What Can Dogs Do?

July 10, 2020
Medical Detection Dog Asher
Photo Courtesy of Medical Detection Dogs | Bexarts

Have you ever heard people say that a dog is a man’s best friend? Well, whether you agree or not, dogs are pretty amazing animals. Besides being fun, friendly, protective, and loyal pets, some dogs also work. Work? Yes! Some dogs offer emotional support for their human companions, others help the visually-impaired navigate around the world, and still others work on farms to help herd livestock. There’s a lot that dogs can do, especially with their keen sense of smell. Unlike humans, dogs can sniff out things such as bombs, truffles, and specific scents of people who need rescuing. That’s why it might be no surprise that research suggests that some dogs can even detect illnesses. How?

Medical Detection Dog Bumper
Photo Courtesy of Medical Detection Dogs | Bexarts

Well, it turns out that illnesses often leave different traces and odors that trained dogs can detect. That’s why trials will be taking place at airports around the United Kingdom to see if highly trained sniffer dogs can detect COVID-19. Interesting, right? Similar to how dogs are being used to sniff out drugs, weapons, and other dangerous and illegal items at airports, and to detect diseases such as cancer, specially trained sniffer dogs will also be used to see if they can sniff out those who might be sick with COVID-19. How are these dogs being trained? Researchers are having these dogs sniff masks that have been worn
by people who tested positive and those who tested negative for COVID-19. The six dogs that have been recruited for this big job are being called “The Super Six,” and
 the hope is that they’ll be ready for sniffing duty in six months. Dogs—what can’t they do?

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