Do Pigs Have a Good Sense of Smell?

If you’ve ever taken care of a pig or had one of them as a pet, you already know they are intelligent and wonderful animals. 

Most people might be surprised to learn that “a pig is one of the smartest animals on the planet.” Pigs have been shown to be smarter than dogs and even more intelligent than primates. 

A pig’s tendencies toward cleanliness might be even more surprising to the general public. Pigs are often portrayed as always rolling around in mud; their reputation is synonymous with sloppiness. 

But a pig strives to keep itself as clean as possible. On the whole, pigs are surprisingly very clean pets.

These wonderful animals have many unique features. It can be fascinating to learn about the way pigs have been created and about the fascinating ways their bodies allow them to have a healthy life.

One of the most fascinating anatomical features of a pig is its excellent sense of smell. And in this article we tell you all about it.

Do Pigs Have a Good Sense of Smell

Let’s start with the basics. 

Do pigs have a good sense of smell? Yes, they do, Pigs have demonstrated an ability to smell things up to 7 miles away and 25 miles underground. Pigs primarily use their sense of smell to find food and detect danger or the presence of an animal that could destroy it. Pigs also use their sense of smell during mating activities.

An animal’s sense of smell is transmitted through nerve cells called neurons. The neurons primarily related to smell are referred to as olfactory sensors. 

A pig’s nose is designed with more olfactory sensors (smell detectors) than that of a dog. 

A dog has 811 smell receptor genes, while a pig has 1113. These olfactory centers are grouped together in places all over the pigs’ bodies. 

The groups of olfactory cells are called glands. The nine olfactory glands of a pig are the digital, preputial, vulvar, anal, mental, salivary, buccal, pre-orbital, and Harderian glands.

The pig can therefore detect the presence of smell in places apart from its nose, and those glands send the information about the smell to the nose, allowing the pig to dig into, obtain and eat the food.


Do Pigs Have a Better Sense of Smell than Dogs?

When you think of an animal known for its sense of smell, most people will first think of dogs, especially hunting dogs like bloodhounds who have earned their reputation for using their excellent sense of smell not only to survive but to help law enforcement officials who track criminals and in drug searches.

But despite how finely tuned a dog’s sense of smell is, a pig’s sense of smell is even better than that of a dog. 

In comparison, a pig’s sense of smell is 2000 times better than that of a human. This has led some law enforcement organizations to use pigs for their searches. 

But although pigs have a better sense of smell, they are not used as often as dogs. This is because dogs and humans are more compatible as work partners. 

What Smells Do Pigs Not Like?

A pig can eat and digest almost any food, but there are some smells they don’t like. These include:

Avocados – pigs may sense the skin and fruit of avocados contain a toxic substance. This substance is called persin. Even a little could make the pig sick; enough of it could be fatal.

Peppers – pigs don’t like the taste of peppers and will not usually eat them. Some peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical that is too spicy for the pig. Many farmers or gardeners who want to keep pigs from devouring their plants have planted peppers in the garden; to ensure pigs will stay away.

Garlic – Pigs don’t like the smell of garlic. Although it is sometimes mixed into a pig’s food to eliminate worms, a pig will usually try to avoid eating it. 

Onions – Pigs find onions’ smell is too strong, and they usually stay away from them. If pigs do eat onions, they can make the pig sick. 

Almonds -Humans may love almonds but contain small amounts of cyanide. Even a minimal amount of this lethal chemical in almonds can make a pig sick – and eating enough almonds could be fatal for a pig.

Daffodil Pigs tend to avoid these flowers, and that’s a good thing, since daffodils are toxic for pigs.

Tomatoes – although pigs enjoy the fruit of the tomato (and it is safe for pigs to eat them), they stay away from tomato leaves, plants, and vines. They find the greener parts of the tomato plant taste bad to them. These parts contain solanine, which is toxic to the pigs. 

Nail polish – Pigs also dislike some household smells. One of those is nail polish. 

Other pigs – Pigs are territorial, so if they smell another pig, they can be aggressive to the other pigs. 

Why Do Pigs Have Flat Noses?

Just as their sensory systems have been designed to effectively detect smells, the surfaces of their noses are also designed to maximize the pig’s ability to get the food they want.

Once the pig’s sense of smell alerts it to something they want to eat, the pig takes its large, flat snout and goes to work digging into and delivering the food into its mouth.

 A pig’s nose is very sensitive to touch. It has a very high concentration of tactile (touch) receptors on its flat, flexible surface. A pig can use the flexible cartilage in its snout to maneuver down to whatever depth it seeks. 

Do Wild Pigs Have a Good Sense of Smell?

Both domesticated and wild pigs larger than 120 pounds are called hogs, and a wild hogs’ sense of smell is just as great as the pigs’. 

Hunters seeking hogs for prey have learned it is difficult to fool the hogs’ sense of smell. 

Conclusion: Do Pigs Have a Good Sense of Smell?

These interesting facts about pigs are just some of the amazing features of this fascinating animal. Pigs do have an excellent sense of smell  and they continue to delight us with their resilience and ability to adapt and thrive in their environments.

In fact this is the best animal to get truffles, they do have to be trained but they can get the job done, and they are great at it.

So if you’re looking to train your dog to hunt for specific fruit or anything else than pigs are the best option.