This is why it’s important to let your dog sniff on walks

Kövess Péter

2024. February 18 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

You may sometimes find it troublesome for your dog to stop pacing, but they really need to be able to sniff around freely.


Unlike a cat, a dog needs regular walks, not just to get the “job” done. Going outdoors is good for their health. It helps them to release excess energy and allows them to indulge their natural instincts. And that includes stopping to sniff.

It is important for your dog to be able to follow their nose and sniff around.

Not being able to freely sniff around limits your dog

“Dogs were born to sniff. Over thousands of years, they have perfected their sense of smell so that they can learn about the world around them,” says Dr Gabrielle Fadl, DVM, Medical Director of Bond Vet. It means that when you see your pet sniffing around a tree or another dog while you’re walking,

they are gathering important information that will help them better understand their environment.

The expert noted that while humans rely mainly on their eyesight, dogs use their noses as their dominant sense. So much so that, incredible as it may sound, some say that their sense of smell is hundreds of thousands of times better than ours.

The dog’s nose is their most important sensory organ.

How a dog’s sense of smell works

The sophisticated olfactory system occupies more than half of the dog’s nose. When an animal inhales air, some of it is delivered to the nasal concha, which is responsible for smell. This bony organ, which looks like a roll of paper, picks up scent molecules through olfactory receptors in its tissues and sends electrical impulses to the brain to analyse the data.

In addition, the design of their nostrils helps them to collect odours even when exhaling.

This is why, when you’re walking along the pavement, you may not notice a thing. But your pet stops because he smells a slice of pizza eaten a long time ago or a dog that passed by earlier.

You should take them to a place where they can encounter a variety of smells.

Here’s what to look out for on your walks

Dr Fadl is emphasising the importance of taking the time to walk and let your dog process the world through sniffing. “Green, grassy parks, large meadows or even gardens are a veritable heaven on earth for them.”

However, you still need to keep an eye on them, as some plants or insects can be a danger to your dog. In some cases sniffing can be a sign of nervousness or stress.


dog dog sniffing sensory organs smell sniffing on walks walk

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