What direction do your canine patients face in when they relieve themselves? It might seem irrelevant,
but according to a study published in Frontiers in Zoology, dogs don’t just go the bathroom randomly.
They actually choose which direction to face according to Earth’s magnetic field.
The study involved 70 dogs who over a period of two years engaged in a total of 1,893
defecations and 5,582 urinations. The dogs were unleashed and in a free-roaming environment
while eliminating, which meant they were not influenced by manmade structures such as walls
The researchers found that the dogs demonstrated a sensitivity to magnetic field variations that
we wouldn’t even be aware of: “Dogs preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along
the north–south axis under calm MF conditions. This directional behavior was abolished under
unstable MF. The best predictor of the behavioral switch was the rate of change in declination,
i.e., polar orientation of the MF.”
The reasons for this behavior are still unknown, but the study has opened the door to further
research into how animals perceive and make use of magnetic fields.