We think we know certain things about our dogs. We’ve heard bits of pet knowledge all of our lives. We all know cats always land on their feet and one dog year equals seven human years–but these are actually myths. We debunk or update 10 popular canine myths.

The Truth about Dogs

For decades and more, the following myths have floated around as accepted truth but the truth is usually not so simple:

1. Dogs are Colorblind

While dogs can’t see every color, they are certainly not colorblind. Dogs can see blue, yellow and violet colors but they cannot see reds, greens or oranges. Check out dogsaholic.com to see what toys are good for dogs based on color and why.

2. A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth

This one is thankfully not true. We would hope our mouths are cleaner considering what we see dogs eat and lick. The myth came from a study done in 1990. It suggested dog saliva may have slightly more repressed bacterial growth than human mouths. While it can be beneficial for dogs to lick their own wounds, you don’t want them licking yours. We love dog kisses though so kiss at your own risk.

3. A dry or warm nose is a sign that your dog is sick
A dog’s nose can be dry for various reasons. One is being in or around too much heat or a dog not having ingested enough water. A dry nose is something to note, but it doesn’t necessarily mean your dog is sick.

4. Dogs eat grass only when they are sick or their stomachs hurt
Some dogs eat grass to smell and taste if other dogs have marked their territory. Others eat grass for the taste and never get sick. Just beware of lawn pesticides!

5. Indoor dogs don’t need heartworm prevention
This dangerously false myth spreads when people forget that mosquitoes carry heartworm. All it takes is one infected mosquito to get into your house and bite your dog. Heartworm prevention is essential!

6. A wagging tail is a sign of a happy dog
While a wagging tail can be a sign of a happy dog, it can also be a sign of an agitated dog or one that is anxious or afraid. Always be aware of a dog’s complete body language–not just the tail.

7. A backyard is all the exercise a dog needs
A backyard is a good place for your dog to have freedom to run and play or to sunbathe. It’s also a good place for a stretch or a quick bit of exercise. It isn’t enough to provide the proper physical and mental stimulation your dog needs with walks.

8. No need for flea/tick medicine: Garlic is all you need!
Garlic may be able to keep fleas and ticks away for a short walk. It has no lasting flea/tick benefits in order to keep your dog safe though. It is best to go with a flea/tick prescription medicine recommended by your veterinarian.

9. 1 dog year = 7 human years
There is a way to roughly calculate how old your dog is in human years, but not with this outdated method. Check out this chart to see how old your dog might be.

10. Only male dogs mount other dogs
This myth is based on the idea that mounting is a sexual behavior but this is not always true. Males and females alike will mount for other reasons such as social dominance, stress, excitement or wanting attention. It can also be a health problem or a compulsive behavior disorder.

We’ve debunked or updated some of your favorite dog myths but now you’re wiser and can be an even smarter dog owner! Contact Union Lake Pet Services if you have other dog-related questions.