That rapidly wagging tail means Fido is excited and happy, right? Not necessarily. Tail-wagging is also a sign of agitation, irritation, anger or nervousness. Because most dogs wag their tails to express happiness though, people automatically think a dog wagging its tail is happy. This is just one of many myths that people accept without question. Read on to learn four more surprising truths about our canine companions.
One dog year equals 7 human years.
You cannot calculate a dog’s human equivalent age simply by multiplying her age by seven. By the time a dog celebrates her first birthday, she is already considered a teenager in human years. A 2-year-old dog is roughly the same age as a 24-year-old human. Dogs mature faster than humans and their development slows down in their senior years. Use this chart to see what your four-legged friend’s human-equivalent age is, but keep in mind that small dogs and large dogs age differently.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
This old adage is about as cliché as it gets. Dogs are smart. They are capable of learning new behaviors as long as they are healthy. In fact, mental exercise is as important as physical exercise for dogs. Stimulating their minds prevents them from becoming bored and destructive. So go ahead: play new games with your dog and teach her new tricks.
Dogs have warm noses and eat grass when they are sick.
The temperature of a dog’s nose is not indicative of her overall health, nor is eating grass. Dogs that vigorously eat grass tend to throw it up a few minutes later. This has more to do with the speed of the consumption than anything else. True symptoms of a sick dog vary based on the age, breed and underlying condition, but include:
Change in appetite
Sleeping more than normal
Excessive drinking or urination
Labored breathing or excessive panting
Stiffness in joints
Contact a veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms or suspect your dog is sick.
A dog’s mouth has less bacteria than a human’s.
Nope. Dogs and humans carry different types of bacteria in their mouths, but neither is considered “cleaner” than the other.