Can dogs really sense earthquakes?

Narrated from: Curious Dog Facts

The theory that dogs, cats and other pets sense earthquakes before they hit, is an old one. Centuries before the birth of Christ, animals in Ancient Greece were observed to leave a city just before it was ruined by a disastrous earthquake.

In modern times, dogs’ ability to predict earthquakes has been regarded as a piece of folklore. There is no scientific explanation of how dogs or other animals would sense an earthquake – there was an old theory about dogs being able to hear seismic waves, but no proof has been found.

However, Chinese scientists are observing dogs and other animals in their attempts to predict earthquakes. This practice dates from the 60s and as a result a powerful earthquake in Haicheng was predicted. More than 90,000 people were evacuated and saved but the earthquake demolished most of the city. Yet Chinese earthquake predictions have failed to detect many earthquakes since then.

In 2003, a Japanese doctor advanced a theory that dog behavior changes before an earthquake. Doctor Shimamura pointed out that there was an increase in dog biting and other dog-related complaints before and after an earthquake. As an example, he used the earthquake in Kobe, Western Japan, and pointed out that accounts of dog barking went up by 18% just before the earthquake.

Doctor Shimamura’s theory was not approved of by other scientists. In the grim shadow of the disastrous earthquake that struck Japan not long ago it is hard to assume they were wrong – with a disaster of this magnitude, little could be done.

The truth is, dogs can predict earthquakes – but not in a reliable matter. The most logical theory is that dogs, cats and other animals can sense earthquakes of a high magnitude, but probably just hours or even minutes before the earthquake actually strikes. This theory is supported by numerous reports of abnormal dog behavior just before an earthquake: actually, a lot of people may have been saved if they had taken their nervous dogs for a walk, thus leaving the danger zone.

Unfortunately, there are countless other reasons for abnormal dog behavior outside earthquakes – and thank God for that, for if an earthquake struck every time a pooch panics, we’d be living among ruins! Still, you should learn to discern when your canine companion is just moody and when he is really acting strangely. If something seems wrong – be alert. It might be that there is something wrong with the dog and you need to take it to the vet – but there just might be something wrong with the world and your dog is trying to warn you!

to top of the page
Previous Next

Other articles that might interest you::