Many of us are familiar with common canine stereotypes: dogs hate mail carriers; dogs love bones; dogs and cats are natural-born enemies. As with many stereotypes, these are somewhat rooted in truth.
For example, dogs may not hate mail carriers specifically, but they do have a natural instinct to protect and alert you to any stranger coming up to the house. Dogs love raw bones because they love to chew in general. Dogs don’t specifically hate cats, but their natural prey drive may cause some tension—but it’s still very possible for dogs and cats to get along just fine.
We’ve compiled a list of seven common dog misconceptions and their origins. In other words, we’re debunking common dog myths.
Dogs see in black and white
Until as recently as 2013, researchers believed that dogs could only see in black and white, recognizing colors by their levels of brightness.
However, it’s a bit more gray than that. While dogs can’t see colors to the extent that humans can, they can see the world in shades of blue, yellow, and gray. Instead of seeing red and green as contrasting colors, dogs are able to best distinguish yellow from blue. This means that if you’re playing fetch with your pup in a green grassy field, you’ll want to use a blue or yellow ball, rather than red. Otherwise, Fido may have a tough time finding what looks to him like a gray ball in a gray field.
A wagging tail is a sign of a happy dog
A peppy pooch may wag his wail to show excitement, but that’s not the only reason. As with human expressions, a dog’s tail is a key indicator of his mood. Depending on the type of tail wag, your pup could be expressing excitement, discomfort, fear, or aggression.
A neutral tail accompanied by a brisk wag generally indicates a calm, content canine. A higher-than-neutral tail, sometimes paired with a quick wag, could mean your dog is feeling threatened—take it as a warning sign that it’s time to diffuse the situation. A lower-than-neutral tail is typically a sign of fear or submission. This can sometimes be accompanied by a subtle, subdued tail wag.
If your dog’s tail is telling you that he needs to calm down, PetHonesty’s Calming Hemp Chews uses all-natural ingredients to soothe an anxious pup in a tasty way.
A dog’s nose should always be cold and wet
Many dog owners are familiar with the concept that a cold, wet canine nose is healthy while a warm, dry nose is a sign that their dog is sick. However, it’s not necessarily that simple.
Your dog’s nose shouldn’t be the primary indicator of his health. A moist nose could be an indicator of a healthy dog, or it could be a symptom of nasal disease. Similarly, a dry nose could simply be the result of sun exposure, or it could be a sign of something more serious like canine distemper virus. Instead, pay closer attention to other factors such as eating and drinking habits, energy levels, and behavioral changes.
If Fido’s nose is consistently dry, it may be a symptom of allergies. PetHonesty’s Allergy SkinHealth Chews heal skin issues from the inside out, supporting a healthy immune system and normal histamine levels.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is a common idiom used to refer to peoples’ stubbornness to learn new things when they’re already set in their ways. Dogs may be stubborn too, but they’re certainly not incapable of learning new tricks in old age.
Teaching an old dog new tricks and habits can be a tough feat, but it’s well worth it—especially if it means helping your dog unlearn bad habits. It’s also never a bad idea to stimulate your senior pup’s mental muscles to keep his mind sharp.
Of course, when it comes to teaching an old dog new tricks, you’ll want to be mindful of your dog’s abilities and limitations. Choose tricks that are easy on the joints, and give plenty of time for rest and recovery.
One human year = seven dog years
Many of us are familiar with the adage that dogs seven times as quickly as humans, with one human year being equal to seven dog years. This misconception likely stems from the 1950s, when, on average, humans lived to be around 70 years old while dogs lived to be about 10.
It is true that dogs age more quickly than humans, but because different breeds age at different rates, there’s really no simple way to calculate your dog’s “actual” age. Depending on the breed, one year could be the developmental equivalent of four years, or 15.
Regardless of your dog’s age, be sure to provide a healthy diet and plenty of exercise opportunities. Don’t forget the regular vet visits, too!
A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s
If you’ve ever been smothered in canine kisses, you’ve likely heard the statement: “don’t worry! A dog’s mouth is actually cleaner than a human’s!” However, this is just another common dog myth.
The misconception about clean canine mouths likely stems from the fact that most illnesses can’t be transmitted between humans and canines. Just because the bacteria is different, though, doesn’t mean it’s clean. After all, dogs use their mouths for so many different things: exploring the world around them, cleaning themselves, picking up dirty toys, and licking other dogs and humans, to name a few.
Of course, the cleanliness of your dog’s mouth also depends on his doggy dental routine. This should include a canine toothbrush with toothpaste made specifically for dogs, along with chew toys that help to clean the teeth.
You can also put your name on the waitlist for PetHonesty’s upcoming oral hygiene products: Oral Hygiene Dental Water and Oral Hygiene Fresh Sticks both support canine dental health and promote fresh breath.