Let's take a look at what signs to look out for and how your dog can sense an approaching tornado!
Signs of a Dog Sensing a Tornado
On the other hand, some dogs may also like to cuddle up on or near their owner before the tornado actually hits. Dogs that are scared of storms are the ones who usually seek love and comfort if they sense a tornado is approaching.
Dogs may also pace and move about a lot. You may think they are bored or cannot get comfortable, but if this is not typical for your dog, it may be because they are sensing bad weather on the horizon. And lastly, if your dog is sniffing the air, particularly if they are outside, this could also suggest they are smelling and sensing the changes in the atmosphere, which indicates a storm is potentially coming.
- Ears drop
- Hiding Away in a Safe Spot
- Wanting to Cuddle With You
- Sniffing the Air
- Barking Relentlessly
History of Dogs Sensing Tornados
Today, there are still lots of stories about dogs alerting their families to tornados. A series of highly destructive tornados hit Alabama in 2011. One man shared a story about his dog barking and jumping up onto him when he was taking a nap one afternoon. This was not typical behavior for the dog, so the man realized something was wrong. The man turned the TV on only to see a special news report about a large tornado heading to his location. About 15 minutes later the tornado hit and destroyed their town.
The ability for dogs to sense storms so well could also be a lingering instinct from their wolf ancestors. When undomesticated dogs and wolves sense something dangerous is coming, they flee the scene in an effort to protect themselves. Many years ago, this was the only way for an animal to survive a storm like a tornado or hurricane.
Science Behind Dogs Sensing a Tornado
Dogs are able to use all of their senses to predict when a tornado and storm are coming. Your dog can detect small changes in barometric pressure, which changes and charges when a storm is approaching a location - this is what alerts the dog that there is something changing with the pressure in the air.
They can also sense the atmosphere's heat, compression, and temperature change - all of which tell a dog that there is something bad about to happen, like a tornado. We know that a dog's sense of smell is powerful as well, so they will use their sense of smell to detect a storm. Dogs can smell that after rain, earthy scent the air gets after a rainstorm comes through.
Your dog will also use their ability to hear many different frequencies and sounds to help them determine when a tornado and storm are coming. Their ears absorb spacial information and depth, helping them hear the common sounds of a storm or something dangerous that is on its way.
Training Dogs Who are Scared of Tornados and Storms
Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to keep your dog happy and calm when a storm or tornado does come to your location.
Make sure you and your family get to a safe location if a tornado is coming. Make sure your dog has an extra safe and comforting place to stay when the storm is coming as well. If you have a basement, this is the safest place to be. Make sure your dog has their bed, their favorite toys, and blankets if possible. This will keep them comforted and even distracted if you can get them to play with their toys.
It will also be helpful to have a noise machine or a radio that can drown out any thunder, heavy rain, and crashing lightning that may be happening outside with the tornado. Playing music - the sounds of the beach, outdoor sounds, or even white noise - can help keep your dog from hearing the frightening sounds of the storm. Your dog's hearing is very powerful, and they will probably be able to hear what is happening outside, but it will help drown out the sounds a bit. Talking to your dog and taking them into your lap can also help them feel much more safe and secure.
How to React When Your Dog Senses a Tornado:
Comfort them if they are scared.
Make sure they are inside and have safe shelter.
Get to a safe place - like your basement or an interior room.
Come inside yourself so you don't get caught in the storm.
Safety Tips for When Your Dog Senses a Storm or Tornado:
Keep them calm.
Don't leave them outside, upstairs, or alone.