Common Myths About Dogs

December 15, 2016

We’ve all heard myths about dogs–from them being color blind to old dogs being unable to learn new tricks. A lot of the myths we know about dogs are simply untrue. Here are a few doggie myths debunked.

“It is okay to give my dog table scraps.”
While your trash can will fill up less quickly, you are risking your dog’s health by feeding him leftovers. Many human foods can be dangerous to your dog when consumed. Your dog should be kept on a diet of dog food and dog treats.

“Dogs only eat grass when they’re sick.”
Again, not true. Dogs eat grass because they like to eat grass. Grass can be hazardous to your dog if it is treated with chemicals. Dogs have also been known to consume large amounts of grass to induce vomiting if they have consumed something toxic or if they feel unwell.

“It is okay to leave my dog in the car as long as the windows are cracked open.” 
You should NEVER, for any reason, leave your dog alone in a car. Even in cool weather, the heat inside a vehicle can rise to unsafe temperatures within minutes. Do not leave your dog alone inside your vehicle, even if you only plan on being gone for a few minutes.

“A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s.” 
Let’s not pretend that dogs don’t lick or eat certain things — we’ve all seen it. A lot of the germs found in a dog’s mouth are dog-specific and not necessarily dangerous to humans, however, drinking rain water, sampling poop, and eating grass aren’t exactly hygienic. These germs can easily make their way onto your face.

“Dogs are color blind.”
This is not completely true. A lot of people tend to believe that dogs can only see blacks, whites, and grays. This is untrue. Dogs do see colors, but not as many as we see. They see mostly blues and yellows, so when they run straight past the red toy you threw, your dog is not being stubborn or dumb. A red toy is hard to differentiate from green grass. Check out this picture below (courtesy of the American Kennel Club) comparing human vision to that of a dog.


“When a dog’s tail is wagging, it’s because they’re happy.” 
Dogs do wag their tails a sign of happiness, but this is not the only reason they do it. Dogs also wag their tails when they are nervous, afraid, anxious, or feeling threatened. Make sure you read a dog’s entire body language before attempting to pet him. Just because a dog approaches you with a wagging tail, it does not mean he wants affection.

“You can calculate a dog’s age in dog years by multiplying by seven.”
This is something that everyone has accepted to be fact. If you think about it though, dogs develop and mature at much different rates and speeds than humans do. When a dog is one, for example, he is already reaching his teenage years. Take a look at this dog aging chart, courtesy of


“Dogs such as Pitbulls/Rottweilers/etc. are all aggressive and should never be trusted.”
False. All dogs have the potential to show aggressive behaviors. The way a dog behaves is dependent on many things. Pitbulls can be just as friendly and lovable as any other dog. Poodles can be more violent than Rottweilers. It is impacted by how the dog is trained, raised, and treated.

“My dog can eat just a little bit of chocolate.”
As little as one ounce of dark chocolate is enough to kill a small dog. It is not the chocolate itself that is deadly, but the ingredient theobromine. The amount of this ingredient differs in different chocolate products, so different types can be more dangerous than others. It is better to play it safe, though, and keep the chocolate for yourself. It’s a win win!

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
As dogs get older, they are limited more and more by bad eyesight, bad hearing, joint/bone problems, etc. This doesn’t mean an older dog isn’t capable of learning, though. While they may not be as agile and strong as younger dogs, you can cater new tricks to older dogs if you take into consideration their limits.

“A dry nose means a sick dog.” 
This is false. A dog’s nose can change from warm and dry to cold and wet within minutes. It is completely normal for a dog to have a warm, dry nose.

Resources:,,, Animal Health Foundation, PetMD