Nowadays, animal scientists and dog behaviorists have been able to debunk dog myths and help dog parents do their best to care for their four-legged family members. Think you know your furry friend inside and out? Test your knowledge and get the facts straight with these debunked dog myths!
Dog Myth #1: Hypoallergenic Dogs or Just Hype?
The first dog myth on our list can be a controversial topic with some dog breeders and dog lovers. There is no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog. Whew! Yes, we said it! In recent years, quite a few dog breeds are considered hypoallergenic, but a dog’s allergic impact isn’t that simple.
Organizations like the American Kennel Club recognize breeds as hypoallergenic, but still, clarify that a true hypoallergenic breed is a common dog myth. Allergic responses differ from person to person. Although certain hypoallergenic breeds like the American Hairless Terrier don’t shed, a person could still be allergic to dog dander or saliva.
The reason this dog myth persists is that the dog allergen Canis familiaris (Can f 1). The level of Can f 1 is different in many breeds, including those labeled as hypoallergenic. In fact, a 2012 study found no difference in the amount of Can f 1 in homes with non-hypoallergenic dogs compared to homes with hypoallergenic breeds.
If you’re someone that suffers from dog hair allergies, a hairless dog would be a safe choice. Not all solutions are one-fits-all. You may have to talk to your doctor about your options and how to manage your dog allergies.
Dog Myth #2: Puppy Eyes = Guilty
Dog-shaming memes can give you a good chuckle, but the look a dog gives you when you come home to a chewed-up pair of shoes is not a look of guilt. Before you point a finger at your pup and say they have guilt written all over their face (and evidence of the mess they might have made!), the experts have a few things to say about this dog myth.
While the typical look (ears down and head lowered) is a behavior humans see as a sign of guilt, dog experts say that is not a look of shame. Cowering, pinned ears, and avoiding eye contact are all signs of stress and fear in dogs. Their physical reaction is a response to appease their dog parent.
Dogs are observant creatures and your pupper picks up on your behaviors. A dog that looks guilty when being dog-shamed or scolded has probably experienced a strong reaction from their owner before. Exhibiting signs of “shame” is a dog’s way of de-escalating a stressful situation.
Guilt is a complex emotion and as dog parents, we tend to anthropomorphize our pets. In other words, we see human traits in our four-legged family members. For humans, cowering and acting sheepishly are guilty behaviors. It makes sense that we would think our dog was acting guilty.
Your canine companion showing guilt is a dog myth, but their feelings of stress are real. Dogs are sensitive to human reactions. Harsh scolding can intensify the problem. Instead of scolding your dog after their mistake, understand the motivation for the unwanted behavior.
Dog Myth #3: One Dog Year is the Same as Seven Human Years
Time and time again, we have heard this popular dog myth throughout our lives, but it’s not quite true. A new study says there is a better method to figure out your dog’s age. In fact, scientists have discovered our furry best friends are older than we think.
While the old dog myth is wrong about the exact calculation, it’s true that dogs age rapidly. If you ever felt like your puppy grew up in the blink of an eye, you’re right about their growth spurt. Aging doesn’t slow down until a dog is about 8 years old (or 64 years old in human years).
Depending on a dog’s breed and genetics, age in human years varies but still follows the same equation. Smaller breeds like chihuahuas and Yorkies have longer life spans. On average, most small dog breeds live to be 15-20 years old.
That means small dogs can live to be 74-78 years old in human years! Next time you take your dog out for an intense workout, keep in mind how old they might be in human years. Since we’ve busted this dog myth, you might want to take it easy on your aging buddy!
Now That These Dog Myths Have Been Busted…
You can set the record straight the next time you hear one of these dog myths. It’s easy to see how something can be misconstrued and a dog myth is formed. Although dogs and humans have lots of similarities, dogs still have traits and behaviors that make them unique in the animal world.
Getting to the bottom of dog myths helps dog parents better understand their canine companions. As scientists make new discoveries, we can provide a healthier lifestyle for ourselves and our furry family members!
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