Many studies have found that dogs are intelligent creatures, and they are often more aware of their surroundings than humans. Many even believe that canines can sense changes in their environment such as incoming storms or natural disasters. Others even go as far to believe that they can sense the paranormal, diseases, and when someone is near the end of their life. While science has yet to support the paranormal phenomenon, the fact that dogs can sense changes in the weather is. Many pet owners have experienced abnormal behavior, such as frantically barking or cuddling, from their dog before a storm hits. Whether it is a storm or natural disaster, what makes dogs the masters at weather predictions?
How Dogs Detect the Weather
Pressure and Electricity
Dogs can detect changes in their environment through their basic biological differences that allow them to have heightened senses. They can detect sudden drops or spikes in the barometric pressure and static electric fields. Any change in air pressure or electricity is a major indicator of bad weather.
In comparison, human ears can only detect extreme changes in air pressure, such as when we feel pain in our ears while riding in an airplane. However, dogs can sense a larger range of variations, and they instinctively seek shelter whenever they detect a storm. Therefore, it should be no surprise that dogs usually act nervous when a storm is approaching. It is simply a behavior based on their genetics, and it assisted their ancestors’ survival.
Have you ever stepped outside and smelt rain before the storm arrived? Well, dogs do that all the time. However, they have 20 times more olfactory receptors than we do so that they can detect smells in much greater detail. Furthermore, they can smell chemicals that we can’t. Multiple studies have shown that canines can smell changes in atmospheric ozone, which is attributed to lightning. Therefore, your pet can smell an oncoming storm long before you can.
Apart from enhanced noses, dogs also have better hearing than us. Humans can hear within a range of 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz. Canines, on the other hand, can hear up to 60,000 hertz. Therefore, their ears are approximately 20 times more sensitive than ours. While you may not be able to hear thunder in the distance, your dog definitely can.
Many natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes are detected by dogs using the same aspects that allow them to predict a rainstorm. Sudden changes in barometric pressure and electric fields are characteristic of tornadoes and hurricanes. Therefore, canines recognize these storms the same way they sense a rainstorm.
Furthermore, earthquake shockwaves and ocean waves emit sounds in the infrasonic range. While we cannot detect this frequency, dogs can. This ability allows them to detect subtle tremors before we can detect the earthquake. Additionally, according to seismologists, dogs can detect the electrical signals produced by the movement of the tectonic plates. An earthquake in Japan in 2011 further supports this idea. Many people reported abnormal behaviors from dogs, cats, elephants, and many other animals before the earthquake. Similar reports were given in 1975 when another earthquake hit China.
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Resources: https://www.thedodo.com/5-amazing-things-dogs-can-sense-before-they-happen-1186416501.html, https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-behavior/anxiety/is-bad-weather-coming-ask-your-dog, https://animals.howstuffworks.com/pets/can-dogs-sense-storms.html, https://wagwalking.com/sense/can-dogs-feels-barometric-pressure, http://www.ovenbakedtradition.com/en/cats-dogs-and-storms-do-they-have-a-6th-sense-how-can-you-calm-them/
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