Detecting fear, anticipating earthquakes or predicting death are some of the abilities attributed to dogs. But are they a reality or just a myth? And, if true, how do they do it?Their prodigious sense of smell is more than proven, but is this sense enough to explain abilities that seem supernatural to us? Can Dogs Smell Danger?
Can Dogs Smell Danger? The dog’s most developed sense
It is logical that the olfactory capacity of the dog surprises us, since it is much superior to the human one. In addition, the dog refines his olfactory sensitivity. This means that they smell the same as us aromas that are of no importance to them.
For example, they ignore the fragrance of flowers, which, on the other hand, is highly appreciated by us. But, for smells that are interesting to them, they show incredible skill. An example that concerns us is the smell of our sweat, which allows them to follow the trail of people.
This olfactory precision is not supernatural, but is explained by the around two hundred million olfactory receptors that dogs have, compared to the roughly five that humans have. As an example, wolves are known to be able to sniff out prey from more than two kilometers away.
The extraordinary ear of the dog
If smell is the dog’s most developed sense, hearing is not far behind. Bass sounds are perceived in a similar way to ours, but in treble they far surpass us. This means that they are able to detect some sounds that are directly inaudible to us.
For example, dogs can hear howling from rodents or bats. In fact, it is possible that the development of this sense is related to the detection of this type of smaller prey. Wolves are known to be able to hear a howl from about four miles away.
In any case, this fine ear endows them with a capacity that seems supernatural or telepathic to us. A very common example is when dogs anticipate the arrival of their caregivers at home. Before anyone else they go to the door to wait for the entrance. It is not magic. They have only heard your footsteps or the sound of your car.
Dog is sensing danger
In addition to having a fine sense of hearing and smell, dogs interpret our every movement. Depending on how they perceive them, this is how they will react. That is why it may seem to us that they are capable of detecting fear. A very common example occurs when we meet an unfamiliar dog when arriving at a house.
It is normal for the animal to react cautiously at first. If we respond calmly, the usual thing is that the interaction ends there. On the other hand, if we get scared, almost without being conscious we make hesitant, tense movements or even stare at the dog in an attempt to control all of his actions.
This attitude the animal will interpret as aggressive. People who are afraid of dogs will also make withdrawal movements, which for the dog is an invitation to advance. In conclusion, the dog does not even need to smell the substances that we secrete when we are afraid. You can directly see it.
Can dogs predict the future?
It could be said that the abilities that dogs escape us suppose a sixth sense that allows them, sometimes, to have more information than we do. But it is not due to supernatural powers. Everything is explainable by turning to biology, although we still do not have a complete answer.
It is their senses that allow them, for example, to travel enormous distances to return home. It is believed that it is due to the fact that they detect modifications in the Earth’s magnetic field. They have also been found to be able to predict earthquakes or storms. It is explained because they detect changes in barometric pressure and static electricity.
It is possible that these abilities were necessary for the wolves. That way they would find safe cubicles to take shelter. In addition, when a person is in danger, for example, buried by an avalanche, rescue dogs know if she is alive or dead just by smelling the snow. Some theories suggest that it is due to heat receptors located in your nose.
Can dogs sense death? What do dogs do when they sense death?
Traditionally it has been considered that when a dog howls, a death is near or, at least, a catastrophe is about to happen. This led to the assumption that dogs possessed powers that allowed them to predict the future.
Fortunately, they were never considered to be the cause of these tragedies, nor were they considered diabolical creatures, as was the case with cats. On the contrary, it was believed that the animal gave the warning in an attempt to protect the family from it. At present it is known that the explanation is not found in any supernatural ability.
Dogs are capable of sniffing out the changes in our body that cause different diseases, such as cancer or diabetes. Along the same lines, it is thought that they are also capable of perceiving a near death due to their particular smell.