Can Dogs See Magnetic Fields?

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Introduction

We are all too aware of how amazing a dog’s senses are. They can sense the weather, see very well when it’s dark, and smell a whole lot more than we can. Our planet has a magnetic field around it, and many animals, including dogs, are able to see these fields.

Magnetic fields are areas where things appear to have a magnetic power, and these fields then influence objects that are on what we call magnetic field lines. These objects can attach or repel another object, both of which are magnetic. Our planet has an enormous magnetic field, as this is due to the earth’s core being filled with molten iron, and it ranges from the north to the south pole.

We will now take a look at what we know about a dog’s ability to see these magnetic fields.

Signs That Dogs Show When They Can See Magnetic Fields

A dog is able to tell you when they when they can see a magnetic field and they do it in a strange way - because the way they do this is by where they relieve themselves.

Research has revealed that when we consider factors such as the time of day, wind direction, and the sun’s position, dogs are able to see a magnetic field. Depending on whether an area is North or South facing and whether the fields are calm or not, your dog will relieve themselves according to these fields and determine the best place to go depending on what they see.

Body Language

Some signs a dog may show when they are sensing the magnetic fields are:
  • Alert
  • Head tilting
  • Pacing
  • Sniffing

Other Signs

More signs a dog will give when reacting to these fields are:
  • Spinning around before eliminating
  • Looking around before choosing where to "go"
  • Facing a specific direction when popping a squat

History Behind Dogs Seeing Magnetic Fields

Animals, such as birds, are able to get around the world as they can see the magnetic fields around our planet. Recent studies have begun to look into how animals can sense and see these magnetic fields and it has revealed that dogs are more than likely to be able to see these magnetic fields too, although maybe not as well as birds can.

We’ve heard of situations where a dog has been far away from its home and has ended up lost but been able to find their way back home again. We now know that this is probably linked to the fact that they can see the magnetic fields around the earth, and this enabled them to know which way they were going, so they knew how to get back home. 

Historically it seems dogs have been doing this for years and it could be the reason they are such excellent hunting animals. Undoubtedly, their wolf ancestors would be using magnetic fields to determine how to move the pack, the best places to rest, and where or how to hunt. It's only now that humans are discovering that dogs have this amazing skill. 

Science Behind Dogs Seeing Magnetic Fields

So we now know that some animals, including dogs, are able to see magnetic fields, but how exactly can they do this? Science has revealed that this is down to a specific particle that is in a dog’s eye. These particles can be found in bacteria, plants, and animals, and can take on light.

This particle has an important function in an animal’s circadian rhythm. A particle found in birds, known as cryptochrome 1, allows them to be able to clearly sense these magnetic fields. We now also know that dogs have this exact same particle, which explains why they are able to see magnetic fields. This enables animals to be able to locate where they are and navigate to where they want to be.

This particle is actually found in the dog’s retina, and therefore, it is linked to a dog’s sight and as this particular particle is triggered by magnetic fields, that is why they can see the fields even though they are invisible to us.

Training a Dog to See Magnetic Fields

A dog does not need to be trained to see a magnetic field, as they are naturally able to do so, but they may not realize that you can’t see or feel one. This means you need to be patient when they are doing their business and you should give them a bit more time to sniff, run around, and pace if they need to. Remember that if they are seeing the magnetic fields, that could be why they are behaving in this way.

Remember also that if you find that your dog is pacing, sniffing around, and moving about in various directions, then they have probably seen a magnetic field and are trying to place themselves in the most suitable position for going to the toilet, as well as linking themselves to this magnetic force. While your dog is busy trying to find a suitable spot to use, it is a good time to stand back and think about what an amazing ability your dog really has.

Safety Tips Knowing Dogs can See Magnetic Fields:

  • It has been said some electromagnetic fields can, in fact, be harmful to pets and there are some that are in our homes that we need to be mindful of, such as computers, some wiring, answering machines, fluorescent lights, and electric clocks.
  • Where possible, try and place any of the above outside of the home. Also, try and reduce the number of electrical items that are in the areas of your home where you and your pets spend the most amount of time. Keep all electrical items at least 6 feet away from where you and your dog sleep and if possible, try not to use three-way switches or dimmers.