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Canine Detective: What Drugs Do K9s Detect?

Published January 14th, 2021 by 3DK9 LLC

Have you ever wondered what "drug dogs" do? Many of us have seen them inside airports, schools, and government buildings, but what are they for, and how do they work?

The right canine detective can seek out illicit substances in no time at all, and these dogs are great at it. Canine detection is more efficient than many other forms of drug detection, so many businesses utilize canine detection services when they need to make sure that nothing illegal is coming onto their property.

Are you interested in how all of this works? We've got the information that you're looking for. Keep reading to learn all about how drug-detection dogs do what they do and what they're able to look for. 

Why Do We Use Drug Dogs?

Drug-seeking dogs have been proven effective for finding drugs, contraband, and illicit substances. 

Many breeds of dogs operate best with some form of job. Seeking out illicit substances with their powerful noses is exactly the kind of job that a dog needs to feel fulfilled and emotionally stimulated. In other words, you shouldn't feel bad that a dog is being put to work; this is a form of enrichment for them! 

Once a dog is trained to find substances, it's one of the best ways of seeking things out. Dogs are precise, quick, and harmless during the search process.

Are Drug Dogs Better Than Other Methods of Finding Drugs? 

If you've been to an airport recently, you may note that there are no (or few) drug-sensing dogs on the premises. 

Airports are tricky. Dogs are trained to mark spots where they sense drugs. They don't retrieve the offending substance on their own, and their handlers aren't there to find the specific location.

When airports are huge and full of thousands of people, each coming and going at a constant pace, dogs aren't the best option. There are machines available (the ones that you walk through) that send puffs of air at each person as they pass through the scanner. The air is then scanned for illicit substances.

However, most situations don't call for a large scanning machine for drugs. There are very few situations in which everyone is able to walk through a giant piece of machinery, and this machinery is expensive (so it isn't good for outdoor events, individual use, or schools). 

Drog dogs are just as effective while also being more affordable and easier to transport, so they can be used anywhere. 

How Are They So Good at Smelling?

So why are drug dogs so good at what they do?

Keep in mind that dogs, in general, have great senses of smell. heir sense of smell is at least 10,000 times more acute than that of a human, with some scientists offering an estimate of 100,000 times more acute. 

Dogs can detect smaller particles in larger bodies. This means that you may smell 2 tablespoons of espresso in your chocolate cake, and a dog could smell 2 tablespoons of espresso in one cake hidden amongst a million. They can detect and track down scents in a way that humans could never attempt. 

Dogs' brains have more space devoted to smell than the brains of humans, and they have more olfactory receptors (or the receptors involved in the sense of smell). Dogs actually have a small space within their noses that's dedicated to smelling alone, whereas humans let air pass through the nose on the way to the lungs without smell being a factor.

We smell things, but that's not part of our purpose in breathing.

In other words, dogs are built to smell. They're the perfect animals for drug and illicit substance detection. 

What Can a Drug Dog Smell? 

So what is a drug dog able to look for?

This depends on the dog. For a drug dog to be "employable," it needs to at least be able to detect ten grams of cocaine and marijuana in a space that takes up 1,000 square feet. For a well-trained dog, this should be no problem.

Based on the previous information, you might think that all dogs can do this. This isn't true. Dogs that aren't trained to look for these things will get distracted by all of the other interesting scents in the home. They won't know what to zero in on. 

After a drug dog is capable of doing this, they'll be certified by the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association. They can receive further training to find heroin, opium, and other forms of illegal substances.

In other words, dogs can find nearly any drug that they're trained to find. With their acute sense of smell, they're not limited to one substance. 

Where Can I Use a Canine Detective? 

Drug-detecting dogs are so convenient because you can use them almost anywhere. They're easy to transport and their skills are refined enough that even large amounts of people in one place won't be too much of a challenge for a good dog. 

Drug dogs are great for occasional trips to schools, workplaces, and even homes. If you suspect that a loved one in your home is using or storing drugs, a drug dog is a surefire way to ease or confirm your suspicions. 

Do You Need the Help of Drug Dugs?

Do you need a canine detective in your home, school, or workplace? These amazing animals can detect narcotics in no time, helping you keep your space safe from illicit substances. Dogs aren't only man's best friends, they're also drug-sniffing powerhouses!

If you need this kind of surface, we've got you covered. Contact us to schedule a consultation, and we'll find a solution for you. We have the right dogs to keep your home or workplace safe.

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