A dog’s sense of smell is not to be underestimated. From sniffing out crime, to identifying cancer, our canine friends possess a talent verging on superpower. And now, science has revealed another major win for dog noses everywhere: dogs can, in fact, smell fear.
A recent study titled, “The dog nose “KNOWS” fear: Asymmetric nostril use during sniffing at canine and human emotional stimuli” (see, science can be punny too!) found that dogs use different nostrils to sniff different scents.
The scientists collected scents via sweat from both dogs and humans. Some sweat was collected during moments of fear and isolation, while other samples were produced during moments of joy and excitement.
The researchers noticed that dogs consistently used their right nostril when sniffing sweat produced by isolated dogs, while the left nostril was frequently used to assess samples corresponding with human fear.
So next time you’re feeling fearful, take a look at your dog’s nose. If he’s using his left nostril, he might understand your feelings more than you realize.