Large group of dogs

What is the most dangerous dog breed in the UK?

What is the most dangerous dog breed in the UK?

Dog attacks in the UK has increased by 76% in 10 years and sadly this figure still seems to be increasing. Is this because there has been a trend toward a certain dog breed or are there just more dogs in the UK now? The numbers were collated from hospital admission records of all patients admitted to National Health Service hospitals. Sadly 16% of these attacks were recorded on children and of those 2/3 were recorded as fatalities.

Large group of dogs

What is the UK’s most dangerous dog breed?

The records show that 7,227 people were admitted to hospitals due to dog-inflicted injury between March 2014 and February 2015. This is a significant increase from the 4,110 dog attack admissions in 2005.

Is there a reason for the rise in dog related injuries?

The rise in the attacks coincides with the exemption of Staffordshire pit bulls from the Dangerous Dogs Act. Interestingly years ago the majority of attacks were on infants (nearly two thirds) but in the last few years this figure has reversed. It seems that the Bull type breeds are not fazed by the size on an adult human, whereas most other dog breeds are subdued by people who are significantly larger than themselves.

 

The Pit Bull has been banned dog breed in Britain since 1991. Interesting 3% of “bull type breeds” match the characteristics of the Pit Bull breed. Staffordshire Terriers, a pit bull line were exempted from the ban in 1997. In 2015 Doohan and Richardson reporting for The Mirror reported, “More than 3,000 banned Pit Bull terrier-type dogs have been discovered in Britain– almost 25 years after they were banned”.

Doohan and Richardson reported “A Freedom of Information request showed that legislation introduced following fatal attacks on children a quarter of a century ago has failed to halt the animals. Greater London had the largest amount of Pit Bulls with 1,060, and Merseyside was next with 237 followed by Greater Manchester with 223, and the West Midlands with 161.”

The police have the power to seize a dog that deemed as being from the banned dog breed list even if it has not shown signs of aggression. The owner must then prove it is not a banned breed and if the case is taken to court and the owner is found guilty. The punishment is severe; up to £5,000 or even six months in prison but it seems this is not a sufficient deterrent.

What should you do if you come face to face with an aggressive dog?

In recent years media attention has focused on specific breeds, mainly the Bull type breeds and Rottweilers but of course any breed of dog can become aggressive and bite. It is always advisable to follow certain safety procedures around new or strange dogs.

It is strongly recommended not to approach unfamiliar dogs, never to run from a dog or shout or scream at them. Try to remain motionless when confronted by an unfamiliar dog and never look a dog straight in the eye. If a dog is eating or sleeping let him be and do not disturb a mother with her puppies.

The UK’s most popular dog breeds

The Top 10 of UK dog breeds

Young Retriever in training with Dog Fence

Labrador Retriever in dog fence training

1. The Labrador/Retriever – Always a firm favourite as a family pet , they are loyal, biddable and also highly intelligent. On the negative side they are often quite food orientated which has earned them the nickname of the hoovers in the DogFence office! Interestingly they were the #1 breed that we contained on the system until 2014 when they were overtaken by the Cockapoo!.

2. Cocker Spaniel – A popular choice for both families and also as a working dog the Cocker Spaniel is also a highly intelligent breed but often a good choice for those who don’t want a large breed dog. They are also an extremely handsome breed and have consistently been placed first as best in show at Crufts. They can be a little strong willed and when mixed with the poodle to create the Cockapoo the result can be a very intelligent but stubborn Houdini.

3. Springer Spaniel (English) -Another Gun dog meaning that the top 3 places are held by working dogs. Traditionally a little more sensitive than the Cocker Spaniel and extremely loyal they have a wonderful nature and make excellent family pets. We describe the Springers as fun loving and busy!

