What do dogs have in common with Professor X, Doctor Strange, and Wolverine? Believe it or not, dogs possess super abilities that practically make them real-life superheroes.
From their ability to predict natural disasters, to their built-in thermal goggles, and their talent in mind-reading, they can do things that will shock you.
But what’s even more surprising is that no one talks about these amazing canine abilities. So, here are 9 “super abilities” of dogs that you’ve never heard of.
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1. Dogs can smell their humans from the other side of the city
To be specific, some dogs have shown the ability to smell people or objects as far as 12 miles away. And if you consider the average suburb in the USA to be roughly 10 miles wide, that means they can actually track you down from the other side of the city.
In fact, your dog can pick up odors as little as a pictogram. To put things into perspective, a pictogram is one-trillionth of a gram!
But here’s a great example of this special ability in action. Have you heard of “Bobbie the Wonder Dog?” In 1923, a Collie went missing in Indiana, but managed to track his family’s trail back home in Oregon – all on his own!
In a span of 6 months, the determined Bobbie walked over 2,500 miles. And he did this by picking up the scent of his owners along the challenging trail cross country.
With such an incredible sense of smell, It’s no wonder why some dogs seem to always find their way home one way or another.
2. Dogs can run 4 marathons per day
Okay, maybe not all dogs. In fact, we don’t suggest trying this at home, especially with your Maltese or Pug. But there are sled dogs that have the ability to run over 100 miles per day in the blistering cold of Alaska’s harsh wilderness.
And they actually showcase this ability every year. During the spring season annually, Huskies and other hybrid dogs come to Alaska to participate in the most prestigious sled race in history. It’s none other than the Iditarod Dog Sled Race.
This trail extends through the entire state of Alaska and spans over 1,000 miles or 1600 kilometers. And in 2017, Mitch Seavey broke all records by completing this race in 8 days, 3 hours and 40 minutes. This meant that Seavey’s dogs were able to run over 100 miles each day!
How did they do it? It’s not just about training for superhuman endurance. Researchers discovered a metabolic switch that happens in these dogs during long distance running. I don’t want to bore you with the science-y stuff.
But in short, when the switch goes off, a dog is able to draw energy from more than just their muscles, such as their bloodstream.
3. Dogs have a built-in compass
If you’re ever lost in the woods with your dog – have no fear! Just turn to your dog and wait for them to “answer nature’s calling” According to scientists, dogs may actually have the ability to see or sense the earth’s magnetic field.
In fact, studies have found some interesting behavior in dogs. When dogs urinate or defecate, they usually align themselves along the north and south axis. This suggests that dogs are orienting themselves based on the earth’s magnetic field lines.
In another study, researchers observed 27 hunting dogs to understand their navigational abilities. They used GPS trackers during 622 excursions in forested areas. Most dogs returned to their starting point using “tracking” or “scouting” methods.
But what surprised researchers was that scouting dogs often started with a short run along the north-south axis, suggesting an initial “compass run” for orientation. This behavior aligns with many animals’ use of a universal reference frame for navigation.
Your dogs’ navigation abilities remain an exciting area of ongoing studies, but it seems clear that they do possess their own internal compasses.
4. Dogs have a sense of time without using a clock
Here’s a scenario that I’ve experienced many times. Usually, I feed my dog a “Greenie” treat at night, right before bed. In fact, it’s become a daily habit for my dog.
But on nights where I get a little distracted and forget, you can bet my dog will be at my door barking at me. She’ll even lead me to the cabinets where the treats are stored. If you experience something similar with your dog, let me know the situation in the comments below!
So, how do dogs do this? No, they can’t read clocks. Your dog’s sense of time differs from human time perception. Their understanding of time is more linked to routine, repetition, and associative learning, rather than a precise measurement of hours and minutes.
But to make this work, it relies heavily on the dog’s biological clock. Their internal clock helps regulate their sleep-wake cycle and influences when they feel active or sleepy. Dogs use this cycle as a way to gauge when it’s time for certain routines.
5. Dogs can predict earthquakes days or hours before
Have you ever seen those viral videos of dogs acting up right before an earthquake strikes? They’ll bark. They’ll run. And they might even hide or seek shelter. This happens because dogs are able to anticipate a big quake.
