Dogs are known for their amazing senses, but can they detect infrared radiation?
Have you ever wondered how good your dog’s vision is? We know cats have fantastic night vision for example. You may have also heard that dogs are colour blind- they don’t see certain colours the same way we do.
Many of you have reported your dogs as having immediate reactions when you turn your IR panels on. Some of them may sniff at them, growl at them, even wag their tails at then. This has led many to wonder what a dog can actually seeing. We know dogs can’t see red light from the visible light spectrum, can they sense the infrared?
There are some animals out there (such as snakes) that can pick out the thermal infrared signatures of various animals. This helps them spot and catch prey. Dogs and wolves didn’t evolve this acute sense, but they got something else to help them out.
It’s not so much that your dog can ‘see’ infrared in the traditional sense, but they can detect it…
The Nose Knows
It’s not through their eyes that dogs sense infrared- it’s through their noses! There’s a bunch of nerves right at the tips of those cute little noses that sends signals to the brain when they sense an infrared heat source. This might be part of the reason why their noses are so cold and wet; it helps those nerves out.
Wolves and dogs can use this sense when they’re hunting to find prey that they can’t see or hear.
Domesticated dogs don’t need to flex this primal muscle as much as their wolf ancestors, but the instinct is still there. If you’ve ever seen your dog get very interested in a heater, this is why.
Dogs Love IR Panels!
It’s anecdotal evidence, but we get stories coming in all the time of dogs seeming to instinctually know when your IR panels are switched on. Initially this can be a little confusing to them- as their instincts are firing off and telling them there’s another animal in the room. This explains the growling and tail wagging.
Once they get used to it, you may find your dog running to your heater and flopping in front of it the minute you turn it on.
There are loads of reasons to help your dog out with an IR panel, it’s a fantastic way for them to keep warm. They are particularly popular in kennels and stables as they keep your pets’ cosy in a completely safe manner.
Crucially, infrared heat hits the target on a molecular level, penetrating under the skin. This helps aid muscle condition, suppleness and helps them relax, making them a great choice for older dogs in particular.
They’re also really easy to clean, so if your dog has a tendency to slobber or shed hair, you can keep things looking clean and sleek.