4. German Shepherd – The German Shepherd (aka The Alsatian) is a very loyal and intelligent breed. Known for their bravery they are an interesting breeds as they are also quite sensitive and are often misunderstood by those that do not know the breed. They are often used by the Police or armed forces as a service dog because of their fearless nature and intelligence

5.  Staffordshire Bull Terrier – The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is again a breed that comes with a reputation that they do not deserve. When homed in a loving family this loyal breed is both affectionate and inquisitive. Sadly in recent years they have become popular because of their stocky stature and fearless nature and are often the subject of abuse and neglect. Luckily when re-homed into a loving home they make excellent and loyal pets.

6.  Border Terrier -Formerly our #2 breed that we contained on the System Border Terrier is a small rough-coated dog originating from the Scottish borders. They have a wonderful personality and are a popular choice of breed for vets as they both hardy and fun loving. These little dogs love children but don’t be fooled by their sweet looking faces as they are also avid hunters and have a high prey drive (hence the need to contain them effectively with the hidden fence).

7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is a popular choice for families who like the kind nature found within the Spaniel family but want a small dog. They are friendly and affectionate and love to be sat on someone’s lap.

8. The Golden Retriever – The Golden Retriever or “steady Eddy” as we call them! This breed has the kindest temperament. They are extremely intelligent but do be warned as they love water and if you are not a fan of that “wet dog” smell then this may not be the breed for you.  Known for their loyalty and ability to work with people they  can be found in many working roles such as search and rescue, assistance for blind or deaf people.

9.  Pug –  The Pug breed has increased in popularity over the last few years – they are loved because of looks, small and stocky (almost a mini Boxer with a curly tail) they are entertaining and good-natured.

10. Boxer – The boxer dog, (one of our favourites) was named because of the ‘boxing’ moves they make when fighting or play fighting. Sadly their popularity has fallen in in recent years, but they do make excellent family pets provided you are prepared for the fact that they are bouncy and not nearly as intelligent as the Lab or Springer. They are always looking to please and extremely good natured.

 

 

Lincoln University Cat Study for the use of electronic containment fence

The long awaited study into containment of cats using the electronic hidden fence system has now been released.

The study carried out by animal welfare researchers at the University of Lincoln, UK, is the first of its kind. The researchers found no evidence of long-term welfare problems in cats living with these fences, compared to control cats able to roam freely in and out of their owners’ gardens, indeed the report concludes:-

“Taken together, the findings do not suggest that long-term (at least 12 months) exposure to the system had a significant negative impact on the behaviour and welfare of contained cats. Indeed cats subject to electronic confinement appear to be less neophobic than unrestrained cats.”

As well as the safety element of using the system to keep the cat safe by preventing death/injury or even the theft of a beloved friend the use of the system also protects wildlife from cats that hunt. In the UK we love our cats and own over 8.1 million but sadly they also do significant damage to our wildlife and are responsible for death of 55 million small mammals and birds each year.

The study further reported noted: “In contrast, housing cats solely indoors to remove such risks is associated with increased prevalence of a range of health problems including obesity, Feline Urologic Syndrome and dental disease. Long-term exposure to common flame retardants widely used in homes may also have toxic side effects for cats.”

As many of our DogFence customers are aware we developed a simple and effective training protocol for cats using our indoor units which has proved highly successful.

With the development in technology in recent years from our manufacturer DogWatch Hidden Fence Systems we have seen increased interest in the use of the hidden fence for cats and when you take into consideration that every year 300,000 cats are killed on the UK roads the hidden fence offers a safe an affordable method of containment for cat owners. Sadly there has also been an increase in the theft of pedigree cats and again the fence offers owners comfort knowing that their cats can exhibit normal behaviour but safely in the confines of their own property.

grey cat with cat fence collar

sick puppy

Understanding dog flu

We’ve all been there. The winter months bringing with them a bug that leaves you bed ridden with a mug of soup and a lack of sympathy from your friends and family. The flu can really take its toll on you, but did you know that your dog can get it to?

The signs of dog flu – what to look out for

Dog flu, or CIV (Canine Influenza Virus), outbreaks are not usually fatal but do present some serious symptoms that will leave your dog definitely feeling under the weather. Many of the symptoms to look out for are similar to those we experience ourselves and include:

  • Runny nose
  • Dry Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • In rare cases, fever and pneumonia

How do I treat canine influenza?

