Top 5 Dog Myths Debunked

By PetMD Editorial on Oct. 14, 2009

Dogs. You gotta love them; what with being Man’s best friend and all. They’re loyal, funny, loving, and snugly. But many myths prevail about our canine friends.

Here are the top five dog myths we've busted wide open.

#5 Dogs Will Eat Anything

Have you ever noticed your dog chow down on a smelly bone or questionable lump of meat he’s pulled out of the garbage? Or worse, lap enthusiastically at that suspicious looking smear of something on the pavement?

Dogs can detect bitter, sweet, salty, and sour tastes, but how we perceive "taste" may be different that how they perceive it. Although dogs have only one-sixth the number of taste buds than that of a human, it is possible that dogs gain more information about food from its sense of smell. Regardless of what leads them to smelly food, you shouldn't be tempted to feed your dog curry, leftovers, or takeout from your favorite restaurant. It's bad for them. Instead, feed them healthy, well-balanced meals that are high in protein, carbohydrates and fiber.


#4 A Dry Nose Means the Dog is Sick

This is false. The dog's nose has nothing to do with its state of health. In fact, its nose can change from wet and cool to warm and dry in minutes. So don't panic. This is completely normal, and probably has to do more with the weather and humidity than health.

#3 Dogs Only Wag Their Tails When They're Happy

Usually a dog wagging its tail suggests happiness, excitement, and eagerness (walk time!), but not always. Sometimes a wagging tail can mean fear, aggression, or even a warning to "back off!" So you should always be careful when approaching strays, or strange dogs you haven’t met before, even if they are wagging.

#2 Old Dogs Can’t Learn New Tricks

Pure poppycock. Misinformation, we suspect, spread by old people trying to get out of learning something they didn’t want to do, or by lazy people who don't feel like training an older dog. But just like there are plenty of octogenarians out there getting on the computer for the first time and becoming Twitter savants after a few days, dogs can learn new tricks at any age. Learning new things helps keep the dog active and his mind young - just like with people.

#1 Sex, Litters, and Fixing the Dog

Lots of people wait before getting their dog neutered or spayed because they believe letting their dog have sex is a good thing, or that they need to have one litter  of puppies "for the experience."

They don't. Letting your dog have sex usually results in a bunch of puppies that you will struggle to find homes for, and a female dog will not be sad for missing an expereince she never even knew she could have. And while there is some controversy as to how early you should have a dog fixed, there is no reason why you should refuse to neuter or spay your dog and further exacerbate the animal population control problem.

So now that we've debunked the top 5 Dog Myths, share your newfound knowledge with your friends.

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