Dogs Prefer to Poop in Alignment With Earth's Magnetic Field

Posted on January 3, 2014

Researchers from the Czech University of Life Sciences and University of Duisburg-Essen have determined that dogs poop in alignment with the Earth's magnetic field. The ability to sense the magnetic field is called magnetoreception. The researchers say this is the first time magnetic sensitivity has been proven in dogs.

The scientists measured the direction of the body axis in 70 dogs of 37 breeds during defecation (1,893 observations) and urination (5,582 observations) over a two-year period. The researchers found that dogs prefer to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-South axis under calm MF (magnetic field) conditions.

When the MF is not calm, which is most of the time, dogs will abandoned the directional behavior. The researchers say, "Since the MF is calm in only about 20% of the daylight period, our findings might provide an explanation why many magnetoreception experiments were hardly replicable and why directional values of records in diverse observations are frequently compromised by scatter."

The researchers say their study was "truly blind" and they avoided any bias-trap that can occur with dogs trying to ascertain and do what researchers want them to do. The researchers also say they found no differences in alignment of females and males during defecation. The research was conducted outdoors in open fields.

The research paper was published here (PDF) in the journal, Frontiers in Zoology. The research paper says magnetic alignment has also been demonstrated in cattle, roe deer, red deer and hunting red foxes.