Can dogs sense hurricanes? You might have heard many people talk about how efficiently dogs can sense hurricanes and tornadoes.
So many times, it seems they are correct. But really how dogs can sense hurricanes coming?
Are they really capable of doing so or what you hear is nothing more than a mumbo-jumbo that you should ignore?
The truth is that dogs can sense hurricanes, which has something to do with static electricity in the air, atmospheric changes, and other factors.
Can Dogs Sense Hurricanes?
We know you love your dog, but you are only going to love them more once you discover a bit about their various unique abilities.
And those abilities and so-called “powers” put your four-legged friend in a position to sense impending dangers.
So, why and when can dogs sense hurricanes? Let’s find out now!
When digging deeper into how dogs can sense hurricanes, you cannot ignore the role barometric pressure plays in this.
The air pressure changes significantly when a hurricane is approaching.
And it seems that dogs can somehow sense that changing air pressure, which is why they know about a hurricane while it is still brewing.
It is easy to notice a quick drop in the barometric pressure when a hurricane builds up.
Dogs usually feel anxious and become restless due to a sudden drop in the air pressure.
Fact: Dogs can feel static electricity produced by the charged air to sense hurricanes.
Electro Magnetic Fields
Just like dogs can sense a change in air pressure, it is thought that your furry friend is just as capable of detecting subtle changes in electromagnetic fields.
Many researchers have been using various ways to study the changed animal behaviors pertaining to natural disasters.
And they truly believe that dogs can sense hurricanes because they can feel changes in the Earth’s electromagnetic field.
Hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and many other natural disasters are linked to EMF fluctuations.
Those fluctuations are often too strong for animals to miss. The same holds true for dogs.
Interestingly, why dogs are so sensitive to EMF fluctuations is still a mystery, but many experts think it has something to do with specialized sensory organs or cells in dogs.
The hearing of our pets is far more acute than that of humans. It makes sense, then, that they experience thunder’s rumble before humans do.
When bad weather is on the horizon, wolves, the wild ancestors of our domesticated canines, have been seen fleeing to the woods.
Our canine companions have the same hardwired response to impending bad weather, which is why you could find them hiding out in the bathroom just as the storm clouds roll in.
Keep in mind that your dogs can hear the thunder from far away, whereas you may only be hearing it now.
Sense of Smell
Humans, like no other species, can detect the smell of impending rain several minutes before it actually falls.
Even if the storm is several miles away, your dog can smell it and know it will be there in about fifteen or twenty minutes. The canine nose really is that strong.
When dogs smell or hear something, their nose and ears twitch rapidly.
If they are doing both and showing signs of concern, a hurricane, tornado, or severe thunderstorm may be on the way.
Fact: If humans can tell it is going to rain just by sniffing the air, you can bet your dog can sense it 20 times better than we can.
Picking Up on Human Cues
During thousands of years of coevolution with humans, dogs have honed their innate capabilities to understand and mirror human feelings and actions.
Dogs can pick up on their owners’ moods and modify their own actions to match them because of an ability called “emotional contagion.”
When you feel tense or anxious just because you think a hurricane might be coming, your dog can sense your urgency as well.
Dogs are empathetic creatures who may pick up on their owners’ mood swings and react accordingly, becoming more watchful, worried, or agitated.
To provide comfort and support, they may also exhibit changes in behavior like pacing, whimpering, or seeking physical contact with their owners.
An Important Consideration
Dogs are able to read a wide range of human signs, not just emotional changes.
A change in the surroundings or the approach of a potential threat can be signaled by even the most minute shift in body language, vocal tone, or habitual behaviors.
How Far Away Can Dogs Sense a Hurricane?
Can a dog detect a storm from a great distance? They probably can!
However, there has been no conclusive scientific study.
But, most experts believe that dogs can detect an impending storm as much as twenty minutes before it actually hits.
Scientific research has shed light on how a dog may detect weather changes, but not how far in advance.
Breeds More Sensitive to Hurricanes
It is noted that certain dog breeds are more likely to sense hurricanes and bad weather approaching.
Herding dog breeds are especially sensitive to noise.
After all, they can detect their owners’ whistles from great distances.
If your dog seems nervous during a storm, it is worth checking to see if he is descended from a herding dog or is at least partially descended from one.
Experts are of the view that hunter-dog breeds as well as retrievers are less likely to be frightened by thunder.
Yet, guard dogs by their very nature may be easily startled.
An Important Consideration
If you plan on adopting a dog from a shelter, know that many of them have never been properly socialized and may suffer from separation anxiety due to their lifetime of fear.
They can be difficult to deal with, and extreme sounds, such as thunder, might make them nervous.
Fact: Dog storm anxiety is most common in herding dog breeds including German Shepherds, Border Collies, Rottweilers, Corgis, and Poodles.
Animals Besides Dogs that Can Sense Hurricanes
You might have gathered why dogs are more likely to sense hurricanes, but it might surprise you to know that many other animals can do the same.
Many people believe that because cats are so perceptive, they can foresee the onset of bad weather such as thunderstorms.
The cat’s senses are far superior to those of a person. That is why they are able to sense when atmospheric pressure is dropping.
Thanks to their acute hearing, cats can detect the distant rumble of thunder.
Experts believe that there is a strong metallic scent in the air just before a storm, so it is possible that felines may also detect the smell of rain.
An old saying is that if you see cows lying down, you may count on rain.
Similarly, people believe rain is on the way if a cow tries to scratch its ear. It may look unreal, but some studies have actually found some correlation.
When the temperature outside begins to drop, the cows lie down to conserve heat (like it usually does before a rainstorm).
You might want to bring an umbrella the next time you visit a herd of sleeping cows in their pasture.
You can even foretell an impending downpour or thunderstorm by watching the actions of birds.
Birds swooping down to the ground are said to portend bad weather, although this may just be an urban legend.
However, if you notice birds migrating suddenly or perching on power lines, it could be an indicator of a rainstorm.
This is due to the fact that birds are able to detect infrasound, an extremely low frequency that is inaudible to humans.
Fact: Birds can hear approaching storms from hundreds of kilometers away thanks to their heightened hearing.
The common toad is another creature that is supposed to foretell the weather.
Specifically, it is said that they can foresee natural disasters. L’Aquila, Italy, suffered a catastrophic earthquake in April 2009.
A pond’s worth of toads began vanishing five days before the earthquake hit, only to return a few days following the quake.
Many scientists have speculated that shifts in the Earth’s magnetic field and radon gas levels in the groundwater may have a role to play here.
But, it is unclear how the toads predicted the impending tragedy.
Can dogs sense hurricanes? Well, it seems that they can.
There is always a drop in air pressure and a distinct smell in the air just before a hurricane.
Because of dogs’ heightened sense of smell, they are able to detect those changes.
Also, they can hear a storm rumble from miles away, which also explains how they can sense hurricanes early.
Read Next: Can Dogs Sense Tornadoes?