Thanks to the internet, the answers to all our questions are literally at our fingertips. In today’s information age, there is just as much misleading information out there as anything else. Over the years we have heard our share of myths presented as facts over and over again. That’s why we’ve decided to debunk some of the most common ones.
Dogs only eat grass when they’re sick
Many dogs will throw up after eating grass, yes. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this action was intended to induce vomiting. A lot of dogs actually like to eat grass. Some dogs can’t get enough grass. Perhaps this taste for grass has been passed down from long-lost ancestors who would eat wild prey, including stomach contents commonly including grasses. Grass can cause irritation to the stomach, and if enough is consumed, the body reacts by purging.
Grass is relatively safe for dogs to consume, providing it hasn’t been treated with any harmful chemicals. If you have a dog who is eating grass and vomiting regularly, it may be worth visiting a veterinarian to ensure there are no underlying causes.
Dogs' mouths are cleaner than ours
This is one of the oldest myths around – and is simply not true. Dogs and humans have roughly the same number of bacteria in our mouths, however, most of our bacteria are different. It is unlikely for a human to get sick from contact with dog saliva; an appropriate phrase may be, “Dogs mouths are safe around ours”. One exception would include situations where dogs are fed raw diets, as there is risk of salmonella transmission.
Dogs are colourblind
For the longest time it was thought that dogs only saw in black and white. While dogs are somewhat colourblind, it’s not in the black and white sense we commonly think.
The retina of both human and canine eyes contain two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. The canine eye has fewer rods and more cones, giving them better low-light vision and motion tracking ability. The colour range in a dog’s vision will mostly consists of violets, yellows, and blues. Orange, green, and red are not recognizable, and instead will fall somewhere in the yellow and blue spectrum.
Certain breeds are more aggressive than others
Pit bulls. It’s the first thing that comes to mind when the subject of aggressive dogs is brought up. While pit bulls have certainly taken the spotlight the last several years, studies have shown they are no more aggressive in nature than any other breed. In fact, dachshunds, golden retrievers, and Pomeranians are responsible for more bite attacks annually than pit bulls.
It’s true that certain dogs were selectively bred to suit aggressive behaviours; high prey drives in sporting and hunting dogs, for example. Over time, these traits were manipulated in certain breeds and used for nefarious purposes like dog fighting and other blood sports. Certain dogs are warier around strangers than others, which is an ideal trait for watch dogs. However, these traits do not conclusively result in a greater predisposition towards aggressive behaviour.
Dogs are products of their environment. The issue of aggression is not the individual breed itself, but rather the irresponsible people who own them.
Stay tuned next week, where we debunk the most common myths about cats!
Brandon Forder – also known as The Pet Expert - is vice-president of Canadian Pet Connection, a family-owned and -operated business located in Meaford. He has over twenty-five years experience specializing in pet nutrition, behaviour, and lifestyle. Canadian Pet Connection is an industry leader committed to providing their clients with the highest levels of personal, attentive service. Learn more at www.CanadianPetConnection.ca