Dog Myths Debunked!

by DFS-Pet-Blog on February 22, 2010

**Guest post from Tina C.**

Call them Myths; call them Old Wives Tales. There are a number of sayings about dogs that are simply untrue; although many people still believe them.

Tina's dog, Karma.

Tina's dog, Karma.

1. A Cold, Wet Nose = A Healthy Dog. Actually, a dog’s nose should be normal body temperature unless it is winter and he just came inside.

2. Tug-of-War makes dogs aggressive. Tug is a great game to bond with your pet and give it some exercise and stimulation. Be sure to set rules and boundaries so that your dog knows when to “leave it” or “drop it.”

3. You can’t teach an Old Dog new tricks. While it is true that older dogs may be more set in their ways, any dog can learn something new, no matter how old. Dogs, like humans, will benefit from mental stimulation every single day of their life.

Tina's dog, Daisy Mae.

Tina's dog, Daisy Mae

4. A wagging tail means the dog is friendly. Dogs move their tails in many forms of communication including happiness, aggression, fear, dominance, and invitation. It is best to ask the dog’s owner before petting a strange dog.

5. A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a humans. Today, you brushed your teeth twice. Today, your dog ate kitty litter, garbage from the trash can, a dead bird from under the bush in the yard, and licked his butt at least four times. Really – you can let this one go.

6. Dogs eat grass when they are sick. Some dogs simply like the taste, especially early in the morning or after a rain when the grass is dripping with fresh water. I used to have a dachshund that kept a small area mowed by his chomping every morning.

When learning about your pet, be sure to double check information from more than one source such as so that you do not end up believing a myth.

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Sandy February 26, 2010 at 8:29 pm

I read somewhere that although you would think a dog’s mouth would not be as clean as a humans, their saliva produces different enzymes to kill more bacteria than ours, as they would normally be eating raw meat in the wild. Have you ever heard of this, or do you know if it is untrue?

Christy Mesker February 28, 2010 at 11:20 am

Great myth list! Particularly the nose one – I was never sure if that was true or not. Will be passing this list along!

Tina C. March 1, 2010 at 9:48 am

Hi Sandy. That is a great question. Both human and dog saliva contain an antimicrobal enzyme called lysozyme which has cleansing properties. The problem with this myth is that it is not straightforward. A dogs mouth is chock full of bacteria just like a human mouth is – but it isn’t the same exact bacteria. Dog kisses most likely would not hurt a normal healthy person, but a dog licking a human wound can (and has) caused instances of septicemia from bacterial infections. As far as digesting the meat, a good portion of the human digestive process comes from the grinding of our food by our teeth, allowing the enzymes to start working. Dogs tear, rip, and swallow their food without any grinding. It is the acid in the dogs stomach that kills bacteria from raw meat. Stomach acids in dogs are much stronger than that of humans.

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