Dogs are man’s best friend, yet that doesn’t mean we know everything about them. And many of the things we think we know are actually myths, rather than facts.
Here are 10 of the most common dog myths that have been proven false:
Myth #1: Dogs are colorblind
Dogs can detect colors, though not as good as humans can. The cones in canine retinas suggest that dogs best see colors that are on the blue side of the spectrum. While no dog is colorblind, different breeds do have better color vision than others.
Myth #2: Dogs who live mostly indoors don’t need heartworm protection
Heartworms are spread through infected mosquitoes, which can enter a house and bite a dog just as easily as it could outside. It usually takes about seven months after a dog is bitten for the larvae to develop into adult heartworms. These parasites then find their ways into the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels before reproducing.
Myth #3: Dogs age seven years for every one human year
Recent studies show this aging method as outdated and inaccurate. Saying that a 1-year-old dog is equivalent to a 7-year-old human doesn’t really make much sense since many dogs are able to reproduce before they’re a year old. Dogs do age much more quickly than humans, but the rate they age at depends on the specific breed and size of the dog. This chart give a more accurate breakdown of how dogs actually age.
Myth #4: A dry nose means a dog is sick
The wetness and temperature of a dog’s nose is no indication of health or sickness. Dogs who just woke up will often have a dry nose because they haven’t licked it yet. A dog’s nose can frequently go from wet to dry within a short period of time, so don’t panic if you feel a dry nose. It’s best to pay attention to other more reliable signs if you could think something might be wrong.
Myth #5: Dogs only wag their tails when they’re happy
When a dog wags its tail, it’s usually a sign that they’re happy, excited or eager. However, this is not always the case. A wagging tail can also be a sign for fear or aggression. Think twice about approaching a stray dog just because it appears to be happy.
Myth #6: A dog in a parked car is fine so long as the windows are cracked
This is false and incredibly inhumane. Even with the windows cracked, the inside of a parked car can quickly reach 120 degrees fahrenheit on a hot day. Additionally, many states now have severe legal consequences for owners who leave their pets unattended in cars.
Myth #7: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
Unlike humans, dogs aren’t set in their ways as they grow older. Canines can always learn something new and older dogs are sometimes easier to train than younger pups because they’re able to focus for a longer period of time. However, younger animals have increased coordination and greater amounts of energy.
Myth #8: A little chocolate is OK for dogs
Chocolate contains two substances that are harmful to dogs: theobromine and caffeine. Just one ounce of this sweet treat can be toxic to a 30-pound dog and result in life-threatening illnesses.
Myth 9: Eating grass means a dog is sick
Both dogs and cats will occasionally eat grass for no apparent reason. Some people falsely believe they will do this when they are sick to induce vomiting, but there is no evidence to substantiate this claim.
Myth #10: Garlic will cure fleas
There’s no evidence that says garlic will rid your dog of fleas and large amounts can even be harmful to your canine. As with most things, it’s best to consult your veterinarian if your dog has a serious flea problem.