Common Dog Myths Debunked
- by Rufus and Coco
Whether you're a dog lover with experience or eagerly anticipating the joy of bringing home a new pup, you may have come across a slew of myths surrounding these furry companions which need to be debunked.
As a responsible dog owner, it's crucial to ensure your pet receives the utmost care and attention. To help you separate fact from fiction, we've curated a list of prevalent myths in circulation. Our aim is to shed light on whether these claims hold any truth, empowering you with accurate knowledge for the well-being of your furry friend.
The Truth Behind These Common Dog Myths
Dogs are colour blind
This is one of the most common myths about dogs out there. Many people think that both cats and dogs see in only black and white, sometimes with shades of grey, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Dogs do actually see colour, but the intensity of the colours that they are capable of seeing is mild in comparison to what the human eye can perceive. For example, while human eyes are outfitted with three different types of cells that can identify colours, dogs have just two.
In other words, they see the same image but in just more muted tones.
Trained dogs never bite
While it is true that well-trained canines are capable of sticking to their owners’ commands very well, some situations call for immediate action. Dogs are able to pick up on their owners’ or family’s feelings, which means that in a potentially dangerous situation, they might actually attack someone.
Another circumstance where all dogs can become aggressive, regardless of how well-trained they are, is if they sustain some type of trauma, such as one resulting from an accident.
You shouldn’t forget that dogs are animals, no matter how many features similar to people they have – so if they are in extreme pain, they might not even recognise their owners, leading them to behave in unpredictable ways.
Dogs should not be spayed or neutered before they breed
This is yet another very common myth. Dogs that go through at least one heat cycle aren’t healthier or happier compared to those that are spayed or neutered early. In fact, it can save them a lot of trouble in the long run.
It’s more likely that a spayed dog never experiences uterine infections or mammary cancer than an intact female dog. The same rule applies to males - testicular cancer is basically absent in neutered dogs, and they also have a lower chance of developing prostate health issues.
All dogs have bad breath
This myth, along with the one where a dog’s mouth has fewer germs than a person’s mouth, is also very common. Yes, dogs are known to have more pungent breaths compared to other species, but what you should also know as a pet owner is that you need to tend to your dog’s oral hygiene practically every day.
If your dog doesn’t like having their teeth brushed daily, the least you could do is use a water additive to ensure that their teeth and gums remain healthy and that their breath is fresher - our Breath Buddy is a good example and it only requires you to add it to your dog’s drinking water.
If you don’t do anything about your dog’s oral hygiene, they will run the risk of developing periodontal disease and potentially losing their teeth or even developing heart conditions from oral health complications.
It’s safe to give dogs human food
While it is true that dogs are omnivores just like people, especially when compared to cats, that are widely known to be obligate carnivores, that doesn’t mean that they can eat the same things as us.
Your vet is likely to instruct you on this, but you should do your due diligence and find out which human foods are actually toxic for the canine species. A few examples range from onions and garlic to chocolate, avocado, any products containing artificial sweeteners, and grapes.
Put simply, snacks and foods that are primarily developed for dogs are much healthier and safer for your pet. Also, if your pup loves fish, they’ll definitely enjoy the taste of our Reel Fish Crunchers – not to mention that they’re packed with Omega 3 fatty acids
All dogs know how to swim
This preconception can potentially put a dog’s life in danger. In fact, there are some dog breeds that are incapable of holding their heads above the water simply due to their anatomy, such as Boxers, Bulldogs, Bull Terriers, or Dachshunds.
On the other hand, there are dog breeds whose coats are extremely dense and rich. Therefore, when these pets become wet, the weight of their coats simply weighs them down.
In other words, if you’re planning on spending a day at the beach or near any body of water, you should invest in a high-quality dog life vest.
Short-haired dogs don’t need any grooming at all
Every single dog needs some form of grooming, whether it consists of giving them haircuts when the weather is scorching in the summer or just a weekly brushing and pampering routine. You should also make sure that you cut your pet’s nails on a regularly with a handy tool such as a pair of Safety Nail Clippers.
If your dog’s coat is short, you can always rely on a Pet Grooming Glove instead of having to use a Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush, which would be a little more appropriate for medium to long-haired breeds. Things can easily get out of hand if you have a Chow-Chow, for example, so make sure you brush your dog regularly and use a Self-Cleaning Deshedder Brush, too.
All dog breeds have the same personality traits
While it is true that some dog breeds are more prone to liking certain activities, also due to their physical features or stamina, that does not mean that they all share the same personality characteristics.
Generalisations such as all Labrador Retrievers are good with children are true to some extent, but there are limits. For instance, if a dog comes from an abusive environment, they might be fearful of humans all throughout their life.
The way a dog is cared for, especially during their 12 to 18 months of their life, has a lot to say as to how they will behave later on.
On the other hand, some people tend to think that some breeds, such as Pit Bulls or Bull Terriers, are naturally aggressive toward people and other dogs. However, some of these dogs have the sweetest nature as they have not been trained to attack on cues, so they might not have developed a violent nature. The vast majority of dogs that are bred and kept for fights may have behavioural issues, especially if they are also abused if they aren’t aggressive enough or they don’t perform a certain way in training.
Tail-wagging is a sign of happiness
If a dog wags their tail, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are in a good mood or that they’re happy to see a person or another animal. In fact, friendliness or excitability is expressed only by loose tail wagging from side to side.
Faster movements might indicate different moods depending on the exact tail position - confidence when the tail is held high and nervousness when it is held low.
Communication in Dogs, Marcello Siniscalchi et al, Animals (Basel), 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6116041/
Neutering in Dogs and Cats: Current Scientific Evidence and Importance of Adequate Nutritional Management, Thiago H. A. Vendramini et al, Cambridge University Press, 2020, https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/nutrition-research-reviews/article/neutering-in-dogs-and-cats-current-scientific-evidence-and-importance-of-adequate-nutritional-management/EE9069F2CF1060CB2D5D65460BA8E8E1
A Review of the Frequency and Impact of Periodontal Disease in Dogs, C. Wallis, L.J. Holcombe, J. Small Anim. Pract., 2020, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32955734/