can dogs sense tornadoes

Can dogs sense tornadoes? A domesticated descendant of the wolf, your beloved dog can do things you may have never thought of in your right mind.

They have an incredible sense of smell and can even sniff out certain medical conditions.

But can they sense atmospheric changes? Or can animals sense tornadoes to be precise?

There is no real evidence but many experts believe that dogs are extremely sensitive to air pressure fluctuations and are therefore capable of sensing tornadoes.

Fact: There are about 18 muscles in a dog's ears to help control its mobility. 

Can Dogs Sense Tornadoes?

Indeed, a dog’s sensitivity to air pressure fluctuations enables them to sense tornadoes.

Dogs have incredible senses and can detect changes in their environment that humans would miss.

dog sensing tornadoes

A dog’s heightened sensitivity to air pressure fluctuations is one mechanism through which it might detect environmental shifts.

Many meteorological phenomena can lead to shifts in atmospheric pressure, such as:

  • Hurricanes
  • Storms
  • Tornadoes 

Scientific research has confirmed that canines are highly attuned to atmospheric pressure fluctuations.

Even some research data demonstrated that dogs could sense a change in atmospheric pressure preceding a rainstorm.

In the hours before the storm, the researchers saw that the dogs got increasingly restless and agitated, suggesting that they were sensing the impending weather. 

An Important Consideration

Dogs may be able to detect the shift in air pressure and temperature that precedes the approach of a tornado when the sky darkens and the wind speeds increase.

Despite the lack of empirical evidence, many pet owners have reported that their furry friends get increasingly anxious and restless in the hours before a storm.

Fact: A dog's nose can hold smells while air can still enter and leave its lungs. 

Can Dogs Smell Tornadoes?

can dogs smell tornadoes

On average, a dog’s nose contains over 300 million olfactory receptors, while a human nose contains about 6 million.

This indicates that dogs are able to sense fragrances in extremely low amounts, which is impossible for humans.

Drug-sniffing dogs, rescue dogs, and even canine oncologists all employ their keen sense of smell in a variety of situations. 

Is It Possible for Dogs to Smell Shifts in Air Pressure?

dog smelling shifts in air pressure

At this time, there is no solid proof that dogs can detect tornadoes by their sense of smell.

Undoubtedly, dogs have a phenomenal sense of smell that allows them to pick up on a wide variety of odors, particularly those connected with potentially dangerous weather.

There is no hard evidence that dogs can smell tornadoes, although they might be able to sense the atmosphere shifting in the lead-up to one.

Tornadoes, for instance, may be linked to shifts in certain atmospheric factors, such as:

  • Humidity
  • Temperature
  • Particular substances in the atmosphere

Dogs might be able to notice these alterations and link them to the onset of stormy conditions. 

An Important Consideration

It is important to remember that canines are also highly attuned to human body language and social cues.

Both of these factors can provide valuable insight into the impending arrival of severe weather.

For instance, the dog may grow anxious if a human family member begins to take precautions against an impending storm by stocking up on food and water or seeking shelter. 

Can Dogs Hear Tornadoes?

can dog hear tornadoes

Yes, dogs can pick up on a variety of noises and vibrations that could be signs of impending extreme weather, such as tornadoes.

Dogs’ acute hearing allows them to pick up on sounds at considerably higher frequencies than people can.

For comparison’s sake, humans can only hear up to 20,000 Hz, but dogs can hear up to 65,000 Hz.

So, it is possible that dogs can pick up on tornado sounds that are too low for humans to hear.

And though they have a larger frequency range than humans and may be able to detect tornadoes, this has not been proven yet

How Do Dogs Sense Tornadoes Then?

Both a deep rumbling and a high-pitched whistling sound have been associated with tornadoes.

Perhaps the volume or frequency of these noises is too low or too loud for dogs to hear them.

a dog can sense danger

But, as mentioned already, tornadoes induce changes in air pressure that can be felt by dogs.

Dogs may also sense the air pressure and vibration changes that can occur just before a tornado hits.

They may detect these variations in air pressure with their ears or fine hairs all over their bodies.

Fact: The Greyhound is the fastest of all dog breeds, with a top speed of 45 mph achievable in only seconds after the dog begins to run. 

What Do Dogs Do When They Sense a Tornado?

It is common knowledge that dogs possess exceptional olfactory, auditory, and instinctual abilities.

They may display a variety of behaviors as a natural disaster like a tornado is in the making.

changes in behavior of dog

Let’s discuss a bit more about the behaviors exhibited by dogs upon detecting a tornado, as well as the measures taken to ensure their safety. 


Tornadoes cause a change in barometric pressure, which can cause restlessness and anxiety in dogs.

Mostly, it may appear as:

  • Pacing back and forth
  • Excessive panting
  • Whining

It is also possible for dogs to become violent or aggressive, attacking other animals or things in their environment.

And of course, they may exhibit heightened attachment to their owners, seeking comfort and reassurance. 

Looking for Shelter

looking for shelter

There is a good chance that when a tornado is brewing, dogs will start looking around desperately for a safe place to wait it out.

Anyplace warm and safe where they can wait out the storm comfortably is ideal. This could be a cellar, a closet, or anywhere else.

It is the duty of the owner to make sure their pets are safe and sound during stormy weather.

Moreover, it is essential to guarantee that pets will not get hurt by stumbling over obstacles or becoming stuck in their hiding places. 

Behavioral Changes

An impending danger or tornado can cause dogs to display behaviors out of character for their breed or disposition.

A generally submissive dog, for instance, may become aggressive or hyperactive in the presence of a tornado.

Pet owners should be cognizant of these alterations in their animals’ demeanor and take necessary precautions to ensure their dogs’ safety and comfort during storms. 

An Important Thing to Consider

Certain dogs may show pre-tornado warning behavior.

They may start to whine or bark too much, stop eating, or even refuse to drink water if they are feeling restless or agitated.

Pet owners who recognize these signals can take protective measures, such as taking their animals inside or providing them with a secure hiding spot.

Getting Your Pet Ready for a Tornado

getting your pet ready for a tornado

It can be a frightening experience for you and your pet to witness a tornado, but you can take some steps to make it easier for your dog. 

Find a Suitable Hiding Spot

Provide a safe haven for your dog to retreat to in the event of a storm. A box or windowless room both fit this description. 

Make Your Dog Familiar with Noises

You can desensitize your dog to loud noises by playing recordings of thunderstorms and other loud noises at low volumes and progressively increasing them over time.

Your dog will respond less strongly to the noises of a real storm if they have been exposed to them beforehand. 

Keep Them on Leash

In dangerous conditions, your dog should always be on a leash so they do not wander off.

Here, it is also important to ensure that the information on their name tags is correct and up to date. 

Comfort Your Dog

comfort your dog

 Canines are highly attuned to human emotions and respond negatively if their owners show any signs of anxiety.

Use a reassuring voice and pet your dog when they seem upset.

Fact: Your dog may be right- or left-pawed, and it has been shown in a few studies that this determines which hand (or paw) they use most often when walking. 


Can dogs sense tornadoes? Dogs are very perceptive creatures that are aware of impending dangers like tornadoes.

There is no clear scientific evidence that dogs can sense tornadoes, but they can notice abrupt shifts in atmospheric pressure.

Also, many dog owners confirm that their pets behave differently just before a tornado.

Therefore, when severe weather strikes, pet owners should pay attention to their animal’s habits and do all they can to ensure their safety.

Knowing how dogs react to tornado warnings can help pet parents ensure their canine companions stay safe and sound.