Dogs Align with Magnetic Field While Pooping, Urinating: Study

Scientists who studied 70 dogs for two years find there's a scientific method to the position they settle on to do their business

When your dog decides to relieve itself, it’s a good bet that they’ll be positioned along Earth’s magnetic field, a new study says.

A team of biologists spent two years measuring the direction of the body axis in 70 dogs as they pooped (that happened a total of 1,893 times) and urinated (a staggering 5,582 times). Dog breeds included in the study were beagles, dachshunds, fox terriers, and others.

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What they found is that dogs prefer to potty with their body aligned the north-south axis, as pictured (photo credit: Frontiers in Zoology), proving for the first time that magnetic sensitivity exists in canines, according to the study in the science journal Frontiers in Zoology.

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But, when the magnetic field become unstable, like during a magnetic storm, a pattern isn't as easy to see.

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This sensitivity was a reasonable expectation, the study says, given the “extraordinary homing abilities” of dogs and their close relation to red foxes, coyotes and grey wolves.

The biologists say the study is important as researchers continue to uncover more about magnetoreception, the internal compass inside living organisms. 

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