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Busting Myths About Dogs


The dog has been humankind’s loyal company for centuries. During all those years dog’s have been interwoven in our history and the stories we tell. With that also comes a healthy dose of myths about dogs, here are a few:

Dogs can’t see color. This has been proven untrue. It’s tough to say where this myth came from as no one can really tell what a dog does or does not see. The canine retina does contain two out of the three photoreceptors needed to see color. Some studies have shown that dogs can see different saturations of yellow, blue, and grey.

Another myth is that dogs will eat grass when they are ill. Although dogs can be found eating grass when they are not feeling too well, other reasons could include boredom, displacement, and opportunity. For some dogs eating grass is just simply fun.

Raw meat is bad for dogs, which as a generalization is a myth. Going for the traditional dry foods or even canned food might be the most common thing to do, but raw food diets have gained more traction of late. The simple truth that it is very much up to the owner and the dog. The critical thing to look out for is: finding meat with the minimum risk of harmful bacteria and understanding that a slab of meat on its own is not a balanced meal. A proper raw food diet for dogs has well sourced meat that has been tested and would be fit for human consumption. What also makes an excellent raw food diet is adding additional ingredients that balance out the meal.

A dog with a wagging tail is always friendly, also not true. A wagging tail is not the tell-tell sign of a friendly dog. It could mean happiness, excitement, and alertness. Also, it can signal fear, anxiety, or a prelude to aggression. Always evaluate the body language of the entire dog and never base your decision to approach a dog purely on tail wagging.

The idea that one dog year is similar to seven human years is also a persistent idea. This generalization is simply not true. In fact, a dog’s first year can be similar to a human’s first twelve to fourteen years. Dependant on the dog’s breed, size, and genetics, age can be a flexible indicator in determining the maturity. Smaller sized dogs can live up to 18 years, whereas some larger breeds can only live for about 7 years.

Another popular idea is that a dog’s mouth would be cleaner than a human’s mouth. Some say that this myth stems from dogs licking their wounds and accelerating recovery in the process. The reason this helps has less to do with their tongues being sterile, but everything to do with ensuring no debris or other foreign objects get into the wound and stimulating blood flow to the injury which in turn promotes faster healing.

Another myth comes from the saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” This is simply not true. Older dogs can learn new tricks but simply might not want to. Less motivated by curiosity and the promise of a snack, they simply choose not to respond to all the common tricks in the book. Also, decreased vision and joint issues simply don’t make learning new tricks as appealing, but with time and patience, it’s still possible.

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