Dogs can sniff out dangers we could never detect. Check out several surprising ways our four-legged friends help keep us safe. – Global Animal

Shiny Shiny, Anna Leach

I know dogs aren’t gadgets, but if they were, they would be the best gadgets ever. They have a fantastic user interface – fur! are way more responsive than the most sensitive touchscreen (can iPhones gurgle?) and adapt to individual users and users different moods over time. Incredible. Okay, so they poop.

Dogs are also involved in my favourite story of the week – about how dog fur and human hair are being used to prevent the Gulf of Mexico oil slick spreading. So apparently it soaks up oil really well. According to this story, dog salons are sending bags and bags of shorn fur off to the people who make these hair booms specifically for oil spills.

And apart from being loving companions and donating their chopped off fur to help us with our ecological disasters, dogs do lots of surprising stuff for humans. A quick trawl through the internet turns up some wonders. I just thought I’d celebrate.



We all knew dogs have an incredible sense of smell, but did you know they can smell cancer? Yes apparently. According to a story in the MIT sponsored Technology Review, skin cancers give off a particular smell. Story here

Okay this is another story about dogs smelling cancer but again pretty amazing huh? This time a dog has actually been trained to work in a laboratory to detect bladder cancer.

Scientists pass the highly-trained dog urine samples to sniff and it barks (I guess) if it detects a cancerous odour.

Apparently they have a significant success rate.

Rough job though eh? I’d prefer to be a guidedog, if I were a dog. Story here


Dogs can smell mobile phones. Yup it’s true. Prison guards in America use
them to check that prisoners aren’t smuggling in mobiles, which they can then
use to organise criminal activity from behind bars, or play tetris or something
wrong. Pretty interesting this one, as I can’t imagine what mobile phones smell
like. Do different makes have different smells? What do dogs prefer?
Story here