For example, owners in Japan were surveyed about their dog’s behavior prior to the Great 9.0 Japanese earthquake in 2011. The earthquake was devastating, and ultimately ended with the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
But the strangest thing happened beforehand. Hundreds of dog owners reported unusual behaviors, such as excessive barking, increased neediness, howling, and fleeing in their pets, just days, hours and even minutes before the earthquake.
In fact, the earliest reference of such unusual behaviors prior to a big earthquake can be traced back to 373 B.C. in Ancient Greece. So were these dogs the second coming of Nostradamus…or maybe the canine version of Doctor Strange? Not exactly.
As it turns out, a dog’s sense of hearing is so good that they’re able to hear all the seismic activity that is happening underground right before a large earthquake. So all that scraping and grinding of the tectonic plates or the rocks breaking apart is being picked up by our dogs.
The reason why we aren’t able to detect this is because these sounds tend to be high-pitched, which the human’s hearing range can’t seem to pick up.
6. Dogs can read your mind and emotions
That’s a scary thought, isn’t it? However, you shouldn’t worry. It’s not that they read your mind like Professor X from X-Men. Rather, dogs are able to distinguish emotional facial expressions from neutral expressions in humans.
Studies have shown that they’re able to tell happy faces from angry ones – even from just photos of faces. But that’s not all.
Dogs also have the ability to sniff out emotions from smell alone! In a recent study, scientists collected sweat from people who watched either scary or happy videos and let dogs smell it. They watched how the dogs acted and checked their heart rates.
Dogs exposed to “fear sweat” showed signs of stress, had faster heartbeats, and needed comfort from their owners. But here’s the kicker. Dogs are sociable animals that love to mimic the body language of those they have a close bond with.
If we’re feeling sad all the time, it really rubs off on your dog. So next time you’re hanging with your dog, remember to stay positive and happy.
7. Dogs can predict when a storm is coming
Isn’t it weird that your dog will sometimes begin to act anxious before a storm arrives? This isn’t a coincidence. In fact, dogs are very sensitive to barometric pressure changes and can “feel” the storm before they can see or hear it.
Barometric pressure is the weight of the air pressing down on the Earth’s surface. Imagine it like an invisible blanket of air covering our planet. A sudden drop in pressure often means bad weather is coming, while rising pressure usually means the weather is getting better.
So it’s quite amazing that dogs can sense this. However, here are common signs of “storm anxiety” that you can look out for.
They’ll start pacing, trembling, panting or even hiding. In some severe cases, a dog might begin barking or howling, drooling, chewing, or even accidentally urinating and defecating in places where they usually don’t.
The best thing you can do is to provide your dog with a safe space, while being attentive to their needs.
8. Dogs can see thermal radiation with their noses
Thermal radiation actually refers to heat emitted by a person or object. For humans to see this, we need a thermal imaging camera. But for dogs? They just need their nose.
Dogs have a type of natural infrared sensor on the tip of their nose, which allows them to detect minute changes in temperature. Most likely, they developed this in the wild as a way to see other animals nearby, especially when their sight, smell and hearing are hindered due to bad weather.
How do we know this? In recent studies, dogs showed an increase in brain activity when they were shown objects that were warmer than their surroundings. Thus suggesting they can sense thermal radiation coming from warmer bodies.
Scientists speculate that this was necessary to help wild dogs avoid predators, while giving them an extra edge in hunting down prey.
9. Dogs have the ability to heal from injuries quickly
As it turns out, dogs are more similar to Wolverine than we think. They have an impressive rapid recovery ability – all thanks to their regenerative tissue properties.
This means that when dogs get hurt, their bodies can repair and replace damaged cells or tissues at a much faster pace than other animals. For example, if a dog gets a small cut, it often seems to heal faster than similar injuries in humans.
This ability is because of their bodies’ natural processes, such as rapid cell growth and a strong immune response. But what’s even more fascinating is that dogs have a much higher concentration of stem cells than humans.
Stem cells have the potential to develop into various types of cells, including those that are needed for tissue repair or regeneration. However, that’s not to say you shouldn’t take your dog to the vet if they have a serious injury or illness.
So did any of these special abilities of dogs surprise you? Let us know in the comments section below!
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