Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,043 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Not sure if I'll find my answer, but I'd like some theories or knowledge on this if you have any.

I've watched Galaxy (my 12 yr old) go from a blazing fireball as a puppy and young adult dog, to a slower version of her younger self. She has health issues, but she is very alert and motivated to continue doing whatever her poor aging body will let her. Her hearing is half gone, eye sight - meh, she's still quick in the nose and actually brings home more critters home than she did when she was young (so she can be very quick when needed).

I watch her on our walks and notice that she is still fast in picking up scents. There isn't one she doesn't miss (that I know of). When she was younger, she would catch a scent, check it out, process it, mark and move on. I see my lab do that now @ 4 yrs old.

Galaxy seems to need a lot more time to process those same scents. She sniffs something. The other 2 join her. They're ready to move on, but it takes Galaxy a good 60 seconds or so to fully finish with the odor. If I let her do this for each and every scent, we'd be hours on our walks.

So what is it, do you think, that takes so long for her to finish. Clearly, she picks up on the odors faster than the other 2. She's still mentally sharp, so I don't think it's taking longer to identify and process the odor. She's not lollygagging on the walks.

Does a dog's sense of smell diminish like hearing and eye sight? Are there deeper multiple sensory perceptions that may dull, even when the remaining surface level ones don't. Does it become more difficult to catalog and process the odor in the brain?

Just wondering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,415 Posts
I've noticed in all of my elderly dogs that their sense of smell remains, even when they go blind and deaf. I am guessing that since the other senses are gone/dull, that being able to smell something interesting, makes them want to enjoy it for as long as possible. Dogs can determine sex, age, health, size of dogs through sniffing their pee/poop. Plus any smells from their owner's, pads of feet and where they've been, food they've eaten, etc. So if their other senses are dulled, being able to sniff something new is like an explosion of "color" in their life, activating their mind/memories/etc, and something to be savored.

That's my theory anyway.

If your dog eventually goes blind, you can use that sense of smell to your advantage, by using air freshener in different scents in different rooms. Also wearing perfume. And you can place mats in front of doors/near stairs made of a different texture than the floor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,043 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Your theory sounds logical to me. I hadn't thought of it that way. Sort of like a patient Leann and I use to visit who lost her eye sight. Touch became very important to her. She would spend 30-45 minutes petting Leann. It wasn't just the length of time, but the way she touched Leann that made me realize how important her sense of touch was to her.

Thank you for that perspective.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,391 Posts
From 15 yo - 17 yo, my dog was deaf and blind. I don't recall to what degree, but he got around OK, altho more slowly. With meds for arthritis and cold weather, he was frisky. He was more responsive to touch as he got older, maybe as arthritis relief.

I like nikes theory of scent experience... plus I notice that dogs with a better sense of smell (Labs vs. Goldens; Beagles vs. GSD) tend to spend even more time on smells, then the lesser scent driven dogs.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top