We now have scientific evidence that sheds new light on how dogs experience and navigate the world. Scientists now have documented evidence that dogs’ sense of smell is integrated with their vision and other unique parts of the brain. In other words, in dogs, olfaction is really integrated with vision in terms of how they learn about their environment and orient themselves in it. This is the first time science has uncovered this connection between the nose and the occipital lobe (functionally, the visual cortex in dogs) in canines or in any species.
Why should we care? The researchers say this ‘information freeway’ going between the two areas of smell and sight may have many implications to help dogs in the future. For instance, this information can be hugely comforting and useful to owners of dogs with incurable eye diseases.
Journal Reference: Erica F. Andrews, Raluca Pascalau, Alexandra Horowitz, Gillian M. Lawrence, Philippa J. Johnson. Extensive Connections of the Canine Olfactory Pathway Revealed by Tractography and Dissection. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2022; JN-RM-2355-21 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2355-21.2022