If you believe that your dog has contracted canine influenza, the best course of action is to ring your vet first and make an appointment. Until then you must isolate your dog from any other canines contact to prevent the spread of the virus.

Your dog will need to be kept hydrated as the virus can cause a fever, as well as maintaining lots of rest. If your dog is especially unwell then your vet may want to prescribe medication to help fight the virus.

How to prevent the spread of dog flu

Dog flu is very contagious, and can be spread from dog to dog through shared bowls, toys, and even the same air. Because of how contagious the virus is, outbreaks usually occur in places where lots of dogs are in close proximity to each other such as kennels and dog parks.

Despite its highly contagious nature, CIV does not live long in its environment so isolation is key to stopping the virus in its tracks. To prevent the spread of the virus, you need to minimise any exposure with it.  You can do this by contacting your local vet to find out if there are any outbreaks in the local area and avoid as appropriate.

These has been a small insight into canine influenza. If you are worried that your dog may have contracted canine influenza, or for more information about any other canine ailments, we recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified vet.

cat in the road

How to keep your cat safe outdoors

Cat are naturally active and love to do their own thing.  But this can sometimes lead them into danger, particularly when they have unlimited access to the outdoors.  Unfortunately their tendency to wander leads to around 300,000 cat deaths on UK roads every year, a staggering number considering how much we take care of them when they are at home.

On top of the danger posed by roads, an outdoor cat also faces potential run-ins with other animals on neighbouring properties, dogs walking off the lead nearby, or bigger cats protecting their territory.

A cat’s natural prey drive will also drive them to explore further afield into tempting wildlife rich areas, such as woods or local parks.  Not only does this pose a problem to preserving local wildlife, but can also cause your kitty to take unnecessary risks dashing across busy roads to catch prey, or getting stuck in buildings or trees as they hunt.

As a concerned cat owner, there are a couple of ways that you can keep your cat safe and sound. One solution is to set up a wire fencing system around your garden that is angled to stop your cat being able to escape.  However these are generally costly, can ruin the look of your garden and be an eye-sore to your neighbours.  Cats are also notorious escape artists and have been known to climb these fences to reach overhanging branches to make their getaway.

The other option is to try a CatFence, an invisible barrier system that trains your cat not to stray over a safe boundary you create.  Providing a stress free and safe environment for your kitty.

This unobtrusive barrier is a hidden fence consisting of a central control box that transmits a coded FM radio signal through a boundary wire that has been laid around the property. To train your cat not to stray over this set boundary, they wear a computer collar that houses a tiny FM receiver.  As your cat moves towards the signal the collar emits an audible signal to indicate they should stop and turn back. If the cat continues towards the wire the collar gives a small “corrective shock” set to you cat’s individual requirements.

After completing the training cats quickly learn to understand the warning beep, and will immediately turn back into the allowed zone, thus avoiding correction.

Advantages of a CatFence system

A safe and simple training programme

As any cat owner will know, your cat is the king of its domain and will not do anything that it does not want to.   This is why the CatFence system uses a form of training specifically designed for the needs of your cat.

Our  training  accounts for each cat’s natural personality, curiosity, and movement and starts in the home, where the cat is most comfortable.   When your cat is ready, we take training outside to allow your feline friend to learn where it can and cannot go.

You set the safe boundary

You are in control of where you set the CatFence boundary to allow your cat to wander through your garden without a care, whilst keeping them clear of any potential dangers such as poisonous plants, neighbouring properties and busy roads.  When setting the boundary you can also protect areas of your property from your pet such as a fish filled pond.

Tackle in house worries

There is the possibility that you live on a street without feline dangers, but you have a home sized scratching post. Cats need to scratch to get rid of dead cells on their claws, as well as to help them stretch out their bodies and paws. Unfortunately for you, your cat may not always use the expensive scratching post that you bought, choosing instead your furniture, carpets or curtains. If this is the case then your cat’s collar works with the special indoor system that allows you to cordon off parts of your home keeping rooms and furniture out of bounds.  It can be set on almost any surface and can stuck to door frame if you want to section off a whole room from a feline fiend.

