CAPS: What your dog’s nose knows

Moose is a handsome 2.5-year-old shepherd/border collie mix. He is a sweet dog who loves people and has spent time with older children. He enjoys playing with his toys and being around his family.

Moose is a handsome 2.5-year-old shepherd/border collie mix. He is a sweet dog who loves people and has spent time with older children. He enjoys playing with his toys and being around his family.
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Dear readers, it never ceases to astound me the things researchers discover about our BFFs. In fact, it is downright amazing! Dogs devote lots of brainpower to interpreting smells. With more than 100 million sensory receptor sites and part of the brain devoted to analyzing odors, dogs can smell 1,000 to 10,000 times better than people. Research indicates they can also detect heat.

Scientists are a nosy group, and they recently discovered that dogs have a thermal sensor in the tip of their noses that acts like a heat-sensing missile.

Dogs’ noses are already astonishing because they are millions times more sensitive than ours are. The new study reveals that they can also sense thermal radiation (the body heat) of warm-blooded animals. Perhaps a survival trait inherited from the gray wolf that facilitates hunting.

Thermal sensors were thought to be only in a few animals, including the black fire beetles, some snakes, one species of mammal, and vampire bats. This new finding actually explains how a dog with impairments in sight, hearing, or smell can still be a successful hunter.

Known as the rhinarium, the nose is a prominent canine feature. The smooth skin on the tip and around the nostrils is moist, cool, and loaded with nerves including the thermal sensor. Input from the nose goes to the left somatosensory cortex in the brain, which activates this infrared radiation sensor.

Because they can move their nostrils independently, dogs can determine the direction of an odor and use their sense of smell like a compass. Not surprisingly, dogs do not need to see us to identify us as each human has a unique innate scent.

Another bonus dogs have is an additional olfactory tool called the Jacobsen’s organ. Located inside the nasal cavity, this amazing organ serves as a secondary olfactory system designed specifically for chemical communication. The nerves from the Jacobsen’s organ go directly to the brain and do not respond to ordinary smells; instead, they work to detect “undetectable” odors.

This sense of smell is so adept that a blind dog has much less difficulty adjusting to the loss of vision than a human does. The nose really does know and now you know!


We have two handsome male puppies, ten months and 1 year old. BG and Diego are anxiously waiting to find their forever home. We also have 16-week-old border collie mix puppies and five kittens. Come and check them out; they are cute!


• Funds to sustain the shelter. We have veterinary, food, and utility bills. Any contribution will be helpful.

• Would you like to foster animals? We need volunteers. Call 775-423-7500 for details.

• Dog walkers, we need consistent volunteers to walk and socialize our dogs. Call 775-423-7500 for details.

• Aluminum cans. We will pick up your cans; give us a call at 775-423-7500. You can also drop them off at CAPS.


Jenn and Lanya from Torvik Veterinary Services for fostering a litter of kittens. You are the cat’s meow!

All the folks who have contributed to CAPS on Facebook. Tails are wagging for you!


CAPS is open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We suggest appointments for adoptions and food pantry.


• July Holiday: National Kiss Your Pet Day is July 6. It is time for a pooch smooch!

• If you would like a newsletter, call 775-423-7500 or email

• CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89407. CAPS’ phone number is 775-423-7500. CAPS’ email address is Please visit the CAPS website ( and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are likeable.

Kathleen Williams-Miller is a CAPS volunteer. Email


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