Four-Legged Heroes: A Search & Rescue Dog Might Save Your Life!
Dogs amaze investigators and researchers everyday, simply by using the power of their noses to save lives and solve crimes. While chapped, or dry dog noses can become too damaged to properly smell everything around them, healthy, moist dog noses are capable of truly incredible feats.
You might be able to identify if a teaspoon or two of sugar is added to your morning cup of coffee, but your dog can sniff out one teaspoon of sugar added to one million gallons of water! Your dog’s nose is 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than yours, meaning even the smallest scents can attract your dog’s attention; this is why your dog uses his or her sense of smell to analyze the world around them. Things that have no smell at all to you or I, have a distinct smell to your dog, some scientists even attest that dogs are capable of smelling out cancer and other illnesses. It’s no wonder dogs are being used by search and rescue teams everywhere to smell out the answers to today’s most puzzling and chaotic cases.
How Dog Noses Save Lives
For over 300 years dogs have been helping to search for and rescue humans. The Monks of the Hospice located in the Swiss Alps were the first to use dogs, in particular St. Bernards, in their search efforts; sending them out to find lost or stranded travelers along the trails between Italy and Switzerland. Since then, dogs have been used for a variety of search and rescue efforts. After all, a dog only needs access to a few footprints to detect which direction a person headed along a path or trail. It’s barking mad, not only can dogs smell what seems nonexistent, they can do so without being distracted by all of the other scents present. A dog’s nose can locate a child who has wandered away from home, a missing Alzheimer’s patient, or even someone buried beneath layers of snow or ruble. Depending on case-by-case, the exact source of smell a dog picks up during a rescue mission may vary, but includes perspiration, respiratory gasses, bacteria on human skin/tissues, decomposition gasses, and the 40,000 skin cells we shed every minute.
Types of Search and Rescue Dogs
Using their incredible canine nose to pick up smells is a natural talent all dogs posses, still training a dog to be an efficient search and rescue aid is intensive for both the dog and the handler. SAR dogs do best when their training begins at an early age with socializing, obedience, and agility. Training typically lasts for around 12-18 months before a dog is ready to join a search and rescue team. Most search and rescue dogs are given an early retirement, between 5 and 10 years old.
Bloodhounds are commonly associated with search and rescue efforts, although any dog breed can be trained to take on this job, so long as they have a moist, healthy nose. As mentioned previously, if a dry or chapped canine nose persists dogs can’t pick up as many smells around them. Also, dogs that can adapt and get around in tougher terrain are the most popular selection. There are 2 common types of search and rescue dogs, one is scent discriminate, meaning they can smell out someone after being introduced to their particular scent—perhaps through a piece of their clothing. The second type is a non-scent discriminating dog; these SAR pups are able to search out any human scent that might be present. Some dogs have particular training in searching avalanches, water, or ruble.
Nose Psychics—Smelling What Others Can’t
Not only are search and rescue dogs trained to find people, criminals, and other animals, but they are also trained to respond in a certain way to indicate their discovery. Some will bark to notify their handler of something, while others are trained to stand up on their hind legs, there are many ways dogs can be trained to communicate with search teams, what is amazing is that they truly understand their mission and how to communicate once they’ve completed it. Even when a particular person is nowhere to be found, dogs can use their nose to identify if they were in a certain location, or if a specific item came into contact with them. Often excluded from the media, search and rescue dogs are responsible for saving lives, providing closure, and helping law enforcement every single day.
How To Treat and Prevent A Dry, Crusty, Chapped Dog Nose
Even though your dog might not be an official search and rescue canine, they still depend heavily on their super strong nose. If your dog has a dry, rough or chapped nose they are at risk for losing their heightened sense of smell. Allergies, weather, and so much more can impact the outer texture of your dog’s nose, which ideally should be a smooth, moist surface. After only a few applications of all-natural Snout Soother, your dog’s nose will be moist and healthy—ready to take on the world, nose first.
At Natural Dog, our mission is simple: heal, soothe, wag!