Ever Wonder Why Dogs Spin Around Before Doing Their “Business?”

For those of us who own dogs, did you ever wonder why they spin, turn, and need to find that “perfect” spot before squatting to do their business? I always figured it’s just one of those things dogs do, like how some will paw at the bed before they settle down or others will circle before laying down to nap. But researchers have found there is a reason for all this circling.

A new study published in the Frontiers in Zoology journal suggests that dogs spin and turn before they go to the bathroom because they are aligning themselves up with the Earth’s magnetic field. In the course of a two year study, scientists observed groups of dogs and over 30 breeds and measured the direction of the body alignment during the thousands upon thousands times they watched dogs go to the bathroom.

The conclusion is that dogs prefer to align themselves in a north-south direction and tend to avoid east-west alignment. The findings were reliable when the magnetic field was relatively calm. We’ve heard about how dogs can tell there’s storms coming and may react to the changes in electro-magnetic pulses as well as stories of dogs finding their way back home over 100s of miles. So this new study solidifies the notion that dogs are attuned to the earth, more than we are.

To read the complete article, go to Frontiers in Zoology’s page.

Image from King West Vets

Did You Know? Dog Body Facts

We focus a lot on dog behavior and what we can do to help them adjust to the world around them. We modify behavior in our pets through positive reinforcement and repetition but how much do we know about their bodies? Did you know they have more bones than we do? Did you know their sense of smell is incredibly superior to ours?

Here’s a few facts about our canine buddies that are pretty cool and interesting:

  • Dogs have about 1700 taste buds on the tip of their tongue. They can detect sweet, sour, salty, and bitter tasting items. This teaches them what is good to eat, what to avoid, and what is safe and dangerous. We have about 10,000 taste buds but they aren’t all on the tongue. Some are under it and some are on our cheeks and roof of our mouths. We even have a few on our lips which helps us detect salty things.
  • Humans have 206 bones. Dogs have 320 bones! This explains why they are so agile and able to leap, run, and move the way they do. Some dogs have the ability to climb trees and others can turn corners like they are on rails.
  • We have sweat glands almost everywhere on our bodies. Dogs only have sweat glands on their paw pads and noses. That’s why an overheated dog will pant like crazy. It is also why during the summer months we need to make sure our dogs aren’t running around too much or left outside on a hot day too long. They can’t sweat it out the way we can. Always keep fresh water near by on warmer days and get them inside if it’s scorching hot and humid out there!
  • Dogs have a digestive tract length that is almost 3 times the length of their body. We have a digestive tract that is about 30 feet long. Raw food can be digested in about 5 hours but dry food takes about 10 to 12 hours. We digest food in about 2 hours.
  • A dog’s field of vision is 250 degrees! We can only see about 180 degrees.
  • Humans can run fast. One of the fastest runners could hit about 25 miles per hour but dogs can run up to 45 miles per hour! WOW!
  • Dogs sleep about 12 hours a day total, including their little naps that they take throughout the day. Humans sleep an average of 6 to 8 hours a day.
  • Dogs also have a pregnancy period of 63 days where as humans have a pregnancy that lasts about 266 days.
  • The average heartbeat for a dog is 70 to 100 BPM, smaller breeds have quicker heartbeats that can reach about 140 BPM. Humans have a heartbeat around 75 BPM when in a normal, calm state.
  • The average lifespan of a dog is 13 years while the average lifespan of a human is 68 years of age.