His ancient Chinese roots are part of the charm of the Shar-Pei. Regal, strong, and smart, if you want a BFF for life, this loose-skinned pooch may be the right choice for you.
Originally bred as lapdogs for Chinese emperors, the wrinkly-faced Pug has a laid back and loyal nature. Historically, many famous folks have owned a Pug: Napoleon’s wife, Josephine; Italian designer, Valentino; and Jessica Alba, and Paris Hilton. As if they aren’t adorable enough, a group of Pugs is called a “grumble!”
Sassy and loyal, this pint-sized pooch with the big personality is one of the oldest breeds in the Americas. Their big dog attitude attracts many people but they do require a loving, consistent owner. In return, they are loyal to their tiny core. Preferring to sit in your lap and remain tried and true, don’t forget to walk them, too!
His magnificent stature coupled with his fearless and loyal personality places this working dog on our list. He is smart, noble, and often used as protection. Historically, German taxman and dog breeder, Louis Dobermann, took his dog along on his tax collection rounds. You can imagine how eager folks were to pay up right away.
Majestic, strong, smart, and loyal sum up the personality of this magnificent working dog. His coat is thick and his devotion to you is immense. The AKC dubs them “vigilant guardians of home and family.” They are calm yet ready to spring into action if their pack is faced with a threat. Sadly, the breed is more susceptible to bloat than other breeds, so a savvy, loyal owner is required.
Perhaps best known for rescuing stranded travelers in the Swiss Alps, this diehard working breed is also wonderful with kids. He is sweet, sometimes shy, but can be stubborn despite his devotion to you. This known drooler requires an owner who is dedicated to socializing him so that his strong personality is properly channeled. He’ll pay you back with love and loyalty over and over.
Story: Man’s About To Return Shelter Dog When He Reads Previous Owner’s Note
A man had finally settled into his new town, but something still felt missing from his life. He thought getting a companion in the form of a shelter dog might help. So he did just that. He went to the shelter where a black Lab named Reggie needed a home. But they didn’t hit it off right away.
The man gave it two weeks (the amount of time the shelter said it may take for the dog to adjust to his new home), but it just wasn’t working out. Maybe it was the fact he was also trying to adjust to a new situation. Maybe they were too much alike. But then the man started going through Reggie’s stuff, and that’s when he was reminded of a letter the previous owner had left with the dog. That’s what would end up changing their lives dramatically.
What an amazingly beautiful story. It’s all going to work out for Tank and his new owner. 🙂
You’ve read this far… you need to watch this short BEAUTIFUL video clip.. It will touch your HEART! Enjoy!
Does this sound familiar? Your dog suddenly starts making loud snorting sounds—over and over again, in quick succession. Do you start wondering, did they swallow something they shouldn’t have? Can they breathe?! Chances are, you’re experiencing the infamous “reverse sneeze.” Veterinarians often see dogs whose owners rushed them in for an emergency appointment after finding them standing with their elbows apart, head pulled back, and eyes bulging as they snort or gasp repeatedly. Yet for the vast majority of these dogs, a vet visit was unnecessary.
Reverse sneezing looks and sounds scary the first time you encounter it. However, it’s a fairly common and harmless respiratory event for dogs.
Read on to learn how to identify reverse sneezing, what causes it, and how to tell the difference between a harmless reverse sneeze and something else.
What is reverse sneezing?
A reverse sneeze is pretty much what it sounds like: a sneeze that happens in reverse! The above video is a good example of what it looks and sounds like.
In a regular sneeze, air is rapidly pushed out through the nose. In a reverse sneeze, air is rapidly, and noisily, pulled in through the nose. It occurs in spasms lasting anywhere from a few seconds up to a minute and sounds like snorting, snuffling, and even gagging. See the above video for an example.
Because of the sounds their dogs make while reverse sneezing, many people mistakenly think their dog is choking. However, a reverse sneeze is almost as normal and harmless as a regular sneeze.
There’s no single cause for a reverse sneeze. Like regular sneezing, it’s often triggered by an irritation or inflammation in the nose, throat, or sinuses. It often occurs when dogs wake up from a nap, or after eating, when their breathing pattern may have rapidly changed. It’s also caused by irritants in the airway—anything from dust to an inhaled hair!
Some dogs experience more frequent reverse sneezing in springtime when the air is full of pollen and other allergens. Others reverse sneeze more in the winter, when sudden temperature changes between outdoors and indoors cause the nasal passages to contract.
Another common cause of reverse sneezing is pressure on the throat and neck. A too-tight collar, or straining against the leash, can irritate the throat and lead to a reverse sneeze. That’s just one more reason to consider a harness for your dog.
Finally, some dogs reverse sneeze after exercise, or when they’re overexcited. This is particularly common among brachycephalic, or short-nosed, breeds like pugs and bulldogs. When they get worked up, they may inhale their elongated soft palates into the throat, triggering an episode of reverse sneezing.
Reverse sneezing is super-common, and it won’t hurt your dog. However, some dogs become anxious during a reverse sneezing episode, and a lengthy episode may be uncomfortable.
You can help your dog recover from a reverse sneezing episode by remaining calm yourself. If you get anxious, your dog’s anxiety will increase, too. So, stay calm, and show your dog there’s nothing to panic about.
If your dog is experiencing a particularly long episode of reverse sneezing, you may be able to ease or end the episode by:
Gently massaging your dog’s throat
Briefly covering their nostrils, which will cause them to swallow and potentially stop sneezing
Depressing their tongue with your hand to help open airways
Some vets suggest gently blowing in your dog’s face
In the vast majority of cases, there’s no need to intervene. Reverse sneezing doesn’t last long, and your dog will be perfectly normal after it stops.
When you should go to the vet:
As mentioned, reverse sneezing rarely requires veterinary treatment. As soon as the sneezing episode stops, the situation is resolved. However, if episodes increase in frequency or duration, you should call the vet just in case. You should also seek treatment if your dog’s reverse sneezing is accompanied by other respiratory symptoms or if they have any unusual discharge from their nose.Occasionally, chronic reverse sneezing can be a symptom of more serious issues. These include nasal mites, foreign objects in the airway, respiratory infections, and tracheal collapse. If you’re concerned about the intensity of your dog’s reverse sneezing, take a video to show the vet. They’ll be able to determine potential causes.Most dogs experience episodes of reverse sneezing at some point in their lives. For the vast majority of dogs, it’s a common, temporary, harmless reaction with no lasting aftereffects. Of course, it still sounds unsettling to our human ears! But now that you know what reverse sneezing is, you’ll be less likely to make an unnecessary vet visit.