Even though dogs are our best friends, how much do we really know about them? Since dogs and humans don’t speak the same language, there will obviously be misunderstandings between what we think we know about our dogs and what is actually true. Some of the most common myths about dogs are:
MYTH 1 – DOGS EAT GRASS WHEN THEY ARE SICK
While it is true that dogs may eat grass for an upset stomach, many times though, dogs will eat grass due to boredom or the fact that they think it tastes good. So while it may very well ease your dog’s upset stomach, eating grass is very common and completely natural, as long as the grass has not been treated. If your dog only eats small amounts of grass and it does not make him sick, there is no need to stop this behavior.
MYTH 2 – DOGS HAVE CLEAN MOUTHS
A dog’s mouth is NOT cleaner than a human mouth. Since our dogs love to explore with their mouths and noses, you never really know where their mouth has been or what has been in their mouth! The fact that approximately 80% of dogs over the age of three have some form of periodontal disease is reason enough to believe a dog’s mouth is not very clean.
MYTH 3 – A WAGGING TAIL IS A FRIENDLY DOG
A wagging tail simply means a dog is emotionally aroused – this may be a positive arousal (happiness and excitement) or a negative arousal (fear, anxiety or aggression). You need to observe a dog’s entire body language (ear position, facial expression and body posture) in order to determine if he’s a friendly, happy dog or an aggressive, fearful dog. Tail wagging or not, it’s best to never approach a dog that you do not know without asking the owner’s permission first.
MYTH 4 – ALL DOGS ARE GOOD SWIMMERS
Not every dog can naturally swim – some need help to feel comfortable in the water. Members of certain dog breeds may naturally like swimming, however, other dogs with short legs, flat faces, or barrel-shaped chests have the wrong body shape entirely. Since small dogs are more prone to hypothermia, putting them in the water should be done more cautiously. If your dog is unsure of the water, using a doggie life jacket can not only boost their confidence but also keep them safe.
MYTH 5 – DOGS ARE COLOR BLIND
Since none of us can see what dogs really see, it’s hard to say whether or not dogs can see colors. However, structurally, the canine retina contains two color-detecting cells, whereas, human retinas contain three color-detecting cells. Because of this, the range of color for dogs is less than that of humans. Studies have shown that dogs see several colors, but it is a more muted world of shades of yellow, blue and gray, and they are not able to distinguish between different shades of green and red.
MYTH 6 – YOU CAN’T TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS
Like humans, as dog’s age, they may be less interested in learning new things, however, dogs CAN learn new tricks, if they truly want to! With time and patience, an older dog can learn just as many tricks as a younger dog can, but because of decreased vision and hearing as well as potential joint issues, training may be a little more difficult. If you are teaching a senior dog a new trick, be sure to keep the training sessions fun and positive, and the length of training should be shorter but more often.
MYTH 7 – DOGS AGE SEVEN YEARS FOR EVERY HUMAN YEAR
A dog’s age is dependent on many factors including breed type, size of dog as well as genetics. It is not accurate to assign seven dog years to one human year equally for every dog. Typically, smaller breeds tend to live longer (sometimes 15-18 years) versus larger breeds (7-10 years). For a dog to live a long and happy life, it needs suitable living conditions, a healthy diet and exercise, and proper medical care.