Izzy, an agricultural detector beagle whose nose is highly sensitive to food odors, sniffs incoming baggage and passengers at John F. Kennedy Airport's Terminal 4 in New York. Photo by Craig Ruttle, The Associated Press, 2012

dogsniff.jpeg Izzy, an agricultural detector beagle whose nose is highly sensitive to food odors, sniffs incoming baggage and passengers at John F. Kennedy Airport’s Terminal 4 in New York. Photo by Craig Ruttle, The Associated Press, 2012

Researchers have uncovered how to improve dogs’ smelling skills through diet, by cutting protein and adding fats.

Veterinarian Joseph Wakshlag, chief of nutrition at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and his team found that decreasing protein intake to 18 percent and increasing fat intake improved dogs’ sniffing abilities. Less protein results in a faster return to normal body temperature after activity, which translates to better olfactory ability, according to Wakshlag.

The study used a new research technique, completely evacuating residual fumes from testing areas, which made for higher detection accuracy. This may indicate that a dog’s detection abilities are better than previously thought.

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