Let your cat know there is always safety at home. The CatFence containment system is the perfect way to ensure that your cat stays happy and healthy whilst still enjoying a life outdoors. If you have any concerns about how to keep your cat safe outdoors, due to busy roads or other potential threat, please call us for a quote on 01628 476475.

bulldogs sleeping next to a christmas tree

Doggy Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas is a time of giving. Everyone in the family deserves a little something in the festive season to let them know that they are loved. This love should extend to your family pet, because they are as much a part of the family as you are. Here are 7 doggy Christmas ideas that your furry friend will love.

Personalised Dog Tag – Etsy

personalised dog tag

Your dog loves everything that you give them, this includes their name! Why not make it extra special with a personalised dog tag? This fantastic little gift comes in a range of colours and can fit your dog’s name and an owner’s phone number. Everyone deserves some accessories this Christmas!

Sidewalker – DogFence

dog walking with a Sidewalker

Walking should be a fun and stress-free time for both you and your companion! with the DogFence Sidewalker you can ensure that a simple walk, doesn’t become a drag. This gentle training method teaches your dog not to pull excessively on the lead, so that every walk can be considered a gift! The DogFence Sidewalker is currently on sale, so give us a ring on 01628 476475 to snap up this fantastic product this Christmas!

Turkey and Cranberry Dog Treats – Lily’s Kitchen

turkey and cranberry dog treats

There is one thing that everyone can agree is a fundamental part of Christmas, and that is the food. The succulent turkey, served with perfectly roasted spuds and slathered in cranberry sauce. It could be considered some peoples view of culinary perfection! Why not share the joy with your dog this year and give them a turkey treat! This scrumptious little gift will share the joys of the Christmas feast without the danger of turkey bones. To see some other doggy food dangers this Christmas, read our DogFence Christmas Danger Guide.

Dog Mattress – Pets at Home

dog mattress

There is nothing more satisfying then a long snooze after a hefty Christmas dinner. Letting your food go down is one of the most important things so you can make room for seconds! Your dog feels the same way and will love being able to nap on a brand new bed. Don’t sleep on this fantastic doggy gift!

Doggy Santa Claus Outfit – Amazon

dog santa outfit

There is nothing cuter than when a dog joins in the celebrations and dresses up. The festive season is perfect for letting your pampered pooch play a part in the good tidings! This small dog santa outfit is fantastic way for your dog to unleash their inner Father Christmas. Hopefully they don’t leave any Christmas presents on the carpet though!

Durable Chew Toy – KONG

kong chew toy

Your dog deserves a gift that the can really sink their teeth into. The KONG classic natural rubber chew toy is perfect for your canine pal. This durable toy is shaped so that it has an unpredictable bounce when thrown. Making your Christmas Day playtime much more fun. KONG toys are also perfect for stuffing with treats to give your dog extra incentive to join at playtime.

Dog Food and Water Bowl – NotOnTheHighStreet

dog water and food bowl

Dogs probably don’t understand what Christmas is, but they do understand food.  So why not give them even more reason to be excited at dinner time by sprucing up their dinnerware with a new bowl set? This beautifully crafted ceramic bowl set is perfect for a pet. They might not be able to say thank you, but they’ll love you just the same!

Dogs are the most loving creatures in the world, and deserve a gift every now and then as much as anyone else in the family. These have been some ideas that every precious pooch will love this Christmas!

dog winter clothes

Doggy Winter Survival Guide

Dogs love the winter time, for many it means extra cuddles in front of a warm fire with their owner!  However, the colder weather presents a few problems for keeping our furry friends safe and entertained during the colder months.  Here are a few tips for ensuring your family pet stays happy this winter.

