Dogs seem to have been around since the dawn of time, and sometimes it seems as though we are no closer to figuring them out! To celebrate this day of practical joking and pranks, we’re going to discuss some common canine myths, and why they are completely bananas!
1) A Warm or Dry nose means a sick doggo – FALSE
Back when canine distemper was a more prevalent virus, common symptoms were thick and dry nose and foot pads. A cold, wet nose was a good sign that a dog was not suffering from distemper. However, the majority of dogs today are vaccinated to prevent distemper, and it rarely occurs. Additionally, it is widely understood today that the temperature and moisture of a pup-nose is not exactly a measurement of health. Dogs’ noses often dry out when they sleep, and some dogs just run warmer and drier than others. However, do note that every dog has their own normal – if you notice that your dog suddenly develops a dry or cracked nose, consult your vet.
2) Dog mouths are cleaner than people mouths – FALSE
It’s commonly known that dogs tend to lick their wounds, which led people many years ago to believe that dog saliva had healing properties. In actuality, the dog’s rough tongue was removing tissue and stimulating circulation to assist in healing. Additionally, most wounds are actually exacerbated by licking, and don’t heal properly. So, that part of the myth is dispelled! Keep in mind all the yucky things that your pup puts in their mouth, combined with the fact that dogs don’t regularly brush their teeth. It actually would seem that dogs have way more bacteria in their mouths than people. On the plus side, most germs in there are dog-specific, and don’t affect humans negatively. However, be sure to keep your dog’s teeth well cared for, and deworm/vaccinated them appropriately so you have even less bacteria to worry about!
3) Dogs see in black and white – FALSE
This idea came about way back when scientists weren’t totally sure what was going on in eyeballs – either human or canine. Today, we understand that based on the cones present in the canine retina, dogs can actually see color. They mostly see colors on the blue side of the spectrum, much like how a human with red-green colorblindness can see. Scientists today believe that dogs can see in blue, greenish-yellow, yellow, and various shades of gray.
4) Tail wagging always means a happy dog – FALSE
While tail-wagging can, in fact, be a sign of a happy dog, this singular behavior does not always indicate happiness! Tail-wagging has been associated with happy dogs for so so long, but today we understand that dog behavior is much more complex than single tail movements. There are many other factors to take into consideration when reading a dog’s body language such as their hackles, musculature, eyes, and so-on. That being said, tail-wagging combined with other non-happy body language can be a sign of fear, anxiety, or even a precursor to aggression. Always be sure to take in the whole picture when determining the best way to approach a wiggly-waggly dog.
So there ya have it! Four common dog myths dispelled on this day otherwise filled with trickery and mischief! Tune in for our next post for another dose of cold. hard. truth… and of course, lots of cute pictures!