Can Dogs “See” With Their Noses? Study Suggests It’s Possible

By Martin B

Dogs may have a unique way of perceiving the world around them, according to a new study that suggests they use their noses not only to smell but also to “see.”

In a study carried out by veterinarians, it was discovered that the area of the brain that handles the sense of smell, known as the olfactory bulb, is linked to the occipital lobe, which is responsible for visual processing, in dogs. This integration of smell and vision has not been found in any other species.

Source: @simon-robben-55958/Pexels

By conducting MRI scans on various dogs, the researchers were able to map their brains and discovered a comprehensive pathway that connects the olfactory bulb to the occipital lobe, in addition to the limbic system, which is responsible for behavioral and emotional reactions.

This suggests that dogs may use their sense of smell to work out where things are and how they are oriented in their environment.

The findings also shed light on how dogs navigate their surroundings. Whereas humans largely depend on their sense of sight to comprehend their surroundings, dogs appear to incorporate the sense of smell in their perception of their environment. This explains why blind dogs are often able to act completely normally, playing fetch and orienting themselves without bumping into things.

Source: @reskp/Unsplash

The revelation of this correlation between the nose and the visual cortex may provide significant reassurance to owners of dogs that have incurable eye conditions. The study further identified links in the dogs’ brains that handle memory and emotion, resembling those observed in humans.

The findings of this study could have important implications for the treatment of dogs with incurable eye diseases and could help owners to better understand their furry friends.