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Dogs anticipate bad weather, and more

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows — at least not if you have a dog.

Two-thirds of American pet owners say their pets have a sixth sense about bad weather, according to a recent poll by the Associated Press and Petside.com.

Seventy-two percent of dog owners said they’ve gotten weather warnings from their pets, compared with 66 percent of cat owners.

And bad weather, many believe, is not all their pets are able to sense.

More than 40 percent of pet owners say their animals can sense the arrival of bad news, according to the poll conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications.

“A sixth sense is something we can’t explain but we tend to trust. It’s a matter of belief and faith,” psychologist Stephanie LaFarge, the senior director of counseling services for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told the Associated Press.

Some scientists believe animals sense bad weather because of changes in barometric pressure, and that they can sense seizures, low blood sugar or other medical problems through changes in their owner’s hormone levels.

How some pets know when earthquakes are coming, or that bad news is on the horizon, remain more mysterious.

The ASPCA’s LaFarge says she has personally experienced the latter.

“I have been awakened in the middle of the night by a dog,” she said. “Very shortly after that, I received some very, very shocking bad news. I was awake when the phone rang. I couldn’t explain why I was awake except the dog was next to me nudging me. How did the dog know my father died at midnight?”


Comment from Robin Zygelman
Time January 11, 2011 at 10:52 am

Living in Southen Florida frequent storms can appear out of nowhere.Whenever a storm is coming, my dog Sienna (shiba Inu) let’s me know,because when we go outside she refuses to go on her beloved walks and within a very short time the skies open up.
When it is over she barks at me to go out. Smart dog!

Comment from Cleo
Time January 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I can anticipate when dinner will be served :0)

Comment from Valerie
Time January 11, 2011 at 8:55 pm

My golden retriever, Charlie, goes ba-zonkers way before the storm hits. Missed his opportunity as a weatherman, I think.