Our pups may appear to have eerie dog senses with being able to predict or feel things that simply escape us, humans. But is this true? Are dog senses on the spooky side of the spectrum? Or is there a reasonable explanation for our dogs’ senses to pick up on things we can’t?
Perhaps there are some situations when dog senses are explainable and some that have a more eerie factor? Hmmm. Buckle your seatbelt and grab some popcorn while we discover if there’s anything to the spook factor with dog senses.
Since most spooky experiences with our pups revolve around dog senses of hearing, vision, and smell, I’ll focus mainly on these senses.
I can always tell when the weather is going to get colder by watching my dog, Henry. If you can learn your dog’s cues, you can prepare for the change in weather, despite what the weatherperson may say. Or maybe your dog will warn you about something else you can’t see or sense, like an oncoming earthquake. It’s a matter of being willing to open yourself up to what your dog is able to sense and follow his or her lead. There’s no money involved. But if you can learn your dog’s cues you might be able to avoid a home intruder or take a different path away from an incoming avalanche. Tuning into your dog’s senses is priceless!
Dog sense of hearing
Yep, dogs hear up to 64 hertz. More specifically, a dog’s hearing is up to 4x more sensitive than their human parents. This means dogs can hear high pitches, such as squeaks of mice under a house or in a wall that may not be heard by their human parents. Thus, this could explain our dog’s weird looks at the floor or walls when we hear nothing. Maybe?
Other weird things your dog may hear but you can’t
Earthquakes and dogs
Dogs (and other animals) have been known to act strangely hours, days, or even weeks before an earthquake occurs. This is much more prevalent the closer the dog is to the fault line. According to a 2013 study, the scientific speculation for this phenomenon is that our dogs and animals are “sensing” a shift in the tectonic plates. Specifically, at the fault line prior to an earthquake rocks will be smashed together.
Therefore, the results in minerals being released and ions freed into the atmosphere. Our dogs are most likely hearing this smashing of rocks and smelling the release of minerals and ions prior to an earthquake. This could explain dogs sensing or predicting earthquakes. They are hearing and smelling it before the actual “shake” that their human parents feel.
Natural disasters detected by dogs senses
Dogs can hear far-off rumblings of thunder, tornadoes, hurricanes, and the like. However, dogs are also using their noses when detecting natural disasters. This is discussed more fully below with the dog sense of smell. So, when your dog wants to hide well before a storm occurs the logical explanation is it was heard and smelt by his/her sharp dog senses. There doesn’t appear to be a spooky factor in predicting a natural disaster.
Human parent arrival noted first by dogs hearing
You may always be shocked to see your dog knows when his pet parent is arriving minutes before the door opens (and there is no set schedule). Is your dog psychic? Probably not. The more reasonable explanation is that your dog has learned the sound of the car, elevator, shoes, or some other noise associated with the person, which we can’t hear. Again, this predicting ability doesn’t appear to be of a spooky nature.
Disturbances at home alerted by dog sense of hearing
How often has your dog reacted to something outside that you couldn’t see or hear? Although, in daylight, you could see paw prints, limbs down, or something else that could’ve made a noise and explained the reaction of your dog. Do you know even the mildest dog can detect the slight unusual rumblings outside your home will react? How your dog reacts will depend. Is it spooky for your dog to bark at something you can’t hear or is it more protective and a reaction to sounds?
TIP: My little rescue cockapoo dog, Henry, woke me up about a year ago at almost midnight. He was standing in the middle of the room and barking very lowly and then listening. I didn’t hear a thing.
Meanwhile, I thought he was hearing coyotes in the snow and paid no attention. However, about 15 minutes later someone broke into my very safe rural home. Henry had given me notice of the intruder’s arrival. Always heed your dog’s warnings. Thus, Henry taught me that night that a dog’s senses are amazing and should be respected.
Dog sense of smelling
Dogs have a sense of smell that is 10,000-100,000x stronger than humans. With this in mind, they can easily smell what humans simply cannot by using their noses. But does this mean dogs sense of smell is on the eerie spectrum? Let’s look a bit closer.
