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Dogs Smell Cancer before Medical Scans Detect It

We know dogs have a powerful sense of smell and while we can just about smell a spoonful of sugar in a cup of tea, our canine friends are capable of smelling that same spoonful in two Olympic swimming pools of water. Research at the Schillerhohe Hospital in Germany found dogs have an incredible ability to recognize the smell of a range of organic compounds showing the human body isn’t working as it should. That means your dog can actually diagnose your cancer, something scientists are eager to explore further, as well as diabetes and the early signs of an epileptic seizure.

Dogs watch us all the time and read our body language like a sixth sense. They also smell our bodies for changes. Maureen Burn's red collie mix had remarkable powers of observation that other dogs have but usually go unnoticed.

For instance, Max could tell when he and Maureen were about to go for a walk before she even realized she wanted to take him for one. But one day Maureen noticed something unusual about Max.

“I thought Max was fading. He was 9½. I was preparing myself for losing him because he just wasn’t happy,” Maureen says in the video below. Max suddenly refused to sit on her lap, he looked at her with despair in his eyes - and in few odd moments, he went up to Maureen and tapped her breast.

Max smelled cancer in Maureen before any medical scans could pick it up. Dogs do this naturally and can be trained to pick up on tiny volatile chemicals given off by cancerous tumors. They can even be taught to alert diabetics to low blood sugar levels.

Watch the video below to hear more about Max’s story and to find out what else dogs can sense about us. For instance, did you know that dogs can tell when a diabetic person’s sugar levels are dangerously low?

Were you impressed by Max's special sense? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your comments below and let us know!

Our PET EVENTS focusing on Mental Health Wellness have proven that interacting with affectionate dogs can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, lower blood-pressure and even decrease the perception of pain. These petting sessions offer students and staff who are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, the opportunity to increase socialization through interaction with dogs and people in a relaxing setting.


Do you have a gentle well-behaved dog who loves people and is nice to other dogs? You may want to find out about joining our Therapy Dog Program. Check our Requirements to see if you are a right match and contact us. Let's see whether your dog would be suitable to work as a Therapy Dog providing love and comfort to people in need in your community!

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