Your Pet Can Predict the Weather

You may have read headlines and heard stories of pets alerting their owners just in time to find safety before adverse weather struck. Before we know that a storm is on its way, your dog or cat may have felt it, heard it, or even smelled it.

According to an article by The National Geographic, some pets can smell incoming rain, feel trembles in the earth, hear thunder and wind, and sense pressure changes long before their human counterparts.

A study looking of animal reactions before major tremors, including the Northridge, California, quake in 1994, and the Greek and Turkish quakes in 1999 reports of peculiar behavior beforehand, including dogs howling in the night mysteriously, caged birds becoming restless, and nervous cats hiding.

Geologists, however, dismiss these kinds of reports, saying it is “the psychological focusing effect,” where people remember strange behaviors only after an earthquake or other catastrophe has taken place. If nothing had happened, they contend, people would not have remembered the strange behavior.

Regardless of the controversy, what we do know for sure is that animals are more sensitive to drops in barometric pressure than humans. Barometric pressure is the pressure of the atmosphere. A drop in pressure means that conditions may be ripe for a storm to develop. A dog may learn to associate this pressure drop with the arrival of a storm. Changes in the static electric field may trigger the same anticipation. Dogs may also pick up the subtle vibrations that precede a storm.

Additionally, it may be possible for a dog to hear a storm. Dogs can hear at much higher and lower frequencies than we do. A small rumble which may be almost imperceptible to us, does not go unnoticed to a dog. Another possibility is that dogs may smell storms coming. Dogs’ noses can detect concentrations of chemicals in the low parts-per-million range. In fact, dogs’ noses are said to be more sensitive than a mass spectrometer. Lightning ionizes air with the formation of ozone – which has a characteristic metallic smell. This may be the odor dogs detect, or some other odor associated with the storm.

Finally, a dog may learn to associate darkened skies and cloud patterns with a storm and you may only learn of the storms imminent arrival through observation of your dog’s behavior. For some dogs, thunderstorms are traumatizing events. They are so frightened by the storm that they may bark, hide, urinate, or defecate, and some dogs become destructive, particularly when forced to endure a storm alone. Others may react to the sound, but may remain relatively calm. The more anxious the dog in thunderstorms, the more he may react before the storm actually arrives thus providing you with a personal miniature weather predictor.

Listen to your pets when it comes to the weather. They have better senses than you do, and their early warning could just save your life. Should your furry friend alert you, be prepared to find a safe place for your family and pet with some basic survival accessories in place. Don’t forget to include some pet treats to thank your furry friend for their contribution to the family’s safety.

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