While humans may not be able to smell or detect a smell to drugs, dogs, and in particular certain dogs, like beagles, can easily sniff out drugs, including illegal drugs. This full use of a dog’s sense of smell may appear a bit eerie, odd, or spooky. However, to a dog, it’s just an ordinary task. Like a human smelling a fragrant rose from another room. Perhaps it’s not so spooky.
Did you know that bugs have a smell? Me neither. However, dogs sense of smell can detect terminates, bed bugs, and bees, to name a few. Is this eerie or just simply a dog keenly using their smell sense?
You may be shocked to know that hormones also have a scent. Dogs sense of smell can often tell when someone is pregnant, ovulating, or has a change in hormones. It’s not uncommon for a dog to know its human parent is pregnant before she knows. Again, a dog exhibiting these eerie abilities is not psychic, but rather is using a stronger olfactory system.
Who knew the adrenaline hormone has a smell? This type of hormone is often thought of in the response to “fight or flight”. While you may not be able to smell this hormone, your dogs can sniff it out. If you are agitated with higher levels of adrenaline, expect your dog to respond in some way. This isn’t a spooky sense. It’s a reaction to a smell.
It may appear a bit psychic to see a dog predict the onset of a seizure. However, if you know the dog is responding to the smell of chemical changes and possibly body language, it’s not so spooky. Dogs are even trained to smell and detect the onset of an epileptic seizure and notify their human parent several seconds to 45 minutes prior to an episode. Although, some dogs have been known to do this by instinct without training. Thus, this behavior appears to not be eerie, but reactive as well.
This is another one that looks a bit eerie at first glance. I mean how does a dog sense a diabetic attack? It’s believed dogs have the ability to smell the drop or rise in blood sugar levels. They notify their human parents of the change. Some dogs are specifically trained to detect these smells. They may even include training to look for changes in the person’s body language to indicate an oncoming attack. Again, this doesn’t appear to be a spooky behavior but is more reactive.
You’ve probably heard this one most of your life that a dog can sense fear. In this case, a dog is most likely smelling the increase in body temperature and sweat associated with fear. However, a dog can also combine these smells with body language(s) to detect fear. Is this an eerie behavior or just a simple act of using a heightened sense of smell?
Have you heard stories of a dog finding cancer before even a doctor? Who knew that cancer also has a smell? Dogs’ noses are so great at detecting various types of cancer, that they are currently teaching machines how to better find these types of diseases. It may appear a bit unnerving to be able to detect cancer. However, it certainly isn’t a psychic ability.
While research on dogs’ abilities to successfully smell covid-19 has yet to be completed, preliminary findings are promising. This again is very similar to how dogs sense other diseases. Dogs are smelling it, which isn’t detectable by humans. It may seem a bit eerie, but really it’s just a great use of one of their sense.
When a person is in a state of dying, they will emit at least 8 known compound chemicals. It is suspected that it’s the scent of these chemicals that dogs are reacting to when a person is dying. However, if the person has been sick, or the person dying is the dog’s human parent, they may also be reacting to body language since the dog and human are most likely bonded. A dog unwilling to leave the side of its dying human parent, may not be so spooky. Instead, it may be more of a sense of bonding and a reaction to the smell of chemicals. Remember dogs are loyal to the very end.
Barometric pressure has a smell to it. Who knew, right? All-natural phenomena like rain, snow, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes, sinkholes, and anything else you can think of have a smell associated with them. Weird, don’t you think? I’ve smelled rain and snow, but I’ve never noticed the smell of an earthquake.
However, I also smell rain or snow while or after the event. Our dogs are picking up on the changes associated with these events before they happen and before we smell them. It can certainly appear spooky. But again, dogs sense of smell is keen enough to sniff the changes brewing in the atmosphere.
