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Fighting Dog Abuse
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fact Or Fiction? Can Dogs Predict Storms?

source: pedigree website

Long before a severe storm approaches, dogs can be seen pacing, panting and acting in an agitated way—even though skies are perfectly sunny. Is it possible that he has a sixth sense when it comes to predicting storms? Or is there a scientific explanation? While no one can be 100% certain, it's likely that some dogs know a storm is brewing because they hear it, smell it, even feel it, long before we do.

With their keen ears, canines can hear at much higher and lower frequencies than we do. A dog can hear a faraway rumble of thunder that you might miss. In addition, a dog's nose is so sensitive, it can detect odors a billion times better than humans. Yes, a billion! Since lightning ionizes air with the formation of ozone—which has a characteristic metallic smell—it's possible that dogs detect this odor, or some other odor, associated with the storm.

Dogs are also more attuned to changes in barometric pressure than humans. A drop in pressure signals that conditions may be right for a storm to develop. So a dog may learn to associate the feeling of a pressure drop with the arrival of a storm.

Some researchers even contend that dogs can sense the vibrations caused by thunder through their feet in much the same way that Native Americans would put an ear to the ground to listen for the distant rumbling of herds or tribes approaching. It is not inconceivable that dogs are able to pick up vibrations through their feet and limbs

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