Dogs are incredibly smart animals, which is probably why they're the most popular pet in the UK. Research has shown they they're deeply empathetic, and they have a particular way of promoting children's development and improving overall mental health.

Have you ever noticed that dogs seem to know what's going to happen before the event itself?

What's that about?

It can be quite unsettling when your dog rushes inside before an unprecedented rain storm, or takes shelter before an unpredicted earthquake - especially when we have no idea at all as to what's going to happen.

But, do dogs have a sixth sense?

Well, no, sadly not (sorry...).

They are, however, very much in tune with their surroundings, meaning that they pick up on small changes far more easily than we humans do. Far from just knowing when their owners are happy or sad, the extent of a dog's intuition means that they can foresee the weather, changes in the earth, and even illness.

Here are some of the amazing things that dogs can sense and the reasons why:

Earthquakes

Dogs have been sensing earthquakes for as long as records go back, with the Ancient Greeks recording that dogs fled the city of Helice before a tragic earthquake.

China also has similar stories, although scientists have suggested that dogs are reacting to physical changes that they feel through their paws, or that they can actually hear rocks crumbling below the earth's surface.

Whatever the reason, if you're in an earthquake-prone area and your dog starts to act differently - get running!

Illness

We all know that dogs are in tune with their owners, and will be the first to rush tot heir side if they're feeling down. Evidence has also suggested that dogs can pick up on a variety of illnesses, even before medical technologies.

Humans give off odours of illnesses, which are too faint for us to detect. Dogs, with their amazing sense of smell, are able to sniff out such odours, which could prove revolutionary in future medical treatments.

Currently, researchers are training dogs to sniff out cancer in it's earliest stages, based entirely upon patient's urine samples. It is hoped that scientists will be able to replicate a dog's sense of smell and produce a technology that would perform the same task.

All in all, if your dog starts paying particular attention to a certain area of your body, it might be an idea to have it checked out.

Storms

Much like with earthquakes, dogs can also sense a change in the weather.

Storms create an electromagnetic force, which dogs can sense before the storm hits. They also use their finely tuned sense of hearing to detect the rumble of thunder from several miles away.

So, if your dog rushes inside, you might also want to bring the washing in too.

Labour

Yes, you read that right - there have been documented cases of dogs predicting the onset of labour before any obvious signs have appeared.

In these instances, dogs will become virtual shadows of their pregnant owners. This is usually either the day before or the day of labour.

Whilst it is unknown exactly how dogs sense this, it is likely the hormonal changes that occur in a pregnant woman's body that alert them to what is happening.

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