Keep Your Dogs Safe

  • Winter walks are fun but the hair around your dogs feet can become clumped with snow.  This is very painful for dogs as the snow forms ice balls which digs into the pads of their feet when they walk.  Trimming hair around your doggy’s toes helps prevent these ice balls from forming.
  • Reflective clothing can be very helpful when heavy snow starts to fall, especially for smaller dogs. The jacket ensures that you can see your canine, especially when they are playing in deep snow.
  • Stay away from lakes or ponds, especially when they freeze over. You can never tell how thick the ice is and curious dogs may fall through. On top of the danger of your dog taking a dip, there is also the danger of you falling in when you go to try and help them.
  • Winter time means Christmas time, which means lots of opportunity for over indulgence on food. Dogs also love a tasty treat, even if they don’t know the occasion. Try to avoid feeding your dog human food, as this can give them an upset stomach. Be especially careful that your dog doesn’t try to sneak a turkey bone as they can splinter and cause your dog to choke. For more foods to stay away from, see our Canine Christmas Dangers.
  • Anti-freeze is very very poisonous to dogs (and cats) as it contains ethylene glycol, which tastes very sweet and causes acute kidney failure when ingested by canines. Make sure that you wipe your dogs paws if they are near an area where it was just used. Try to use anti-freeze that contains propylene glycol, as it is safer if accidentally ingested than ethylene glycol.  If you suspect your dog has ingested anti-freeze and is displaying signs of vomiting, sleepy/depressed behaviour, appearing drunk, seizures and fits or difficulty breathing, you should immediately seek the help of a vet.
  • Rock salt is abundantly used in winter to de-ice roads for motorists. Unfortunately your pets are likely to accidentally pick it up on their paws when they go outside after it has been used. Rock salt it actually poisonous to cats and dogs when ingested (usually by them licking the rock salt off their paws) as it causes high blood sodium levels in pets.  This can lead to increased thirst, vomiting and lethargy (sleepiness) and in extreme cases convulsions and kidney damage. For more information, have a look at the RSPCA’s rock salt information brochure.

Keep Your Pets Warm

  • Dogs obviously have a natural protection against the elements, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get cold. Make sure to not leave your dog outside unattended as they can develop frostbite or hypothermia. This is especially important if your dog spends most of its time indoors. If you believe your dog is showing symptoms of hypothermia (muscle stiffness, lack of mental alertness, shivering, weakness, and shallow breathing) you must contact your vet as soon as possible, as left untreated it can cause a coma, or even be fatal.
  • Maybe think about opting for some doggy fashion this winter to keep your dog warm. A doggy coat is great for short hair dogs whose natural defenses against the cold are not as strong as long haired dogs. You can also buy doggy boots which help keep irritable ice, salt, and grit off your canine’s delicate paws.

Keep Your Pets Entertained

  • Whilst it’s tempting to snuggle up with your furry friend when it gets cold outside, they still need exercise! Don’t forget to stick to your walking schedule, even when the temperature is low.
  • If you really don’t like the idea of battling Jack Frost with your canine companion, it’s important to keep them entertained so they don’t go stir crazy inside and start chewing up your furniture. Have some alternatives to outdoor exercise ready.  Play hide and seek with favourite toys (or members of the family).  Stimulate their nose by getting them to seek scents by hiding treats around the house or a specially made indoor obstacle courses.  Or sign them up for a local indoor class where they can socialise with other dogs, top up their training or learn a new skill.

We here at DogFence know that your pet is part of the family and deserves the same amount of safety and comfort as you. These have been some tips to make sure that your pet has as much fun as possible this winter!

Puppy Unaware of Canine Christmas Dangers

Canine Christmas Dangers

Christmas time is just around the corner and should be enjoyed by every member of the family. Dogs technically don’t know what Christmas is but they do know that everyone is excited and there are many new shiny objects that they have never seen before, some of which could cause them harm. Here’s our guide to some of the main Christmas dangers to your dog so you can keep them safe this year.