TIP: If it’s windy, which is nearly every day here, my dog, Henry, LOVES to face into the wind and just smell the smells that are coming his way. It may be a book of information he’s detecting. But to me, it’s just a cold wind.
Dog sense of sight
A dog’s vision is different than a human’s. While dogs may not be able to see all colors, they have an advantage in the visual field in many aspects. Is it spooky? I’m not sure.
Distance vision of dogs
Dogs are considered to be nearsighted with good vision being 20/75. This means that compared to a person with 20/20 vision a dog sees at 20 feet what the person can see at 75 feet. However, dogs make up for it in other visual attributes.
A wider vision of your dog
Dogs have a much wider field of vision with their eyes set more to the side of their head. This gives them a bigger range of vision. Compared to their human parents, dogs have about 60 degrees more peripheral vision. However, this, of course, will vary slightly by breed.
Low light vision is not eerie but great for dogs’ senses
While humans may struggle to see at twilight, dusk, dawn, or other poor lighting, dogs thrive in it. You generally never hear of a dog stubbing its paws on the nightstand in the middle of the night because he/she couldn’t see it. A dog can see what we humans struggle to see.
They can find their favorite squeaky toys hidden away at 5 a.m. and wake the house. Sure it can be annoying, but it’s certainly not eerie. It’s simply a great use of low-light vision. And it means you need a better hiding place.
Emotions detected by dog senses
According to science, dogs have a portion of their brain dedicated to detecting emotions. This could mean reading body language. So, when you’re sad, sick, mad, happy, or depressed, your dog is not only smelling the changes in your body’s chemical make-up but also looking at your body and how you are reacting. While it could appear a little eerie and also comforting, it’s your dog being a dog and reacting to smells and visual cues.
Ghosts are seen with dog vision
I know you’ve been waiting for this one. Can your dog see ghosts or spirits? (Cue, the spooky music.) Well, there is much discussion on a dog’s sixth sense. This means they can pick up on otherworldly spirits. It also can mean that a dog trusts its gut intuition.
In other words, if a dog believes it smells, hears, sees, or feels something, it doesn’t second guess it. Unlike most humans who tend to see or hear something and second guess themselves. Sometimes for the best.
Does this sound familiar? Looking out the door at night you see a figure. You squint. You think, “why is that person standing there at this hour?” Squinting again you see it’s a tree shadow. Then you think, “I really need to go to sleep or get new eyeglasses.”
Our eyes and mind can play tricks. Especially, since we can’t see well in dim light like our dogs’ vision.
Something to ponder about eerie dog senses
Have you had any experience with your dog standing looking at what appears to be nothing with head twisting as if he/she is watching something or someone? Keep in mind dogs’ eyesight is different than humans’. Your pup could be seeing or sensing something that you can’t see or sense. What that something is might be a bit difficult to say. Maybe it’s a change in temperature? Or maybe it’s a mouse in the wall?
Perhaps it’s a rattling of a car blocks away? Or just maybe it’s an unseen friend coming to check on your pup or you? Is this spooky? Who knows? If the windows fling open, the TV comes on suddenly, or the lights continue to flicker maybe it’s something spooky? Or maybe it’s explainable? It’s difficult to say.
Summary is there something otherworldly involved in eerie dog senses
When we look at our extraordinarily keen dog senses, it is logical to believe that they can hear, smell, see and sense things we cannot. Sure if an incident is looked at individually, it may appear very eerie or spooky. I mean it’s a bit weird to see your dog reacting to an earthquake a day before it happens.
However, when we discover that they are smelling and hearing the precursors to the earthquake, then the eerie factor decreases. Even the spooky ghost factor, which may or may not exist could be explained. For instance, you could see your dog standing and looking at a blank wall. Is there a ghost there you don’t see? Or is there your dog listening to a mouse in the wall or something else? Who knows?
But I wouldn’t discount anything from the loyal dog who can detect our diseases and protect us from intruders before they enter. In the end, I don’t think dog senses are terribly eerie, but rather a special gift to their human parents.