As readers of the blog know, I love to profile new research into topics such as dog health and behaviour. This story, however, is truly astounding – not only because of the results but because someone chose to research the topic!
It seems that our dogs are sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field and so they will align themselves in a north/south direction when urinating or defecating – particularly when they are off-leash and allowed freedom.
A research team of Czech and German scientists studied 70 dogs during 1,893 defecations and 5,582 urinations over the course of two years. When the Earth’s magnetic field was stable, the dog would align themselves to it when answering the call of nature. If there was an unstable magnetic field, such as during a solar flare, the dogs seemed to become confused.
So the next time you are lost in the woods (bush for those in the Southern Hemisphere), pray that your dog needs to take a toilet break and watch carefully! (Or, you could simply help to validate the researchers’ findings by paying more attention to the direction your dog faces when needing to pee or poo – remember your compass!)
The results of this research have been published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology.