We all know some interesting facts about our furry pals – they have wet noses, are severely allergic to chocolate, and communicate mostly through barks and body language. But how much do we really know about dogs? Here are some cool facts about dogs that not every pet owner knows.
1. Dogs Have No Digestive Enzymes in Their Saliva
You’ve probably taken probiotics for your own digestive health at some point, but dogs can benefit from them too. Our saliva contains a chemical called amylase; it helps to break down and soften food while we chew it. Dogs do not have that.
Canines only produce this enzyme in their pancreas, thus they can experience things like diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. This is especially true when introducing new foods. Adding probiotics and prebiotics to your pup's meals can make a difference for their tummy problems.
2. Their Tongues Scoop Water Backward
Since it's moving rather quickly, it's hard to tell what happens when your puppy's tongue is lapping up water. The very tip of a canine tongue bends backward, curving upward and stretching out like a spoon.
In comparison, the tongue of a cat barely glides across the top of the water where its pulled into their mouths. They don’t have to chomp down quickly to keep the water from falling out of their mouth the way dogs do either, which explains why canines sometimes make such a mess when they’re drinking.
3. Dogs Don’t Actually Sweat
Contrary to the popular myth that canines sweat through their paws, our pets maintain their body heat through panting only. While dogs do release a very small, minute amount of moisture from their paws, the excessive drooling that occurs during panting releases heat and pulls cool air into their lungs.
While panting is a normal part of your pup’s everyday life, make sure it isn’t accompanied by a swollen or warm belly. This is usually a sign of bloat, and often occurs when a hot dog drinks too much water, too fast. Always allow your dog to cool off and slow their breathing before drinking water if they’ve been exercising heavily.
4. Dogs are as Smart as Two Year Olds
We all know the saying “you’ve got to learn how to crawl before you can walk,” and refers to the learning milestones we experience as both babies, and adults. As babies get older, they learn to crawl, walk, talk, and identify faces that are familiar to them. So what makes a dog comparable to a 2 year old toddler?
Adult canines are able to understand between 165 and 250 words, phrases, and commands! So even if you may not be able to have a full on conversation with them, if you take the time to teach your dog words that are productive and useful, you’re sure to have a much better connection with them.
5. You Shouldn’t Shave Double Coated Breeds
If you’ve ever seen a shaved Husky, a double coated breed, you know that it looks pretty ridiculous; their fur doesn’t look the same as other breeds when it’s cut short. The quick explanation for this is that it's not supposed to be. The topcoat with the longer hairs are the ones that provide that tough, warm barrier between their skin and harsh weather.
Underneath are the softer, scruffier hairs that give Huskies that weird, unappealing look they have when shaved. Without the longer fur, your dog won’t be able to stay cool in the summer, and the sun might burn their skin.
There is some debate as to whether or not shaving is appropriate if your pet’s fur is extremely matted or tangled, but you should definitely check with a professional groomer before shaving.
6. Not All Dogs Can Swim
It's unfortunate that so many owners are under the impression that all dogs have a natural bearing for the water. Some people even believe that simply tossing a nervous dog into the water is the best way to get them to adjust, which can lead to a tragic near-drowning incident or an entirely deceased pup.
Yes, some dogs have a natural propensity for swimming. Labradors are a perfect example with webbed toes to help them navigate and pull themselves through the terrain much faster than other breeds. Their coat is also water resistant, allowing them to maintain buoyancy, but keeping them from getting too cold.
But there are many other breeds that are bad at swimming and probably shouldn't go into water at all. Flat-faced breeds should just avoid water altogether. French and English bulldogs specifically are two breeds that should never be placed in a pool or left unattended around deep bodies of water. Bully breeds like these (aside from Bull Terriers and athletic breeds) generally have large, heavy shoulders and a head like a bowling ball. If you’ve ever held one, you know that a bowling ball is incredibly heavy, and will sink rather quickly if placed in a pool.
Additionally, keep in mind that even though Boxers are considered to be athletic, they are not natural swimmers and tend to avoid water. So don’t make the mistake of throwing a hesitant pup into your backyard pool, even if they’re simply timid – it could be that they’re aware of their inability to swim.
7. A Dog’s Hearing is 4 Times Greater Than a Human’s
Most of us are already pretty aware of the fact that our dogs have an incredible sense of smell and an excellent pair of ears on their head. Where humans can only hear sound that ranges from 64 to 23,000 Hertz, your dog can hear anywhere from 67 to 45,000 Hertz!
Both the shape, location, and the mobility of our dog’s ears make this a possibility. Dogs don’t need to cup a hand over their ear in order to get better recognition of a sound; they couldn’t if they wanted to, anyway. Thanks to the high placement, and ability to move their ears toward the sound of the commotion without taking a step forward, our dogs are able to warn us of danger that is nearby, but not quite visible.
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