What are the five senses of a dog?

If the dog was an animal with the five senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste, then these senses did not develop as well as in humans. His sense of smell and hearing are clearly superior to our sense of smell, but this is not the case for the other senses. Moreover, it should be noted that these different senses do not function as well as in humans, which is why they endow our canine friends with very specific characteristics. And this is not all, because scientists have discovered other senses in dogs that we will reveal to you in this file.

What are the five senses of a dog?


The sense of smell in dogs is a highly developed sense, moreover, the animal is known to have a strong taste. In fact, by way of comparison, if humans have an average of 5 million olfactory cells in their brain, dogs have roughly 200 million, or 130 cm2 of space for their olfactory receptors, compared to just 3 cm for humans. Furthermore, a dog is able to detect a scent that is a million times more diluted than that which humans can perceive. Of course, these abilities and skills differ somewhat between races and individuals.

Let’s not forget that our canine friends have an extra organ, called the Jacobson’s organ or nasal organ. It is located in the upper palate and is connected to the muzzle by two channels, which allows it to analyze smells – including weaker ones – with incomparable accuracy. And this gift is so tenacious that it lasts, allowing the dog to detect a path for several days and distinguish the smells among many other smells on the same thing.

The sense of smell is characteristic of being present throughout a dog’s life. In fact, the animal is born blind and deaf, and by smell it recognizes its mother. At the end of his life, his sense of smell is still there – even if it has diminished – while he may have lost other senses.

So the dog’s sense of smell is a well-developed sense, but it is also very useful. It allows him to get acquainted with his master and his house, to learn about his diet, but also, and above all, to communicate with his peers by transmitting messages and interpreting those of others in a very great variety, especially through the pheromones secreted by the anal, circulatory, auricular, vaginal, tail and foot glands. Thus the dog is able to perceive a whole range of emotions and feelings through the pheromones circulating in this context. He can thus identify joy, appeasement, and well-being, but also stress, fear, and anger in humans as in his peers. Dogs can even detect certain diseases, such as cancer, by smelling a patient’s breath!

The strength of dogs’ sense of smell largely explains why humans have used animals for centuries, especially recently to find people (disappeared, hidden, deceased, buried, etc.), drugs, explosives, truffles, etc. Thus, this remarkable olfactory dexterity makes attempts to “deceive” your animal difficult. Thus, it can be difficult to hide a medicine in his food undetected or even bathe a dog without the pleasure of rolling it on the floor once it dries to get rid of that odor – but pleasant – which it is not for him.

As you understand, the sense of smell is a highly developed sense in dogs, which is why walking is a source of constant stimuli for it. Allow your little buddy to make ends meet by smelling all the scents that attract him during your outings. In comparison, smell in dogs corresponds to sight in humans, because it is the sensation that a dog uses to describe and understand the world around him. So smelling is a need and a pleasure for the dog, just as we have from observing the world and the wonders that surround us. Let him enjoy it.

he heard

The dog is also endowed with a reputation for great ingenuity. In comparison, it is six times greater than the hearing ability of humans. Thus our friends, dogs, can perceive sounds over distances four times greater than humans, on average, and the movement of their ears is ideal for facilitating the speed of perceiving and locating sounds. Dogs can also see ultrasound, which are very high frequencies for the human ear. In fact, if we observe a frequency of up to 18,000 Hz on average, the dog sees up to 50,000 Hz!

These abilities are due in particular to the special anatomy of a dog’s ear. In fact, it consists of a wing covered with skin and hair. It is mobile in order to orient itself towards the perceived sound. The wing of the ear is the outer part, which runs through a long auditory canal (middle ear) that ends on the eardrum (inner ear), which is a very thin membrane. It should be noted that each ear is independent, which allows it to orient itself more easily. Also, whether your dog has erect or drooping ears, their hearing will be excellent.

Dog hearing is essential to communication between humans and animals. In fact, our canine friends can spot vocal differences and tones and distinguish between words for easier understanding. So it’s a feeling that turns out to be an excellent communication tool. Moreover, it is very useful to prevent dangers.

the look

Sight is a less developed feeling in dogs than in humans. However, our canine friends acquire all of their visual abilities at the age of about three months. They see a variety of colors which, although less prevalent than humans, are not limited to black and white, contrary to popular belief. The retina shows that the perceived spectrum extends from yellow to blue, which makes the color red invisible to the animal and complicates the vision of hues ranging from yellow to red. It also detects lower tones than humans.

The dog can pick up the gestures made by its master well at a long distance (800 m to 1000 m), while its ability to perceive stationary objects is six times less than that of humans. He is also able to see at night thanks to the high concentration of cells on the retina, due to a better perception of light intensity, but it is far from equal to a cat in this area. In addition, it has a wider field of view, 270 degrees on average, compared to 180 degrees for humans. However, its monocular visual field is higher than that of a man’s and its binocular field is lower, and its gaze is directed more forward and focused.

The muscles around the eyes allow movement in all directions. The dog has a lower eyelid and an upper eyelid with eyelashes to protect the eye from external aggressions, in addition to a third eyelid as in the cat is not visible but is located at the level of the inner corner.


Taste is also less developed in dogs than in humans. If we have 9,000 to 10,000 taste buds versus 1,700 for an animal, this difference is not a problem for him, because taste is not his best sense. Indeed, to recognize and appreciate its food, the dog uses above all the sense of smell.

The dog has taste buds on the tongue, but also in the palate and larynx. Note however that the animal is not happy to taste and chew its food, but rather prefers to swallow it whole! Therefore, taste is not of great importance to him.


Dogs have real sensitivity in the paws. However, unlike humans, it is not the skin that allows information to be transmitted to the brain, but body hair, jaw hair, whiskers or mustaches, eyebrows, and pads. Thanks to these various elements and their vibrations, the dog can locate itself in space. The dog perceives heat and cold, pain and sensitivity to some external surfaces well, but the sense of touch remains less developed than humans.

The different touch devices are:

  • pads that send her information about the surfaces on which she is moving;
  • The skin, which informs it of the sensations of heat, cold, pain, dampness, dampness, etc. ;
  • vibrations, which allow the dog to perceive the space around it, in particular by the position of its head, to determine its position within it, but also the shape or texture of objects;
  • The nose, which allows him to smell things (by contact and through smell), especially his mother’s udder when he is a young puppy.

Longtime puppies need to be snuggled and touched on various occasions, a need that continues as they grow and can also have hierarchical significance. Physical contact, through touch, is actually necessary for a dog. It is for this reason that foreplay is appreciated, but only in certain places. Indeed, we avoid the top of the head, which indicates a desire to dominate, and we prefer the neck for calm and the sides for alertness. Beware of caresses on the chest and abdomen, which the animal can sometimes perceive as sexual stimulation.

Dog’s other senses

If we mention the five major senses of a dog, canine professionals recognize the other senses that come from a combination of several common senses.

Some scientists associate smell and taste because they are tools for perceiving chemical molecules. In fact, the dog uses both truffles and tongue to perceive odors, which is why they taste and smell.

In addition, specialists identify several forms of touch in dogs, based on the observation of neural pathways. Thus they distinguish between the following four types of touch:

  • some sensewhich consists of perceiving contacts;
  • Birthwhich consists in the perception of pain;
  • enteric sensewhich relate to the sensitivity of internal organs;
  • no proprioceptionallowing the animal to determine its place in space.

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