Every wonder why your pet circles meticulously as they find the perfect place to poop? One new study out there that suggests that dogs are actually choosing the direction they relieve themselves based on the Earth's magnetic field.
Dog Poop in Science
Specifically, the study shows that dogs prefer to poop in a north-south axis. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology and it was quite thorough. It examined 70 dogs over two years, with 37 breeds being represented. A grand total of 1,893 defecations and 5,582 urinations were recorded and during the process. The study was conducted in a free-roaming environment where no fences or paths would influence the dogs' choices and linear movement.
What did researchers find? That under "calm magnetic field conditions," dogs avoided an east-west orientation and instead tended to "excrete" with their body aligned with the north-south axis. So what exactly does the study prove? Basically, that dogs may be sensitive to small variations in the planet's magnetic field.
The Implications of the Dog Poop Study
So why poop in alignment with the north-south axis? That part is still a bit of a mystery. Do dogs align consciously? Do they actually perceive the magnetic field somehow? This particular study doesn't answer those questions, but it does open new horizons for further research into how organisms perceive and use magnetic fields for direction.
Interesting, right? If you aren't too grossed out by the idea, do a little research of your own and use a compass app to see if your dog's pooping compass is in alignment with the earth's magnetic field next time you let them out for a bathroom break.