Christmas Food

We all do it, sneaking the dog some turkey under the table. It’s a special time of the year and everyone deserves a treat. Unfortunately there is a long list of Christmas foods that are actually poisonous to dogs.  These include: chocolate, onions, nuts, blue cheese, and all forms of grapes (including the raisins and sultanas found in Christmas pudding).

It is also well documented that dogs love to chew on bones. What is not so well documented is that bones become brittle and are more likely to splinter after they have been cooked. This can lead to small fragments being swallowed which can lead to choking. Swallowing the shards can also cause digestive problems later on in the day. Not exactly the present that you were hoping for this Christmas. It should also be noted that poultry/bird bones are hollow and splinter very easily so should never be given to a dog.

Decorations

Christmas decorations are great to look at. Unfortunately they look as good to dogs as they do to us – albeit in less colour! The problem is that dogs cannot differentiate between a bauble and a tennis ball, if it’s round and it rolls then it’s probably going to be chased.

Baubles aren’t really toxic to dogs, but unfortunately they are likely to shatter which means shards of plastic or glass can get stuck in paws or in digestive tracts.

Tinsel is another Christmas favourite, and again another concern for your four legged pal.  Whilst not very toxic, tinsel is long and slinky which means it is easy to chow down on. The main trouble with tinsel is that it can cause a blockage in the digestive tract. The worst case scenario would be if it started to work its way through the body whilst some of it is still in the stomach! This would be a real cause for concern and require an immediate trip to the vet.

Christmas Tree Chocolates

Chocolate tree decorations are fantastic for that Christmas day treat. Unfortunately chocolate is very poisonous to dogs. The trouble is that chocolate can fall off the tree without you noticing, which means it is fair game for any four-legged friends. Chocolate wrappers can also have a bad effect on a dog as it passes through their gut. We strongly suggest taking steps to try and make it as difficult for dogs to reach and eat these treats as possible.

Electrical Goods

Christmas presents normally go hand in hand with electrical goods.  Whilst the idea of watching TV probably doesn’t appeal to your canine friend, having something to chew on probably does. Electrical wires are a prime example, especially if they have not been moved well away from doggy accessible places. Your family pet is going to be in for a shock if they manage to chew all the way through the wire.

The same could be said for batteries which are probably going to be in abundance with all the new gadgets and gizmos that Santa brought the family this year. When pierced or ingested, the acid inside can cause severe chemical burns or heavy metal poisoning.

Holly, Mistletoe and Poinsettia

You know you’re in the festive season when you see Holly, Mistletoe and Poinsettia decorating peoples homes. Like most other things in your house, your dog probably looks at these plants and see’s a snack.

Many people think that Poinsettia is an extremely deadly plant for pets and children, though this is rarely the case. The plants brightly coloured leaves contain a sap which is highly irritating to skin, and will cause abdominal pain when ingested. Other symptoms include: excessive drooling, nausea, and vomiting. If your precious pooch decides to take a bite, it is likely to be too irritated by the plants sap to continue eating. However, you should still take care when displaying this plant if you have a dog in the house.

Holly and Mistletoe are generally more toxic than Poinsettia. Both are known to cause intestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Mistletoe contains toxic substances that can do real damage when ingested in large quantities, these symptoms include: massive drop in blood pressure, breathing problems, seizures, and deadly in some very severe cases. We seriously suggest keeping these plants well away from anywhere that you family dog can reach them.

Whilst the above are some very important Christmas doggy dangers to look out for, by staying vigilant and keeping an eye on your pet, you can ensure that everyone in the family has a perfect Christmas this year.

Please note that DogFence does not accept any liability for the content of this page and is only intended as a guide. If you are worried about your pets health, or wish to know more about Christmas dangers to you pet, please contact your local veterinary practice.

christmas dog staring at a roast chicken

The Dog That Stole Christmas

Let us set the scene for you.

You’ve been slow roasting your Christmas turkey all through the night. The smell is truly heavenly wafting through the house like an angel sent to bless you and give you good fortune. You have basted this creation a thousand times to make sure that the taste is perfect for when all 20 of your family members come round today. You even cooked the pigs in blankets with the turkey so that they too would be a dinnertime delight.

