Does My Dog Sense if Something Is Wrong?

by Betty Lewis
    Excellent hearing and a sharp sense of smell may give your pooch an extra sense.

    Excellent hearing and a sharp sense of smell may give your pooch an extra sense.

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    Dog isn't man's best friend for nothing. Your pup gives you hours of companionship, doesn't blab your secrets and won't take offense if you forget his birthday. If Barney's at your side when you're sad or sick, you may wonder if his sixth sense has kicked in, alerting him that something's wrong.

    Sixth Sense or Superior Senses

    Your pup's sense of what's right and what's wrong may depend on the context. His sense of hearing and smell are much sharper than yours. His nose may have as many as 12 billion olfactory receptors compared to your 4 million. His ears hear at much higher frequencies and at four times the distance a normal human ear can. If Barney ran and hid or made a lot of racket before a big thunderstorm, he possibly detected a whiff of ozone in the air, alerting him to the coming storm. As well, his sharp sniffer allows him to detect pheromones you can't smell, meaning he's able to pick up any subtle odor you may emit if you're stressed or sick. If something is bothering Barney, he doesn't stop to analyze the situation as you likely do; instead, he reacts based on instinct. There's no firm scientific evidence your pooch can sense if there's something amiss, but if he's shown good judgment in the past, there's no reason to ignore his warnings. It doesn't matter whether he's going on instinct or taking advantage of his better senses, he's acting in everyone's best interest.

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    About the Author

    Betty Lewis has been writing professionally since 2000, specializing in animal care and issues, business analysis and homeland security. Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University as well as master’s degrees from Old Dominion University and Tulane University.