Debunking 7 Famous Dog Myths

5 min read
Debunking 7 Famous Dog Myths - Animals Matter, Inc.

Have you ever taken your pup out to the dog park and someone says your dog is sick because they're eating grass? What do you do about the family member who insists that your sweet German Shepherd can't be mild-tempered because of the breed? There are tons of dog myths out there. Some hold a grain of truth but can become overinflated with falsehoods. Still other dog myths are blatantly wrong and are only good for a chuckle.

So, which of the most common dog “truths” are really dog myths? The truth may just shock you.

1. Dogs Eat Grass Because They're Sick

There's some logic to this myth, which is also frequently applied to cats. Dogs eat grass, and then they throw up their dinner. So it obviously means that they have an upset stomach and are self-medicating.

But Pet MD reports that this may be a call back to their wolf ancestors. Many wolves, coyotes, foxes, and even jackals are known to eat plants. As this doesn't go along with the image of a wolf pack chasing down a deer and making a buffet out of it, this isn't exactly well-known knowledge. But it's indisputable that some wolves like a little salad with their steak.

Another study reveals that some dogs lack fiber in their diet, so they make up for this by munching on a little fresh grass. The problem is that while dogs can digest some types of fiber, grass doesn't fall into this category.

If you notice your pup continually making a mini meal of grass, then it may be time to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian to see if they need something more in their diet.

2. Same Breed = Same Disposition

Many dog breeds get slapped with a label that isn't always true for the entire breed. For example, many people claim chihuahuas are small and bark a lot. Poodles are super smart but can be a bit snooty, and a husky's primary goal in life is to pull sleds. Larger breeds have aggressive behavior simply because of their size. The list of these misconceptions can go on and on.

While you can sort of predict what a dog's disposition will be, it's a bit misleading to say that all dogs from that breed will be exactly the same. They aren't clones, after all. Each dog will have its own unique personality (and will be happy to show you).

3. You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

This might apply to humans in some cases, but old dogs can absolutely learn new tricks. The problem for most dog owners is that this will take a bit longer than when they were young pups.

There are several reasons for this, such as less energy. Also, your old dog will be trying to figure out why you're trying to do things differently all of a sudden. A little patience, a few treats, and a lot of adoration paired with positive reinforcement training will go a long way toward helping your senior dog learn something new. You can also work with a dog trainer to help speed the process up.

4. Dogs Heal Themselves by Licking

This myth is a bit misleading because dog saliva does contain some antibacterial properties, which can prove beneficial. But, unfortunately, dog mouths also have bacteria that can lead to an infection, according to Top Dog Tips.

With this in mind, it's not a good idea to let your dog keep licking a wound. There's a reason veterinarians are such big fans of those monstrous cones of shame, after all; it's because licking isn't quite as beneficial as the dog myths would have you believe.

To go a little more in-depth, a wound needs to form a scab to heal. But constant licking prevents this from happening. So the moral is that a little licking isn't terrible, but it shouldn't be so excessive that it negatively affects your pet's health. You can also help mitigate injuries and licking by ensuring your dog has the right orthopedic bed.

5. A Dry Nose Means My Dog Is Sick

Dogs get dry noses, but some well-meaning person has started the rumor that this means they're sick. And it can be true... in some cases. A dog's nose can definitely become dry if they're feeling under the weather. This is also a great way to check if they're dehydrated.

On the other hand, dogs' noses become dry when they're sleeping in their comfy beds. For older dogs who sleep most of the day as their bodies slow down, their noses become dry. This doesn't necessarily mean they're sick. However, if you're uncertain, a vet appointment can clear up any questions.

6. Dogs Are Color Blind

We've all been assured for years that dogs can only see in black and white, and there's not been reason to doubt it. But there are now studies that reveal that your pup can actually see a spectrum of color. While it may not affect how you interact with your dog on a daily basis, it's still cool to know that they can see colors just like us.

7. Female Dogs Aren't Happy Unless They Have Puppies

Many female dogs are often thrilled to have a litter of pups, but it's also true that they can find plenty of joy in life if they don't give birth. You also need to consider that tons of dogs don't have homes. Some shelters would love to take them in but can't because they're already overcrowded. Therefore, there's no reason to have your female dog give birth just to have puppies.

Do you want to learn more about dog behavior? Contact us to learn more.

FAQs About Dog Myths

Can old dogs still learn new tricks?

The biggest dog myth we've debunked is that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. They absolutely can learn new things. It will just take some extra work on your part, and they won't learn as quickly.

Do dogs start eating grass when they're sick?

The first myth we debunked was that dogs don't eat grass because they're sick. They may be lacking some fiber in their diet, but since they can't even digest grass, it's not doing them any good. Grass also isn't guaranteed to cause vomiting.

What is the most common dog myth?

One of the most common dog myths is that dogs of the same breed have the same disposition. Even people who have never had dogs insist this is the truth. While you can predict how much exercise a certain dog breed will require and what their size will be, predicting their personality is like trying to guess who will win the lottery.

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