Its finally time to take the turkey out of the oven. The smell warms you up like a Christmas fire and your mouth starts to salivate like the family dog sat next to you, longing for a taste of the wonder in front of him. ‘DING DONG’ goes the bell. The first of your family members has arrived and of course no one else in the house is going to answer the door. You put the Christmas lunch centrepiece on the worktop for what you imagine will only be twenty seconds, but it is more than enough time for a four legged thief to make its move.

CLANG

A sound from the kitchen? You rush to your turkey like a mother to a crying child and find your hopes and dreams for the perfect Christmas lunch dashed to the kitchen floor. The family dog had somehow managed to jump up on the side and steal the turkey for himself. He couldn’t help it, he wanted to savour the bird as much as you did! He looks up with a sense of guilt in his eyes as he tucks into the juiciest cut of the bird.

Tears welling up, you remember the advert that you saw online for a DogFence Indoor Boundary System. At the time it didn’t seem necessary. Your beloved pet had never needed to be kept away from anything in your house before, so why would you need one now?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Make sure your dog doesn’t steal Christmas this year.  Get in touch with us on 01628 476475 to find out how to keep your dog away from the Christmas dinner.

Dog wearing yellow raincoat

Can dogs predict the weather?

We loved this article By Ralph Greco, Jr.

“Dog Alerts Owner to Bad Weather”

200460173-001It sounds like a headline from a supermarket tabloid but scientific facts support this seemingly amazing claim — which is not so amazing to those of us who own dogs. So many of us have experienced our furry companions barking well before we hear thunder, or have come to enjoy the old head-in-our-lap cuddle just before rain pelts our house.

How often do we find our dogs jumping for joy just about the time we hear our weatherman warning of an imminent snowstorm? We’ve all heard those not-so-tall tales of a family’s dog barking so loudly that they alert everyone to danger well before a tornado is even detected. The connection between imminent weather changes and our dogs knowing about them before we do, and often times their trying to tell us about them, is something so many of us have experienced or heard about that we seldom actually question this simple fact of doggy derring-do.

It’s less a canine “sixth sense” though, than it is a case of simple science.

A dog is more sensitive to the drop in barometric pressure and the shift in the static electric field that comes prior to climate changes. With severe weather imminent, like the often quick turn-about a tornado brings, or the severe conditions in the wake of an approaching hurricane, a dog will not only feel those acute changes in electricity and air pressure — all that much more acute in severe weather — but beyond warning their households, they have been known to seek shelter themselves.

Have you ever stepped out of your house, taken a hearty inhale and said, “Mmm, it certainly smells like rain?” Well, if you can sniff out that scent, your dog can too — their noses can detect concentrations of chemicals we couldn’t even imagine. When it comes to the smell of ozone in the air attributed to lightning, rest assured your pooch will smell it before you do!

And what about far-off thunder? Canine hearing is close to twenty times more sensitive than ours. Those rumbles we might not even hear until they are upon us as full-blown thunder are sounds and vibrations your dog will certainly hear or feel well before you This is why all that rattling really disturbs some dogs when it finally arrives in full fury.

Our dog’s senses are that much more sensitive than ours, so is it any wonder that they can detect the nuances of weather changes better than we ever could? If we can learn to recognize and interpret specific behaviors our dogs are instinctively revealing before those weather changes are upon us, we might learn to figure out what is literally “on the horizon.”

Although other animals, from cats to birds to turtles, are known to exhibit behavior related to anticipating storms or changes in the weather, researchers theorize that, because of the way dogs learn, the more often they are exposed to weather changes, the more they will learn to anticipate those changes — and then the changes that come before those, and so on, until they have learned to associate the tiniest of changes with what they have experienced before… and then will surely want to “tell” us about them.

Ultimately, we might be better off enjoying a good warm furry cuddle or heeding that loud consistent barking over watching the Weather Channel.

Does your dog warn you of impending changes in the weather, incoming tornadoes, or earthquakes? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!